Meditation: Who does it?
Arianna Huffington, Jerry Seinfeld, Jeff Weiner. Bill Ford, Evan Williams, Halle Berry. What do all these people have in common? They’re all famous, and they all meditate. Every single day.
It’s not all humming, crossing your legs and putting your fingertips together either, although many people do find this particular practice to be relaxing.
There are many forms of meditative prayer, including the one described in detail in Rethink Happy. One of the main differences between vocal and meditative prayer is that with vocal prayer, we read a pre-written prayer, or speak a prayer out loud.
“Prayer is you speaking to God. Meditation is allowing the spirit to speak to you.” – Oprah
How do you do it?
Meditative prayer may include something written, but it isn’t meant to be read only. We are to read a sentence or two and let it sink in, seeing if something catches us or if God is trying to speak to us through the passage.
Once we have pondered it a bit, we move on to further phrases. The best way to practice meditation is to be somewhere quiet and alone. Of course, we’re never truly alone, since I believe God is always with us! Meditation is simply the attempt to have a conversation with God.
Peter Kreeft shares that you must “stop, look, listen” in his book Prayer for Beginners. What he means is to stop by setting aside uninterrupted time and look at passages or images that conjure up thoughts of God. Then listen to see if the passages speak beyond what the words say. Or, listen as we talk to God, just like we do with our friends.
A good friendship is built on both people sharing and listening, and it’s the same way with God. Got wants to hear from us, but He also wants us to be still and listen to Him. He’s got some mighty powerful things to say to us.
Do famous people really do this?
“You know how about three days a year you get a good night’s sleep, and feel ‘Oh, this is how I should feel all the time,’ but you can’t get more than three good nights’ sleep a year because of life circumstances?” With Transcendental Meditation, you can have that everyday. When I was doing the series for 22 to 24 episodes a year on network television—not cable!—for nine years, that’s a lot of work, everyday. And while everybody was having lunch I would do TM. That was how I survived the nine years. Those 20 minutes in the middle of the day saved me,” – Jerry Seinfeld
Meditation is very important in our lives, and there are many reasons this is so. Food is the fuel for the body, but prayer is the food for our soul. Meditation is a common and very doable form of prayer that can provide nourishment to our souls.
Arianna Huffington has been meditating since the age of 13! She believes it’s a critical factor for her success. In Business Insider, George Stephanopolous states that his morning ritual includes transcendental meditation. He says “It’s the equivalent of a couple hours more sleep, I feel more space in my life even when it’s not there.”
Why should we meditate?
Remember the definition of a human person: “A rational being made up of body and soul created for happiness.” Our bodies are important, but our souls are much more important.
To be most effective in our work and in our family, it is important to sharpen our intellect and our wills. Meditation does this very effectively. As a society we have lost a sense of peace, and of appropriate leisure.
Leisure doesn’t mean self-indulgent pleasure. It also doesn’t mean being lazy. It simply means switching from the work we do for money to some other productive activity. I am not saying we shouldn’t play video games or ever watch TV. However, if we think this is what primarily makes us happy we are mistaken.
Meditation can bring peace in chaos
Prayer is peace. Prayer puts us in touch with transcendence, one of the fundamental principles of all civilizations of all time. Dr. Martin Seligman talks about it in his TED Talk. It allows us to lift our souls up to a higher plane; to get out of ourselves and think of others.
Russell Simmons, entrepreneur, author of the book Success Through Stillness and co-founder of the music label Def Jam Recordings says this: “Meditation will help you lift your foot up out of the emotional quicksand you thought was pulling you down and let you start walking freely again.”
To build virtue as prayer is a great medium for assessing our days and making resolutions for the future. It’s fundamental to who we are. And thus, it is incredibly important in order to be whole.
When should I start?
Like any new habit, the key is simply to start. Now. And start small. I challenge you to stop reading this article and pray for one minute. If you can’t take one minute right now to do this simple but powerful exercise, you may have a very tough time getting this started at all.
Get your calendar out and schedule it in. And then keep that appointment like you would with your spouse or boss or biggest client. Start with five minutes if that’s something you could set aside. Then take a book, I suggest the Bible, and use the Lectio Divina technique to enter into a dialogue with God. As the habit forms, consider adding more time.
For Christians, we are taught to “Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 In a sense, there should be no limit put on prayer or meditation. But for specific meditation time, I would start with 5-10 minutes and work up to 30 minutes max per time.
You could set a goal to work up to two 30-minute meditations a day. Sounds tough, I know, but I do it and I know plenty of others who do this too. The grace you receive can actually multiply your productivity the rest of the day so the total output can end up being even higher than if you didn’t pray.
Challenge #15: Start today. Start now. Spend one minute in prayer. When you are finished, pick up your appointment calendar and schedule in five minutes for tomorrow, and every day this week. Once you’ve successfully done a week at five minutes, double it to 10.
Who is Doug? Doug Kisgen is an author, entrepreneur and personality expert. His primary work? Raising his five kids with his wife of 20+ years in the hill country of Texas. For ways to put these ideas into practice, check out Doug’s book, Rethink Happy: An Entrepreneur’s Journey Toward Authentic Joy, available as an e-book now, or pre-order the paperback!