Most of us lead busy lives, running from meeting to meeting, picking up children or answering emails. But for a few minutes a day, we can actually still our thoughts and enter into the ancient practice of meditation. Meditation is the process of stilling our minds and focusing on one thing or one prayer. We have to learn to concentrate, which means bringing your mental focus away from the thousand and one distractions of the day and settling your mind gracefully on one topic, one subject or one idea.

Some people think they do not have the ability to concentrate at all, but there are two things that prove that we can concentrate on whatever we want: 1) we can pay very close attention to a movie we are enjoying, and 2) we can worry. Since these two activities actually take a lot of continuous attention, everyone has the ability to concentrate and therefore meditate.

To meditate properly, you have to slow your thinking down and then quiet your worries and fears, the shopping lists and planning committees—all the things that rattle away in our minds—and just relax. Breathe from the belly, not the upper chest, and allow the thoughts to slow down as you breathe. An ancient technique that yogis have used is to pull the air through your throat instead of your nose. When you do this, you will hear a slight rasping sound as the air moves across your vocal chords. You might find your head relaxing, and you might even feel a floating sensation as your arms and hands begin to tingle, a good sign that you are oxygenating the entire body.

The next phase of meditation involves focusing your mind after you have relaxed and stilled your body. Focus on a subject, idea or problem and begin to allow the thoughts to flow freshly into your mind about that topic. If distracting thoughts come in about something else, stop them and bring your attention back to the subject you have chosen. Then ask for the wisdom of the universe to flow into the mind about the subject you are looking at. The universal intelligence is everywhere, and anyone can tap into it if they choose.

This technique works better if you think of that universal intelligence as a Being that is personally conscious of you. The more abstract you make things, the more unreal they become. If you make it personal and think about building a relationship with the Cosmic Consciousness as a Divine Being, you will feel much more in your meditations.

For example, if you want to learn about compassion, you would place that thought into your mind and hold it there for the Divine Being inside you to inspire and enlighten you about compassion. You might see compassionate people and how they function, move, think and feel. You might receive words describing what compassion is and how it acts. You might be shown in pictures or symbols of what compassion feels like or looks like.

A different example is when you have a choice to make. You would hold the two options in mind and ask that the best choice be shown to you. Examine the choices, holding each one in that still, quiet place of meditation to see what reveals itself to you. Sometimes you have to be still for a long time because our minds are tricky. When you are nervous or anxious, you will bias the answers that arise in meditation; likewise, when you desire something greatly, you will also bias your results because you are actually lobbying for a particular answer. You have to train yourself to trust the answers you receive in meditation by not needing a particular answer, accepting whatever you receive because the Divine Being inside of you knows you perfectly.

This is actually a deep meditational secret: God is inside you. The wise Being underneath your mind, your feelings and the swirling of your body is actually trying to get this information and wisdom to you when you get quiet and still. The ones who are masters of meditation begin to know this truth and find that they cannot live well without it. Those who truly teach meditation do so from experience, the wisdom they have gained having come by learning from the Divine Source within. Meditation as a tool for relaxation is only the first step, akin to kindergarten. Advanced stages of meditation involve listening to God’s voice.

Many people turn to Buddhism as a means of meditation, and some might argue that God is absent from these practices. But while Buddhism does not mention God, there is certainly mention of “Suchness” or “Emptiness.” These are abstractions that the Buddhist mind considers a centered place of wisdom. They don’t want to personalize it, but they very much go near it and learn from it. They would not like the Western approach of making God your golfing buddy or something equally foolish. God is not a plaything for the mind. But it’s likely that as you get proficient at meditation you will find there is something from which the wisdom comes. Start with that and you will gain much from your meditation practice.

A Meditation Exercise
One exercise you can do to begin to develop mediation is to breathe in peace and breathe out anxiety, or breathe in peace and breathe out aches and pains in the body. As you do this, visualize peace flowing into each cell and thought of your being while seeing your mind and body release any anxiety or aches and pains. This will deepen your relaxation so that you can move more deeply into the higher forms of meditation.

Author's Bio: 

Father Peter Bowes is a Christian mystic, ordained priest, Master Teacher of Christian mysticism and the co-director of a mystical Christian Order and school that has spiritual centers called, Centers of Light in 15 cities. In 1999, he co-founded the Order with Mother Clare Watts, who is also a Priest and Teacher. He is the author of 3 books entitled "The Word Within”, “The Radical Path” and “Spiritual Astrology”. Father Peter received his Masters and Doctoral degrees from Indiana University in Educational Psychology and practiced psychology for many years. He travels nationally every week to give seminars on the Inner Path. He has also been a featured guest on several radio broadcast programs. He devotes his time to teaching, writing and creating devotional music. On his website, he reads from his book, “The Word Within” as well as other topics of interest to the spiritual seeker, such as, “Quieting the Mind” and “Beginning the Spiritual Path”.

In addition, Father Peter has written and recorded 11 successful CD’s of devotional music. Infusing folk/rock with the essence of ancient Christian Mystical experience, his songs give the listener a deep sensation of God’s Divine presence, evoking an inner response to God’s love and opening minds to the great reality of the spiritual world. Visit to hear his music.