By Mardi Long –
Author of It Is Always NOW!
The first thing you need to know about me is
that I think outside of the box. My approach is not for everyone. I
have no problem with this. Still, I feel empowered to share what
works for me: What brings me peace of mind and heart. If it works
for others, that is great. If not, I just hope they find something
that does work for them. We all need peace of mind and
People from different belief
systems define the practice of meditation differently. Still, there
are many who see a place for this practice in individual spiritual
journeys. What I share here is an explanation of how I have been
able to put this into perspective so that it works for me as a
Christian. We pray, we study, we listen to others. Information
floods in from numerous sources. Soon there are many ideas and
concepts in our minds. Meditation is a time to wait: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take
heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalms 27:14 [NIV]. We must go to our
“secret garden,” take a deep breath, quiet our mind, and let these
thoughts come together in a meaningful way.
Is there a higher power that
helps facilitate this? I believe so. But even if you do not
believe, there is still value in shutting out the world and
gathering your thoughts.
Based on my personal
experience, meditation is for those who want to get the most out of
their personal journey. Now, every journey requires preparation. So
let’s start with a few basics.
How exactly can you do
that? If your mind is filled with worries, you will not be able to
concentrate. Those worries will swoop in and take you off
track. It is like a bridge to nowhere. There are two
bridges on the Rhone River in Avignon, France. One that goes out
into the river for a little ways and just stops. The other goes
clear across. For hundreds of years attempts were made at the first
site to take a bridge across the river. Always, the middle failed.
They finally had to accept this and build a new bridge at a
different site – a new “pathway.” If all of your attempts to
quiet your mind are failing, perhaps it is time to find a new way
of approaching this. Perhaps it is time to develop a new
pathway. [More about this on
Yes, we need that alone time
to ponder and reflect and get our bearings. But sometimes there are
circumstances in our lives that keep us from finding the peace we
seek. Humans need other humans. God intends for us to be part of a
community. Most of us start by talking to a close friend who really
understands us. Other options include study groups and book clubs
with others who are exploring the same challenges. Then there is
the internet. For example, on Facebook you can literally search for
“study groups about God.” Check them out before joining. There are
also blogs, podcasts, YouTube.com videos, and, of course, books.
Pray about this and wonder wisely.
As you pray, you may find the
best answer to your prayer is to talk to a religious leader or a
therapist. This is not a sign of weakness! In fact, it can take a
great deal of courage. Pray about finding the support you need. Do
not give up or think it is hopeless.
Live In the
Here is a quote
from one of my favorite go-to books when I need a little
reinforcement to keep me on track: 100 Ways to Keep Your Soul
Alive by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.
Live in This Moment [A quote from One Hundred Graces
by Helen Mellicost.]
was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly God was
speaking, “My name is ‘I Am.’” I waited, God continued.
“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is
hard. I am not there. My name is not ‘I Was.’
“When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is
hard. I am not there. My name is not ’I Will Be.’
When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is
NOTE: The concepts that I plan to share on
this topic relate to my upcoming book: Meditations, It Is