Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
We, often, are hungry for the TRUTH, hungry to be filled and do so with study, classes, church going. We are excited just to live in the word. As time rolls on, that enthusiasm drops. Some experience miracles and then begin to take them for granted. We must guard against being lazy or asleep spirituality. What if we constantly grabbed every concept as new – – every moment as new; and every day as a fresh start – no regrets of yesterday.
Matthew 18:3 “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
You do not become children again, in small bodies. We all know that! You become converted in attitude, and see the wow and wonder in everyday life. You become LIKE children in your spirituality, and you enter a heavenly state of consciousness. Your excitement for life never slows down.
You see, when you spend a lot of time in prayer and meditation, watching your breath or working with whatever focal point you are working on, the mind can sometimes say, “This is boring.”
So, let’s begin fresh and new and focus on every moment as being rich with newness. What happens is we get information or spiritual truth on Sundays, and the mind says, “Oh, I’ve heard that before. Let’s find something else. What’s new? What’s bigger? What’s brighter? Where’s the new information on this?” Yet, a Beginner’s mind tells us that every moment, every time you hear the same truth, it is new. That is the way it is – because we hear it at deeper and deeper levels. Think about that for a moment.
The Bible says that you must be born again, that you must become like a little child. Another translation of this is that you must begin again, that you have to look at your spirituality with a childlike wow and wonder to discover the hidden truth.
So let us have beginner’s minds this morning. When we walk outside, notice the birds—as if for the first time. When we meet and greet our loving friends do so as if for the first time, what a gift that is.
We live in a very sped-up world right now, due to technology and all of the changes that are happening right in front of our eyes. We are no longer separated by oceans. We are all part of a global community, because we can all communicate with each other so quickly. We care a lot more about what is happening on the other side of the world, because it is right in front of us on television. There is a lot of energy with this. There is some chaos with it. There are all kinds of human interaction. It is very distracting.
How do we navigate through this? Some people are working out their career goals; some are raising little children and some are just trying to make it through every day. The lives of people who are retired are just as busy, wild, full of distraction and energy, as they were when they (we) were trying to move up that career ladder. It is a BUSY time.
Even commercials on television now changed their images every one and 1/2 seconds to keep the attention of the preoccupied mind. We define success by how busy we are – how many projects we have going, how many clubs we belong to, how many things we are doing with our time.
It is an exciting, energetic culture, and it can be distracting. How do we maintain this connection to Christ through all this distraction? One way is to pray and meditate. It is the most powerful tool. But it is also counter to everything taught in society – for it encourages us to slow down and stop and notice what is important and do so as if for the first time.
Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
I know you have all heard this before and you are probably saying to yourself, “Yes, I should pray and meditate more, but I don’t have time. I am not really very good at meditating. Maybe there is something else I can do.” Or you may be saying, “I really want to pray and meditate, but the kitchen has to be cleaned first. Then I will get around to it.”
In the past, some schools of thought have given arbitrary amounts of time as to how long you should sit in the silence of prayer. “You should sit in the silence of prayer 20 minutes, twice a day,” or “You should sit in the silence of prayer right after you get up in the morning and right before you go to bed at night.”
We have gotten these kinds of feelings about how it is supposed to be, and that if we do not do it that way, then we are not doing it right. And if we do not do it right, we tend not to want to do it at all, so we do not meditate quite as much as we should. Then we come to church and hear about sitting in the silence of prayer, and we start to feel guilty. We think, “Maybe I should pray and meditate more.” Then, when we get off-center from some of the activity that is all around us–if we get nervous, have some sort of anxiety issue, or maybe a little stress comes up in our lives–we think, “Oh no, I haven’t been praying or meditating enough.” Then, we feel MORE guilt.
Do you know what human beings do when something is not working smoothly for them? They tend to avoid it more. They tend to put it on the back burner. They tend to fall asleep to it.
Yet, during that quiet time is the way we feel Christ. It helps us to be 1000 times more effective in our busy days. There are so many ways to pray and to meditate. We don’t have to do it in blocks of time, right when we wake up or before we go to sleep.
