Meditation and the Mormon Missionary
A couple of Mormon missionaries came to dinner last night at the invitation of my oldest son who is going on a mission soon. I love Mormon missionaries. I was glad to feed them.
As we sat down to eat, the subject inevitably turned to spirituality. They asked my son where I was “at” spiritually. He told them, “My mom isn’t really into God. But she meditates.” When I heard this I laughed out loud and replied, “I am totally into God! I’m all about God! God is like, my favorite!” Not very eloquent, to be sure. But, I was caught off guard. My son didn’t really mean what he said. He just found it difficult to explain my spiritual views, which are so different from his.
Then one of the missionaries asked if I could teach him basic meditation. He practiced yoga a few times and always wondered about meditation.
I gave him a quick rundown on how to quiet his mind and release the thoughts of the day by focusing on breathing. After the short tutorial he asked me why I meditate and what my goal was.
People ask me this often. My response varies depending on the asker. To this Mormon missionary, I found myself replying in perhaps the most honest way I ever have. Here is what I said:
“Well, Elder, I love to pray. I didn’t pray for a long time. Years. And when I finally did, I could not fathom how I went so long without it. It was like coming home. I believe in prayer. I teach my children to pray. Meditation is like prayer, except you aren’t thinking about what you have, don’t have, or are hoping to have. The goal is to connect with God. To hang out with God. To be in God’s presence for as long as you can, with no thought for yourself or anything else. And doing that changes your life. I pray before I meditate, and after. But during meditation I am just there spending time with God. That’s it.”
I thought about my husband, Ray, and how he doesn’t talk much–but has a strong spirit. Being around him feels good. It brings me comfort and peace. It’s not always during our conversations that I feel closest to him. Sometimes it is before bed, as I lay next to him, and just feel his presence– that we are the closest. It’s kind of like that with God. They say a true friend is someone you can be silent with, but completely at ease. That is what meditation is for me. And as with any friend, the more time you spend with them the more you are influenced by them—the more similar you become. I find myself changing for the better in every avenue of life the more time I spend with my Divine Friend, my Heavenly Father / Mother, or whatever Power it is that holds us and attends us in our lives.
Who knows if that young missionary will ever meditate. I hope he will. I think it is one of the few things that always helps.