“Meditation… was a simple repetition of the ‘word’ received from lectio [reading]… The ‘word’ was repeated in the mind, or even on the lips, until it formed in the heart.”
-Basil Pennington, Lectio Divina: Receiving the Revelation
The word MEDITATION is intimidating. One of the main reasons I’ve typically chosen pilates over yoga is because of meditation. I have to shut off my mind? I can’t even do that when I want to fall asleep. I remember taking a voice and diction class in college and being encouraged to meditate on a color as we produced different sounds. I was rolling my eyes the entire time. “Heeeeeeeeeee. HAAAAAAAAAAAAA.” [Sure. That was purple and green. Meditating is awesome.]
But when I read verses like the following, I realize that I am encouraged to meditate!
“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.” Joshua 1:8
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
“I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” Psalm 119:15
I am reminded that meditation does not look like humming with my legs crossed. It can, but it can also be an active filling of my mind rather than just clearing. Sometimes I need to clear it. I need to shut out my voice and the self-talk that loops on repeat. I must quiet my heart and head, and sometimes the only way that I can seem to do just that is through… well… meditation! I just haven’t always identified what I was doing as meditation. But my most recent reading in Marjorie J. Thompson’s Soul Feast highlighted meditation in a different light.
“The meaning of mediation in historic Jewish and Christian practice differs in that meditation involves an active mind. The type of mental work is quite specific. It is not the critical, analytical, or formulating work of Bible study, which may inform meditation but remains distinct from it. The mind work of meditation moves us to reflection on where we are in the text. Active imagination can sometimes help us find connections between our life stories and the great story of God’s redemptive work with us. Mediation engages us at the level of the “heart” in its biblical sense, where memory, experience, thoughts, feelings, hopes, desires, intuitions, and intentions are joined. This is where we are likely to discover what a given passage means in our lives personally or as a community.” – Marjorie J. Thompson, Soul Feast
I’m looking forward to reading and studying further. More to come this week.