The Discipline of Meditation

Welcome back to my Journey in Discipline! If you’re new here, or if you’d like a refresh on what I’ll be sharing with you in this blog, I would recommend going back and reading my first blog of the series here.

I also wanted to thank all of you for your support and enthusiasm for this challenge that I’m sharing with you. I didn’t expect many people to be interested in it, much less to want to join me in this journey, so thank you again! I hope you enjoy this update blog from my first month of practicing the spiritual disciplines.

 

The Discipline of Meditation

Since my goal here is not to teach you out of Celebration of Discipline, but to simply share my experience, I will briefly describe a few of the main points that stood out to me as I read. I would recommend that you read the book yourself to get the full picture if you’re interested in learning more about meditation, or any of the other topics I’ll cover in my blog posts throughout this year.

What is meditation? I feel like this is a vital question that needs to be answered before one can dive deeper into the practice of meditation. Here are a few points that Foster made that helped clear this question up for me:

  • Meditation is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word (p.17)
  • Christian meditation, which attempts to fill our minds with thoughts of God, is very different from Eastern meditation, which seeks to empty the mind (p.20-21)
  • It’s simple (p.21) and relevant for all of us (p.22)

How do you meditate? The first thing that sticks out to me in this section of the chapter is that Foster says “It is impossible to learn how to meditate from a book. We learn to meditate by meditating.” (p.26)

With that being said, Foster lists four suggestions for us as readers to use to help us get started in our meditation journey:

  1. Meditation Upon Scripture – internalizing and personalizing a passage of Scripture (p.29-30)
  2. Re-Collection – being still and allowing our hearts and minds to be centered on God (p.30-31)
  3. Meditation Upon Creation – taking time to focus on the beauty in the world around us and seeing the creativity of our Creator (p.31)
  4. Meditation Upon the Current Times – looking at what is happening in the world around us and seeking “prophetic perspective” from God (p.31-32)

My Experience

As much as I would like to say that this month went by perfectly, and I spent time in intentional meditation every day, that’s just not the case. My tendency in situations like this is to get really frustrated with myself which normally causes even more difficulty, because I’m trying to do things out of my own strength. But I am determined that this year will be different. I will have grace for myself because God has grace for me.

So that’s where I need to start again, from a place of grace. A place of knowing that I’m not doing this challenge to be able to share my successes with the world through this blog or to check something off an invisible list every month. I’m doing this simply to know God more, and in turn to look more like him. It’s that simple. The pressure is off.

So whether you’ve had a good month, or a bad month, or something in between, know that there’s grace for you today to start fresh and lean into your Father. He wants to know and be known by you above all else.

With that all being said, on the days that I did spend some intentional time in meditation, I really enjoyed it! It was sweet to take time to meditate on passages like Matthew 5:1-11 and imagine myself in that environment, seeing Jesus walk up the mountain and sit down, teaching his disciples. I loved to imagine these words that I’ve heard so many times, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3) coming directly from my Savior’s mouth.

I also took some time to practice the exercise that Foster describes on pages 30-31 called “palms down, palms up”. This is a simple way to center your mind on God by turning over any concerns you may have to him (while placing your palms down) and, in the place of those concerns, receiving what God would give you (while turning your palms to face up). The idea is that after engaging in this exercise, your mind can be still and you can much more easily center your thoughts on God. I would highly recommend this for any of you who, like myself, tend to get distracted easily by other things that may be going on in your life.

Moving Forward

The beauty of this challenge is that it’s not a check list. What I mean is that we won’t cut off the practices from each chapter on the last day of the month, but instead we will continue to build upon them. I personally want this year to cause a shift in my lifestyle that will continue to grow and strengthen as long as I’m here on this earth.

So as we close out this first month of the year, and step into February, I will continue to practice the discipline of meditation (or try to at least) on a regular basis, in addition to practicing the discipline from the next chapter: prayer.

I would love to hear about how you’ve been doing this past month, whether you’ve been participating in this challenge or not. Have you learned anything new? If you’ve been practicing meditation, has it gone as you expected? Please comment below or comment in our Facebook group that I set up specifically for this challenge (which you can join here).

I’ll be back at the end of next month with an update on my experience practicing the discipline of prayer, but in the mean time I hope you have a wonderful February!

 

Caroline Richard

Communications | First15

10 thoughts on “The Discipline of Meditation

  1. I have been as faithful as possible to wake up early each morning and meditate on a Scripture passage. I have not always been successful in entering in the passage but I won’t give up! I write down what I believe God is saying to me. I really desire to grow closer to God and am looking forward to start reading about Prayer. Thank you for helping me to keep my commitment as I feel I am not alone but people out there are struggling like me. God bless you!

    1. I love that, thanks so much for sharing Joan! Yes, we’re in this together! I look forward to hearing about how prayer month goes for you 🙂

  2. I spend every morning from 5:30-7am praying reading and listening to worship. I try to allow the Holy Spirit full my heart and mind with wisdom, knowledge, and love. Then spend the day trying to apply it. Not always succeeding, but always finding Jesus in the midst of what I encounter. 1st 15 has been awesome.

    1. That’s awesome, thanks so much for sharing that Jim! And we’re so glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying First15!

  3. Thank you for sharing, enjoyed the post and found it very interesting. Is this a book you are reading together? What is the name of the book and where can I purchase one?

    1. Thanks so much, Sara! I wrote an introductory blog here (https://www.first15.org/01/10/journey-in-discipline-a-12-month-challenge/) which might help you understand a little bit more about what I’m doing this year with my challenge. It will also give you more information on Celebration of Discipline and how to purchase a copy if you want to! If you have any questions, feel free to leave another comment or email me at caroline@first15.org.

  4. I meditate on scripture but I find that the Lord has me chew on the same verse or passage for days and sometimes even weeks. I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way, there’s just the Lords way. However Holy Spirit leads. I am retired and God has called me to intercession, but I love my quiet times with him, enjoying each others company as he leads and teaches and I get to know him more and more. It’s precious!

    1. I absolutely agree, Lisa! It’s all about walking in communion with our Father. Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. The book is called Celebrate the Discipline by Richard Foster. Great book! I purchased the study guide as well as another book by him called A Year With God that also deepens the understanding of the disciplines in a one page entry for each day. It works thru the spiritual disciplines like Caroline is doing-one a month. Usually has a reflection or a question at the end of each day that we are to think about. I loved what Richard says regarding the disciplines…that all we can do is place ourselves before Jesus, the only prerequisite being, the longing to go deeper with Him, draw nearer to Him…the rest is up to Jesus. As we present ourselves to Him, asking Him to do this work in us, we can rest knowing it’s His will that we live and love out of a “with-God” life. I’m excited!! I’ve been born again for almost 45 years (4/19) and we can always draw closer to Him! I want to have the fragrance of Jesus in my life, spilling over to all I meet and live with and love!! Praying for us all!! ❤️🙏🏻

    1. I love that, Deb!! Thanks so much for commenting! I hope you’ve enjoyed using the study guide and A Year With God as well – that’s really nice that it has you end your day with a reflection or question to keep your mind centered on the one thing that truly matters! And happy almost 45 years!! That’s amazing 🙂

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