The Sound of Si­lence

Med­i­ta­tion tips

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Daveen Daniels

My morn­ing rou­tine is a bit like this: My alarm goes off and I lie in bed a mo­ment longer to pray for the day ahead. Af­ter get­ting up, I’ll give my in­box a quick scan, and then read or lis­ten to some­thing de­vo­tional and in­spir­ing, some­times dis­tracted by my mail or to-do list. Then I’ll get dressed, eat break­fast, and then I’m off to work.

My day is full of sounds and ac­tion; I’m lis­ten­ing, think­ing, speak­ing, typ­ing all day long, and when the day is over, I re­lax by read­ing or talking with a friend or watch­ing some­thing hu­mor­ous. I even lis­ten to au­dio­books as I fall asleep. Life is con­stant men­tal pro­cess­ing. I’m re­ceiv­ing in­put and in­for­ma­tion and re­act­ing and think­ing all the time. I don’t ex­pe­ri­ence si­lence un­less I carve out space for it, which I try to do daily.

For me, med­i­ta­tion is tak­ing time to still my mind, to be silent, to breathe deeply, to be grate­ful and re­flec­tive. It’s not a time when I try to ac­com­plish or achieve any­thing men­tally. Med­i­ta­tion is some­thing I’m nat­u­rally drawn to, and if I go for a few days with­out some form of med­i­ta­tion, I be­gin to feel it.

I grew up in a large fam­ily of 10 with lots of bus­tle, ex­cite­ment, and noise. So from an early age I sought out soli­tude and quiet. Dur­ing my teen years, I would climb onto a small ledge ad­join­ing our bal­cony that over­looked our gar­den and gi­ant jack­fruit tree. There I would read and write, or some­times just sit and think.

Lately, how­ever, I’ve cho­sen to mul­ti­task my med­i­ta­tion with my ex­er­cise rou­tine. While run­ning or

walk­ing, usu­ally in a beau­ti­ful, peace­ful place, I slip into med­i­ta­tion mode.

The world is full of in­for­ma­tion, mu­sic, me­dia, and dis­trac­tions. There’s so much that can take you away from think­ing—like watch­ing some­thing light­hearted af­ter an es­pe­cially gru­el­ing day. And while ac­tiv­i­ties that take your mind off the day or your trou­bles can be re­lax­ing, the pu­rity and beauty of med­i­ta­tion is that it not only re­laxes you, but it can also en­er­gize you to face the chal­lenges of life.

I once read that med­i­ta­tion is a bit like pour­ing liq­uid into a strainer. Some­times you have to wait for a liq­uid to pass through the strainer slowly be­fore you can add more. As we med­i­tate and re­flect on God’s Word, it’s as if those words and that in­for­ma­tion is be­ing poured into our hearts and minds slowly, and its reach is thor­ough and deep. This al­lows His Word to get be­neath the sur­face of our mind and seep into our heart, and there wa­ter the seeds of change and growth.

Much like with eat­ing, our body needs time to digest and as­sim­i­late the nu­tri­ents from the food in or­der for us to ben­e­fit from it. Med­i­ta­tion on God’s Word is like spir­i­tu­ally di­gest­ing what we read so that we can ben­e­fit from it fully.

The Bi­ble talks a lot about med­i­ta­tion, es­pe­cially in the book of Psalms, as King David was ob­vi­ously an avid med­i­ta­tor: “I lie awake think­ing of you, med­i­tat­ing on you through the night.” “I will med­i­tate on all your

1 works and con­sider all your mighty deeds.” “I will med­i­tate on your pre2 cepts, and con­tem­plate your ways.” 3 Here’s some­thing I read re­cently:

Moses also knew a thing or two about get­ting alone with God. He had sev­eral mil­lion peo­ple sit­ting out in the mid­dle of the desert, wait­ing on him and tear­ing their hair out, won­der­ing, “What are we go­ing to eat? What are we go­ing to drink? Where are we go­ing? What are we go­ing to do?” And what did Moses do? He climbed to the top of a moun­tain and stayed there alone with the Lord for 40 days!

4 Je­sus also had to take time away from the crowds, and even away from His dis­ci­ples and friends to com­mune with God and re­ceive the strength He needed to go for­ward and ac­com­plish His pur­pose: “Very early in the morn­ing, while it was still dark, Je­sus got up, left the house and went off to a soli­tary place, where he prayed.” 56

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