Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spiritual Disciplines ~ Meditation

I'm currently reading about Scriptural meditation.  The author gives an interesting comparison of the life of Jonathan Edwards and the average person today.  He points out that the daily New York Times newspaper would have as much information in it as Mr. Edwards would come into contact with his entire life.  Of course, Mr. Edwards had responsibilities many of us may not have, such as the care of his horse, but he never answered a phone, checked e-mail, etc.  He had more quiet time, with less information crowding his mind, to think deep thoughts.

What to do?.....
"We can restore an order to our thinking and recapture some of the ability to concentrate - especially on Spiritual truth - through Biblical meditation."  (Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life by Donald Whitney)

I finished up the book Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  I've been slowing reading a few pages at a time of this little book for a couple months.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  It rates as another great thrift store treasure.  Last night as I was reading a couple passages really resonated with me.
One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.  One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.  One moon shell is more impressive than three.  There is only one moon in the sky.  One double-sunrise is an event; six are a succession, like a week of school-days.  Gradually one discards and keeps just the perfect specimen; not necessarily a rare shell, but a perfect one of its kind.  One sets it apart by itself, ringed around by space - like the island.
For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms.  Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant - and therefore beautiful.

In the last chapter of the book Anne discusses a subject I often mull over in my mind but never seem to be able to come to a satisfying conclusion.  I want simplicity. I want to be true to myself.  And I want deeper relationships with those close to me, versus many surface relationships.  She asks, (of course I've paraphrased above)
Is this not a limited outlook?  Of course it is, in one sense,  Today a kind of planetal point of view has burst upon  mankind.....The tensions, conflicts, and sufferings even in the outermost circle touch us all....We cannot avoid these vibrations.
My question is what do we do with these vibrations?  I cannot meet all these needs that I hear of.  Anne points out that our Grandmothers lived in a world where they could meet the urgent needs of those around them. Anne says,
My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.  I cannot marry all of them, or bear them all as children, or care for them all as I would my parents in illness or old age.....(about our Grandmothers)  We were brought up in a tradition that has now become impossible, for we have extended our circle throughout space and time.
She explains that we try to adjust and love the masses.  Sometimes we even figure out ways to "escape" from the heavy load this places on our mind.  And in trying to fix the world we may neglect the relationships closest to us, the ones in which we can really make a difference. 

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