Our hearts were heavy. We received limited details of two recent events and couldn’t quite grasp how or why these things had occurred. A youth centre had mistakenly been attacked by about 10 armed men with machetes and guns, leaving those in the centre traumatized and shocked. And earlier in the day a deadly attack had taken place at a hotel-office complex in Nairobi, about an hour from our school home.
Comprehending and dealing with the events of human life is a challenge. Often when we don’t understand, we live in fear. After the Nairobi attack, increased communication about the need to be alert and vigilant if visiting the city sparked fear for many here in Kijabe. Time has settled things, but fear is still present.
Practicing Christian meditation can sufficiently redirect our lives so we can deal and find a peace amongst the chaos. How? Well, this meditation is different from Eastern meditation. Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind, with detachment being the final goal. In contrast, Christian meditation calls for detachment from worldly distractions and goes on to attachment. Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind. By sinking into the life and light of Christ, we are led to an inner fullness.
As a dorm, we kicked off our study of the spiritual disciplines by practicing different methods of meditation. The first group placed the events explained above before God to seek their significance and ask for insight. When we seek His guidance, His word helps us discern understanding and realign our focus.
Another group headed outside to meditate on nature. They gave an aspect of God’s creation (ex. the stars, the wind, the moon, a flower) their FULL attention, applying all their senses to the object. They were asked to quiet themselves and allow its beauty to sink deep into their heart and mind.
In the kitchen, girls meditated on scripture. They were asked to personalize the message, answering the following questions: What does this scripture mean to you? What connections can be made to your life experiences?
The girls in the living room “centered down,” releasing worries and concerns to the Lord and then seeking to receive from the Lord. They asked Him to bring them whatever they felt they needed at the time (patience, peace, love, etc) and then sat quietly for a few minutes to seek His direction.
We wonder: Are we slowing down enough to create the space for Christ to guide us? He is alive and among us as our Priest to forgive, our Prophet to teach, our King to rule, and our Shepherd to guide. By consistently devoting a period of our day – away from distractions – to Christian meditation, we aim to fill our minds with the fullness of God.