Why Meditate?


Hi City Chapel friends,

I’m Matt, and I'm excited to be leading a meditation walk on September 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Frederik Meijer Gardens. In addition to this, Pastor Anna asked me if I would be willing to share what meditative practices like this have meant to me. I want to start this off with an admittance that I, by no means, make this a regular enough practice in my life. I find more often than not that the busyness of life and all of its distractions prevent me from making time to meditate on any sort of regular basis. And that is exactly why I proposed this event to the City Chapel team!


Growing up in the church in the '90s, I don't remember anybody talking about meditating or meditation as a spiritual practice. I feel as though only recently this ancient practice (as called by name) has permeated its way back into the mainstream. For this reason, I don't believe I knew to call some of my most fulfilling, life-giving, spirit-filling moments meditation. I recall feeling the most "spiritually fulfilled" after experiences of what I can now see were meditation, but at the time I was rather ignorant of this ancient tradition. 


If you look up the definition of 'meditation' you will get a variety of definitions, mostly associated with the act of thinking, contemplating, philosophizing, etc. An act of self-guided "doing". For me, I find the act of meditation is more about creating space. Tuning out the incessant calls for distraction to make space for God. Through and during these times of prayer, contemplation, basking in God's creation, losing myself in a song or album, studying a magnetic work of art, I wasn't just experiencing those things. I was making myself available for Truth, life, and Spirit to speak to me and into me. 


Writing this I am reminded of an interview with comedian Louis C.K. A few years ago while appearing on Conan. Louis went on a rant about why he hates cell phones. His thesis being that we are addicted to our phones because we are afraid of being alone. By being alone we open ourselves up to. . . gasp . . . meditate! While it is not a stretch of the imagination to say that Louis is a bit of a pessimistic person, I can't help but agree with him during this interview. We are constantly busy, either by our choosing or not. Often the hardest thing to do is to rid ourselves of all of life's distractions to just listen, pray, meditate, explore, or ponder. Whether you are like Louis, who needs to meditate about his fear of being alone, or perhaps everything in your life is going swell, I think it's incredibly important to make time to meditate. To make space to be with God and to be with yourself--listen to God and listen to yourself. 


I hope that this meditation walk on September 10 will afford us all a little bit of time to do this. For me, art museums and nature are my meditative catnip. You may not find this to be the case for you, but perhaps you may still be willing to give it a shot. This type of practice may be new to you and we will welcome anybody who wants to give it a shot. I hope that folks will take creative liberties in owning this time, either writing prayers, doodling, taking photos, or doing nothing at all but meditating. We will gather as a group after our walk to provide an opportunity to share your experiences as well.


I hope to see you on September 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Frederik Meijer Gardens. If you have any further questions about the walk, don’t hesitate to connect with Pastor Anna, Pastor Ron, or myself. 

Written by Matt Clark