STEP ELEVEN CONTINUED: Seek through prayer, meditation, and contemplation to improve our relationship with the Divine, praying for clarity of mind, an open heart, and further ways to heal ourselves and our world from the abuses of religion.
Instruction: Listen for guidance.
A simple definition for meditation is to listen for guidance. Whether we believe this guidance comes from a Higher Power or whether we believe this guidance comes from our head, heart, gut, intuition or some place within our own being is a matter of personal choice. Some might believe that the inner guidance is connected with Divine guidance and are the same and that listening to the wisdom of our spirit, soul, or heart is listening to the part of us that is divinely created. We might even go so far as to say that our ability to create is also connected to The Divine and, although not equal to The Divine’s ability to create, might even be similar in nature.
We can find a lot of information and guidance on how to meditate. I’m not sure there is a wrong way to mediate. Any attempt to still our body and mind in order to connect with a Higher Power or to connect with our own inner nature seems like a worthy endeavor. I have tried a variety of meditation techniques and have settled on a few that seem to work best for me. On many occasions, I like to add music to my practice, and, most of the time, that music has no lyrics that I’m aware of, so it is all instrumental. I’ve also practiced in groups with individuals who use a meditation bowl, and I enjoy those sessions. Perhaps the greatest amount of time I spend in meditation is done lying in bed early in the morning and thinking of spiritual matters, dreaming of things I hope to accomplish either that day or during the course of my life, and simply allowing my thoughts to take me to places, concepts, and emotions that come and go with the passing of time. I believe it was the Dalai Lama who said that sleep was the best form of meditation, and at times it seems that I would agree with him. One purpose, or at least a side effect, of meditation is to find inner peace. By calming our minds and opening our hearts, we can find meaning and purpose in the universe, and we can face life with a calmness that allows the turmoil around us to wash over us without overwhelming us.
As a child, I was led to believe that meditation was something the Eastern religions do, and as such, it was not for our religious community. Take a moment to consider any biases you might have against meditation and try to release them. Spend at least one minute today in a quiet place and open your mind to allow The Divine to speak to you.
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