The bible and meditation
Hebrew definition of meditation involves speaking and thinking (devise, ponder, moan, utter) http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1897.htm
1a : to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or principles : invent<devise a new strategy> b archaic : conceive, imagine c : to plan to obtain or bring about : http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/devise
Psalm 119:15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
Psalm 119:23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Psalm 119:27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 119:48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.
Psalm 119:99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
Psalm 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
Psalm 145:5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.
Growing spiritually is to increase in ways which are unseen and intangible. Some of us may avoid meditation based on it's appearance. It takes practice to correctly adjust inwardly to the experience. It takes time to grow, adapt, understand, and change.
2 Timothy 2:7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Psalm 77:12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
Psalm 48:9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
Psalm 1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
Psalm 107:43 Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.
View the selective attention test. Could you get the right count on the passes? When our minds are focused upon God and his grace we begin to miss the problems in the world. Our attention becomes so focused on Love, understanding, compassion, kindness, peace, and mercy we begin to lose focus on the negative side of things. When our minds are focused on negative things we find it difficult to recognize the beauty in the world. When we look at the pressures we face and give too much attention to the obstacles we lose the joy we ought to have in over coming them. We miss the beauty of the forest due to the ugliness of some its trees. The glass is half full or half empty and our emotional and spiritual attitude is dependent upon our mental decision toward that glass. God invites us to focus intentionally upon that glass as being full of his grace. We are not to worry about anything so long as we trust in him and build his kingdom based upon his grace... love, kindness, joy, compassion, caring, mercy, peace, building up each other in mutual edification.
Meditation is a way to train our focus and increase our self-awareness. It is not about how we sit or moan. It's not about the candles or external affects like music. It is about slowing down our outward distractions, observing our thinking, listening to our bodies sensations, paying closer attention toward our desires, wants, expectations, thoughts, and demands which rightly need to conform to God. Increasing knowledge of our inward activity places us in a better position to adjust our individual thoughts, beliefs, or misunderstandings and better align them with God. So we find a place we can be comfortable and simply be. We also increase our awareness of our feelings, and invite God to help us be at peace. Perseverance and continued practice are key. Psalm 119:97 "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long."
Meditation outdoors makes it easy to focus on nature, trees, wind, insects, sky, etc. We can focus on more subtle senses often ignored like our breathing and heartbeat. Some of us may become so anxious in the experience that all we sense is negative distracting thoughts and discomfort. An argument may ensue within us just to stay in the process. This would be an important argument since meditation is extremely valuable to increase our awareness of our inward authority. Ignoring and neglecting taking care of a problem always makes it worse.
In meditation we can become more aware of our thoughts which convince us into action. We can become more aware of our emotional state. We can improve our attention toward the condition of our relationships. We reflect more on things that matter to us. Our sensitivity to spiritual health is improved. We are more likely to make better decisions to grow closer to God. It is far more likely to be closer to God in meditation than it is in other routine behaviors. Even though being closer to God may open our eyes to parts of us we do not want to see.
Sitting, standing, lying down, floating in a pool, rocking in a chair, or curled up in a ball are all acceptable positions as long as we are comfortable. Shifting around is okay too as long as we avoid letting it be distracting. Constant tapping and moving may be a distraction. Just like any activity it takes time and practice to improve and grow more comfortable. The first time may not be very satisfying, but continued effort is necessary. Remember, it's not about us, it's about our relationship with God. Grow in your ability with each participation becoming more relaxed and easy to do.
In time we will begin to sense and understand life differently. Our attention to other aspects of our life usually improves. With perseverance and consistent practice we will gain new knowledge about life. When we read the bible we will have a new way of interpreting it's message. The spirit within us will be teaching, influencing, and guiding us as our hearts become more sensitive and our insight is sharpened through our meditation experience.
The condition of our heart, spirit, and mental activities become more visible which if in poor condition may be quite uncomfortable. Some have swayed far off the path of spiritual living and have participated in selfish destructive behavior perhaps losing family, friends, self-esteem, employment, and run into legal difficulties. Facing their hearts condition might be entering into deep shame. Note that with a contrite and repentant heart God forgives. We must also be willing for God to forgive us, or perhaps forgive ourselves.
Since emotional resistance, fighting, and control is to be avoided we instead accept our damaged emotional and spiritual self and perhaps enter into a state of grieving. Accepting loss is not to be avoided. We have a new life in Christ which means we are going through loss as we transition toward new Godly activity and character. We face the consequences of our actions and take ownership of whatever we have done. God's love heals, but it does not take away consequences of our actions. Tears are God given, we were born with them, so naturally, in mourning, we often cry.
Each of us come to God with our own unique spiritual condition. Our mental and emotional make up is unique. We are different in many ways. However, we all suffer similar desires of selfishness, fear, anger, and use dishonest ways to cover it up or hide it.
The thoughts bring to action within ourselves affect how we feel and respond to life. If we focus on the negative aspects in the world our emotions follow. If we choose to replay negative experiences within our minds we choose to engage in such negative experiences.
The bible calls us to focus our thoughts upon God and God's character. It helps to gain actual experience with God's character so we may revisit that experience in our minds. We can recall a retreat experience, worship, prayer, blessing someone with a gift, hug, or kind word. We use such experiences of God's love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, patience, peace, and understanding to replay those experiences within our minds or in conversation with others.
Negative beliefs may interfere with a positive experience in meditation. We may be plagued with anxiety, fear, or anger. In that case we can pray for forgiveness, for us to forgive or be forgiven, and the willingness to let that happen. We can pray for a humble attitude, courage, and faith to be relieved of our past troubles. Yet we must be ready to have it removed and then ready to move our thoughts toward God's peace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. Our selfishness can only get in the way and block the grace of God.
Dallas Willard “the Great Omission” Pg. 127 “Meditation on Him and His Word must become an integral part of our lives too.”
Dallas Willard “the Great Omission” Pg. 128 “Worship will become the constant undertone of our lives… Our part is to turn our minds toward God and to attend to His graceful actions in our souls. This is the primary “care of the soul” we must exercise.”