As you know I am travelling down to Sussex for a silent retreat this week, so this letter will be brief!
I remember hearing a wedding speech once in which the father of the bride described how the bride, as a child, had always been asking ‘why?’ and then when given the explanation would often ask, ‘why not?’!! Why meditate… why not!!
The most compelling reason for me is that the Bible tells us to do so! The writers of the Psalms encourage and exhort us to meditate on God’s law, statutes, decrees, wonderful deeds, works and promises.
In the Gospels we read that Jesus encouraged his disciples to do so.
He told them to ‘consider the lilies of the field’.
Numerous writers down the centuries have written about meditation and encouraged believers to do so, and more recently there has been a renewed interest in this ancient practice.
If, in the midst of the busyness of life, you want to take time to slow down, to be still and to have time to listen to God, then the practice of meditation will help you to do this. Developing the practice of meditation takes time, patience and perseverance. But, it is a beneficial and rewarding way towards spiritual growth and transformation.
I think that the benefits of meditation can be numerous and immeasurable!
Over the years, I have found that it is a way to learn to hear God’s voice and to connect deeply with Him. I have learnt to discern His voice more clearly amidst the clamour of the other voices around me. It is also a way to discern and receive God’s guidance and direction and wisdom.
When I initially explored and experienced meditation, through Joyce Huggett’s course and subsequent retreats and Listening Group, the journey into stillness, silence and meditation, definitely helped to lessen my self absorption! It helped me towards God absorption and was a significant part of my journey of faith.
When I was initially ill with cardiomyopathy, all I could do was sit in silence in God’s presence. These times of silence were profound and I experienced an indescribable sense of peace, in the midst of illness and uncertainty about my future.
I know you have various questions and would like to know about meditation in groups, mindfulness, best time of day to meditate and realistically how long you should set aside for meditation and how often should you meditate! These will have to be answered in another letter!
I agree with you that meditation is often easier in a group setting! I found being part of Joyce’s group invaluable for the following reasons:
- You all know why you are at the group.
- You have set the time aside for that purpose.
- Someone leads you through the meditation time.
- At the end the group can share their experience/insights with each other .
- Often, as you listen to other members of the group share, you can gain further insight and clarity about your own experience.
It is easier to sit down and be led through a meditation! To be honest, this was one of the main reasons for developing Into Deeper Waters, so that busy people could have the opportunity to sit down and be still and be led through meditations. Today’s technology makes this readily available as the website can be accessed via a range of devices!
Keep setting time aside for stillness and meditation!
PS Francis de Sales said: “Half an hour’s meditation is essential each day, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” !!