How to Use Meditation to Deepen Your Spirituality

You can use meditation to deepen your spirituality. Very many practice it to have better health, both physical and mental. But you can use it also to deepen your spirituality.

Deepening Your Spirituality

The origins of meditation have been mostly religious, especially religion as practiced in the monasteries. Monks and nuns, both in Christian and non-Christian groups, like Buddhism, are still the ones who professedly practice meditation on a daily basis for long periods of time, even hours. Some who have practiced it have experienced the beneficial effects this practice has brought to them and so have encouraged to use this exercise to improve their physical and mental health.

But you can use meditation to also deepen your spirituality. By deepening your spirituality I mean that you will have a broader grasp of spiritual realities. You may come to realize that it is not only human persons who have a spiritual side to their nature but even the animals and plants have also a spiritual dimension. At present this is not widely accepted because of the Aristotelian model most learned in school that living things are made up only of matter and form, or body and soul.

To deepen your spirituality also means that you have a deeper grasp of spiritual realities. You enter more and more into the inner life of the Spirit and this produces creativity in you. When this happens you will just be surprised that even your most common and usual words have a deep effect on your hearers.

To deepen your spirituality you can use the practice of meditation, but you have to do this right. Here I outline some general suggestions on how you can meditate the right way to deepen your spirituality, that is to have a broader grasp of spiritual realities and live from the inner life of the Spirit, thus becoming creative.

Focus on a Significant Theme for Your Meditation

While a mantra word or phrase or sound really helps you to meditate it does not by itself provide you with a significant theme. By significant theme I mean an idea that is most relevant to you. Examples of significant themes are the four last things of life (death, judgment, hell and heaven), and the life of Christ in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. For a Buddhist a significant theme may be the suffering in this world. For a Muslim a significant theme may be the compassion of Allah.

Focus on this theme that you have selected. Do not wander from one theme to another. When we were in the seminary we had a preparation in the evening for our meditation the following morning. A priest or a senior seminarian would come in the hall and share some topic on meditation. What happened was that everyday we had a different topic depending on the sharing of the priest or senior seminarian. This is not the proper way to meditate. It should have a focus on a significant theme which lasts for days, weeks, months or even years. Without this focus the meditation will be less effective in your life. You will be wandering from one idea to another. Later you will experience that those who listen to you easily get bored and sleepy.

Have a Regular Place for Your Meditation

Having a regular place for your meditation is very important and yet it is not mentioned explicitly in manuals of meditation. The reason why you need to have a regular place is that meditating is like working in a laboratory, only this time you are not working with test tubes or other gadgets but with your mind and ideas. If you were a scientist you would not relocate your laboratory every day or even every week or as you please. You would stay put in your laboratory.

Meditating is like working in a laboratory because here you are also producing new ideas, just as in the laboratory you are producing new ways of looking at things or new ways of putting things together. So stay put in your place for meditation.

The place for meditation is one that is quiet. This can be your bedroom, or your sala, or your kitchen, as long as it is quiet at the time when you are meditating. I prefer a chapel where people are praying. But any quiet place will do as long as it is a regular place.

Have a Regular Time for Your Meditation

Again you need to have a regular time for your meditation, at least once during the day. I suggest that the length be not less than 15 minutes. If you can allot more time the better. But a minimum of 15 minutes will do once a day. If you can do it twice a day, the better. The reason for this is because processes are only effective if they have a rhythm. The sun, moon and stars have a rhythm. Our bodies have a rhythm of inhaling and exhaling. The seasons have a rhythm. To have effective meditation it needs to have a rhythm, a regularity.

Think about Your Significant Theme Until You Can No Longer Think about It, Then Stop Thinking about It

This advice is very important: To think about your significant theme until you can no longer think about it, then you stop thinking about it.

I do not advise that you to consider another theme. Most of those who practice meditation who do not have a good guide, take on another idea so that they can think while they are in their period of meditation. Or if they think that they are not getting anywhere in their meditation, they abandon it altogether saying, What's the use?

Actually it is at the point when you can no longer think anything related to your significant theme when you are beginning to enter into the inner life of the Spirit. This is now the signal of the Spirit for you to stop thinking about it because he himself will feed you with new ideas about your theme. You are now in the stage of passing from meditation to contemplation.

But you do not abandon the place and time of your meditation. You keep it faithfully even if it seems that you do nothing but you just sit there. Just be rested in your mind and in your spirit.

If you follow these simple steps in your meditation you will soon deepen your spirituality. You will begin to wonder that new ideas are pouring into your brain from all around you. This is the Spirit filling you with himself and his ideas.

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