A Doctor’s Visit
This isn’t why I meditate.
But this happened.
I was sitting across from my doctor in his office. We were discussing a small medical issue. He suggested a biopsy, just to rule out cancer.
But the procedure is very painful, he said.
I said okay anyway, thinking I’d schedule something in a few weeks.
Until he stood up and said, “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
Oh! You mean do it right now?
I had no time to mentally prepare. To pray about it, research it, discuss it with Jeff.
It would be me and God on the fly.
I quickly slipped into meditation mode, an awareness of God’s presence in this moment, in this situation, inside of me.
And surprisingly, the very painful procedure was only minimally painful. I endured it much easier than they expected me to. (And, praise God, no cancer!)
I joked with the doctor afterwards:
Years of meditating have finally paid off!
But that’s not why I meditate.
Is Meditation Okay?
I used to think meditation was bad. I associated it with Eastern religions and saw no use for it in my Christian faith. I had been warned that emptying the mind is dangerous because it leaves the door open for bad things to enter in.
Then I learned about Centering Prayer; i.e., meditation. For 20 minutes a day, the practice is to close your eyes, be still, and just sit with God.
- Is it okay to take a break from thinking about problems, from being productive?
- Is it okay to be in the presence of God without seeking something from God?
- Is it okay to just sit with God awhile without straining to hear his words or to speak your own?
I find it perfectly okay . . . to sit quietly, surrounded by God’s love, with no agenda.
Thoughts come in those 20 minutes—always—but they don’t have to be held onto (I rarely succeed at totally letting go, but that’s okay).
It’s not about becoming empty, but about becoming quiet.
It’s about being still to know that God is God.
All About His Presence
Now I see meditation as respecting God’s presence as more important than anything on my to-do list. It’s one way I show him I value his company.
Can’t we also be aware of his presence while we’re on the go? Of course! And in the other 23 hours, 40 minutes, of the day, we can practice that. Centering prayer or meditation is a supplement to, not a replacement of, our running conversations and activities with God.
But for 20 minutes a day (or so—I rarely make it 4 days in a row—I’m always a beginner), I need to remind myself that God is in control and that the world won’t stop spinning if I just sit with him to refresh my spirit. It slows me down and restores my soul.
And for those times in a doctor’s room or elsewhere when pain surprises me unexpectedly or when circumstances begin spinning out of control?
I can escape to calmness, even if just a little and for only a minute, into that spiritual space that I hold open for just me and God.
Genuine friendship belongs to those who can sit together in silence and still feel love.
* * *
My favorite book on Centering Prayer: The Path of Centering Prayer by David Frenette
My favorite meditation app: Insight Timer
- How to Meditate
- 3 Practices for Paying Closer Attention to God
- Can You Be Quiet?
- Ain’t Nobody Got Time fo’ Dat
- Where’s Your Phone Right Now?
- Just Get Moving