Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meditation and other spiritual practices

Wednesday night. The "week" is over and it's time to start anew, put on my 2nd hat, and focus on my class instead of my church work.

Except that it's spring break so I don't even have to do that! yeah!

Usually Wednesday night signifies the end of one job (part time at the church) and the start of my teaching job. Since January, there's been a distinct line drawn through the middle of my week. Switching gears. Putting aside one stack of papers and finding the other!

So, this Wednesday night I can relax. Tomorrow I'm getting my nails done, meeting some friends for lunch, attending a funeral, seeing a client, and then (assuming I have the energy for it) working on next week's class.

Saturday I'm spending the day in Small City to the South at a church judicatory event -- an "ecclesial council" for someone seeking ordination in our Area. Normally I'd be dragging my feet regarding attending, but this is Manda with whom I've worked now for two years and whom I know to be an exceptional human being. I'm eager to give her my vote of approval to the Ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Saturday. She's been an outstanding colleague and has ministered to the youth of our church with creativity and grace. Check out her blog...she's a great writer, too.

I'm home tonight from having given a little presentation on Christian Meditation at another church. My preparation for it did double-duty in that I was able to also write my church newsletter article! Here tiz-- (guess this makes it triple duty!)

Christian Meditation
I was asked to do a little presentation recently at another church on the topic of Christian meditation. While preparing, I started to think about how the actual meditation experience itself isn’t the point. Indeed, it’s often not during meditation, but instead during our regular daily routines, that the benefits of meditation are experienced. I like to think of meditation as exercising our ‘spirituality muscle,’ so to speak. Any spiritual practice has the effect of making us more spiritually aware, more attuned to the Spirit in our lives. Little moments that would otherwise go by unnoticed become strangely important when we’ve been engaging in a spiritual practice.

John Cobb is a process theologian, and this quote from his Christ in a Pluralistic Age has always stayed with me:
“There are times when we feel peculiarly alive….These moments exercise an influence upon their future that is greatly disproportionate to their temporal endurance or frequency. We can dimly imagine what it might be for us to be continuously alive in this full sense, in each moment growing beyond our past through its inclusion in a richer whole that includes others as well."
Those little things we begin to take note of in our daily lives -– like feeling “awash in love” when we look at our grandchildren, or stopping in our tracks at the sight of a beautiful sunset, or suddenly becoming viscerally aware that “I’m alive!” or “I’m free!” -– those moments can impact our future in a way that goes far beyond how long they last or how frequently they occur. And when we engage in a regular spiritual practice of some kind then we become more and more aware of those moments and of the importance of pausing and taking note of them so that their influence can grow.

What spiritual practice fits you best?

Daily devotional Bible reading?
Lectio Divina?
Taizé prayer?
Centering prayer?
Mindful walks? Walking the labyrinth?
Intercessory prayer?
Noticing beauty?
Doing some kind of artistic work?
Service to others?
Working for social justice?
Trips to the Japanese Gardens?
Spiritual direction?
Devotional reading?
Practicing trust?
Singing or playing an instrument?
Attending worship services?
Looking for the Christ in others?
Sacred Conversations, a Circle of Trust?
Small group?
Enjoying the joy of children?
Writing psalms of your own?
Practicing the “present moment”?
Counting your blessings?
Saying the Jesus Prayer?
The Breath Prayer?
Practicing simplicity?

Whatever your spiritual practice (and there are many others), what difference is it making in your life? How is your spiritual practice helping to transform you more and more into the image of Christ? (or however you would articulate that transformation). How are you becoming more aware of God’s Spirit in your life, even in the little moments?

With you on the journey,

1 comment:

Mompriest said...

I have practiced meditation for years - although I have taken years off now and then when I felt too dry to meditate...those are hard years. Coming back now after one of those dry hiatus periods, I can feel the impact of mediation in very clear distinct ways...and as you say, not while I'm meditating but afterward. I've also started doing yoga again and know the depth of that practice on my wellbeing.

I look forward to the time when I am preaching regularly and can enter deeply into the practice of reflecting on scripture and preparing sermons.

love your blogskin....!