Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
When asked in an interview when he meditated, the person responded, “I am never not meditating.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember who was being interviewed (Can someone help me out?), but the statement “I am never not meditating” stuck with me.
I wondered what he meant, never not meditating. Did it mean that he sat on his cushion all day, candles lit, eyes lowered, softly chanting or silent, perfectly still, finding nourishment in the air itself, ever and always serene?
Well, I’m sorry, but I have children and grandchildren to care for, friends to see, a blog to write, bills to pay, and if I don’t eat regularly, I get headachy and cranky. Sitting on a cushion all day is fine for some folks, but it won’t work for me.
But that couldn’t have been what he meant. After all, he took a break from his cushion at least long enough to give that interview.
I think he meant that he sought to be as open and mindful and present in his daily life as he was during formal meditation. These qualities, consciously cultivated on the cushion, permeated all aspects of his life. There was no separation of sacred time and ordinary time.
Perhaps that is what the Bible teaches as well, not to separate sacred time from ordinary time. I’m writing this article on a Sunday. I’ve just come from church, where I sang hymns that touched my heart and awakened my longing for God, for what is holy, for what is beautiful and true and perfect.
I was filled with the “peace that passes all understanding.” I don’t want to experience that just some of the time; I want it all the time.
So I came back to the verse quoted above.
It doesn’t say to rejoice only when you’re happy. It doesn’t say to pray only at set times. It doesn’t say to give thanks only when things go your way. I think this verse describes an attitude of humble gratitude, a spiritual habit of consistency and continuity, an ever present awareness of the divine that infuses our every thought and word and action.
If someone ever asks me when I pray, I want to answer, “I am never not praying.”