Morning meditation

Ever since I embarked on my 12-Step recovery journey 26 years ago, I’ve started my day with morning meditation whenever possible.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines meditate as “to engage in contemplation or reflection.” In 12-Step groups, members like to say prayer is talking to God and meditation is God talking to us. For me, meditation is a time set aside for both prayer and reflection. While my personal morning meditation ritual has evolved over the years and may change content from one day to the next, I’ve found that my meditation time easily accommodates several forms of prayer. 

Most days I begin with “nature prayer.” I feed my cats, the birds and (yep!) the squirrels. If nice weather beckons, I may stroll around my backyard and admire the flowers. Right now, early spring has arrived in central Illinois and my snowdrops and crocuses are blooming. Soon they will be joined by jonquils, violets, tulips, pear and crabapple blossoms and the ever-ubiquitous dandelions. These flowers make me so happy! 

Back inside, I settle in my recliner in front of the fireplace with a cup of coffee by my side and Oley Cat in my lap and engage in “writing as prayer.” I may journal about my priorities for the coming day – or what I think they should be, at least. I’ve also used this time to write out my thoughts and insights generated by homework assignments my spiritual director gives me. 

Some mornings the journaling portion of my meditation largely consists of prayers of petition and intercession. Other times I may make a gratitude list or offer prayers of thanksgiving. Sometimes I even get to enjoy music when my husband joins Oley Cat and I to serenade us with sacred songs on his dulcimer.

Lately I have adopted a suggestion from my spiritual director as well: As I pray, spend some time listening. Say (or write) a prayer, then be silent. Quiet my mind for a few minutes and wait for God’s response. What is God saying to me?

Some Christians express concern that meditation is too “New Age,” or that it’s somehow inappropriate because religions other than Christianity practice it. However, from what I’ve read, meditation is firmly rooted in the Bible. Here are just a few passages that speak about the practice: 

  • Joshua 1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.
  • Psalm 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
  • Psalm 119:15 – I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.
  • Psalm 145:5 – On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
  • Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Note: Since “think on” is one synonym for “meditate,” this verse would certainly speak to the practice and it’s also one of my favorites.)

Meditation also has a long history in Christian practice, engaged in by everyone from the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the early church era to Ignatius of Loyola, Augustine and Martin Luther in the Middle Ages to folks participating in the liturgies of many modern church services. 

Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, shared a personal experience of being so preoccupied that she once arrived at work with no memory of how she got there. Eaton’s own spiritual director offered the following advice about meditation as one remedy for this type of distracted thinking: “Wait for the Lord. Disengage the autopilot. Notice. Just this. Just now.” (Link to her article HERE.)

In my own case, God seems to tell me I need my morning meditation ritual. While I may skip it occasionally – if I have to leave the house for a doctor’s appointment at 7:30 a.m. sharp, for instance – I’ve found that I start to feel a little less “centered” if I miss too many days in a row.

For me, meditation is a way of staying focused on important priorities. Listening to Oley Cat’s soft purr and the crackle of the fire, or watching the squirrels’ antics as they invade the bird feeders helps quiet my mind – a little, for a few moments anyway – and allows me to open up to God’s presence.

So I continue to commit myself to this wonderful and compelling morning ritual.

12 thoughts on “Morning meditation

  1. When I had a cat, I felt that stroking him calmed me and brought me into a kind of natural meditation. Now I have an enthusiastic, licky dog who needs lots of walks. Not quite the same thing, but also gives me space for thinking. For your list, I’d suggest, ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Psalm 46:10

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  2. I have always been so disheartened by people who think they have to go to Eastern religion to practice meditation. It is an ancient honored Christian practice and I share my love of it with you.

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  3. I keep having meditation on my schedule as something to try, but I never seem to get around to it. Any tips for those of us slow in starting? Beautiful pics.

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  4. I like how you explain your meditation process. I’ve always said that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. We have had a one on one connection since I was a very small child. Those whispers in my ear, so to speak. Now, my morning meditation is my morning pages that I write as soon as I wake. After a trip to the bathroom, of course. I meditate when I’m in the garden but winter is not garden time so I miss that. So much has been changed in the bible depending on who did the writing and translating and what their intention was in that translation. Though I’m not a Christian, per se, I did raise myself in the Christian doctrine for most of my early years and my children for awhile after. I found it too constraining with what I knew to be true. I’ve also done many years of 12 step programs so I also know a bit about that. 😉 Like you, I keep searching for the bigger truth that is not altered by men with agenda. I’m sure you are already aware of Neale Donald Walsch’s books, Conversations with God. I have most of them and also read a great deal of quantum physics that proves in essence, the existence of a ‘field of infinite intelligence’. What we call God. It knows all and is in all. But that’s my truth, not necessarily yours. We each are finding our own way back home with as much Grace as possible. There is so much information out there to help in this journey that it’s hard to wade through so I take it all with a grain of salt and wait for the Godbumps to lead the way. So far so good. Have a wonderfilled week ahead. Will be thinking good thoughts for you.

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