The Liturgists Michael GungorThis morning I meditated a half hour because Mike McHargue persuaded me on this podcast that I would have less stress and be more productive if I did this. Michael Gungor, of the Gungor band also shared his take on the topic that added to my incentive.
I think it is working. It is only 12:30 and I have been so productive, peaceful and joyful. I am not feeling drawn to eat in order to easy any boredom. My writing is flowing beautifully. I discovered a bunch of editing I needed to do on this blog that was really important. Oops, I did just burn some food I was cooking, but I heard a clear message, “you are going to burn that pan if you leave the stove on high, leave the kitchen and get absorbed in writing.” I will listen next time! I did save it just in time so it is not totally destroyed.
My ultimate goal is to be practicing the presence of God all the time, praying unceasingly, and to be in state of consciousness that even if I was being tortured I would stay connected to Jesus. Richard Warmbrant, who endured torture because of his commitment to his faith in Jesus and wrote Tortured for Christ, is my role model for this ability.
For about a year, 3-4 times a week I have been praying what seems to be an hour or two before I get out of bed. I am not bragging about this because I said, “seems to be”. I might be only praying 15 minutes and sleeping the rest of the time. But I think I’m awake. Maybe I dream, too. Plus, this practice is effortless. I just love this time with God.
But I sensed I needed to be more focused and disciplined and also add another practice, meditation, to my spiritual disciplines.
Last night, I couldn’t sleep, so I listened to this short and very effective meditation and training about how to do centering prayer. I took some melatonin, also listened to the other meditations on this link, and I slept like a baby.
When I woke up, and did my usual praying, I felt motivated to practice 1/2 hour of meditation that is recommended. I got my kneeling bench out, and used it to be able to maintain a posture of sitting comfortably. Mike recommends sitting in whatever way you feel comfortable, unless physical restraints force you to lay down. I find that it is much easier for me to stay awake and focused while sitting, and kneeling is a perfect posture for prayer.
I got a little tired of focusing on my breath and my sacred word after about ten minutes. I chose the word Jesus as a word to help me stay centered. Then I got restless.
I thought I would do my best to meditate in other ways so I could get the half hour in. Mike said it was just fine to start with five minutes, and I figured I did that much, but I didn’t feel complete. I felt so peaceful sitting still and focusing on God.
I decided to get my Bible out and meditate on a scripture. I have a hard time reading the Bible, but I loved taking the words like “In my father’s house there are many mansions” and just dwelling on those words. Ideally I would have stayed on one scripture longer, but I was restless so I focused on about three different ones. By the way, listening to the podcasts by the Liturgists is inspiring me to read the Bible more.
I also tried saying the Lord’s prayer really slowly, focusing on one word at a time. That was interesting for a few minutes.
Finally, I chose to pray for things I was wanting to co-create with God by doing creative visualization. I would imagine wonderful outcomes–like Mike and Michael responding to all the blog posts I am writing about their work with great happiness and delight. I really want to connect with them and see how I can help them get the word out and create local gatherings of the spiritually homeless.
I also pictured the words people would say about the course on downsizing and de-cluttering that I am putting together, like “My life has been transformed now that I can live more simply and focus on what really matters in my life.”
I imagined checking off my very long to-do list that I had made for the day and feeling great about how much I had gotten done. In retrospect, I would have thanked God profusely for all the good outcomes.
I feel really grateful for the free teaching on meditation as well as the inspiring podcast about the topic. The Liturgists are doing amazing work in helping those of us who want to follow Jesus in a way that allows for doubt and uncertainty, but actually encourages a stronger, more meaningful, and joyful faith-walk with others who are of like-mind.