Meditation is most often identified with Eastern religions, especially Buddhism and Hinduism. However, meditation is actually a universal spiritual practice that can be found at the core of all major religious traditions. At its heart, it is about taking time to find silence and stillness in our lives. It is also a practice that allows us to build a closer relationship with God. Follow these steps to incorporate Christian meditation into your life.
Step One: Choosing a Mantra, Sacred Word, or Scriptural Phrase
Most meditative practices use what is called a mantra or a sacred word. A mantra is a word or phrase that is repeated throughout the meditation in order to focus the mind. Without a mantra our thoughts tend to wander and become restless. For Christian meditation, we will use a scriptural passage or sacred word as our mantra. Examples of mantras or sacred words might include:
* Maranatha (an ancient Christian prayer word)
* Peace Be Still
* The Lord Is My Shepherd
Step Two : Find a Place to Meditate
The next step should be to find a place where you can meditate. Many people like to meditate outdoors where they can contemplate the works of God. This can include parks, beaches or hillsides. It is important if you choose a place outdoors that you won’t be disturbed during your meditative practice. You can also choose to meditate inside of your own home. Choose a quiet room where outside noise or other members of your household won’t distract you.
Step Three: Preparing for Christian Meditation
You want to sit with your back straight and your eyes lightly closed. It’s important to have a straight back because breathing is a major part of your meditation practice. You may want to use a cushion or a straight back chair. Often it is also best to start by relaxing your body. Move your minds focus to different parts of your body, starting with your toes and working upwards. In your mind, mentally “relax” each part of your body. Next, focus on your breathing. Simply observe your breaths as they come in and out of your body.
Step Four: Using Your Sacred Word
Using the sacred word that you have chosen, repeat it out loud or inside your mind. You will stay with the same mantra throughout your entire meditative practice. As you are meditating, other thoughts will come into your mind. This is completely natural. When these thoughts come into your mind, observe them and then allow them to drift out of your consciousness. Simply return to your sacred word or scripture and continue to repeat it.
To start with, it is a good idea to meditate for only 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Each day extend your meditation time by a minute until you are meditating between 15 to 20 minutes a day. When you have finished your meditative practice allow yourself a couple of minutes to unwind before re-entering your day-to-day life.
Step Five: Keeping the Practice
It is recommended that you try to meditate at least once a day, preferably twice. Generally, it is best practice to meditation in the morning or in the evening. A morning meditation session can help focus your mind and prepare you for your day’s activities. It is more important to be consistent in your meditative practice than it is to meditate for a long time. A 10-minute meditation session once every morning will have a bigger impact on your life than meditating for an hour only once a week.