Monday, October 27, 2008

The Lost Art of Meditation

I have many thoughts since I’ve been here but haven’t had the time to put them down.

The first thought is about thinking . . . oddly enough. I know that I put the caption of “meditation” in the heading. I do think that when scripture mentions meditation . . . it is speaking more about what we (non-Dualist) would call thinking than the word meditation, with all its baggage.

Meditation, itself has had a Dualistic twist from both the Medieval-Gnostics and, in more recent generations, Eastern/Pantheistic influences.

Okay, to get to the point. I left Seattle on a flight to Orlando, FL.
I always find that to be a very long flight. For one reason it is 5 ½ hours. But that flight seems a long as a 12 hour flight from the UK to Pakistan I took a couple of years ago.

Anyway, I was prepared this time, or so I thought. I had my lap-top charged up with plenty of work, including editing a book manuscript. I admit that I also had a couple of movies on DVD as well. But, despite the fact that a relatively new battery, the laptop went dead before the first hour was up. I had nothing else on hand to do. I’m re-reading The Grapes of Wrath, but I couldn’t get to it.

I did nap briefly. But I decided to do an experiment. I decided to stare out the window and just think for 4 hours straight. It was a challenge at first. But then I had the time to think about things, which I had not thought about in years—re-working problems, planning the future and pulling out old philosophical questions. Yeah, I even thought about some scripture. I also had the time to go back and relive (as much as my faulty memory would allow) some of the wonderful days I had with my kids when they were little.

When it was over, I realized that I had spent more time in just sitting and thinking on that flight than I had in years. It was positive. I want to work in more sitting and thinking into my life.

I think I've shunned away from this before because thinking got elevated into a “transcendental meditation” type event, an upper story (as Francis Schaeffer use to say) experience . . . even among Christians. They want to roll their eyes in the back of their heads and emotionally float on the spirit. But the human mind is a work of art by God. Exploring thoughts and memories can be just like spending a few hours listening to an album of great music. After all, the statement, "An Idle Mind is the Devil's Workshop" is from Ben Franklin, I think, but not from God. Hmm. I have to think about that.



Renee said...

strangely enough, I was thinking about thinking this morning and last night! I realize that I never just sit and think. The only time I think is right before I go to bed and then I stay awake with my thoughts. It made me think I should do some thinking in the mornings. I thought about even going to bed earlier so I can think more often. However, tired or worried thinking is a lot different than thinking constructively (meditating?).

This morning I woke up much earlier than I wanted to on my day off. I spent time just thinking in my comfy bed.

MJ said...

I think (no pun intended) that thinking is look at as lazy or doing nothing when really it can accomplish a lot.