I am delighted to hear that you have found the short meditations and the palms up/palms down exercise helpful. Yes, Pigeons was inspired by the views from the Citadel in Amman, Jordan!
So, when you have let go of the distractions, and you are sitting in a comfortable position, how do you meditate? There are various different ways that followers of Jesus have done this down the centuries. We will look at some of them now.
Jesus told his followers to ‘consider the lilies of the field’, and the word consider is used in the bible, in the context of to meditate upon, to view or observe, and the Dictionary says (if you look it up!) to think on, to reflect, or to ponder.
Jesus frequently used illustrations from creation in his teaching and in so doing he drew peoples attention to the wonder and glory of creation. Since the Bible tells us that God created the Universe through Him (Hebrew 1:2, John 1:3) if we open our eyes and look at creation, we can get a glimpse of Him through it and by looking, we can begin to consider how God might be speaking to us through it.
You might like to choose an object from creation, for example a fruit, a flower, a plant, a leaf – there is a vast choice! When you have chosen your
object, begin by looking carefully at it:
- Notice its size
- Notice its shape
- Notice its colour
- Notice its texture
- What is God saying to you through it?
- Drink in this message
Then try and imagine being the object:
- What does it feel like?
- What are you aware of?
- What is God saying to you?
Finally think of the people you live with, those you are close to, those you work or study with. What can you share with them from what you have received from God through this meditation?
Another way is to do an imaginative meditation, based on a gospel story. This form of meditation was recommended by St Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. It consists of taking a scene from the life of Christ and reliving it, you take part as if you were actually there, either as one of the characters or as an observer. You can experience this form of meditation by downloading Commissioning, or Expectations, or Breakfast, or Empowering.
A third way is, Lectio Divina, which means divine reading. This is an ancient way of reading the Bible which has been around for centuries. In a nutshell, this consists of reading a Bible passage slowly three times and then selecting a word, or phrase, or verse which particularly strikes you. You then repeat this word/phrase or verse, silently to yourself, turning it over and over in your mind to see what God would say to you through it. It is a bit like sucking a boiled sweet until all the flavour and sweetness has been consumed!
The Bible Society has a fuller description of Lectio Divina, together with relevant resources on its website.
I would like to invite you to explore these ways of meditating! Take time after each one, to record what happened, how you felt and what you sensed God was saying to you. Recording your experience in your prayer journal will help you to clarify your experience and to reflect further on it!
Let me know how you get on!