Meditation is a tool that God refers to in the Bible for gaining wisdom and understanding. Meditating on God’s word can help us to become mature Christians.
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Psalm 119:15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
The simplest way to use meditation during labor would be to choose favorite Bible verses to write on index cards. Then you could focus on those verses during labor. You could find verses to help you relax, others might give you courage, and some could keep you relying on the strength of God.
If you are new to meditating on scripture, you might want to begin with writing a meditation to help you remain focused on the passages you are studying. Write out the verse, then write it out in your own words. Repeat it in your mind as if God was speaking it directly to you, repeat it in your mind as if you were speaking it to God. Write down your responses to your meditation, the things God shows you and the questions that arise from your verse.
Jesus taught with stories because he knew the importance of engaging the mind of his listeners. By turning on their imaginations, he was able to help them focus and understand his points easier. Dr. Gary Smalley calls these teachings “word pictures” and explains how using them helps a listener become totally focused, mind and emotion, into your story.
In labor, you can use this tool of mental images to help you focus your thoughts and keep yourself relaxed. You may have heard of visualization or guided imagery used in labor as a comfort technique to keep the mother calm. Visualization and guided imagery are the use of your imagination to focus your thoughts and emotions in the same place, just like Jesus used them to teach principles of Christianity.
When used in labor, mental images can help you shut off to the external events in the labor room, and turn on to working with your contractions. However, it takes a lot of effort to keep your mind focused on an image without getting distracted – and the ability to keep focused is what you will be working on with this birth skill.
There are several levels of metal imagery, and many ways to use these levels during labor. A labor partner can describe a scene to you while you imagine it. You may choose to “memorize” a relaxing image and bring your mind to that image when you are in labor. You might choose to let your mind wander through a series of images that you make up during labor. Some women are very visual in their thinking and will be able to feel, smell and hear what they are imagining as if it is actually happening. Other women may find mental images difficult to relax with. Be sure to practice this skill several times before giving up on it, it may just be you need to learn to quiet your mind before this technique can be effective.
If you’ve never tried a mental imagery before, begin by finding a comfortable place where you will not be distracted by external events. Allow yourself a minute to get comfortable and then close your eyes and using your imagination build a scene in your head as if you were daydreaming or watching a movie in your head. Some women like to imagine a place where they feel very comfortable and relaxed. You may find you do best imagining yourself sitting or walking with Jesus or imagining a scene or story from the Bible. If it is extremely difficult to stay focused on one thought, let yourself listen to a book on CD or have someone “guide” you through the image by reading a story you write.
Once you are able to stay focused on your image for ten to fifteen minutes without your mind wandering, give yourself some external distractions to try to focus through such as a radio playing or the TV on. As you are working to stay focused through distractions you can also work on developing your images deeper. You might want to try to feel the heat of a fire or the warmth of the sun. You might try to smell the fresh dirt in a garden or the salt water of the ocean. You are imagining what you are seeing, and you can imagine with your other senses as well. The more you are able to imagine the scene you have created, the better able you will be at using the image to keep you calm and relaxed.
The rigors of labor can not prevent this meditation from being spiritually fruitful. It is often during the times of trial and intense work that God speaks to our heart most powerfully. By focusing with meditation during labor God may use this time to reveal more of himself to you.
When labor becomes more intense your meditation may become more like recitation, and that is ok. Many women find it difficult to focus on something for more than 10 seconds during the transition time of labor which makes this the perfect time to “chant” or repeat a short verse of the Bible, name for Jesus or other significant phrase.