So far, I have learned that doing the steps of centering prayer is simple. Learning to enter into prayerful meditation requires a lot of practice, but I am happy to realize that mindfulness meditation is very similar mentally and is good preparation. The significant difference is the foundational goals and internal posture. Mindfulness meditation is about personal and interpersonal health. Centering prayer is about orienting your will toward Christ so that your spirit, mind, and emotions, given by God, can be renewed and uninhibited in its quest for relationship with God. I plan to refocus my meditation practice on this when my MBSR course is completed.
One of the more interesting side effects of developing a meditation practice and contemplative prayer discipline is the lines of thought I have been inspired to follow. One has been a breakthrough in my understanding of biblical wisdom literature. I have understood for many years that wisdom literature is not intended to be read as commands, and it is meant to stimulate the thoughts of the reader. However, it is only now that I have realized that Proverbs is not intended to be practical advice either. It is meant to be prompts for meditation.
Read more "With All Your Mind, Part 04: Discovery"
We were not made to be mindless. We were not made to be loveless. We were not made for violence or fear. Perfect love casts out fear, and we were made to immerse our wills, our hearts, our minds, and our souls in the vastness of divine love. We were made to let that love renew us and change us and lead us to think about love, feel love, and live love in tangible ways.
Read more "With All Your Mind, Part 03: How God Changes Your Brain"
When I experienced my crisis moment and the decisions of the weekend that followed, which I described in my last post, I was brought to a pivotal moment that didn’t happen in a vacuum. The idea of mindfulness wasn’t just a divine revelation that weekend. I had been being prepared for months.
Read more "With All Your Mind, Part 02: No Time Like the Present"
I experienced something akin to an emotional breaking point. Like all good crises, it seems to have forced the issue of change on me. Change is hard for me. I know it’s supposed to be hard for everyone, but still, it feels really hard for me.
I’ll tell you more about the crisis in a minute. It wasn’t an emergency, just more of an intolerable experience. It happened at the right time though, and for that, I am super grateful.
The results are the really important part. The intolerable experience that twisted my arm toward change pushed me to pursue nothing less than life transformation. I have started down a path with a dream. I dream of becoming a pioneer in my own soul, mind, and spirit. The point is to become healthy. I dream of finding mental, emotional, relational, spiritual, and even physical health in the frontier of my inner world.
I’m gathering my tools and equipment. I’m training. I’m gathering resources and making plans. All of this is for readiness to learn to be mindful, to pray, and to meditate.
Those are the means to my end. This is new territory for me, and I plan to document my journey. It may serve as both inspiration and map for those who come after me. Or it may only be a nostalgic record of that thing I tried one time. Either way, I believe it’s worth doing.
Read more "With All Your Mind, Part 01: An Intolerable Experience"