Imagine meditating at your ideal location and under the perfect circumstances. Your expectations are high. You close you eyes and begin. Then negative thoughts interrupt and your desire for joy and serenity with the Lord evaporate. The result is irritation, instead of peace.
These irritations soon increase your heart rate and what should have been a time of bliss with God is now a war in your mind. Then you remember tips you learned about Christian meditation. You begin a relaxing breathing technique, focus on a Bible verse, and simply let intrusive thought be as you mindfully become aware of God.
You immediately feel the difference, and your stress fades away. Your meditation gets better as your heart rate normalizes. You feel more comfortable and stillness settles into your heart. As a result, your meditation to love God with all your heart, shifts into a profound experience which opens the door to more love and understanding.
The tactics to overcome negative thought are universal, biblically based, and scientifically proven. Trying to resist, or suppress, negative thought only makes things worse. Studies have shown that thought suppression makes unwanted thought come back stronger. So it's best to just accept our thought process as it is and move on with a few techniques.
Here's an outline of three things you can do when negative thought, or any thought, disturbs your meditation.
1. Rhythmic Breathing
When we become unfocused, distracted, or frustrated during meditation our heart will increase and disturb an already distraught mind even more. This cycle can be immediately stopped with rhythmic breathing. The technique of timing both your inhale and exhale, reduces heart rate and optimizes brainwaves.
Breathing rhythmically for just a few minutes is powerful enough to subdue the wandering mind. Once the mind and body enter state of peace we can gradually move on to step two, focused distraction.
2. Focused Distraction
God designed the brain to focus on one thing. Focusing on multiple things will generally result in poor performance. Focused distraction is a technique researchers found works well for anyone who wants to discipline the wandering mind.
Focused distraction is a fancy new way for science to describe John 14:23 which states that we must pursue the meditative practice of focusing on God's word.
By focusing on Bible verses we short circuit the mind's tendency to wander. According to Jesus, the result of focusing your mind on God's word will result in God's increased presence in you which can be mindfully perceived.
3. Mindful Perception
After optimizing mind and body with rhythmic breathing, and focusing you mind on scripture, the Bible states that God's presence will increase. This requires us to be in a state of mindful perception.
Perceiving mind, body, and God in stillness (Psalm 46:10) is the ultimate state of mindful perception. It is the state where carnality ceases and spirituality begins.
Can you conquer negative thought?
The answer is a resounding, yes! And God gave you the tools to defeat the enemy. Paradoxically, it's been shown that by accepting who we are, and the situations around us, actually helps us to change into truly better people.
Studies have shown that accepting a target thought diminishes its power, especially when we temporarily focus on it and just watch it leave. It was demonstrated by Marcks & Woods in 2005, in a Behavior and Research Therapy program, that people who are naturally accepting of intrusive thoughts are less obsessional, have less anxiety, and have lower levels of depression.
This of course opens the door to better results with any personality enhancement practice like, Bible study, Christian meditation, or Christian affirmations.
We'd love to hear about what techniques you use to still the mind. Write you thoughts about the subject below. We love you and we're praying for you. God bless. See you in the kingdom.