“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
– Jesus (Matthew 18:4)
Meditation helps you get past the superficial and repetitive. But getting started can be hard.
Taking the above verse, here’s what I’ve done for years. And it works–regardless of what state of mind I’m starting from.
First, get still and quiet.
This can be done in a noisy place, but it’s harder. Put the phone away and go to a place were people aren’t.
Then breathe. A few deep breathes in followed by slow exhales. Statistically, this is the only time today most of us will breathe deep. But the benefits are great. Deep breathes help us to quiet and center our mind.
Second, think about each word.
Start by saying the verse above out loud a few times. Say it from memory. Get used to the sound.
Next, think about each word by itself. Whoever… humbles… himself…
Stop to dwell on the implications. Why is that word there? What does it mean? And what would be different if it was missing?
Third, make a list.
One–me–might argue that the first two steps are really just a preamble to this one.
Quickly write down ten different ways you can apply this verse in your life. I say quickly because you won’t use them all. But one or two will often be pretty good.
And don’t skimp. Push through and go all the way to ten. The first three or four on your list will be what you already know. Then you’ll hit a wall and have to think for a moment. Keep going. The good stuff comes toward the end.
Exercises like this don’t take long. Maybe 10 minutes (for reference that’s about 0.8% of your day). But they help break the barrier between the superficial and the deep.
Try it. You’ll see.