Our consciousness works as a kind of network of associations. A sensation in the moment, such as a sight or smell, can connect us with a memory from the past. Also, ideas are often interconnected in relationships that go beyond logical sequences. Due to our network of associations, we view our environment through filters that have developed over years. These filters can be helpful by providing insights and meaning, or they can be detrimental by blocking us from seeing reality. In this way, we connect our experience of the present to our understanding of the past and our expectations about the future.

We can take time in our meditation to explore this vast network within ourselves, all within the context of a relationship with the Most Holy Trinity. We can walk with Jesus through the labyrinths of our mind in a kind of playful exploration. We connect the dots of our associations as a way of seeing how the Holy Spirit has moved in our lives.

In addition, our prayer can be overly burdened with the need for clarity and tangible results. We like our meditation to have a definitive start and a definitive conclusion. Letting go of our constant need “to accomplish something” can help us to enter into our interior life with the freedom offered in Jesus Christ. Our goal is not necessarily to have a specific goal, but rather to simply explore who God is and who we are in relation to Him. In this way, theology and reflection can become prayer.

We can explore what we are learning and what we are experiencing all with the confidence that our Lord longs to speak to us. Our Lord wants to share in every aspect of our lives. This includes mundane activities such as what we need to do day in and day out to survive as well as the more profound reflections such as the meaning of life.

As we open ourselves to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, meditation becomes that place in which nothing is out of bounds, nothing is held back from Jesus Christ. We learn to let our minds open up and we present everything that we are experiencing with complete surrender.

This article is from Chapter 5 on Associative Meditation.