Marz: Meditation, mind and muscle - East Valley Tribune: Faith / Spirituality

Marz: Meditation, mind and muscle

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Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 6:30 am

We all have bodies. When we exercise, we begin to see the benefits for our body, mind and muscle. Just as we need to exercise our bodies to keep them healthy, we need to exercise our minds. Today I invite you to take some time to exercise your whole being — your mind and muscle. Including your soul muscles.

Remember when you were younger and someone read a book to you before bedtime? It was soothing. It allowed you to calm your soul and to use your imagination. You were exercising your mind and your soul muscles were being stimulated. You were able to imagine in your mind the scenes and characters that the reader lovingly read to you. What you were experiencing could be considered a guided meditation.

In this fast paced culture, it would be beneficial for us to reacquaint ourselves to the practice of meditation. To do so, allows us to quiet our souls. We live in a noisy world, and our souls thirst for a quiet place of silence. Anybody of any age can do silence.

Here is what I try to do and what I invite you to do. Find a place and time where you can be still and comfortable in a quiet environment. Then begin to center yourself — this is where you will allow yourself to enjoy the quiet and allow your mind to become focused. I focus my thoughts on the blessings given by God. Then when you feel at peace, you will notice your breathing. Allow yourself to be in a prayerful state as you enter into this sense of calm. Notice how your body feels as you breathe in and as you exhale. For me, in this state of relaxation, I feel myself sensing the presence of God. While this exercise does not have to be centered in faith, the fact is that people of faith and followers of God have been using similar exercises in meditation for thousands of years. If you choose to meditate and focus on God, you will sense that God is continually speaking to you in the silence. In this state of peace and time of stillness, you will allow your holy imagination to be exercised.

Another type of meditation can be done as you move throughout your day. It can be done when you chose not to ignore the goodness of God’s creation. The world that surrounds us is full of beauty. Because we are often rushing, we cease to observe it. We do not notice the goodness all around us. We need to remind ourselves to look at the magnificence that surrounds us. As I slow down and catch a glimpse of the beauty in everyday, I see the creative power, the love, the exquisite masterpiece of God that is right in front of me everyday. Doing this allows us to see the good in the world. It allows us to be positive, generous, and joy-filled. It is an exercise of the mind that makes us more appreciative.

As you exercise your mind and muscles, your whole body will grow and become healthy. It is a science. It is the way we were created. Our bodies need personal attention, too. We all want to have less body fat, leaner and more toned muscles, more energy, and an improved and younger appearance. Think of it this way — if we workout, we do more than make the weights go up and down. When we exercise our bodies, we administer a therapeutic stimulus. By controlling the stimulus, we insure a predictable and rewarding response, but we have to envest fully with mental energy. As we workout our bodies and minds, the critical variable is our response when we begin to grow fatigued. A certain amount of discomfort can be expected with muscle and mental fatigue. The way we persevere and respond to such fatigue is exceedingly important. The human mind will usually seek the path of least resistance and as soon as we take a shortcut or compromise, the needed stimulus is diluted and the chance for effective progress is reduced.

Performing exercise and putting in the necessary time and effort bring about progress of a healthy body, mind and muscle. Precisely when we think we are too busy or when we feel like quitting a body, mind, or muscle exercise, is when we need it the most. It is counterintuitive, but I am encouraging you to seek the path of most resistance. Exercise! Do it for your mind and muscle. You will be rewarded with results you are seeking. Your family will benefit from your health.Through meditation and exercise you will gain energy. You will find clarity. Your mind and body are wired to be used. May the God who gave you life bless you in your use of meditation, mind and muscle.

• Dr. David M. Marz is pastor at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, 1159 N. Greenfield Road in Gilbert. Reach him at pastordavid@dreamwithus.com or Twitter-@spiritofjoyluth.

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