By Father Peter Bowes
Let’s face it: the current state of your mind is most likely a mess. If you’re honest, your mind is probably a rapid succession of scenes displayed in your cortex like so many commercials on television. You might enjoy experiencing time moving along as you are lulled to sleep by the drone of images that inundate you every second. But if you are tired of following the endless hop-scotching of your thoughts, it is time to meditate.
For those of you who want to stop the nonsense that goes on in your mind, know that meditation requires both courage and discipline. Meditation is for spiritual adults and not for those too scared to let go of their own ideas and anxieties. You are not your body. You are not your mind. You are not your emotions. You are something entirely different, and without courage, you won’t discover who you really are.
Meditation requires discipline because you can’t allow your body to itch or disturb your peace. In fact, in the ideal state of meditation, you should not feel your body at all. You should not be aware of your flesh body or what it is going through. You will also have to discipline your mind to focus on something other than mundane worries and situations. You will have to slow your breathing and get very simple in your mind until it slows down enough to wake up from being completely outer-focused. You cannot allow thoughts to pull you away from the subject of your meditation. If you are meditating on peace, then only thoughts of peace or experiences of peace should be accepted in your session. Other unrelated thoughts should be left outside and discarded. You will need to focus and not be passive. You must be vigilant and not stressed out or worried.
As you can see, real meditation is not just relaxation. Many people do not get deeper than relaxing the body. They only go to the superficial levels of relaxing a little and never dive deeper into the sacred streams of blissful connection to the God that made them. If you don’t go deeper than relaxation, you won’t go to the deeper levels of humility and purity where the Divine Source within teaches, guides and directs things.
God is within. God inside you is going to give you an experience or knowledge or words about some subject that you hold in your mind. The purpose of meditation is to get your consciousness in a place where you can listen to something higher than what your frontal lobe generates. The reason this is possible is that God has been waiting to speak to you for so long, and through meditation, God finally has your complete attention. When you listen for real, God can inspire and guide you in ways that are good for you. Meditation reconnects you with God and thus with the real love at the source of it all.
All of the mystics had this experience of ecstatic embrace with God at the center of their being. God actually has been waiting to get your attention for years, and if you have the courage and discipline to experience a successful mediation, you might actually be able to hear God speak to you.
Father Peter is a Master Teacher, priest and co-director of a mystical Christian order with spiritual centers in 15 cities called the Centers of Light. The Centers of Light offer daily meditation and spiritual study. For more information, visit www.CentersOfLight.org.