Staying in Touch
Though it’s critical, there’s nothing exciting about quietly and faithfully making time on a daily basis for meditation. And so part of us always resists this important piece of our personal journey home.
~The Sacred Enneagram, Christopher L. Heuertz
How do you stay in touch with yourself?
When we hear or talk about meditation, what often comes to mind may be the image like what we see above. A person sitting in solitude, legs crossed, reflecting in the beauty of nature. When we picture meditation like this, we actually do ourselves a great disservice.
We end up making meditation out to be something where we have to set aside and entire day to hike to a particular spot. We have to clear our schedules, which is hard enough to do these days, and we have to find a place where no other person could possibly interrupt us — another difficult task for a lot of people. And then what? We just sit there? That sounds boring.
Sometimes we build things up a certain way, and we think that there’s no way we can live up to that ideal, or make that picture a reality, and so, we just don’t do it. What about you?
When it comes to meditation, what pops into your head?
In reality, we don’t need to build it up as some kind of ultra spiritual quest that we have to undertake in the wilds of life. Meditation can, and I would argue, should, be a regular part of your day.
At its core, meditation is about clearing away distractions, even if it’s just for a little bit. It’s about reconnecting with your inner self, and finding a moment of peace in the midst of a busy life.
For some people, meditation in the morning is the way to go. It’s a way to get focused and prepare for the day. For others, perhaps it’s how the day comes to a close. It’s a good way to wrap up the day, and prepare yourself for a restful night of sleep.
In my own practice, I don’t really schedule meditation. I don’t have a consistent time. Would it help if I did? Probably, but with a busy schedule (again, who doesn’t have one), irregular workflows, and two young children, if I really wanted a focused, regular meditation time, I’m going to find myself frustrated with the amount of times that I miss it. And that’s hard for me to say.
I’m a fairly routine driven person. I like to do things a certain way. I like to have a familiar rhythm in my life. It just doesn’t always work out like that, and so I have to be even more intentional about times of meditation and reflection.
I have developed a habit this year for when I come into the office at the church. I have a couple of Bibles that I’m working through. I use an NIV Journaling Bible with a bevy of colored pens and highlighters to read and take notes. Right now, I’m working my way through the Gospel of Mark. I imagine I’ll finish that this week, and move on to another book.
After that, I get out my NRSV Wesley Study Bible, and spend a little bit of time copying Scripture. This is a practice I started several years ago, and just recently finished up with the Psalms. I have since started on Proverbs, trying to get one chapter copied every day. That may change, given the length of some chapters, or the amount of things on my plate that particular morning.
The third step to my morning office routine is to go through my daily Readwise highlights. I came across Readwise a couple months ago, and have connected my Kindle to the app. Every day, I get five different highlights from things I’ve read in the past. This has been a great practice for me because I try to take at least one quote to write and reflect on. Which is what you are reading now. At this point, I actually have about two or three weeks’ worth of drafts because of this habit. I’ve been trying to publish daily Monday through Friday, and this practice has helped me do so since early-mid January.
But through each of these steps, I try to make sure I don’t rush through them. It is in this routine that I have been able to find short bursts for meditation. What I’m reading and thinking about challenges me. I spend time thinking, reflecting, praying as I go through the process. It has helped me to stay in touch with myself on a more regular basis than anything I was doing before.
So, what does your routine look like? Do you have one? How are you able to stay in touch with yourself? To check in from time to time? To keep yourself in the right kind of headspace that you need?