“Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when you listen to God.”…..Diana Robinson
Prayer is an effective and powerful way to focus on Deity or a situation. (see earlier article titled “Invisible Power”) Prayer opens up that line of communication and puts out positive energy, but what then? Prayer is a request for guidance or assistance, direction, but how do we receive that which we seek?
In today’s multi-media world it is often difficult to hear those special answering messages, even if they come from within us. (see previous articles “Leave Me Alone…. Or Not” and “Silence Please”)
We must quiet our thoughts and filter out the static of the outside world, focusing ourselves inward. Meditation is an act of doing just that. Like prayer, there is no right or wrong way. The right way is what works for you.
Do you have to use special words, in a precise manner at a certain time and/or place to speak to Deity? Not mine. You don’t even have to actually speak. Thoughts suffice.
Meditation has many benefits. On the mental and emotional side, it reduces anxiety and depression by enabling your body to balance itself. It allows you to make better decisions and improve critical thinking, aids in breaking unhealthy habits and improves communication with yourself giving you better control over what you think.
Meditation also has physical benefits. It slows the heartbeat and metabolism. It clears your mind for better quality sleep. It slows your respiration for longer, deeper breaths. While refining your ability to focus on a goal or situation (aka visualization) it boosts your immune system by slowing the production of stress hormones like cortisol. The rest it provides gives the body a chance to recuperate, re-energize and counter fatigue.
A point I would like to make to those trying meditation for the first time is to be patient. You will not master it in one attempt. Start small using short periods of time. Stop when your mind and body says stop. Also, a big misconception is that the goal of meditation is to clear the mind completely. That may be the ultimate goal of some (thinking Buddhist monks) but not a realistic goal for most. Instead, stay single focused. If other thoughts come in, acknowledge them and quickly dismiss them, letting them pass through. The end results are very similar to people who knit, sew, play sports or games. While doing so they are single focused, blocking out the rest of the world. Afterwards they realize a relief, a calming when it is all said and done. So, don’t get discouraged or frustrated. Keep all senses open and you will hear your prayer answers in some form.