Originally Published in the South Jetty
Meditation is not conversational, it is not words-based. It is a practice of stopping. Sitting, and most of all listening to the silent presence of God. Our prayer book describes the prayer of adoration as "the lifting up of the heart and mind to God, asking nothing but to enjoy God's presence." Simple and challenging.
Culturally, we don't receive a lot of support, nor training in being still and sitting quietly. The world expects us to be busy, to be active. If possible, we are asked to do several things at once to show how important we are. Meditation is counter-cultural. It places value not on what we do, but on marking time spent intentionally in God's presence.
The World Community of Christian Meditation suggests finding a quiet spot, sitting up straight, and following the rhythm of our breathings to repeat the word Maranatha in four parts: Mar-a-na-tha. It means Come Lord Jesus. They recommend sitting for 20 minutes (morning and evening.) I am working on once a week right now; there was a time in my life when I meditated each morning, and I miss the centered, grounding experience. Setting a timer, or having someone else keep time is essential, so you can let go of keeping track of time.
The practice of meditation makes a qualitative difference in the rest of my life. It slows me down, and creates a more spacious, aware way of being in the world. It makes me more present to conversations and to my work. It makes me more aware of God's presence in the midst of everyday life. As close as my breath. Teaching the class brought me back in touch with that, and makes me look forward to the next time I accept the gift of God's presence, and stop for 20 minutes to enjoy it.