I am not good at meditation.
There, I’ve said it.
It’s something that bothers me, this “failing,” since I believe–in my heart of hearts–that the practice of meditation would be the single most significant positive change I could make in my life. I believe the connection and stillness of meditation are vital parts of a holy spiritual life. I believe the discipline and focus would calm my restless spirit. I believe meditation’s hurdle-free pathway to God would open my soul and fill it with so much goodness and light my cup would surely overflow.
What’s more, I know that my own label of “failure” when it comes to meditation is a ridiculous one. God loves me anyway; God meets me in a hundred thousand places every day, showering me with grace and not the slightest bit of judgement.
I am in a beautiful, intimate Sunday School class with five women at my church. This Fall we have been studying Malachi, a book theological scholar Lisa Harper summarizes as “a love that never lets go.” The women in my class are faithful and committed, bringing to our discussions insightful commentary on their own journeys as we meet week to week.
I have yet to do the homework even a single time, a fact that didn’t stop me from walking right on into class last Sunday, the unopened book in my bag and me with absolutely no idea what the week’s study had been all about. You know what happened? God met me right there in my totally unprepared state and delivered to me via these amazing women one of the most powerful messages of my spiritual life.
First, our fearless leader, Teresa, talked about worship as “moving toward God.” (Isn’t that a lovely and powerful concept?) Then she pointed out the Greek word Kardia, which appears in the bible 160 times and which, in simple translation, means “heart.” But get this. In the bible the word Kardia refers not just to a person’s emotional center, but to “the whole of the innermost part of the human,” including mental functioning, emotional responses, and will, or character.
Kardia is the seat of the soul, says Harper, and at its center is the holy of holies.
(Let’s just sit with that a minute.)
God, the holy of holies, is already there at the center of my being.
Here’s the thing. I am a woman with a big and busy life. I run at a crazy pace. And I’ve had this unconscious notion, all along, that God is up there watching over me as I move through the world trying to getting it all done.
God up there. God out there.
And all the while, God’s been in here.
I shall now pray differently. Instead of talking to God up there, I shall talk to God in here. And I shall think of meditation differently, too. I’ll no longer approach it as time in which I must get still and try try try to quiet my mind. Instead, I will think of it as leaving the “out there” world to its own devices for a bit and turning my attention inward. I will move toward kardia, my heart of hearts, the seat of my soul, and there I believe I will meet God. I will sit quietly, waiting. Content. And in the silence I know He will nurture and restore me, and then we will head back out into the Big Chaos of this world, together.
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