By Adrianne Murchison
Aug 22, 2009
During a recent conversation, my friend commented that there is a distinct difference between prayer and meditation.
In group settings, for instance, when there is a desire for a few words of intention to set the tone, some folks might be uncomfortable with “prayer,” she says. Adding that prayer is talking to God, and meditation is listening to God.
I’m perplexed when friends make a distinction between prayer and meditation because through prayer I learned to meditate. Prayer takes me to God.
Prayer clears my head and sets my intention, which is to be close to God, right now. I am talking to God with my mind, as my friend says. In communion with Him, I get a few things off my chest. I speak my heart. Sometimes I cry. And then I tire of talking and move into listening, which is supremely powerful.
I’m Catholic and first learned to meditate years ago by saying the Rosary –a recitation of the “Hail Mary" prayer. I start by whispering the words. After a few minutes I am no longer whispering but, instead, mouthing the words in silence. Soon the words and my thoughts become labouring, because I am with God and they are not necessary. I let my words and thoughts go and simply experience Oneness.
Whatever Our Path to God, We Share the Ultimate Goal
I had an interesting experience, a few weeks ago, when I attended a guided meditation to clear-up negative energy that I was carrying within my body. I walked into the session with pent-up stress and worries.
The facilitator had our small group focus on the seven chakras in our bodies' energy centres, starting with the base or root chakra and gradually moving up to the crown chakra.
It was wonderful, and I wanted to be certain that I was with God in the experience, so I started saying the “Hail Mary” prayer in my mind. I seemed to be in a different space as I said the words, and I began to experience Oneness or communion with God in a different and profound way. The words of my prayer were effortless. I was indeed in prayer and meditation at the same time.
I left feeling very light, physically, and was exuberant for the rest of the day.
I am learning that whatever we call our communication with God, our very effort demonstrates our desire to reach Ultimate Love.
In his new book, “Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential,” Michael Bernard Beckwith suggests silent “meditation” rather than spoken words. “Because it is silence that will lead you to profound stillness, he wrote. “And it is stillness that attunes you to the still, small voice of intuitive guidance.”
He suggests this affirmation at the start of your meditation:
"Today, as I enter meditation practice, I am open and receptive to my inner spirit revealing to me the personal laws of life by which I live. I courageously look at myself in all honesty and with full confidence in my ability to co-create with the Spirit, the life I am here to live."