Aside from prayer and religious observance, many Christians practice Christian meditation – a type of meditation that aims to bring people closer to God through Christ by clearing the mind of unnecessary thought and maintaining focus on Jesus. But even those who contemplate on a frequent and consistent basis admit that sustaining a single thought for a prolonged period of time can prove to be a very challenging.
The mind was created to think, ponder, and solve problems, so during a practice that requires sustained focus, it can and most probably will, wander off. But that might not actually be a bad thing. Specialists say that aiming to clear the mind of all thoughts except your prayer-mantra during your practice can become counterproductive. Instead, individuals are encouraged to allow their minds to flow, think, and wander, and to use this natural tendency to further improve their practice. But much like sheep who stray, practicing the right methods to reclaim your mind during your meditative practice will create a more fruitful, effective, and satisfying practice.
The Right Method To Calm The Mind During Christian Meditation
1. Refrain From Forceful Concentration
Any form of stress can greatly affect your discipline. This is because meditation requires clarity, calmness, and inner peace for an individual to achieve the benefits of this spiritual practice. Despite this, many people force their minds into a state of false clarity, exerting great amounts of mental effort in order to push thoughts away. It’s important to remember that forcing your mind to keep from thinking is, in itself, a form of thinking. The best way to counteract this common problem is to simply observe the mind to wander, while you remain still with your prayer-mantra. This mental technique will help you easily remain focused.
2. Accept That The Mind Wanders
There is no such thing as a perfect Christian meditation practice. Most of the time, you will experience a drifting of consciousness, and this is a natural occurrence. Instead of getting frustrated at yourself for your mind’s natural tendency, accept it. By accepting that your mind will naturally wander it will bring you peace and help your meditation. Let the thoughts flow, accept imperfection, and gently call your mind back to focus once you’ve realized it has gone.
3. Refocus Upon Realization
Because you are encouraged to allow your mind to flow and ebb away during your meditation, you should be prepared to call it back calmly once you’ve realized that it has left you. Take deep breaths and refrain from pushing thoughts away. Instead, refocus your mind and bring your prayer-mantra back into your mind’s immediate attention. Remember, your mind will most probably wander again even after refocusing, but by calmly calling it back, you allow yourself a richer, more satisfying Christian meditation experience.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
There is no substitute for hard work. Practice your technique daily. Once in the morning and once at night. With continuing practice your meditations will improve. You might also find it helpful to try different durations. Try 20 minute, 30 minute, or 40 minute meditations. Some people meditate 60 to 90 minutes. It's entirely up to you figure out what works best and your ideal time.
We'd love to hear about any techniques that have helped you control the wandering mind. Please share your insights in the comment area below and help others in the pursuit of Christian meditation.
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