It’s Friday. Two Fridays ago I kinda went on a rant. Last week was Black Friday so we had to pay some attention to that. This week I’m heading in a different direction. Today I want to talk about meditation. I may get in trouble for this, but I’m gonna suggest you go to church.

Okay, you got me, I’m not exactly a church going kind of guy. In fact, my beliefs are not really in line with churches as we know them. But I want to tell you about my recent experiences.

Don’t worry

I’m not taking up a collection, I’m not asking you to pray with me, and I won’t be knocking on your door. But I’d like to ask you to imagine going to a place where you resign yourself to letting go for an hour or so. Imagine a place where you will be occupied with someone talking and others singing. You’ll be welcome to participate at times, you’ll be told when. People will be going through a ritual process of gathering together, comforting each other, accepting each other, offering experience and interpretation. You don’t have to accept what they say as gospel (ha!), but you can accept they are trying to share what they think, feel, believe. It’s not a bad way to spend an hour.

Do I believe?

My personal faith allows me to accept other faiths as perfectly valid ways of viewing the world. I believe that being a decent human being has its own benefits, I don’t look for future, eternal rewards. But I’m okay if your faith does. It’s just that if there is a heaven, I want to experience as much of it as I can, share as much of it as I can, here on earth. Call it practicing if you want.

But here on earth I have a problem focusing on the now. I’m always lamenting time wasted in the past and looking at the future to figure out how best to approach it. I’m never living in the moment. Therein lies the issue behind my inability to meditate. But I can do that meditation thing … in church.

Okay, we know that it’s difficult for us to sit still for any length of time, but I’ve found a trick. I take a notepad and a pen with me. As the hymns and choral offerings are sung, as the minister offers her thoughts on her faith and her interpretations of scripture, I let my mind relax. I do not ignore her. But I cannot sit quietly and keep my mind focused on her words only. They come too slowly to occupy all my conscious mind.

But that’s okay …

I let my mind wander. I’m expected to be there, to sit and contemplate, so that’s what I do. My mind goes far beyond the content of the sermon, but no one has told me I have to restrict myself to one line of thought. So, I expand on what I’m hearing; I take notes on the thoughts the service stirs up in me.

Maybe it has to do with my past

I readily admit to having been raised in a church community, the same denomination as the one I sometimes attend now. So I pretty much know what to expect when I’m there. But part of a ministers weekly task is to make the congregation think. The minister in question does an excellent job of that, I’d be gone like a wisp of smoke in the wind if she didn’t make it interesting.

Churches must serve their communities, and though I’m not a true member of this church’s congregation, I am a member of this church’s community. So I think I’ll keep dropping in on Sundays. I’ll give them a chance to lead me in the right path and they can help me meditate. I think that’s a fair trade, don’t you?