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Christian Meditation & how I try to do it!

Mindfulness & meditation have grown in popularity in the last few years and are known to have health benefits. Conscious breathing, physical stillness and attempting to calm our
monkey brains are at the centre of meditative practice. What makes that practice Christian meditation, prayer or mindfulness is that it seeks to focus on God and to deepen our relationship with God.

A corporate silence is very powerful – think of the 2-minute silence on Remembrance Sundays for example. A shared time of reflection or prayer can also be profound, and it somehow seems easier to be still, breathe deeply and focus on inner quiet when we are with
others perhaps on a retreat day or in a led meditation. Can we achieve this on our own as well? Yes, but it takes practice and needs commitment. We are called to pray as we can, not as we can’t so “every little helps”.

If you want to try meditation here are some ideas of what may help-

  • Try to find a time of day that suits you
  • Make a commitment to yourself that you will try to be still & consciously meditate at that time
  • Have a place with a comfortable chair & item to focus on perhaps a candle, holding cross, stone or flower
  • Set a timer so you don’t need to keep checking the time, – be realistic, 30 minutes twice a day sounds great but stuff happens so start with 5 or 10 minutes & build up
  • Check through your body relaxing feet, legs, torso, head and arms before resting your hands in your lap
  • Listen to the sounds around you – bless them & let them go
  • Relax your body & breathe in & out consciously & slowly
  • If you have a monkey brain leaping around, as you settle yourself, use a mantra – deep
    peace, maranatha, come Lord Jesus or I love you Lord & as you breathe repeat the mantra
  • When distractions come along recognise them & then revert to the mantra again
  • You may fall asleep, don’t worry– that may be just what you needed & no one is judging your time of meditation!

This poem reflects my experience of silent prayer during the first lockdown of April 2020 and is still often how things are for me as I try to focus on not over focussing!

Prayer in lockdown 1

Sitting still, waiting.
A body scan – relax, toes, ankles, calves,
occasionally I reach my thighs,
even my “wide African bottom”
Distracted, I seldom get nearer to my heart

So I start again, the other way –

the crown of my head, ears, eyebrows,
nose, jaw, mouth, tongue
perhaps my neck and shoulders
but either way
I seldom get nearer to my heart

Nor can I stop my monkey brain.
Eyes closed in concentration,
determinedly, I breathe deeply,
Ruach – an inward breath to fill
my lungs
Hold, pause…and out
running down the imagined rod of
my back.
Breathe, Maranatha,
A slow, easy, regular mantra
So easily lost.

I am trying too hard.
Listening, I hear a car going past,
a robin sing,
children’s voices,
a rare plane overhead,
gulls crying, squawking,
wind in the trees,
the distant waves.
I bless the everyday sounds
and return, keen again, to my mantra.
“Come Lord Jesus”
I close my eyes again.
Breathe in and out,
breathe in, breathe out
in time with
the dog’s contented sigh.

Distracted again, I look up
to see the light-lit bubble
and sliding water of our fountain,
long-tailed tits, like flying teaspoons,
arrive at our feeder, chatter,
pick hurriedly at the nuts and flit away.
Bright tulips that open more each day
Bring colour and joy.
A candle flickers, a light,
a hope hanging on.

Quiet returns,
My brain stills,
I breathe!             Jane Pearse

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