July 23, 2015

Christ-centered Meditation

Anyone think meditation is totally foreign and weird and wonder why we need it? Well, there is a good book that explains how many people value and participate in meditation already, without realizing it is meditation. Here's the book and my notes and thoughts...

CHRIST_CENTERED MEDITATION, by Pam BlackwellI love in this book that she talks about what meditation is...

  • Seeing God's Hand in all things: awareness of truth and goodness--of God
  • Being Present: fully aware ourselves, those around us and our surroundings and situations
  • Paying Attention/Focus: paying attention to the little things and having a love and respect for them
  • Observation: using our senses to the fullest and noticing the sound of a bird or bee
  • Gratitude: the result of seeing and acknowledging of God's miracles in everyday things
  • Stillness: seeing greatness in small and simple things
  • Scripture Study: coming unto Christ and his truths
  • Being "with" a person: fully being/talking with the person you are with
  • Purposeful: knowing the purpose and meaning behind things you do or stuff you have. living more deliberately and having priorities aligned.
And then there's what meditation is not...
  • Ignoring/Checked-out: tuning out to things or people
  • Irresponsibility: not being responsible for the effects of your actions
  • Ignorance: lack of noticing God's little miracles
  • Ingratitude: lack of appreciation and acknowledgement of God's hand
  • Rushing/panic: frantic accomplishments of tasks just to get things done, without enjoying the journey or noticing details

This graphic from the book isn't the greatest quality, but it compares the "levels" and chakras to physical structure of the temple and courts. Super interesting.

here is a graphic I made to represent part of her graphic, but compared to our physical body

The book suggests a 30-Day Meditation to Come Closer to Christ. (The is a book called "Becoming His" by Emily Freeman which kind of does her version of this) But I love the idea of just setting the intention to Come Unto Him and setting our own goal and timeframe. I think you can accomplish the same thing. But her "meditations" include a question, thought to ponder and a scripture. 

In a scripture study class in College we were told to get a journal and start each study session with a question and prayer and even song if we liked. And I did that every day of the semester and it was amazing how often times I would find either a direct answer, or at least further direction in my ponderings. Questions are powerful when accompanied by sincere desire to come closer to Him and His truths.

Taking time to more fully love and be with each other is a great "family meditation." She talks about two types of meditation: passive (stillness and letting thoughts go) and active (creating with your imagination). Here are some ideas for those two areas:
  • Passive--Breath counting together (we do this count to 8 before yoga sometimes)
  • Passive--Walking Meditation (think about your step as you lift foot, then as you move foot, then as you place foot, then as you press down. Break the process down and take sllllooooow steps around the yard together. Talk about what you noticed. This can be adapted to any process or nature observation)
  • Active--Visualization Exercise (imagine how you will feel when you see Christ)
  • Active--Family Circle (invite Christ into the family circle and imagine energy through your hands as you join them together)
  • Active--I Am poem

I thought of a few ways to boost what I'm already doing with my family to be more still/purposeful...
  • Lunch: sitting and eating with my kids, asking them to use their senses to more fully be aware of what they are eating (colors, shapes, textures, sizes, smells, tastes, etc.)
  • Nature time: asking them to observe the shapes, light/shadows, distance of things. Drawing once a week has helped me!
  • Family Dinner: We sometimes use a candle to help it be peaceful. WE also play the "ungame" (?'s in a jar) to get to know each other better). And we have map placemats (that I hope to put family history fan chart/pedigree photo charts on--thanks Sally!) that we use to discuss things about the world and where we've lived or travelled or about things we are learning in homeschool. 
  • Sunday Gratitude Prayers: we only say things we are grateful for and make it a "popcorn" style prayer, so we all take turns acting as voice. This helps us be more aware of our week and to celebrate God's hand in our family's life.
  • FHE: We are trying to decide what is really important to us and plan in things we really want and need for Family Home evening. One focus we are doing this year if Family History, so there will be a regular Family History Moment/focus (at least once a month) where we share a story of an ancestor and have an object that goes with it to help kids remember. I will keep them in my special Temple Box that sits on the shelf.
  • Family Journal: Emily and Tiffany mention family journaling. I think it would be great to write one line in a family journal each night as we gather. Then we will have a record and build a journalling habit of reflection, gratitude and record-keeping.
  • What do you already do as a family that you can just add greater meaning and purpose to? (That could be your meditaion--way of creating greater awareness, intention and stillness)
She has an awesome Mandala (fancy word for a visual used for meditation in Tibetan Buddhism of a square within the circle). Hers looks like the temple. I love it!

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