I've been on and off sporadic with meditation for the past 6 years (mostly off), but was reinspired this past fall to make it a priority. Mostly I was inspired by the meditation we did every day when I worked for Elevation. I was also inspired by listening to this and reading this. In early December I decided that if I could meditate every morning for a month then maybe the benefits of doing so would inspire me to really keep at it. I completed my goal two days ago and can say that I've felt a measurable change, albeit slight, which is really beautiful.
My reason for meditating has always been the same: life is craaaaaazy...on a macro and micro scale. The world is rushed and busy and that does not jive with my nature, but I've tried to make it. Unfortunately the result is that it's difficult for me to stay engaged in the present long enough to really feel connected to my surroundings in the way that I need because my mind is everywhere else (usually in the future). I find myself in situations all the time where I want to scream from the depth of my heart, "Everyone just slow down!!!!!"
So that's my theme this year and for life: Be present and fully engaged. Meditation really helps me with that. It puts me in a space where I remember what it feels like to be present, which is a space where I can feel God's spirit. That spirit is "ever present," meaning it doesn't exist in the past or in the future. It exists right now and we can only connect with it in the now.
This quote from "The Yoga of Christ" (which I gave a link to above) really stirred me:
"We are so verbal [today] . . . that it’s hard for us not to imagine prayer either as monologue, in which I tell God things and God listens, or as a conversation in which I tell God things and God answers back. But from what I understand out of the ancient monastic materials I work on, prayer is really an entire relationship, and the verbal part is only one element. A lot of what we learn when we pray is to be quiet. We need to stop thinking that a relationship is constituted only by language. . . . The issue is not so much “Does God talk back and if so how?” but whether we can learn just to be in God’s presence. (“Learning to Pray: An Interview with Roberta C. Bondi")"I think learning to be in God's presence is the only way that we really become like Him, whether by being with His spirit directly or being in the presence of those who exhibit His qualities. I'm telling you that even just 20 minutes of engaged communion with Him every morning is really impactful. It's slowly making me feel like I'm coming to myself. Also, I'm often pretty awful at staying completely focused during meditation, but I know that there is something very valuable about the effort. And the days that I nail it are the best days ever.
So I guess this is my small encouragement to try slowing down long enough every day to have a very engaged communion with the Father--no words, no thinking. Just feeling.