I couldn’t wait for the big day. I have 2 bucket list dreams for Christmas. One being Bethlehem and the second Notre-Dame Cathedral. I have dreamed for years of visiting Notre Dame for Christmas. Why Notre Dame? Ancient beauty, stain glass windows, and worshiping with many different nationalities and denominations. Not to mention its one of the most well-known church buildings in the world since 1163. Why not?
Celebrating the birth of Christ at such a scenic and monumental location filled me with anticipation of awe. Instead, I was flooded with holy fear. Although the beauty of the architecture was stunning, I was appalled to see the outside lined with homeless and needy, the inside filled with pushy tourists and annoyed noisy customers while a few worshippers sat quietly in their seats on center stage. A bizarre sight indeed. I reflected on the numerous grand churches that are rising throughout my homeland with their amazing architecture and impressive relics while the outside world still filled with pain and anger not blinking as they pass by the extensive empty parking lots. I began to contemplate my future, my kids future when it comes to our relationship with the Creator. That’s when I made this list. It’s an important list. The world around us have become experts on meditation. Therefore, I’ve made my list of not’s.
Meditation is not. . .
- repeating mantras in uncomfortable positions.
- relaxing. It takes work to focus our thoughts on God and good but often results in a relaxed mind.
- a practice for introverts and antisocial people only.
- owned by one religion as if meditation originated from one man. Not in the least, meditation like breathing began when man was created. We were made for reflection and change as spiritual beings.
- clearing your mind. Good luck with that one!
- dependent on location or environment.
- going to church but church is 100% better for those who meditate.
- studying the Bible but meditation will fill you with a fresh desire to study the Bible.
- praying for your needs or others needs but mediation will turn into a flow of intercession that is like a stream naturally occurring from the source your soul, your spirit.
- singing worship songs but your worship will intensify when you deepen your ability to walk in His presence through meditation.
Why do I have to say this? It’s the spiritual game we play. We all have spiritual needs in ourselves and choose to fill it as we wish. I tend to fill it with what comes easy. For me, meditation IS NOT my nature. I am an extrovert not a closet prayer warrior. I figured I’d stay that way until I hit the nursing home at 90. I did not realize the blessing that I could receive by meeting with God one on one. Meditation makes me a better extrovert:) I’m so glad I didn’t wait for the nursing home to learn that meditation and prayer is for all people!
Our spiritual walk is greatly impacted by our surroundings. We live in a culture where quiet is often seen as lazy and unproductive. There were times I believed that connecting with God could be done if I just go to church, listen to uplifting music, and read my Bible. Check list done. Therefore, the list of no’s is to say that I will not replace my time of meditation with anything else. I need quiet times with Him everyday of my life no matter where I’m at. I am at risk of treating religion like an empty cathedral; beautiful on the outside but irrelevant to a hurting world. I must never forget this. Spirituality must be changing me on the inside constantly if I have any hope of being and doing everything I am passionate about in this life.
In finality, take 10 minutes and begin your meditation with one who practiced it a lot. Paul was alone in a jail cell for more days than I can count some 2,000 years ago and his inspired guide for meditation can be found in Philippians.
“. . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
What would life look like if we lived like that?! I look forward to hearing from many of you as you contemplate what is written here. What is your definition of meditation? What does it look like for you?