The results are in. Meditation is good for us, according to scientific research.
Then why aren’t we doing it?
Fear of the unknown, maybe.
Imagine how shocked I was to learn that I unknowingly have been practicing a form of meditation for years. I called it “a case of the stares.” In reality, I was engaged in what is called gazing meditation.
Maybe you have done it, too.
Have you ever stared at Christmas tree lights for long periods or become mesmerized by a candle or campfire flames? If so, you may have been meditating.
I say may have been because there is a difference between daydreaming and meditating.
Here are my own definitions:
When we daydream, our minds wander into a creative fantasy realm, like dreaming about being on a sunny beach while sitting in a boring and lengthy meeting. Meditating, on the other hand, is the laser-like focus of your eyes on a single object, like a flower, a candle or even a piece of fruit. You observe thoughts coming and going, without judgment as you continue to gaze.
From personal experience, I find a five-minute gazing meditation done seated in chair mountain pose to be physically relaxing and restful and mentally refreshing.
As Christians, we can kick it up a notch by deepening our relationship with God through the practice of meditation.
Throughout the Old Testament, the writers spoke of meditating on the Law and on God’s promises. How beautiful is the verse that mentioned meditating on “all Your works and ... what Your hands have done”(Psalm 143:5)!
If you are interested, I invite you to practice a gazing meditation with me today. It’s easy. All you’ll need is 3 minutes without distractions, a sturdy chair and a Christian symbol upon which to focus your eyes. You can even use the picture of the cross that I am using.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way.
Sit tall in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your thighs or in your lap. Take a deep inhale and let it out as you focus your eyes on your object or on a spot on the object. Try not to blink, but if you need to, go ahead. Allow your thoughts to come and go, and you may feel yourself connecting to the object and what it symbolizes for you.
When you are finished, consider writing down what you experienced.
And don't forget to pandiculate!
Lord, put a hunger in our hearts to know You better, to connect with You in all ways possible, for You are our Source and Strength. Amen.
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