The tradition I grew up with, and continue to follow, calls the supreme being, God. You may have grown up with or grown into another tradition that refers to the supreme being as Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah or one of many others. When I mention God in my blog, please substitute the name you are comfortable with because I want this blog to be interesting to everyone who is spiritual or would like to be more spiritual. Also, God is not a ‘he’ but I may use ‘he’ or ‘him’ because I cannot bear to call Him an ‘it’…too impersonal.
The practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years for good reason. Meditation helps develop a more receptive connection with the Creator. It calms one’s mind and gradually makes it possible to ‘hear’ the ‘still small voice’. It teaches us how to filter out life’s noise, listen and recognize God’s communication. Meditation allows us a time of peace and release from our cares. Scientists have done brain scans showing the changes on the brain during meditation. If you are already a regular meditator this will be no surprise to you. This fascinating interview with Andrew Newberg explains some of the physical benefits of meditation.
How long does it take before a person can easily slip into meditation without all the distracting thoughts?
That seems to be the most common problem. But the more you meditate, the sooner you will be able to eliminate the inner and outer distractions. If you can refrain from thinking of things or people in terms of good or bad and let your mind rest, it helps. I have also noticed that if I do not meditate for a while, it takes me longer to get into that wonderful silent mind state. It isn’t like starting all over again, but it takes longer. Here are two meditations you may find helpful to clear your mind. The first is a 5 minute meditation composed by Core Energy and the second is a 22 minute meditation by Christian Thomas. I found both of them to be effective.
And how long does it take before you will recognize a communication from God after beginning a practice of meditation?
The whole secret lies in making the transition from a thinking, plotting, planning, mind to a mind that is at rest in a state of awareness, in which we are receptive and responsive to whatever God imparts. It depends on your commitment and acceptance of spiritual principles. Even then, God will communicate how it is best for us, when we are ready for it and when the time is right. Always be listening. Many people say that the Creator is talking to us all the time, but we aren’t listening. Very possible. You will find posts which include the spiritual experiences of myself and others.
Brian D McLaren writes in his book Naked Spirituality regarding the experience of meditation:
It’s not important that you feel anything, although you may. It’s not important that you have a vision or feel you received some message from God, although you may. It’s not important that you receive some flash of insight or whisper of guidance, although you may. What is important is that you pull back from activity, from being driven by this or that need, impulse or compulsion that distracts you from who you already are and who God always is.
Thomas Merton writes:
We should not, however, judge the value of our meditation by “how we feel”. A hard and apparently fruitless meditation may in fact be much more valuable than one that is easy, happy, enlightened, and apparently a big success.
So persist. This can be applied to all spiritual disciplines.
If you have done a lot of meditating and are ready for some deep understanding of greater God consciousness, enjoy one of the audios by Joel S Goldsmith. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all that he has to teach the first time. This man was really in-tune with God, and he is worth repeated listens.
So how do we meditate?
There are several practices. Wikihow has a very thorough ‘how-to’ article explaining everything from your physical comfort to various methods and points of focus. Meditation is a super individual thing. If you are a beginner try some of the methods Wikihow suggests to find what works best and is most meaningful for you. I like to select a positive phrase (or spiritual principle) from an inspirational book or scripture and focus on every word and application of that phrase. I then let go of all thought and enjoy the peace (usually). You can continue to use the same phrase for several meditation sessions until you feel you have fully absorbed it into your heart and soul. When you reach that point your mind will bring it forth when you need it in your daily life. See the Spiritual Phrases to Start Your Meditations page if you need a few suggestions.
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