Friday, March 11, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

"Bless the LORD, oh my soul. Let all that is in me Bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all his benefits. Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like eagles." - David spending a little too much time meditating in Psalm 103.

Sooo, I meditated last night. "Gasp! Phil you did what!?" No I expect you readers to have no problem with meditation and conteplation, two of the keys of spiritual discipline. There are the dangers of opening yourself up to demon possession, but what the hey. Just kidding. In my defense David did it a lot, and it's the reason we have so many beautiful Psalms to meditate on.

I chose the passage above as my "mantra", because it was written by David and is a powerful summary of a wholistic understanding of what God does for us as his children: He gives us the benefits of forgiveness, healing, redemption, and good things! He even renews our youth, something that I should pray for every day. Especially when I'm trying to get out of bed.

In fact at age 34, my body, while still working relatively well, is showing the questionable signs of aging. Stuff like bloating, excess weight and a myriad of things that are depressing (like new lines on my face) remind me of this need for youthful renewal. I'm still waiting God! I believe God to be full of dubious promises. I don't think that I'm going to feel like an "eagle" anytime soon. What gives God? God: "You have no idea what an eagle feels like. They actually feel pretty terrible most of the time."

But the biggest promise, or reminder in this Psalm is it's opening verses: "Bless the Lord Oh my soul. Let all that is within me bless his holy name..." Our biggest blessing in this life is that we get to bless God. I know it sounds a little circular, but as with so many riddles, there's something profoundly true in the mystery of the riddle.

That we, of all God's creatures can bless God is pretty amazing. Other creatures do so with their lives. But we get to bless not only with our lives but with our very consciouses and subconsciouses for whackos like me.

So as I meditated my way down into my deep conscious last night (the murky depths where my anxieties seem to reign) I was struck by the calming effects of these words. And for someone who has grown up in a tradition that poo-poos experiencial encounters with God, I was somewhat scared and delighted as warm fuzzies washed over my body.

It was probably the simple fact that I was sitting in a comfortable room, in a comfortable chair, with comfortable thoughts running through my head. It sort of felt like the time I was given morphine for my broken arm. No wonder people like to meditate!

There was a gift of peace and warm fuzzies that felt pretty good as I reached about 40 minutes of repeating the passage. My father-in-law walked in at about minute 20, so I'm sure he was wondering what in the world I was up to, sitting in a chair apparently doing nothing at all.

That's the beauty of meditation, I wasn't doing nothing, but I was stopping to attend to someone. To attend to God. Of course my motives weren't that pure, I was looking for the elusive warm fuzzies. But someday I'll be able to do this face to face, and I for one can't wait, especially if he's passing out warm fuzzies.

But before you go off and dismiss me as a warm fuzzy new age weirdo, which totally fit me last night, and which I see so many Christians doing on the world-wide-interweb-of-hate, I think it's really important that we, as evangelicals, learn what it means to stop and attend to the important.

We're called to read scripture, pray AND meditate. From this movement and vigourous action should result. At least that's what I bank on. And it's true, without internal time with God, we're running on empty.

So here's my plug for Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Theology, Spiritual Transformation, or Christians Gone Whacko. I hope we don't dismiss what we don't understand, or embrace it for that matter. I plan on critically studying these popular movements as we're called to be discerning, but more importantly I plan on meditating again as I got warm fuzzies.

Warm fuzzies get a bad rap from those who don't experience them often enough. They're pretty neat little guys.

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