Have you ever tried to sit in silence for a half hour? 15 minutes? 5 minutes? I’m not talking about reading, all cozied up with a blanket and cocoa. Or chillin’ with some music. Actual silence. No noise. No movement. No scrambling.
I find this task quite difficult. It’s like stopping an avalanche to ask how it’s doing. The snow piles up. A giant pile of snow doesn’t like to just sit there. It’s got a mountain to ski!
When I take a moment to rest, I’m suddenly flooded by the list of things I should do, that one thing I forgot to put on the list, that friend I should call, blah, blah, blah. They aren’t really bad things to think about, but they certainly disrupt my silence-seeking.
Today I thought I would try meditation. I hear it’s good for me, especially in nurturing my my quiet, introverted side (it’s true, I do have one). So I lit my Christmas-present-chai-candle from my dad, turned out the lights, and sat cross-legged on my bed.
It helps me to focus on something, so I chose the phrase, “I am here”. I closed my eyes and repeated it, over and over. My mind slowed down. The pile of snow seemed to slowly disappear. I felt pulled into the Presence of God.
Suddenly I was keenly aware my brokenness, my sinfulness. I brought forward my pride, my selfishness, everything not of God, then let it go.
Often when I sense God’s Presence, I get some kind of physical sensation – like goosebumps or a warm feeling in the palms of my hands.
During this whole experience my hands burned. Not like an intense, quick heat, but a deep, long-lasting ember. I thought of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.
Then an idea occurred to me. Usually I think of peace as a river or stream, gentle flowing water. And the Holy Spirit like fire, flame, passion. Fire and water don’t usually go well together. Try a little flame on that avalanche.
But what if Shalom, “the peace of God that transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) is somehow a mix of the two. Peace is active and alive. Burning like my hands, that candle’s flame, Pentecost. Yet the Shalom of God also draws us into times of silence, gentle waters and rest. I don’t think it has to be one or the other.
It appears I did a lot of thinking while trying to meditate. I’ll have to try again. After all, God is still here.