Simple Meditation Recipe
I find a lot of people struggle with the kinds of praying where it comes to being quiet and listening. It could be our ADD culture. It could be that we prefer being in control…and we are in control as long as we’re thinking, talking, asking, doing, praying… It could be that the faith that we’ve inherited has become overwhelmingly rational over the past few hundred years and it’s hard to resist that intellectual tendency and learn to exercise our spirit….that quieter and gentler part of us.
Here’s a simple little idea that could help:
- find a short passage in the Bible that has already touched you before.
- read through it slowly aloud, then pause for about a minute. think about structure, grammar, context, intent, whatever helps you “get” what the texts is wanting to communicate
- read through the passage again aloud, pause this time for about two minutes. during this pause: what phrase is the most interesting to you? taste it, chew it, memorize it by reading it a few times. what are these verses encouraging you to do? who are they encouraging you to be?
- read through the text one last time, slowly and out loud. take about a 3 minute pause. but this time try not to think, or analyze or process the verses…..just be quiet and listen….receive….enjoy….savor the moment. if your mind wanders into thinking about stuff you need to get done today or something you forgot to do yesterday (which is completely natural) , just note it down and repeat again the meaningful phrase that you just memorized.
If you’ve managed to accomplish this little task you have just done a form of the ancient spiritual practice called “lectio divina“. I’ll have a few other things to say about it in the weeks to come: why it’s important, what you get out of it, what are other versions of it, etc.
Oh, and I should add, since we are within the food metaphor….the above exercise is like eating a steak. You usually don’t start a meal with a steak, and neither should you start prayer with this. Lead up to it with other “courses” such as praise, thanksgiving, confession. You’ll find your spirit’s appetite is much more prepared for the steak after a good salad.