As we approach the end of this series of blogs on worry, I want to repeat something that I’ve said several times already: “Insight does not equal transformation.” We can learn a number of things about overcoming anxiety, but until we do them knowing them will do nothing to change us.
One of the things we must DO to integrate this truth into our daily lives and routine is we must practice meditation. Now meditation doesn’t mean we must learn to sit in the lotus position, humming a mantra and eating sunflower seeds and tofu. That, sadly, is what we associate with the word “meditate.”
But in reality, meditation is a simple procedure that we do every day. It has at its root the concept of chewing. Did you know that chewing gum came to America in 1869? The Mexican General Santa Anna (of the infamous Alamo victory) was living in exile in, of all places, New Jersey. He had a ton of chicle brought to him when he came to America, and persuaded Thomas Adams to buy it from him. Adams thought it could be used as a rubber substitute, but noticed that Santa Anna enjoyed chewing the stuff. So he boiled some and tried it, added licorice flavoring and voila! The first chewing gum was invented, called Black Jack.
In a book entitled, “The Psycho-Dynamics of Chewing” (yes there is such a book), the researchers found that chewing relaxed people, made it easier to focus, reduced muscular tension and made them more productive at their jobs. Chewing gum made its way into the food kits put together by the military during World War 1 and World War 2 since it had also been proven to keep those who chewed it alert and awake.
At the root of the word “meditate” used in Scripture is the word for “chew.”
“Do not let this word of the law depart from your mouth, meditate (chew) on it day and night…” (Joshua 1:8)
“I will meditate on your precepts.” (Psalm 119:78)
“I will meditate on your wonders.” (Psalm 119:27)
“I will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” (Psalm 145:5)
It’s interesting that, instead of emptying our minds, as much eastern mysticism teaches regarding meditation, the Bible says FILL your mind with the truth of God’s Word and CHEW on it… over and over… until its truth becomes part of you and begins to transform your thinking… and your life.
The purpose of the Bible is not to see how widely we can study, or how much material we can learn. It is to allow the precepts, the teaching, the Laws, the truths of the Bible to penetrate our thought life and our hearts and to change our lives.
And that’s a LOT to chew on!