We all meditate, because we all worry. Worry is negative meditation. Because of our human negativity bias, worry is easy for most of us. To meditate on something positive requires practice. Nobody does it naturally without training.
Meditation is mentioned 14-20 times in the Bible, depending on the translation. The Hebrew words translated as meditate can mean: ponder, speak to oneself, mutter, imagine, muse, revolve in the mind, and reflect. There are many types of meditation. All involve focusing the mind on something of meaning. This can be on a word or words, a picture, phrase or passage.
The subject of your meditation is important and should be chosen wisely.
Upon what should we meditate?
(From NKJV of The Bible:)
On God. Ps. 63:6
On God’s name. Malachi 3:16
The words, laws, statues of God. Joshua 1:8, Ps. 119:15, 23
The works of God Ps. 77:12
Wonderful works of God. Ps. 119:27, Ps. 145:5
Songs of God Ps. 77:6
The glorious splendor of God’s majesty. Ps. 145:5
Things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, praiseworthy. Phil. 4:8
How/where/why should we meditate?
On your bed. Be Still Ps. 4:4
In the night watches. Ps. 63:6, 119:148
Day and night. Joshua 1:8
With my heart and spirit. Ps. 77:6
Delighting in God’s word. Joshua 1:8
With my eyes on God’s ways. Ps. 119:15
To understand the ways of God. Ps. 119:27
The mind naturally wanders
The mind loves novelty and will naturally wander. The practice/discipline of meditation is to attempt to focus the mind and to gently bring it back when it wanders, no matter how often it wanders. Like helping a young child with a task, gentleness and compassion are essential. Nobody is born a good meditator. All need to do diligent work to strengthen the mind and take each thought captive. As thoughts enter the mind to distract you, simply note them and say to yourself, “I’m aware of that.” If you must, write it down, and then continue your meditation.
Do your mental push-ups.
Each time you bring your mind back to the meditation, it is like doing a mental pushup. You are strengthening your ability to focus and you are building resilience. This is the work of meditation. Bringing the mind back to your task is essential. Do not be frustrated with yourself.
Meditation is not a pill. It requires time and energy to change your brain
Meditation is often associated with relaxation because it often has the immediate effect of calming the mind and body. However, meditation is well researched and has many benefits if continued for 12 weeks. Many studies use 12-20 minute meditations, and show benefits in 6 -12 weeks.
An investment of time and attention is necessary to reap the benefits. Meditation is not like a pill you take that changes you instantly without effort. Your mind would like to continue on exactly as it has been. It will fight you. There will be significant resistance. To start a new habit, I recommended making a checklist by your bed or in a place where you will see it daily, or finding a partner with whom you can be accountable. Another person who has the same desire to bring their mind back under their control, and God’s control.
Make no mistake, if you want to renew your mind it is going to require effort. The benefits are incredible for those who are able to stick with it for 6-12 weeks. Please commit to being all that God created you to be. Meditate on God’s words.
Meditation research has shown these benefits:
Increased well-being, Improved focus, Improved memory, Increased immune system function and decreased inflammatory disorders, Enhances self-esteem, Decrease in depression, Less anxiety and worry, Less impulsivity, Improved ADHD, Helps Asthma, Increases optimism, Decreases emotional eating and smoking, Improves mood and emotional intelligence and creative thinking, Improved self-control and willpower, Improves breathing, blood pressure and heart rate, Decreased premenstrual and menopausal symptoms.
Meditation Primer 13:52 min
Belly Breathing, Abdominal Breathing, Diaphragmatic Breathing
How you breathe is important. In the Bible, the word for breath is the same as the word for spirit in both Hebrew and Greek. Most of us are chest breathers (quick and shallow breaths) which perpetuates anxiety and tension.
Learning to breathe from the belly is important to your health. (Babies do this naturally) This audio will educate you on abdominal breathing technique.
Belly Breathing Introduction 4:32 min.
Belly Breathing Exercise 7:22 min.
Meditation for the Heart 20 min. (A Christian Meditation)