Chapter 1 – Practice
The method for meditation that I would like to introduce is composed of four movements of the heart, all of which are interconnected. We should move organically between them as we become more familiar with how they work.
The first step is “Acknowledge.” We start prayer by recognizing what we are experiencing in the moment and where our heart is. This involves acknowledging our physical sensations such as tensions and discomfort. In addition, we must learn to acknowledge our thoughts, feelings, and desires and how they interact with our physical sensations.
The second step is “Relate.” Having acknowledged and “looked at” our interior dialogue and physical bodies, we now relate these to the Lord with simplicity and directness. At first, this may seem rather mechanical. However, with time it becomes more relaxed. For example, I might be actively talking with Jesus about my experience in what resembles a dialogue with a friend. Also, in time our relating need not involve words or concepts. Our relating can be more from the gut, simply pouring ourselves out before the Lord with our emotions and more subconscious parts of our psyche.
The third step is “Receive.” Now we use our intuitive sense of who God is and imagine what we wants to say to us. Like our relating, our receiving need not involve words, concepts, or images. At first, our receiving may lead us to doubt the authenticity of the message, but as we learn to let go of our inhibitions, we soon learn to trust that our Lord wants to communicate his love and compassion. Often, the Holy Spirit will inspire in us a particular passage of Scripture. Thus our receiving need not be original or unique.
The fourth step is “Respond.” Now we respond to what the Holy Spirit has inspired in us. Again, this movement of receiving and responding does not necessarily have to be tied with words, concepts, and ideas.
The goal of our meditation is not necessarily to move through these four steps in any particular way or in any particular sequence. They flow naturally one from the next, and soon we can internalize the principles and forget about the method itself. It is kind of like the mold a sculptor uses to create his art. Once we have begun our relationship with Jesus Christ, we need not explicitly make reference to these steps because we have internalized them.