In the past few weeks, I keep coming across various forms of meditation. It started at the beginning of the summer when Hockey Boy told me that he and his buddy were pretending to meditate while under the water during swim lessons. He then showed me how they held they sat criss crossed and held then hands in a meditation pose. Then a few weeks ago, Middle Man was sitting at the top of a dirt hill at the park, legs criss crossed with his hands pressed together and his eyes closed in a similar meditation pose. I am thinking that something they watched this summer had a character meditating because it seems to be the theme of the summer. He looked so calm and serene sitting there that I didn't want to disrupt his moment of peace with questions.
Then a couple of weeks ago I went to see the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" because I have liked pretty much any and every movie Julia Roberts has been in. I had not read the book but had heard the story of Elizabeth Gilbert from Oprah. It was interesting watching Julia's character travel the world trying to find herself. A part of her journey was learning to meditate which she practiced while in India. She, like I am sure most of us, struggled to clear her mind and meditate at first. Eventually it became a part of her routine.
When I think of meditation, I think of the Julia Robert's character's form of meditation, a clearing of one's mind, focusing on spiritual thoughts, all very eastern religious and vague. But recently I started reading "Praying" by J.I. Packer and Carolyn Nystrom and was introduced to a very interesting use of meditation. They write, "Deliberately meditating in God's presence gets your thoughts into order before the Lord..." also, "Thinking in the presence of God becomes talking to the Lord directly, and talking to God leads back to further thinking in his presence."
I was really comforted and encouraged by this idea of christian meditation, thinking in the presence of God. It made sense to me and also gave value to the method of madness that is my mind at times. That my meditating on a subject, such as prayer as I have been these last few months, immersing myself in God's word, other writings about God, and thinking through how God has worked in my life, can bring clarity. And that clarity can be from God and not just my own intellectual finding.
That is how my relationship with God often works. I find myself yearning to understand something more, a pull on my heart and mind that I am sure God has placed there. Then I spend time finding books, blogs, sermons about the topic. Eventually after avoiding the work for a while, I start to read and listen. Because God is such a wonderful teacher, scripture references start showing up in my life that are exactly what I am studying. The pastor uses a verse in the notes that also appears in one of the books or a friend's blog. I come across a passage in my one year Bible reading that speaks on prayer or something else but it still flits into my mind to role around with everything else I have read. And slowly, as I ponder what I have read, or a thought jumps into my mind, as I think through it all while shopping for groceries, I start to see little slivers of Truth. Little nuggets I can hold.