To seek to teach someone to meditate is simply to hold open a door and invite them to simply come and see.

To do this with integrity is to be still, to hold in tension their attraction and resistance, to trust them and God, and wait.

Mostly we draw people into new experiences and commitments (and meditation is a committed work) by promising and selling outcomes they can’t live without.

 

There is no doubt that we can ‘talk up’ the many benefits of meditation but Christian Meditation is prayer - and the doorway it opens is into relationship with the mystery of God. Some come easily, others want to ‘see’ first, and some spontaneously dig their heels in.

It helps me to remember that I can teach the practice and the techniques, encourage the discipline but I cannot really describe to them what they will experience (know) - and nor should I try. So I listen when they tell me what is was like for them.

I direct their attention to how it may be influencing their daily life. I affirm their desire and their effort, and thank them for their willingness to take on this adventurous journey. I remind myself often that this is a privileged, precious, and life-giving invitation I extend to them, and remember that God reaches into their lives in lots of ways. My meditation is just one.

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So, be creative in finding ways to lead learners into stillness of body and mind. It does not always come spontaneously and can feel strange, uncomfortable and even threatening.

Help them to value simply being still. Relieve them of the burden of expectations and the need to see results - especially in the prayer/meditation time itself. Ask them instead to pay attention to their everyday life and draw them into conversation - perhaps they are noticing change there.

Encourage their questions about process and practice. Respond to them as these arise - then you are talking from their experience. This is where the real journey is for both learner and teacher.