You know, as esoteric as my musings can be, the reason why I got into meditation in the first place was for very pragmatic reasons. I used to suffer greatly from stress and depression. I say used to because I found meditation helped me greatly - and all the more so since I embraced the way of Jesus.
What has been occupying my thinking lately is how I can more adequately articulate the healing benefits of Christian meditation and make practical Christian wisdom for stress management more readily available.
In the process I came across a useful synopsis at John Mark Ministries which begins:
Have you ever noticed how cool, calm and collected Jesus was, even though he lived under constant pressure and criticism, misunderstood, misjudged, with very little time to himself? His life reflects a calm sense of balance. What is it about his life that made him so stress-resistant?
It continues with seven practices for handling stress in your life:
- Identification. Know who you are ... When you try to be something you're not, it causes enormous stress because it doesn't work. Discover who you are, grow comfortable with your strengths and weaknesses, and face the truth about yourself.
- Dedication. Know who you are tring to please. Some of us try to please everyone, and of course we can't do it ... Jesus never let the fear of rejection or the need for approval motivate or dominate his life. He knew who he was, and whom he was trying to please.
- Prioritisation. Know what you want to accomplish. We don't have time for everything; we'll be guided in life either by priorities or by pressures. If I don't set priorities in my life, I will be guided by pressures.
- Concentration. Focus on what's important. Don't get distracted by trivia. If Satan can't get you to do wrong, he'll just wear you out with a lot of good things that keep you from the best things.
- Delegation. Let other people help you. We often get stressed because we think we have to do it all ourselves, we're the general manager of the universe. It's when we get sick, and we can't hold the world together single-handedly, that we realise the world goes on OK without us!
- Meditation. Make a habit of prayer. Prayer is a great stress reliever; it's a way to unload your burdens. No matter how busy Jesus was, he always made time for prayer.
- Relaxation. Take time to enjoy life. Stop and smell the roses. Those of us who are workaholics need to listen to this: rest and relaxation are not wasted time. Jesus habitually took time off, and even though there were more people to be healed delivered and saved, he still took time off.
In the end, its all about getting perspective on you life and Jesus was a master at reframing people's perspective. He's a healer in more ways that one.