"The inner world of meditation is most easily entered through the door of the imagination." "We simply must become convinced of the importance of thinking and experiencing in images."
- Richard Foster
For my first meditation practice I will be taking part in an exercise Richard Foster calls "palms down, palms up". In this meditation you "begin by placing your palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over any concerns you may have to God. Whatever it is that weighs on your mind or is a concern to you, just say, "palms down"" mentally releasing those things through your palms.
"After several moments of surrendering those things turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive from the Lord." Whatever you would like God to give you concerning the things that weighed you down: peace, patience, love for an individual, or a spirit of forgiveness. Whatever you need say "palms up" and focus on those things for the remainder of the meditation in complete silence. To not ask for anything of God out loud in prayer. "Allow the Lord to continue with you spirit, to love you. If impressions or directions come, fine; if not, fine."
Richard recommends doing this meditation sitting, on the floor or in a chair it doesn't matter as long as it's comfortable and not distracting.
As far as time goes, it's really up to you. You can meditate for as long or as little as you want. I'm going to be planning on around 5-10 minutes for this first meditation, but I'm not watching the clock either.
I'll be doing this meditation without music at all. If you have to have music only use instrumental music at a very low volume for the "palms down" portion of the meditation.
I sat down in the middle of my living room floor, in the lotus position. I said a brief prayer asking God to help me to focus because after about a minute of sitting there it seemed like I had a million itches to scratch or specks in my eyes I needed to dig out. So finally after all that I placed my palms onto my knees and began to breathe in and out through my nose deeply and slowly.
I focused my mind on the things that have been weighing me down. I won't list them here for obvious reasons. After about a minute of focusing on those things I moved the palms of my hands out in front of my knees hovering over the floor in front of mean and I said out loud "Jesus, I release the things to Your power and authority. Amen." At that moment I felt a physical sense of calm and release as a light "buzzing" feeling ran from the center of my back around my arms and out through my finger tips. Now this could have been the ceiling fan giving me the chills or a moving of the Holy Spirit in physical form through this meditation exercise, but regardless it's part of this experience. You can call it what you want.
I remained silent for about 2 minutes after that. I then prayed a prayer in my mind, "Father, give me the courage and strength to truly release those weights over to you and not revisit them over and over in my mind." I turned my palms up and sat silently meditating. Images of Christ on the cross began to flood my mind. I was reminded of the courage and strength that it took for Jesus to bear that cross for my sin. The cross is enough for my sin and I need to remember that Jesus is enough for me to rest in and not let these things weigh me down. He will give me the courage and strength through the Holy Spirit to conquer these things.
I closed out my time with a quiet, "Amen." Going for just a bit over 5 minutes after looking on the clock it seemed like I had been sitting here longer. It will get easier with time.
Tomorrow is Meditation | Pt. 2
All quotes taken from "The Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster.