Meditation…not just for monks…

Posted by on Mar 12, 2009 in book review, faith | 0 comments

My sisters and I recently read the book The Celebration of Discipline, which is kind of a how-to guide for the spiritual disciplines,like fasting, simplicity, and prayer. The chapter on meditation stood out to me, because it seems like such an improbable activity in my current existence. Well, I guess unless I got up at the break of dawn or something, which at this point? Yes…improbable.

However, I was proven wrong the other day. The kids wanted a tent…which I am honestly tired of building…but we dragged chairs into the living room, I grabbed a sheet from upstairs, and voilà, a tent. Madi assumed her normal role, the mommy, and Parker and I were the kids. I am always Sarah, and Parker gets to keep his name for some reason.

After loading up the tent with the supplies from the “store”, she then became postgirl Madi, and started delivering mail. This took a little while, because she had to write out the letters, put them into envelopes, and then deliver them to me, who was sitting in the tent.

Yes, I was sitting underneath the sheet-covered chairs, waiting for my mail to be delivered, surrounded by play food and doll clothes, and I started thinking about what I should do. Should I crawl out and grab my phone or laptop to be “productive” while I wait? Should I skip it and just sit here? It felt so strange to just “be” without much to do or look at, but the chapter from the book on meditation jumped into my mind….why don’t I take this opportunity of doing “nothing” to reflect and pray? Amazing how the opportunities present themselves if you are open to them…

So, I reflected and prayed (for about a minute and a half) before my first mail delivery came, and then Parker climbed in and we played with the toys inside the tent, and my little moment of silence was over as quickly as it came. But it was a good reminder that while I probably don’t have the opportunity to sit, reflect, and pray for 20 minutes, that doesn’t mean that I can’t find those brief quiet moments, even if it is the three minutes that I spend in the bathroom or the five minutes when Ben takes them upstairs while he changes his clothes after work. I just need to be careful to not fill them ALL up with distractions like my phone or the television, which tends to be my default behavior if I have some time to myself.

I guess it made me think about how I set expectations for myself – I don’t have to be Mother Teresa, but I can reach out to a friend – I don’t have to spend two hours a day on personal devotions, but I can pray while I wash the lunch dishes – otherwise, I get so overwhelmed by all the things I “should” do that I don’t do it at all, which is not the point, right?

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