Feeling like a Christian meditation rookie? Well, in addition to being good for your body, meditation is an great way to relieve stress, find peace, and grow closer to God. But many of us don’t exactly have the patience of a saint, and if you’ve never meditated before, it can seem scary and hard to grasp. In our busy day-to-day lives, most of us don’t carve out a lot of time to sit in silence with our thoughts and with God. We have cell phones, we have family lives, and we have twenty-four hour TV, so we’re used to a lot of noise blaring at us constantly! We don’t know how to be quiet and focus on God, and if you get frustrated trying to sit quietly with the Lord, you’re not going to feel very close to Him. Failed meditation is worse than no meditation at all. So, if you find it hard to go to that quiet place where you can find calmness, here’s a great guide for cutting out all the mental noise so you can learn to meditate– and in the process, find peace, grow spiritually, and change your life for the better.
1. Set it in stone.
Like any other spiritual task (anything from going to church more often to memorizing Scripture), you have to know deep within your soul that you really want to achieve this. Is meditation something you’re trying on a whim, or is it something you admire and truly want to make a part of your daily life? If you chose the latter, commit to it. Decide that you are going to learn how to meditate, not that you are going to ‘attempt’ to learn.
2. Get rid of all the excuses and the distractions.
While you’re learning to meditate, make sure you pick a day and a time where there will not be a lot of external distractions. If you have kids, do it while they’re at school, or taking a nap. Make sure you have nowhere to be for a while– don’t try to squeeze this in for twenty minutes before you have to leave for a wedding! You want to make sure you have a good chunk of time to dedicate to strengthening your relationship with the Lord.
3. Get quiet and comfortable.
Shoo all pets from the room, turn off any electronics (it’s hard to talk to God when your phone’s buzzing!) and find a comfortable position. Find a nice place to sit, whether it’s in a chair, on the bed or on the floor, and rest your hands palms-down on your knees. No fidgeting with them! Press them flat against your legs and leave them there.
4. But don’t get so comfortable you could be mistaken for dead.
If you fall asleep during your meditation attempt, you got a little too comfy. When we say “get comfortable,” we mean find somewhere you can sit contentedly for a while, not go to sleep! You want to be relaxed, but alert and aware of the Lord’s presence. You’re not here to flop down and daydream.
5. Fix your posture and shut your eyes.
Shoulders relaxed, back straight. Don’t slouch! You’re sitting with God, after all. You don’t want to look like a slob.
6. Keep your breath even and easy.
Don’t rush or draw it out longer than is comfortable. Breathe through your nose mostly, and focus on the patch of skin above your upper lip. You should be able to feel the air passing over this strip of flesh. Focus in on that sensation and the way the air feels entering your lungs. Pay attention to the way you feel that moment. Feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.. and don’t let your mind wander to what you had for lunch.
7. Anchor your mind- select a Scripture, passage, or sacred word to serve as a stronghold.
Be sure to select something that is meaningful to you, and that is small enough for you to easily remember the whole thing! Contemplate the passage you chose, what it says about your relationship with God, and how it is relevant to your life. Find all the places in your mind where that passage seems to fit. The word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), so find the ways that it has come to life in your own experience.
8. Be patient.
Sometimes, meditation can be nearly impossible to achieve, especially if you’re new at it! It’s okay if it’s not easy right away. Your journey to developing a close relationship with God is about the long-term, not about the twenty minutes right before you. You’re learning a new skill.
Remember: Start small and be gentle with yourself. Start with only about twenty minutes of meditation at a time so you don’t burn out. With our busy minds, it can be hard to just sit quietly with the Lord! You need to learn how to be in His presence without all the other noise. Understand that you’re learning something new. If you need to move a little bit, go ahead. Don’t spend twenty minutes trying to ignore your itchy knee. If you notice your attention wavering, don’t get upset. Just gently guide your mind back to where it should be. As you begin to feel more at peace sitting with the God you are growing closer to, you will find that meditation becomes easier and easier. Don’t force it. Allow the Lord to guide you to Him.
Christian meditation for rookies was written by Rhonda Jones.