Eric's Sunday Sermon; Finding Our Self Again - Meditation In Simple Form
Just an ordinary park in Saigon
The meandering mind
Just a simple couple of reminders about who you are. Don’t worry we all forget sometimes. It seems that with a political race in the US that may change us fundamentally and Paris tragedies we get a little lost on the issue of who we are. Let me be bold and tell you that you are not a pinball in a pinball machine. You decide what to jump to and from. Now stay with us on this next part it is kind of hard to read.
I run a very loose ship. I get swayed. I am not rigid, I tend to bow with the wind and go with the flow. So I take special care to jump into current that is going in a direction I want to go in. But really, mostly I stay out of the fray. I do not get or get nightly news. I put on the radio about ten minutes a day, I get a few news feeds on my computer but otherwise I don’t get paid to pay attention so I do not. Don’t get me wrong I used to get paid to know what was in the know and how it played out. I was a GIS from Asia to Euro to Africa to Americas.
With all that we have a plan here. We are going to teach you to sing like Bob Dylan. It’s all right ma. I am going to be bold again and declare you SAVED. Funny isn’t it. Like I could do that – wait a danged second I can. What fun we have when we let loose and let the wind carry our thoughts.
Will you pretend for a second that I have a great band behind me and a great silk suit on and one of those headsets and you are in an auditorium and we all cheer when I wink. Now we are having fun. Truth is I just put my 5 year old on my shoulders and tried to step on a stool and fell down hard but I protected him with my big old butt and we are laughing at good times. My boy just told me to change that to “big old fat butt” that daddy tunes too much and so the fall was good, because we fixed that problem.
Do you see where I am going with this? All that rambling has a purpose so listen to some music and then read on.
Sometimes taking a nice walk in nature is worthy of our time spent.
Sometimes I think Bob lost his filters - but not badly
Recognizing the chatter
There is a strange place in our mental space that sometimes dictates who we are. It is not always acting in our best interest. The above meandering ramble was just free thought flowing through to the keyboard. It is actually hard to write that way because of our natural filters that kick in between what we are thinking and what we are writing. Letting go in that sense takes some discipline. Try it sometime. You will find that you want to rewrite it when you get your brain back into focus and worry what the world will think of your meandering thoughts. I would like to go back and rewrite it right now but that would defeat the purpose of what we are talking about.
On the other hand if you just do that naturally we have a problem. Here is the test. Talk to someone for 5 minutes straight and when you conclude go back and repeat what you started with. No fair thinking it out ahead of time. Show yourself that your 5 minutes had meaning and not just free flow thought spewing out from your mouth without filters. Have you ever listened to someone tell a story about a car and somehow in there you found out the hat size of the speaker’s aunt Eleanor from Cleveland. You know you have and you know you have done it. It is just that for some reason our filters are not up and running well. Or in the case of dementia those filters are the first to go.
We learn early to look to the outside for warmth.
Perhaps a new meaning on this old favorite
Finding our self is finding relief
So that brings us right to the point of meditation in a biblical or spiritual sense. I have been told that Bibles from some time back used the word meditation about 100 times. Somewhere the powers decided that that word was too aligned with Eastern mysticism. So the word was replaced with other stuff like “think on” or “consider”. I do know that many verses in the Bible would make more sense if they just used the word meditate. My favorite is Paul. He is writing to the people in Phillipi and this verse goes like this “New International Version; Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.” Closer to the original version and it reads like this: “Aramaic Bible in Plain English; Therefore, my brethren, those things that are true, those that are honorable, those that are righteous, those things that are pure, those things that are precious, those things that are praiseworthy, deeds of glory and of praise, meditate on these things.” See how funny the first one sounds and how complete the older version is?
And so that brings us back to the meandering mind. If we focus we can control the chatter up in our head and begin to be somewhat enlightened. Fun thing about all these new age gurus, they like to say “let go”. Well that is a misnomer until you get way into it. The way it works out is that we actually let all those thoughts come in and gently dismiss them. If you do this for 10 minutes or so without additional sensory input you can actually get rid of the intrusive thoughts – nearly completely. Then you can begin to do as Paul suggests and meditate on good things. And that is a very good thing indeed. I suggest you pick out some good things that you can focus on as you dismiss the chatter. You don’t need to get all transcendental you can just focus.
And so we are refocused.
So with all this talk of freeing our mind, we really do mean to control it and let it do its job rather than be like a pinball in a pinball machine with flippers bouncing us around. We really mean to free the mind from the chatter. If we can do that we can concentrate our minds on God stuff. Whether we see that in a tree, a babbling brook or clouds in the sky – these things are praise worthy and are worthy of our meditation.
So the whole point being that we allow the world to control our thinking and it does a very poor job of it. Just too much stimuli. From time to time we need to find ourselves. That thinking that is not reactionary but rather the fruit of our true self. We need to get “unlost” in the world of chatter.