Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spiritual Disciplines: Meditation

I am reading through Richard Foster's book Celebration of Discipline, and this week I focused on Chapter 2: "The Discipline of Meditation."  I honestly can't say that I was looking forward to this chapter.  I enjoy meditation about as much as I enjoy it when Jack convinces me to play a video game with him, which is to say, I don't like it at all. 

I am horrible at meditation.  The truth is, my head doesn't empty.  It just doesn't.  My head is constantly spinning.  I am lucky when I can forge a path through the dizziness, so last Sunday I opened my book with a sigh.  I was drawn in, however, by the first paragraph:

"In contemporary society, our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds.  If he can keep us engaged in 'muchness' and 'manyness,' he will rest satisfied.  Psychiatrist Carl Jung once remarked, 'Hurry is not of the Devil; it is the Devil'" (15). 

Noise.  Hurry.  Crowds.  Muchness.  Manyness.

Noise: My children arguing, with each other, with me.
Hurry:  "We can't be late for school!  Get your shoes on, Jack!  Hurry!!"
Crowds: (I try to avoid these as much as possible.)
Muchness:  You should look at my to-do list.
Manyness:  My calendar is full--too full--of commitments, games, practices, appointments, and on and on and on. 

Noise.  Hurry.  Crowds.  Muchness.  Manyness.

Sometimes, I feel like I am drowning.

This week, I still floundered about, gasping for breath, at least 85 percent of the time.  But there was about 15 percent of the time that I was gliding upon the sea of my day rather than thrashing about in it. 

I can thank meditation for that 15 percent. 

I was surprised.  Maybe I shouldn't have been. 

Here is what I discovered:
I discovered that I didn't have to empty my mind to meditate.  Instead, I had to focus on something.  I just needed to gather up all that mess in my brain and wrap something--just one thing--around it to think on for a bit. 
Early Monday morning, as I sat in front of my fireplace with a cup of hot coffee, my Bible, and my journal, I chose to focus on Psalm 51:10, using The Message: 
"God, make a fresh start in me; shape a Genesis week [day, moment] out of the chaos of my life."
I had to insert the words day and moment, because quite frankly, the idea of a new beginning, a Genesis, for a whole week is way more than I can take on right now.  I need a fresh start approximately every 5 minutes. 

So this week, when Jack had collapsed on the floor in agony, again, at the mere mention of homework or a bath or dinner, I mumbled to myself, "God, make a fresh start in me; shape a Genesis moment out of the chaos of my life."

When Amélie was using her best big sister/teacher voice to teach Jack a lesson regarding his cranky behavior, which of course resulted in even crankier behavior and sometimes bodily injuries, I shut myself in the bathroom and whispered, "God, make a fresh start in me; shape a Genesis moment out of the chaos of my life."

And in the middle of an argument between my exhausted, overwhelmed husband and his exhausted, overwhelmed wife, I forced myself angry heart to plead, "God, make a fresh start in me; shape a Genesis moment out of the chaos of my life." 

This week looks like the week before and the week before that. 
My kids are going to argue.
Matt is going to work more hours than we want him to work.
Sometimes I am going to snap and cave and crumple into a mess on my sticky kitchen floor.
But perhaps this week, yet again, I will also find myself dropping to my knees and begging,
"God, make a fresh start in me; shape a Genesis moment out of the chaos of my life."

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful invitation for meditation. It is meditation in the midst of raw life. Genesis moment, create something new in me. Laying on the floor, shutting yourself in the bathroom. what a altar to pray for a new beginning. You have reached the chaos of my heart today. blessings. looking forward to more.