In the last few weeks, I have had several all day classes. I discovered a lovely route to take a walk along a road with a lot of plants and trees, and I’ve been enjoying the restoration I experience walking mindfully through that beauty. This weekend, I did the same. I noticed after about 10 minutes, though, that I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings like I had done before. They weren’t new anymore, and they didn’t automatically make me notice them.
I decided to be intentional about it. Last time, I was highly mindful of all the growing things, and they were lovely again, but what caught my attention once I encouraged myself to be curious were the things that were placed by human hands.
Read More Open to Seeing
We are nearing the end of Lent, and completing our reflections on Ecclesiastes. It has been an illuminating exercise for me. Understanding has found me in a way it never has before with this text. It is both encouraging and nerve-wracking, showing me how much transformation I have yet to experience.
Read More Meaningless: Reflections for Lent, Week 6
Five months. That’s how long I have been practicing meditation and contemplative prayer. It has begun to transform me and the direction of my life. And, providentially, it has saved me as I struggle through balancing and trying to thrive as a student, as a social worker, as a father, as a husband, as a brother, as a son, as a member of my church community, as a thinker and writer, as an American, and as a follower of Jesus.
Read More With All Your Mind, Part 05: Prayer that Shapes Me
What is wisdom? There are many answers to that question. I’ve heard it described as knowledge applied to life. I’ve heard it worshiped—under the name Sophia—as a sort of new-age or neo-pagan spirituality. I’ve read it was involved in the creation of the world.
That last one is provocative, and I think Christians tend to gloss over it, ignoring its significance. It’s found in the most known collection of wisdom writing in the Western world—the biblical book simply known as “Proverbs.”
Read More The Secret of Wisdom
This week, each year, my family joins with millions of other Americans to celebrate certain values, to be mindful of the good things in our lives, and to feast. We rejoice in unity and gratefulness. As I approach my practice of meditation this week, I feel drawn to the biblical book Philippians. There are several […]
Read More With Thanksgiving
This is the first of several guided prayers and meditations I plan to develop using the insight I have gleaned from experts and gained from experience. From Christian contemplatives and secular neuroscientists, I have learned a lot about what is accomplished through meditation and prayer and how. I have learned some of the traditional forms of contemplative prayer, and I have learned what elements work toward a healthier, holier brain.
Read More Guided: Genesis Meditation
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