In recent months, I have started to meditate and pray daily as much as I can. It’s funny, I feel like everyone was raving about meditation and how great it is, and I was like, yeah, that will never work for me! I resisted like nobody’s business. I don’t have time. It doesn’t really matter. I don’t know what to do. I don’t really want to do it anyway. And, DISCIPLINE…really?!?! Who wants to feel like they have to be disciplined. Someone recently said it helps to re-frame it as commitment…it feels less authoritarian to me that way, and more of a decision you make for yourself.
Each person has to figure out what works for them. For me, I have a routine now where I journal and pray in the morning, and I meditate usually at 6:30 most nights, when my husband is watching the nightly news, which these days I try to avoid like the plague. Sometimes during the day, I’ll take a few minutes to meditate quietly at my desk or go for a walk and focus on my breathing and getting the sunshine if I can. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that there are all kinds of ways to meditate. I used to think of meditation as this torturous thing where you would have to sit on a pillow on the floor in a lotus position being as still as possible, trying to keep away the zillions of thoughts running through our heads each day. I don’t know if any experts would agree, but I look at it much differently now. It can be as simple as taking a few moments to focus on your breath. I like to breathe in through my nose, hold it for a few moments, and then blow out through my mouth. I do this for several rounds, until I feel myself settling. Early on, and sometimes still, I will breathe in saying in my head the words “Be still.” Then, I will breathe out to the words, “and know that I am God.” Sometimes, I will think I am breathing in peace and tranquility, and breathing out any stress and anxiety.
Now, more often than not, I just breathe. Then I focus on being in a relaxed state. If thoughts of the day come in, I just let them pass by, sometimes I imagine them floating away. Sometimes, this is when I receive the messages. It’s not voices but more like a “knowing.” (Psychics would call this “claircognizance,” which I talk about under Psychic Senses). Sometimes I get very emotional and tearful, in what feels like me being surrounded by the powerful love of God and having this sadness that I don’t have this all the time. It’s like I feel like I once did have this love all the time, and now I am understanding and feeling what I am truly missing being separated from God.
I remember one particular meditation that felt profound to me. I found myself releasing a lot of tears and feeling strong emotions about being separated from God. I then got what I felt was a message that was very helpful to me. It was that this separation does not last forever. I understood that it’s kind of like going on vacation. You might miss the people you left at home, but you get to go on this wonderful adventure, see fantastic sights and eat new and tasty foods, meet interesting people, and have a joy you might not get if you had just stayed home. And, then it feels great to go home, and even to share your experiences with the ones you love when you get back. It was a feeling of reassurance that this separation is only temporary. I will be back in the presence of God’s great love and will actually be grateful for the journey I have been on during our separation.
So, again, I think, am I crazy? Am I just making this up? Is it my imagination, or me losing touch with reality? And, then I think, I don’t think so, but in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t that important. The truth is, this experience helped me feel connected to something greater than myself and helped to give me a wonderful sense of love. In my view, it’s all good.
The meditation I referred to above I think is what people traditionally think of when they hear the word, “meditation.” There is also something called “guided meditation” that can be extremely useful, both when you are starting out and when you are trying to make connections with guides, angels, and past lives. From the standpoint of just everyday helpfulness, a guided meditation is listening to someone’s voice as they lead you through a meditation. Often, this can be where the voice instructs you to breathe in relaxation, and breathe out tension and worry. They may then have you tense and release different parts of your body, perhaps starting with your head and face, and working down through all your parts until your whole body is relaxed. This type of meditation is very helpful if the silent kind doesn’t really work for you right now. Having voice to help lead you through the process can be quite helpful and calming. There are lots of resources available on the internet, and you could easily go to you tube and enter “guided meditation” and find one that appeals to you.
I remember as a little kid praying with my grandmother, affectionately known as Ninnin. What a lovely person she was and how grateful I am to have had her in my life! She was not really involved in a church, but she read her bible every day, and I recall vividly that I learned to recite the 23rd Psalm from her, as she prayed it every day. I also remember praying when we would go to bed at night, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” I prayed with the congregation back in the day when I went to church, but I never really had much of a prayer practice of my own. I guess I also had a little resistance to this too. There is always the discipline factor, but I think with this, it was more that I related prayer to something only really religious people did, and that was not me. It’s funny, I have mixed feelings about really religious people. On the one hand, I think, “Wow. They must be really good people.” On the other hand, especially in more recent years, I have seen people who call themselves religious do things that seem very un-Christ-like to me. They exclude others who have beliefs different than them, and they don’t leave the door open that there are many roads that lead to God, and each person has the right to find their own path. This has made me not want any parts of religion. I find it sad really, because at points in my life, I have found the church to provide support and a sense of community that is sometimes difficult to find in the real world. It’s like people try to be their best selves when they interact with members of their church and sometimes it is easier to create meaningful relationships. I also think many of the teachings of Christ’s love and compassion can remind us of who we really are, each of us wonderful and special children of God.
Now, I look at prayer a little differently. I feel it is my direct connection to God. I don’t need to go through any middle-man, and I don’t need to follow any religion to let my gratitude, desires, and wishes for others to be known to God. In the Wayne Dyer book, Getting in the Gap, he talks about a quote from a person named Mother Meera. She said, “The divine is the sea. All religions are rivers leading to the sea. Some rivers wind a great deal. Why not go to the sea directly?”
I feel if you are drawn to prayer practice, it is up to you to make that what feels right for you. For me, I say a few regular prayers, which include the Prayer of St. Francis; a prayer by Marianne Williamson to be a Minister of God; I ask for something that reminds me of Louise Hay, where I ask for an abundance of time, love, and money to flow effortlessly into my life; I ask for a job that I love that will be helping people and offer financial security and flexibility; and then I have a list of people and requests that I pray for as well. I write them down just so I don’t forget anyone or anything important. And, of course, I always say THANK YOU and make it known how truly grateful I am for all the gifts in my life.