In the mid-1970s, my parents and I were part of a Christ-centered meditation group. Meeting on the premise that prayer is man talking to God, and meditation is God talking to man, our group consisted of about eight to ten regular participants. Each Friday evening we'd meet in one home or another, and it was always a very nice way to end the week, as we'd leave feeling relaxed, recharged, and spiritually "connected."
It was a somewhat diverse group, as our friends were both black and white, Catholic and Protestant. While most of us were active in our own traditional churches--and were certainly part of "mainstream" society--the meditation group provided the "something more" that seemed to be missing in our spiritual lives.
Our gatherings began with everyone sitting on the floor in a circle. Why on the floor? Well, part of that was completely practical--none of us had enough chairs that could be easily moved into one room to accommodate a group of this size. We'd sit in the circle, usually holding hands, and after saying a prayer for protection and guidance--and one that thanked God for allowing us to again meet in Christ's name--individuals would begin to speak, as they felt led to do so.
One night a new man was with us, as he'd been invited by one of our friends who felt he could benefit from this type of spiritual gathering. I don't recall, now, all of the problems that this man was facing, but we hoped that he'd come to realize that help and guidance were always, always available....
As we sat on the floor in our circle, prayers were said for us all, and especially for our new friend. At some point, with eyes still closed, I did not "see," but rather perceived three men standing behind our newcomer. Dressed in long robes, one held a bowl of water, and all three of the robed figures dipped their fingers into the bowl and sprinkled water onto the man's head. Again, this was nothing that I saw with my eyes, but something that I "knew" had happened.
After the meditation session, as we relaxed and talked with each other over desserts and coffee, I told "Don" what I had perceived. He smiled and told me to talk to "Mitchell," another man in our group.
When I talked with Mitchell--who had already talked with Don--he said that he had also "seen" these three robed figures behind the new man whom we'd been praying for, and he had also witnessed the sprinkling of water on the man's head. It seemed that our "perceptions" were identical, and we concluded that our new friend had received some sort of spiritual "blessing."
This was not the first nor the last time that spiritual visitors were perceived by various members of the group--and in almost all cases, these perceptions were independently confirmed by at least one other person who had "perceived" the same thing. Just as important as what we often "perceived," the wisdom that was shared when we gathered had practical applications in our daily lives. We can all get so caught up in the frantic pace of life, that it's sometimes easy to forget that God is right there, in the midst of it. The group helped to restore our balance and to remind us of this....
We continued to meet each week for three years or so until moves and transfers, the birth of children, and changes of schedules so diminished our numbers that we stopped gathering on a regular basis. One of our members went on to become an ordained minister, and all of us grew through the experiences and the fellowship that we shared.
There is much to be gained by following the directive to "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) When we are still, our hearts and minds become receptive vessels, allowing us to no longer just have to believe in God, but to know that there is a power and unifying force present in the world and in our lives....