This morning I lead a class on prayer and one of the prayer exercises was a guided meditation, based on Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” One method that has helped me enter into silent meditation is to take an imaginary trip to a favorite place that emotes peace. Many people (especially during a Minnesota winter) might choose a tropical beach with warm breezes and rhythmic surf. Or a beautiful garden that is under a brilliant blue sky and filled with fragrant blooms. I choose the Cowlitz Ridge near Mt. Rainier.
I hiked the ridge once, nearly forty years ago. The week before I left for my freshman year of college, my friend Marv and I decided on one last hike together. We picked a three-day trip along the Wonderland trail which circles Mt. Rainier. At first we climbed the steep switchbacks up out of the dark forested river canyon. As we near the top of the ridge we stepped out of the dark forest into brilliant sunshine and a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier. We camped in that meadow for two nights, soaking up the beauty and wonder of that ridge.
Now whenever I want a special time of prayer, I go on an imaginary journey to that same spot. The only difference is that I take the imaginary trip with Jesus as my guide and friend. For many reason, I find rest, comfort, strength, hope in visualizing him there with me. As I meditate a deep abiding peace grows up around me. I realize that I could imagine Jesus with me in other locations, but that spot has become a very holy spot.
I sometimes wonder if I will ever make the hike back to Cowlitz Ridge. I might, but it is not essential to my spiritual life. The essential part remains Jesus who is my guide and source of peace and joy wherever I am.
Has guided meditation helped you in your spiritual journey? Where do you find God’s peace?