You know the motto in our culture – “More is Better.” So if we pray for ten minutes, we think twenty would better – it would make me a better person. But, time is a human concept, not a spiritual one. Think about this, ‘Prayer is timeless.” We can say, loudly or softly, “God is with me RIGHT NOW, this moment,” and that can be as valuable as spending 20 minutes saying it. It all depends on the depth of our focus and spirituality. With God, there is no time or space; there is only Presence. So we meditate and pray for a moment, if that is ALL the time we have, or if that is all the focus time we have. When we invoke the Presence of God, God is with us, no matter where we are or what we are doing.
Sometimes, we get so involved with earthly things that it becomes difficult to remember that God’s help is at hand. We try, but we get distracted. Then we get down on ourselves for that feeling of separateness. We do not have to do that! Life is much more pleasant, and the world is much more loving than that.
If we feel far from God, we need to know that God did not move – we did. God is right here beside us, waiting for us to reconnect with HIM; and the reconnection is so sweet – as if for the first time.
Do you have one minute to fix yourself?
Time is relative, so one minute of prayer and meditation can be as good as 20, especially if we do it twenty times during the day. Prayer and meditation is a skill. The more you do it, the more skillful you become at it. The more miracles you see in your life because of it, you will move its importance from the back burner to the forefront.
Meditating is like letting the activity of God work, in us, through us, and around us. The natural flow of our minds is constantly going. There are some belief systems that say that the goal of meditation is to stop the mind. Well, imagine a flowing stream. Try stopping it by putting logs at one point. The stream is going to build up, eventually go over the logs (acting as a dam), running faster and creating a splashing waterfall. The same is true if we totally try to stop our minds.
So instead of trying to stop the mind, let’s try prayer and meditation together, focusing on gaining insights from God. Let your thoughts be like flocks of birds, flying by. By doing this, we are kind of observing our minds and we develop the ability to realize that we are so much more than just our thoughts. It is here that we can sense our connection to God.
There is also a recharging of your soul that occurs during this time.
Let’s go on a one minute vacation to the gap! GAP—God-Awareness-Present!
This is a wonderful tool, because it is the space between observation and thought where creativity and God’s guidance can be felt. It is where newness of life springs up. It is where new ideas come in, new ideas that have no limits or boundaries. That is the gap—through which God-given, creative energy flows. That is where solutions are, and it is also where peace is.
That is where peace comes from. We realize that through this gap and through this awareness we are one with and empowered by the Christ; we are more than the old human thoughts. We are more than the sum of our thoughts. Our thoughts are just things of this brain.
Have a philosophy. Try to live your life in the GAP.
Let’s try it right now for one minute. . .
Just take a moment to close your eyes and in prayer and meditation. Breathe naturally with no force. This not anything we have to do; it is just being in the loving presence of God. Feel the thoughts of mind and set them aside. This is the moment to observe the in and out of the breath. That is all; just feel the Holy presence of God. If a thought comes you say, “Oh, there goes that thought,” and you go back to your prayer. It is so good. Just be. Thoughts come and they go by like clouds, or schools of tiny fish. In this gap there is Christ. The Christ has no judgment, no bad. The Christ’s light is here in this moment.
Now, let’s open our eyes. Congratulations! You just did your minute of meditation and prayer.
There is a story about a tortoise that got mugged by a snail. The tortoise went to the police and the policeman said, “What did the assailant look like?”
The tortoise said, “I don’t know . . . it happened so fast.”
Time is relative.
We give ourselves a gift, a spiritual vacation, a moment of meditation and we make our day one minute at a time.
How would you walk across the entire United States? One step at a time. One small step added to another is accumulative.
A mother used to say that every time she would see someone whose mouth was curled down, it made her want to curl her mouth up in a smile. We use the times we might make mistakes as reminders to remember the truth of God, instead of getting down on ourselves. As long as we are in a human form, there are going to be a few mistakes made. We are doing the best we can.
We are listening. We are making an effort. We care about what is going on.
You know that a minute smiling at another can change a life. Now know that a minute spent with God allowing God to smile at you can change your life.
Remember, meditation and prayer is your gift from God, to you.