And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
It’s that time of the day – around 2 p.m. or so. You get the flooding in your temples as you stare into the computer screen. You tend to read the same line over and over and are not able to really comprehend exactly what it says. Our society tells us to ignore the signs. Hurry! You need to meet this deadline! You have to go to this meeting NOW! You must respond to that email IMMEDIATELY. This person needs to speak with you…it’s urgent! But your brain is telling you to STOP. Should we ignore our need to slow down or do we soldier on because that is how our society defines as the way successful people work? The art of peaceful meditation and downtime in our task-oriented, frenzied world is something frowned upon. But should it be?
Even if you start the day in an undaunting, meditative, and prayerful way, there is no escaping that time of day. It may be a different time for each of us, but it is the persistent nudge of God telling you to stop…meditate…think of ME. But we ignore it because there is just “too much to do.” In a normal work day in America there is so much coming at us, so much to process. But stopping for a good amount of time to meditate, rest, or pray actually can make us more productive and more at peace with the world around us. So how can more Christ-centered meditation and relaxation bring us closer to better mental and physical health?
Many scientific studies regarding the importance and need for necessary “down time,” meditation, or “prayerful idleness” can be referenced. Scientists such as Hans Berger, Marcus Raichle, or Mary Helen Immordino-Yang study exactly this. Yang and her co-authors argue that when we are resting the brain is anything but idle. Now add prayer or Christian meditation and you not only have a recipe for becoming more productive but maybe even more Christ-like! Put the phone away, shut the computer off, or walk out of the office. Go somewhere that brings you closer to the beauty of God every day. Resist the comments, glares, or snarky remarks about not “soldiering on” through the day. Take some time every day. Insist on it!
Okay — you’re there; you carved out the time and found your spot…now what do you do? Here are some ways to make your meditation or “idleness” count:
• Talk to God just as you speak to your best friend.
Allow Him to speak back.
• Read the Bible or a spiritual book. Meditate over what is read. How does this speak to you?
• Just be. Be in a place in which you can watch nature carry on around you. Allow yourself inner silence.
• Play some relaxing music quietly and rest.
• Pray the rosary or other structured prayers.
• Take a walk by yourself away from the bustle of the world.
• Look up and out. Look to God and allow Him to speak to you. He speaks quietly, so listen intently!
• Drive or walk to your church and meditate in church.
• Take a short nap and don’t feel bad about it!
• Take a day off to spiritually renew yourself. Don’t do the errands or shopping. Let a day or part of the day be for you.
Be an active leader of your personal spiritual revival. Taking part in these practices or ones like it every day will not only bring you to a closer personal relationship with God, but it will also make you a more peaceful person – mentally and spiritually healthy! Be diligent about doing this every day…because in the end, your relationship with God really does matter!
St. Francis de Sales Parish Catholic Church
40 Granville St.
Newark, Ohio 43055