Here is a scenario/question posed by Jonathan Haidt in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis:
“Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it?”
I know I would be QUITE INTERESTED in a pill like that.
The pill exists. The pill goes by the name meditation.
Unfortunately, Christians have allowed the religions of the east to “co-opt” this word. It is so associated with Buddhism (in particular) that we are leery of the word. So, we think. We study. We analyze. We critique. We examine. These are all left brain activities, which are essential and required. But we in North America are weak in the right brain activities of reflection, pondering, and meditating.
The NIV Bible uses the words reflect, ponder, and meditate about 160 times. The word meditation (in its various forms) is used 20+ times. For example:
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
It takes time to learn how to do it and become proficient at it. We live in a world of noise, rush, hurry, distractions, duties, busyness, and such things. The pace and demands of modern life create anxiety. As we learn to slow down, become quiet and attentive to the Words of God, notice the Work of God, and enjoy the Presence of God, anxiety and worry diminish.
Like many medications, the Pill of Meditation will take a little while to get into your spiritual system. But keep at it and you will experience the benefits.
Two of the core classes we offer at Living Word are Prayer and Shaped by the Word. Both courses are taught by Gordon Carpenter. Both courses will help you learn the ways of meditative, prayerful connectedness with God. For more information, visit our website page.
Grace and peace,