Controlling Anxiety Through Meditation

Note that the post title is meditation, not medication. This post is about Christian meditation and how it’s slowly helping me overcome the breakthrough anxiety that my medication can’t quite reach–those thousand little worried or panicked feelings throughout the day.

But first, the music: the first song off the excellent soundtrack to the game Monument Valley–a peaceful album that just happens to be excellent for times of meditation.

I’ve never spoken about meditation before, but I imagine from articles that I’ve read that, when this practice is mentioned, there typically follows a fear of ‘New Age’ philosophy. I hope the readers of this blog would know me better than that, and have the intelligence to Google ‘Christian meditation’ before panicking. This fear has been addressed hundreds of times before, so I won’t go into that here; rather, I hope to be practical here and explain what exactly I am doing and how it is helping me.

How does meditation work? I’m not sure, but I have heard that it’s really good for one’s mental health, and I have found that to be true. In times of meditation you quiet your mind to focus on a single thought–perhaps a single verse of Scripture, perhaps a concept. The quietness apparently helps, or at least it seems to help me.

More after the break.

The main thing I have been focusing on is oneness with God through Christ. A few scriptures, so you don’t think I’m off my rocker (unless it’s too late):

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (1 Corinthians 6:17)

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:27

If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:10-11

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. Colossians 1:18

All of these scriptures, and many more, point to a mystery, that of being one with Christ. Wouldn’t it be nice to understand that mystery a little? What sort of fears could that address?

  • If I am one with Christ, he isn’t going anywhere, thus he ‘will never leave me nor forsake me.’ If he is always there, I can always depend on his strength to get me through the bad days, or the bad moments.
  • If I am a branch, I am part of the Vine, spiritually joined to him, inseparable. My life comes from him. I can experience that life, and that life, that love, can comfort me.
  • If I am part of the Body of Christ, that means that I am also one with that believer who is annoying me, so I can do something with those feelings of annoyance, because essentially I am getting mad at myself.

As I understand it, and I know this is a broad brush, the Western church tends to eschew mystery and focus on what it can understand: easily explained doctrines that hold God in a nice comfortable box. The Eastern (Orthodox) church and Christian mystical traditions have tended to embrace mysteries like the Trinity. Who really understands Three, yet One? No human on earth! Yet we can wonder about it, and perhaps some understanding, or some comfort, or something, can happen in meditation.

Practically speaking, here is what I have been doing. I’m not saying this is the right way, I’m just saying that this is what I do, and it might serve to get you started in a contemplative journey:

  1. Get up a little bit earlier in the morning, before anyone else.
  2. Put on some music that is peaceful but won’t put you to sleep (the aforementioned soundtrack is good, but there is plenty of good music on Spotify that’s useful for meditation
  3. Sit on the floor in a comfortable position.
  4. Repeat a single phrase or scripture and think about that phrase, that concept. In my case, ‘I am one with Christ.’
  5. Enjoy the presence of God, if you can sense him. If not, don’t worry about it–he is still there.

If I get distracted, there’s no condemnation, because I’m learning. All I have to do is just gently pull my mind back into focus.

This practice has been helping me quite a bit over the past week–I’ve become more focused during the workweek, and little things that usually irritate me, I find myself able to let go a little easier. When anxiety presents itself, I’ve had an easier time handing it to God and saying, ‘You deal with this, I can’t handle it.’ I also find myself happier as a whole and actually smiling on the phone dealing with customers instead of scowling at them. (I’m good at customer service, but there’s good service and great service, and being happy, helps.)

I hope this short post will help you launch your own expedition into the mystery of Christ–into the Trinity, our oneness with Him, or whatever aspect of God he directs you to. If you’re on medication for anxiety, I believe this will help.

I bless you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May you encounter Him at all times. Amen.

Edit: I found this little book (PDF) today that basically says the same thing as this post, but in more detail. (Source)

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