I picked up a meditation practice last year. It started because I read Eat, Pray, Love and there’s like a whole section where the main girl is in India. She learns how to meditate, even though it has tons of ups and downs and failures. I got all excited about it.
Later at a coffee shop, I ran across a friend who was getting pretty good at meditating and when I told him I was on the verge of moving to India to meditate, and he told me “nah bro, just get start with ten minutes a day.”
Ugh. That is not as sexy as going to India, but I absolutely knew he was right. In fact for me, I’ve found a pattern that goes something like… 1) Heart finds something that resonates to the core 2) I make a completely unrealistic plan for how I should go about it 3) Something real presents itself and it’s not sexy
That last thing actually the thing I want; I just don’t know it (the broccoli, not the brownie).
Anyway. Ten minutes a day. I can manage that. It was exactly the unexciting, thrill I was after.
For me, PTSD created a bit of a hurdle, but I’ll get to that later. Well, nah, I’ll get to it right now.
I’m sorry, and don’t hate me because I didn’t make it this way, but the path to enlightenment is straight through the forest of pain every time.
I hate I too. So, anyway, some part of me recognized that even though there was pain, it would still be a good place to hang out. Helpful even. Might even be the place God is calling you into.
So I sat with myself learning how to be more in my skin, more still, more in tune with the aliveness in me and also the pain in me. It’s embarrassing, frustrating to be working through pain that for me is 16 years old, but I that’s the hand I’ve been dealt, so I engage with it. At the time I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into, I just sort of felt that God, like Morpheus in the matrix was saying “hey, you wanna see how deep this rabbit hole goes?” I was like “aight.” (But actually it was like God whispered something 7,000 times and on 7,001 I’m like “oh it’s you!” and then on whisper 20,000 I realize where I need to be.)
So, I'm learning to sit and mediate, which for me is basically me sitting on my bed, with little to no sound or light. I don’t really think there’s a ton of hard and fast rules, but that’s what I was doing. It was painful and also beautiful. I’d like to tell you what I noticed.
But first, let’s fast-forwad to handful of days ago. I’m going to meet with a pastor friend and mentor of mine. I’m nervous to tell him what I’ve found in my meditation space, because I’m scared he won’t like it, that it won't sound Christian enough. He asks me a question that I’m familiar with and I’ve come to loath, because I’ve heard it many times in my churchy upbringing. But I understood it and swallowed my cynicism and found an answer anyway.
He said “Joshua, what is God speaking to you?”
“yeah… well…. about that…. see, it’s…I…. in my new mediation practice, I’ve found this place, deep down in me, under all the BS. It’s like this pool of connectedness with God, something pure, something that seems to speak of the Genesis narrative… that whole ‘in God’s image’ idea. It’s this place where the line between God and self gets really blurry.”
*oh no, he’s going to kill me*
He responds and is cool as a cucumber.
“Oh yeah, you mean like incarnational living? Yeah, that's in the Bible.”
“…oh….well, yeah, I guess you’re right.”
So, I guess that’s all I’m trying to say. Jesus came to give an example of God and human merging. He even prayed that we have same connectedness to the Father that he had. Only, I think this space is available to every single person — not just the ones who have said a special prayer, or have special ranking in such and such religion or have sacrificed fattened calfs or whatever. I think you, human, can find this place within you. Something beyond God saying stuff, something more like oneness.
I think the path is different for everyone, but for me the stillness was and is very important.
WAIT JOSHUA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CAN SEE WHERE YOU’RE GOING WITH THIS!!!!! YOU’RE GOING TO TELL PEOPLE TO FIND AND TRUST THEIR Inner Voice WITH OFFENSIVELY CAPITALIZED LETTERS!!!!!!!
BUT THAT WILL BE MESSY!!!!!!! SOMETIMES PEOPLE WILL THINK THEY’VE FOUND Inner Voice BUT REALLY IT’S TACO GAS!!!!!
BUTTTT THE BIBLE!!!!!!!!! ROAR!!!!! DRAGON’S BREATH.
It’s messy even with the Bible! Even with smartest people trying to perfectly indoctrinate everyone… it’s still messy!
Anyway, Inner Voice is the place where divine and human put on jazz music and make love. It’s less a burning bush outside of us and more something within...
So let me be clear: learning Inner Voice is absolutely a mess, more like learning to dance than arithmetic. You will wreck it, but I’m still gonna talk about it.
Inner Voice is not:
-Thinking really hard
-Someone else’s idea what you ought to be thinking or doing
Inner Voice is:
-Smarter than you
-Simpler than you
-More outside of time than you
-Calmer than you
-Has a better view than you
-Difficult to distinguish from your regular thoughts
-Easy to distinguish for your regular thoughts, because they have totally different tone
-Available all the time but only speaks the good stuff you often aren’t asking about
Holy Spirit, thank you for the way you guide. Thank you that you’re not interested in bit and bridle, but oneness. Amen.