Meditation on Psalm 23:
From the time your mother first told you to hurry up and take your bath, people have been training you to be quick. Too much mental agitation, however, blocks meditation. This exercise is based on Psalm 23. It is training of how to create a quiet center in the midst of your soul. There are two other exercises later on that help you do the same thing. As you work through the next seven weeks, if you cannot focus, return to this exercise and dwell on it. If you get nothing else from this book, getting this can be a tremendous help to you.
Repeat each thought quietly to yourself using the voice you hear when you are falling asleep or daydreaming. Be aware of your response.
"Come Holy Spirit and enter my heart. Quiet me so I become as relaxed as a small child in its mother's lap. In Christ's name. Amen."
As I read this to you, repeat each phrase to yourself and be aware of any response from within:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in the right paths for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff - they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
in all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.”
(Psalm 23 NRSV)
In your mind, return to the words “he leads me beside still waters.” Repeat these words silently each time you exhale. Repeat four or five times.
Read the following slowly and quietly. Pause after each image, allowing time to respond to the images. You may find it helpful to repeat each thought quietly once you have read it. Listen from within yourself. If you think in images, allow a picture to form in your mind’s eye. Some of you will neither hear a conversation nor see images but will be aware of God’s presence anyhow. People differ.
“You are walking along a path in the woods beyond a pleasant field. A brook is next to the path. Damp cool air meets your nostrils. You breathe in the freshness. You can smell the damp, pleasant aromas of the woods. What does your stream look like or sound like? Do you put your foot in it? Do you sit on a stone with Jesus sitting next to you? What is the sound you hear? What do you feel? What do you know? Do you see nothing in your mind but feel yourself relax anyhow at the thoughts? It makes no difference how you recall the calmness of a babbling brook. Just relax and dwell by gently flowing, quiet waters.”
Has your mind relaxed a bit? If so, ask yourself, "Have I just experienced God's love refreshing my spirit?"
If so, thank God for the gift.