Lent. Literally, the lengthening of sun-hours each day as we emerge from the darkness of winter. Light emerges from darkness, and in Lent we acknowledge the darkness of both individual struggles and societal difficulties.
The whole world is emerging, slowly, from the dark grip of a pandemic. We share in this global experience, yet we each have our individual challenges, ones that may have been thrust into focus by the shifting tide of what “normalcy” means. For some, life has become an overwhelming daily battle on the front lines of this disease. For others, it’s been a time of withdrawal, swallowing losses in rapid succession. For some, it’s become a season of reflection and assessment. A friend recently confessed to me that it’s given her time to reflect on her use of time. And I think that’s worth looking at.
How did you and I spend our time before this pandemic hit? Were our activities rewarding and fulfilling? Did we make time for things that we professed to be important? Or were we overwhelmed with busy-ness? Have you had time to ask yourself how things might be different as you emerge from the isolation of quarantining and social distancing? I know it’s a question I need to ask myself. If we take a moment to be quiet, away from distractions, and really face that question, are we brave enough to listen for the answers? If we are, the answers are there, I believe. God speaks in that quiet. And if you don’t believe in God, the quiet will answer anyway. God, or the deep truth that lives in the stillness at the center of who you are, will offer guidance. The challenge is being willing to listen. This is light emerging from darkness. This is what it means to live a Lenten journey.
Today, I’m grateful for the eye mask I need to wear when my neighbor’s backyard spotlight shines directly through my window at six o’clock in the morning and hits me in the face when I’m trying to meditate. 🙂
Today, I’m grateful for the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.
His books explore the fascinating subject of epigenetics and the mind/body connection. They’ve brought me back to the practice of meditation and to the belief in possibility. Whether or not you buy into his theories, they make for some interesting reading!
Meditation is not new; it’s been practiced for thousands of years. But everything old is new again when you do it for the first time—or in a new way.
I just came from my local library where I learned about an app called Insight Timer. Brad, the technology librarian, introduced some basic tenets of meditation (posture & setting) and then invited us into a fifteen minute meditation using the app. I was sold.
Meditation isn’t new for me. Back in college, I tried centering prayer, a contemplative practice of returning over and over again to a place of inner stillness. More recently, I’ve tried some guided meditations from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s books on the power of the mind and epigenetics. Most days, I try to begin with some form of purposeful prayer and/or meditation. But using an app is a new twist.
The beauty of Insight Timer is in its levels of complexity. It’s a timer. That alone is helpful when you’re squeezing in your meditation before you leave for work or between appointments or just to keep you from checking your watch. It also provides a variety of ambient sounds and music tracks to help block out auditory distractions. You can choose beginning, intermittent, and ending bells and gongs to suit your tastes. And even add time at the end of a meditation if you’re not ready to stop when the bell chimes.
If you don’t know where to start or if you’re looking for something different or specific, there are guided meditations. Plenty of them. I saw one that lasted only three minutes. Others were listed for fifty minutes or more. You can pay a fee and download them. Or you can use the app for free. It looks like there’s plenty to explore. And now that I’ve downloaded the app, I intend to do just that.
For those who crave the dopamine hits, Insight Timer will keep track of how long and how many days you meditate. You get stars for reaching milestones. And you can even connect with others who’re using the app: social media meets the inner sanctum.
So, why not give it a try? Maybe the age-old practice of meditation can be new again — for you! 🙂