As I promised in Part I, this post will contain the transcript of the audio from Introductory Session1, which was 10 minutes long.
Before the text, you need to know about the background audio, which was continuous throughout. I’ll try and describe it for you. There were essentially three parts to the audio.
- A low-pitched tone in the background was constantly ‘humming’. Sometimes you couldn’t really notice it because the other two parts were often louder I heard the same tone in the background of worship music in the chapel we attend; that is until the then lead Chaplain moved on and took his synthesizer playing son with him.
- A set of higher tones with a lot of ups and downs; sort of a melody, but not a real melody. Something you might hear in a lot of ‘New Age’ music.
- A constant breeze, or wind dominated the background and was the most ‘important’ of the three parts. I think it was symbolize the ‘breath of God’. Think of the ‘Holy Spirit’.
These tips for success are offered:
1. The meditations are quick and easy, but they do require a commitment. Our most successful beginners set aside 10 minutes/day
2. It’s best that you meditate at the same time and place if possible.
3. Find a place that you won’t easily get interrupted for 10-15 minutes and somewhere you can relax in a chair.
4. Do the meditations with headphones if you have them. Noise cancelling are great, but you can just use the ear buds that come with your phone or iPod. But remember: It’s better to do it, than to not do it!
As promised, here is the speaker. (I might toss in a few short comments that look like this.)
“Welcome to Meditate On Christ, Day 1. Over the next seven days you’re going to begin a meditative journey that’s both easy and powerful. All we’re going to do is follow the example of Jesus and withdraw from our daily life to pray and meditate for a few minutes a day.”
(Did Christ really practice this sort of meditation?)
“If you haven’t been able to consistently pray and meditate before, don’t worry. I’ll walk you through it, step by step. As we begin, take a moment to get comfortable in your chair. It’s a good time to quiet the body in preparation for meditation. It’s nice to use a posture that won’t cause any discomfort or distraction in the next little while. So uncross your arms and legs, and rest your hands in your lap, with your feet on the floor. If you haven’t already, you can close your eyes. Just begin by giving in to God right now.”
He offers this prayer:
“Father, we thank you for this time we can take from the business of our lives to acknowledge you. Amen”
He then speaks to you as you learn to meditate:
“Know that you are in his hands and that you are completely safe right now. Release all of your cares and worries and concerns and attention to him, because he cares for you. This is your time with the almighty God, so take it, relax into it, enjoy it.”
(There’s the mention of God! It must be a good thing)
The meditation exercises:
“In the next few moments take a few breathes with me, loud enough that someone nearby could hear you. With each breath remember that it is God himself who gives us our breath. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. God is present with us and one way that we will remember this is to ‘notice our breath’.
(You’ll hear a LOT about your breath from here on out.)
“Let’s try it now. Breathe in then breathe out slowly. Notice how the body relaxes as you breath out.”
. . .Try it again. . .
. . .One last time. . .
Remember that you can do this anytime of the day and you can experience his presence when you remember he gives you each and every breath.”
(Did you catch it…’experience’ his presence?)
“Let your breathing return to normal and notice that God is with you right now. Whether or not you are consciously aware of it, you don’t have to do anything or feel anything or make anything up. The Bible teaches us that God is always present with us
He is here, right now. He is present in the space around you filling this room, this area. He is here, flooding into your life
If it’s helpful, you can imagine his presence like a color filling in every space in the vicinity; or like breathable water filling up the room, covering you and everything around you.
He is here…he is here.”
(And there I thought God lives IN us through the Holy Spirit…who knew?)
You can talk to God:
“I’m grateful for your presence here with me. Thank you, God, that you have never abandoned me and that all I need o do is recognize that you are here with me. All I need to do is turn my attention to you. So often my attention is distracted by the things around me; by my own worries, concerns, thoughts, and even by fun, entertainment, or work. Yet through all these things you are with me.”
(Is this where we empty our minds, like good little Hindus?)
Our instruction continues:
“Take a few moments now to notice that God is with you in every moment of your life, including this one.”
(Are we ever going to ‘notice’ anything from scripture?)
“As thoughts or distractions come into your mind right now, don’t try and ignore them, or to suppress them, or to anything at all about them. Simple let them be. They will pass away as you turn your attention to God’s presence with you again.
And don’t be discouraged or frustrated, as it’s completely normal to have thoughts continually bubbling up, especially when you begin to focus on God’s presence.”
(Nope. “God” is mentioned, but no actual Bible verses. . .yet)
In case it’s hard to get those distracting thought out of your head:
“If it’s helpful, you can always return to ‘noticing your breath’. There is no need to breathe differently or change your breath; simple ‘notice it’. ‘Notice’ how regular it is or how one breath differs from the last. And as you do, remember that it’s a gift from God.”
(Who knew breathing could be so fascinating?)
. . .Just tones for about 10 seconds. . .
“As you continue breathing you may notice that different thoughts come up, but as before, don’t worry about them. As soon as you recognize that you have been distracted just go back to ‘noticing your breath’.
Notice the breath of God in your life and you gratefulness for that breath.
. . .Just tones for another 10 seconds. . .
The grand finale:
“As we come to the end of this session, allow yourself to lowly come back into the rest of your senses. As you gently open your eyes. Remember that all it takes in any given moment today to remember that God is with you, is to ‘notice it’.
From time to time, try briefly turning your attention to God throughout the day and simply ‘notice’ what effect that has.
(‘Notice’ enough yet?)
“That’s all for today, God be with you, Amen”
So that was the first session. Day 2 was pretty much a regurgitation of Day 1 (I listened to it), with pauses for ‘just tones’ that were a bit longer. That, and they added imagining the room being filled with smoke (like in the OT presence of God before the Israelites). You are encouraged to ‘feel’ the smoke in your nostrils. And of course, lots more ‘noticing’ of this and that.
Now you tell me, is there ANYTHING “Christian” about all that?