Chapter 4

The Use of Meditation

The essence of meditation is to touch the divinity of our innermost being.  ItMeditation is a conscious effort to bring regularly into our lives the beauty, comfort and joy that we have all experienced in fleeting glimpses.  Based on the belief that the divine lies in all of us, meditation is a form of prayer that makes use of both mind and body to connect in a deeper way with that power we call God.

Those of us who have been raised in Western religious tradition have been taught that connecting with the divine is primarily an interaction between our inner selves and a personal God, who can be angry or pleased, helpful or resistant to our desires.  Meditation, on the other hand, involves a process of opening ourselves to an impersonal divine power within.  Many believe this represents a rejection of God and of sincere spirituality.

But both meditation and traditional religious practices serve to help the individual find spiritual fulfillment. In fact, numerous religious writers, such as Anthony de Mello, S.J. have explained how to interweave these two methods of finding God.  In Sadhana, A Way to God, Father de Mello describes Christian exercises in Eastern form.  He explains that his goal is simply to use meditation to help people pray.  We need not be afraid to broaden our spiritual approach.

Meditation begins with emptying our minds of worldly thoughts and feelings, creating a silence within us.  There are countless techniques of freeing the mind of its mundane distractions, but their general focus is to center the mind on the physical functioning of the body, especially on our breathing.  Feeling the flow of life’s blood through our bodies and noting the sensations of individual parts of the body are also important in creating the inner quiet which allows an opening to the divine.

However, our ability to achieve a meditative state is based on more than use of such techniques.  Another important factor is maintaining a healthy body, keeping ourselves free of artificial stimulants and depressants, getting sufficient exercise and rest, and consuming a healthy diet of natural foods.  The closer our bodies are to being as nature intended, the easier it is for us to connect with our inner selves.

Meditation is one way we can bring God into our lives.  Body and mind interact to reach spiritual truth, which is that we are enveloped by the love and beauty of the universe.  We are meant to be one with the harmony and peace of realities greater than ourselves.  We are meant to j­oin ourselves with the divine.

 

LIFE’S BREATH 

Breathing in and down through
my deepest self,

flowing into the warm embrace
of what was meant to be,

carried by my breath into
the harmony that is all.

AFFIRMATION 

Human understanding has the power to reach beyond our ordinary thoughts and emotions.  Truth and harmony lie at the heart of all of us.

I move along a path of discovery, taking time each day to quiet my worldly distractions and connect with the divine goodness that is part of my being.

I hold to my heart all the comfort and understanding that arise from an ever-increasing oneness with the eternal qualities of truth and unending love.

 

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