I was coming back from church this morning. In the car beside me was my father in law (DIL) at the wheel, my wife and mother in law (MIL) on the back. I was sat in the passenger seat contemplating what God was trying to reveal to me in my head. My wife, mil and dil were talking about Franklin Graham coming to Blackpool and a myriad other things in conversation.
I was listening to them but I was concentrating on what the Lord was trying to show me. I practice Christian meditation a lot and silent prayer. I have found it helps me still my mind and concentrates my mind on God. I suffer from anxiety and depression and I have found Christian meditation does help me to relax my mind. I breathe inwardly saying a mantra like "Be still" and breathe out completing the mantra "and know that I am God". I also use other scriptures using this process sometimes to calming music, sometimes not. I have come to prefer in my walk with God quiet, reflective, contemplative, meditation and prayer with God. I always see a vision of Jesus where I hand all my worries over to him in a brown package tied up with white string. "My burden is light and my yoke is easy, come rest in me," he reassures me as I hand over to him my concerns in this package. I step back from my mind as the Bible tells us to and realise my thoughts good or bad are to be handed over to the creator of the universe. I also combine vocal prayer with this sometimes if there is something really pressing on my mind.
I would highly recommend this form of meditation and interaction with God, although, I realise this method and meditation, in general, is not for everyone.
Going back to my vision, I saw in my mind me sitting quietly on a hill being in God's presence. I was quietly meditating and interacting with him and all around me were people including family busily doing what they were doing. It was like the Lord was saying to me "If you feel overwhelmed, seek me and I will give you refuge".
I greatly welcome the chance to be alone sometimes and spend time in God's company. I greatly value silence and nature when I walk my dog. Today's society is chaotic and it seems mindfulness and the beauty that is all around us is not even noticed by most.
How we live today it seems we never have time for ourselves or for God (if we accept his existence). Is it any wonder there is so much stress, illness and despair associated with it. Humans were never meant to live like this as we live today where there is always someone or something demanding our time.
It seems to me society today is more uncaring, unnatural and the things like a community that used to be there have all but disappeared. It seems we live in a more self-indulgent, materialistic, and compassionless world than ever we did before.
It is unlikely society will change to accommodate those suffering from mild or severe forms of mental illness. It seems always that people suffering from depression, for example, are given therapies and are expected to just join the rat race again. Some can get on this hamster wheel again while others take time to do it.
In the ideal world, the needs of the weakest, the most vulnerable people in our world would be taken care of. The church, charities and others do what they can to help as does the medical profession.
Everyone in this world today should be allowed time to be alone, to find themselves and lead a happy, peaceful life. I as a Christian know that one day in this life or in the next, this will indeed be the case.
Christ implores us to spend time in quiet with our father who will meet our needs. Meanwhile, this image that God has given me I will continue to explore it and be blessed by it God willing.
Jesus Christ spent many times in the wilderness or felt he had to withdraw from the world around him. To meditate and seek God's council on the many trying things and events that happened in his life. In his life, people were always after him for this or that and even he God incarnate had to seek a time alone to focus.
Christian meditation is not all about emptying your mind it is about concentrating on God and his word. Finding solace in your quiet time with him with the blessings and benefits this brings.
The Bible both in the Old and New Testaments implores us to spend time with God quietly. For example, Timothy 4:15 states "Ponder over these things; absorbed in them, so that your advancement may be plainly seen by people". Or Psalm 77:12 reads "I will meditate on all your activity and ponder over your dealings".
Meditation and mindfulness have become big business and it is regarded by health practitioners as a way to cope in the modern world. I have practiced non-Christian and Christian meditation and there are indeed health benefits. Of course, as a Christian, I would always recommend the Christian way but I would not impose my view.
The many health benefits, so we are told by health practitioners are a better memory, better concentration, the brain itself under CT scans has been shown to change physically for the better. Those are just some of the benefits both physically and mentally we can accrue from this.