One of the problems that religious people have is that we try to find God with our minds. What we need to learn is that to understand anything about God we must discover Him in ourselves. St. John of the Cross once wrote that, “God is the center of my soul.” What’s true for him is also true for us. The center is where we begin, and so it is to the center that we must return.
We hear a lot about self-discovery. What is that? We spend thousands on psychotherapy to understand ourselves. We go to the ends of the earth on a voyage to discover ourselves. We go on retreats, motivational speakers, read self-help books, but we don’t change all that much. No real discovery is made. What are we looking for? If you want to find yourself look in a mirror, you are right there. No we are looking for something more than that.
A voyage of self-discovery is a pilgrimage to our own essential being. If we look deep enough inside ourselves we will find God. In that discovery we are saved, we are liberated, and set free. In searching for ourselves we should learn to lose ourselves in Him, for it is in Him that “we live, move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
So how do we get there? Most people I know were taught to go the Church on Sundays and to study the Bible. We are taught a bunch of do’s and do not’s. We are taught that we should pray, but few are taught how to pray, or what prayer really is.
St. Teresa of Avila says that prayer is the doorway into your soul. If you are going to reach your center, where God is waiting for you, prayer is the way in. That being said, prayer is much more than just reciting something you memorized from rote. It is more than just asking God for what you want. It is more than asking God to take care of the people you love. All of those are good, and should be a part of your prayers, but they shouldn’t end there. Talk to God like you wold your therapist, telling Him all your problems. Talk to Him like you would your best friend, confiding all your most intimate secrets. Comminication is every bit as important in your relationship with God as it is in a marriage. You can’t do all the talking though. Sometimes you need to listen.
Meditation is the prayer of silence. It is the way to full communion, because when we meditate we are fully ourselves. In the silence of meditation we are free of desire and ego. In deep silence we discover our oneness with with Him who is one with everything and everyone.
“For through faith you are all children of God, in union with Christ Jesus. Baptized into union with Him, you have all put on Christ as a garment. There is no such thing as Jew or Greek, slave or free man, male or female, for you are all one person in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26-8)