Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meditating on a Spin Bike

Earlier this week, I wrote this post about praying while on a spin bike in an exercise class.  Yesterday, I did a guided meditation.  I gave it a spiritual twist.

I've done this guided meditation in spin class with this instructor before.  We start off with visualizing a color that symbolizes to us the way we feel when we're totally engaged in a task, so engaged that we lose all track of time.  We visualize it first as a dot and then we enlarge it.  Eventually it becomes a tunnel of color through which we pedal.

Yesterday, I tried to envision the color (purple with green edges) as God.  I tried to imagine the color as God's love dripping into me.  I tried to imagine my cells, which all week have been filled with anxiety and worry, filling up with God's love.  I tried to imagine God's love squeezing all the negativity out of my cells.

I was able to meditate in this way successfully.  I haven't always been successful with meditation.  My mind drifts off, and I look at my watch, and I wonder when it will all be over so that I can go on to something else.

Yesterday, we did our spin class in a dark room lit only by some violet light.  We did our meditation in the middle of our spin class, which meant that our bodies had something to do as our brains explored.  That kind of meditation works for me.  I don't do as well at the end of a yoga class when we all assume corpse pose on the floor and lie there still and silent for 15 minutes.

I mention these experiences to remind us that there are all kinds of ways to do spiritual practices.  You may not do well with prayers in which you chat with God.  So, try fixed hour prayers out of a prayer book where the prayers have been written for you, often centuries ago or try reading the Psalms as prayer (see this post for more on fixed hour prayer).  Maybe you'd like to keep a journal but you hate writing.  Play with collage or photography.

And don't be surprised if your preferences change as the years go by.  What worked well one year might not work as well a decade or two later.  Be flexible.  Try new things.  Look for practices that let you listen for the invitations that God offers you.

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