Saturday, January 11, 2014

Meditation: A Valuable Practice

Meditation has been the best addition I've made to my spiritual life in a long time! At the suggestion of a Sister, I started to set aside 20 minutes a day to focus on Jesus' life through the gospels. As I've mentioned before, Jesus is the one person in the Trinity that I'm hesitant around. I thought this would be a great opportunity to tackle my hesitation head-on, freeing myself to encounter Him without reservation.

At first, this meditation was just another thing added to my ever-lengthening nightly routine. Wash face, brush teeth, exercise quickly, say prayers, MEDITATE. Some nights I'm better at planning ahead and leaving enough time for this new addition than others, but nevertheless, I hold those 20 minutes, even if it cuts into my sleep.

Now that it has become habit, I've started to notice the ways it's impacting my life. They may be subtle and seemingly inconsequential, but I can sense a bigger movement in my life that's happening with these small steps.
  1. I'm learning the Bible! It's often joked that Protestants know the Bible backwards and forwards, but Catholics barely open it. I've got to say...although I've theoretically heard the whole Bible every three years from Sunday masses, sitting down with a Bible gives a lot more context that I've been missing.
  2. It's breaking me of my Type A personality. I'm a person of planning and achieving, as efficiently as possible. But with these 20 minutes, I may only get through 10 verses! Stopping to reflect and really read with the intent to understand the context, imagine the scene, and apply it to my life has helped to slow me down. I've begun to realize the importance of the things I'm doing instead of rushing to accomplish them and move on.
  3. I'm less attached to "stuff". With a renewed focus on what's important, my desire for possessions has declined. It was nothing to let my parents take my bed when they came to visit. I gave a friend a wedding planning book that I was excited to look through someday. I donated four bags of clothes to St. Vincent de Paul. I've cut down on the time I spend playing Candy Crush. I even let go of one of my crochet projects, which I'm always very proud of and unnecessarily attached to. But the thing is, none of it mattered to me. I was happy to do it - I mean actually happy, not begrudgingly happy.
  4. I'm open to listening. Although this started before my practice of meditation, the daily routine is further deepening my desire to do God's will, not my own. Starting out the 20 minutes by acknowledging God's presence and requesting the help of the saints humbles me and reminds me that I'm part of this larger community and a larger plan. I ask that I can play my role to the best of my ability.
  5. I carry God with me more actively. In my interactions with others, at work, driving, in the shower, my thoughts turn to God more frequently. What's the opposite of "Out of sight, out of mind"? Because that's what I'm experiencing. Getting to know Jesus makes me more aware of His presence and more comfortable talking to Him.
I don't know where this spiritual growth is leading, but I'm looking forward to it! I highly recommend trying it yourself to see how your life changes.

I'll end with a song, since I haven't included one in a while. This one is so simple and raw - it's one of my favorites during Adoration or after communion.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Truly present in the Holy Eucharist
I place all my trust in You

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