Mention the word ‘meditation‘ today, and for many people, especially Christians, it will evoke images of someone sitting in a yoga pose with their eyes closed and endlessly chanting ‘ohm’. Meditation tends to be associated with Buddhism, exotic Eastern cults, or new age philosophy. Yet the practice of meditation has strong historical roots for people of other faiths, including Christians and Jews.
In the Old Testament book of Genesis we are told this about Isaac …
One evening as Isaac was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming.Genesis 24:63. NLT
NOTE: This story took place hundreds of years before the Buddha lived.
Isaac was the son of Abraham, one of the wealthiest people in the East at that time. Abraham was probably a trader who had a huge extended family and an incredibly large amount of livestock and flocks. Isaac would receive all this through inheritance. His was a busy and full life – leading his family and managing his entourage at this nomadic time in history.
Despite his incredible workload, Isaac made time to get out of the tent, away from the family, and to ‘walk and meditate in the field’. Why would he do this? Because he understood the importance and the value of meditation. Good things come from solitude, quiet, and stillness.
The Hebrew word for ‘meditate‘ means to muse, to ruminate, to ponder, to analyze, to contemplate thoughtfully, to reflect, to consider deeply, and to imagine. It involves a focus on BEING or reflection, not just endless DOING or activity.
Today meditation is often referred to as ‘mindfulness‘ and it is an antidote to our activistic culture with its constant high speed, multi-tasking, and tendency to skim and hurry through everything. Not only is it practiced as an aspect of spirituality, but it is also being encouraged in the arenas of sport, business, health, and personal development.
Mindfulness is about being fully present at this moment, rather than stressing over the past or the future. It helps to cultivate a greater degree of awareness (learning to SEE) and attentiveness (learning to HEAR).
Why not take some time today to meditate. Set aside some extended time and space of NOT DOING. Find a pleasurable environment. Then adopt a posture of ready attention – without preoccupation or distraction. Focus on your breath, an inspirational quote, or a sacred text or Psalm.
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
You might enjoy reading the poem Morning Moments slowly at this time.
Let’s reclaim the lost art of meditation.