Loose Threads: Meditation

Loose Threads are a chance to share a conversation with the community. Here is this weeks question:

Are prayer and meditation the same thing? Do you pray? Do you meditate?

Jenni: I’ve never been trained in meditation, but I think of that one scene in the chick flick Eat, Pray, Love when Julia Roberts is trying to meditate and gets distracted thinking about decorations, and realizes only a minute or two have gone by. If that’s meditation, then it’s exactly like prayer. It’s sometimes so hard to focus, and five minutes can seem pretty heroic at times. While most of my praying is done in tiny spurts sent up to God telepathically (“Help!” “Thanks!” “Wow!” as Anne Lamott would say) when it’s time to get down to business and no emergencies are involved, I love to pray the Psalms out loud. Pick a good solid verse and say it over and over again. I think it’s a form of meditation, the repetition and focusing on the words until it gets deep in your gut, but it’s a great way to pray. I think that’s why I like old hymns so much as well, since the repetition lets the words and ideas sink into your soul a bit. So, back to Eat, Pray, Love and one of my favorite quotes on prayer and meditation:

Smile with face, smile with mind, smile with liver.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Autumn: I practice yoga and mediation often, and many people see meditation as the eastern version of prayer. The truth is that yoga and meditation do not mandate or exclude any religious tradition and Christians have been meditating for ages.  The ancient christian tradition of walking a labyrinth is a moving meditation, just like yoga. When I meditate, I am communing with God. I think of prayer as a conversation with God, and meditation as the listening portion of that conversation. I also pray the rosary, which could be seen as meditating on a certain few mantras, mainly the Hail Mary and Our Father. Basically, if I am doing a lot of the talking to God, I am probably not meditating, but if I am listening for the quiet whisper of Holy Wisdom, then I am probably meditating. For me, meditation is part of prayer. Meditation is one of man way i follow the command in first Thessalonians:

Pray without ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Now it is your turn…What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Loose Threads: Meditation

  1. For many years, our vacations have been spent on a Great Lake where I sit and look at the water (tides, shore birds, boats, etc) for hours. The year’s tension melts away as I use the shifting pattern in front of me to think of nothing and thereby everything. The person next to me is doing that and, as she does through the year, knits away her tension (also a meditation). Watching fires, flickering candles, clouds, trees shifting in the wind can do the same thing. _Listening_ to music–not just having it on–is another meditation for me. Chamber music broadly conceived (yes, small “classical” ensembles, but also jazz, Celtic, jamband–anything where instruments converse creating a weave of voices) helps me disengage the mental gears enough that they aren’t doing day to day work and so can ponder on a deeper level.

      • I second that about the fire – and find it even more meaningful when I burn something. Old letters, notes from past significant others, high school geometry homework. It seems like a good way to really say goodbye to something symbolically – burn it! (sorry if I sound like a pyro)

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