The Simple Dollar Morning Roundup: Meditation and Prayer Edition

I have a question: do you meditate or pray? If so, how often? I find that quiet time for introspection and mental relaxation that prayer and meditation provides for me is invaluable in my life.

A Guideline Budget – How Do You Compare? Although I’m not the biggest fan of strict budgeting, I thought that this analysis of a regular “suggested” budget was quite fascinating. (@ gather little by little)

Learning to Love the Not-So-Big House We intended to have three or four children when we bought our house, so we went shopping with that plan in mind. If it were just me and my wife, we would have purchased something much smaller. (@ get rich slowly)

A Token Head Scratcher Is it ethical to buy tokens for Chuck E. Cheese on eBay? I think it’s an interesting question with a lot of dimensions to it. (@ mighty bargain hunter)

The Simple Dollar Retro: Can You Devote Fifteen Minutes A Day To Frugality? Well?

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  1. I meditate every morning, a habit I got into when I was Buddhist. It really impacts how I feel and how the day goes; on the few days when I don’t meditate, I find that I feel more scattered and stressed, which leads to me having a far less enjoyable day! I even find that when I don’t meditate, I’m more susceptible to outside influences, be they the bad mood of a coworker rubbing off on me or the marketing ploys of Madison Ave. convincing me to overspend.

  2. Writers Coin says:

    It’s hard to find the time but I find that, when I lay down (not going to sleep) and just close my eyes and let my mind relax, I’m at my most creative. My unconscious really percolates and my mind becomes a breeding ground for new ideas.

    I should do it more often.

  3. Erich says:

    Every morning I take some quiet reflection/meditation time. Usually this is after my fist cup of coffee, but before I have to start really doing anything (getting ready for work or whatever). I have found doing so keeps me balanced and my day usually goes better.

    Let me explain what I mean by better. It’s one of those things thats easier to do by explaining what my day is like when I dont do my morning meditation. First of all, I usually feel on-edge, like I’m rushed, or missing something. Secondly, unexpected events have a much larger impact on me, in that I will react with anger or frustration more often. Finally I am much less motivated to work and play.

    Here’s how I meditate: I grab a cup of coffee and a cigarette (I’m a smoker if you aren’t the cigarette is not needed :). I go out to one of the porches (depending on the weather). Then I just gaze off into the distance and unfocus. After about 15 or 20 minutes I’ll sort of “wake up” and have a much better outlook on life.

    About unfocusing, it’s not just my eyes, it’s my concentration. This is different from focusing on nothing, which I find impossible. Instead, it’s more like leting my mind drift, sort of daydreaming, but not really. When I first started doing this, I would let my eyes wander, and when something looked interesting, I would just look at that, and not think. Now it’s just sort of habit.

    Most of what my mind touches on as it drifts is irrelevant garbage. But occasionally it will come up with something good, like the solution to a problem I’ve been working at, or a new perspective on something I didn’t understand. Almost always tho, in that time I sort of subconsciously reaffirm my goals and my dream, and what I need to do today to work at them. It’s sort of like the GTD processing step, but for my subconscious (sould if you like).

    At first I was bothered that I would wander around the mental garbage while meditating, I thought it was unhealthy. Then one day I sort of realized that by doing so, my brain was accepting that these thoughts were garbage, and they could safely be ignored. Much like some theorize that dreams are for sorting through memories to find the important stuff and discard the unimportant stuff.

    Ok this is getting pretty close to babling, so I’ll stop now.


  4. Laura says:

    I pray through out the day. many are spontaneous, though I find myself praying in the car on most mornings. I used that time to reflect on who I want to be (honest and understanding), what I want to do (my task list for the day), gratitide for what I have, and well wishes for others for the day.

    I enjoy as it gets me calm and in mind set of being ready for the day instead of just being passive about what will happen.

  5. I spin yarn and knit, which often creates a meditative state for me. :) When I REALLY want to chill or calm down, I spin thread-fine yarn out of my absolute best fibers, like the cashmere/silk blend I’ve got going now. The motion of the wheel is hypnotic and requires very little from me to keep going. I do my best thinking when I’m spinning.

  6. d.a. says:

    I try to meditate daily, but it’s a struggle. I also make time at night to review my day, and give thanks to whatever-powers-there-might-be for all of the blessings I have.

  7. Dave says:

    Strangely enough, my mediation comes from running. There is this point of … mental peace and clarity that comes to me on my long runs. Burn away that cursory energy, the light stuff that powers us through the day and tap deep reserves. Some how running then…. it’s like a switch has flipped in my mind. All concerns, worry, frustrations pass. All that exists is that next step, next breath.

    All I can figure is my use of the Chop Wood, Carry Water matra.

  8. Debbie M says:

    I do not meditate or pray. I will try to think of nothing if I have had insomnia for several nights and need to fall asleep, but that’s it.

    I like having my brain full of stuff. It doesn’t mean I never relax it. I like to sing along to music, for example. And I do defocus sometimes like Erich such as when I’m riding the bus and have nothing to read. I think lots of people do this when they exercise (if it’s not a sport) and while they do housework.

  9. Eleanor Joyce says:

    Hi there,
    I pray. Just wanted to say I think your blog is wonderful – I just discovered it yesterday and have spent some time here looking around. I posted links to it on both my blogs this morning. Thanks for all the great info.

  10. Frances says:

    My husband and I try to make a Morning Offering to God when we wake up each day. Most mornings we are also able to attend Mass together, an awesome experience of communion with one another and with God.

    Prayer humbles me – it reminds me that it’s not “all about me.” I thank God for His providence and ask His blessing on others.

  11. iDave says:

    I started meditating in January after I read in “National Geographic” that – by the numbers – Buddhist monks were the happiest people on Earth. Now I find it really helps my concentration, my focus, and my stress level.

    Just taking a moment to concentrate on your breath throughout the day – it’s pretty amazing what it can do.

    I also keep a little Buddha on my desk that I glance at when I get stressed. It’s my little mindfulness practice.

    This is all helpful, especially when money and finance is involved :-)

  12. Bob says:

    Whether you do it with prayer, meditation, calm reflection, or some other form of quiet, alone time, you are doing something that our society seems structured to stamp out. “For God’s sake”, it seems to be saying, “Don’t think, don’t have a moment to yourself, don’t plan, don’t dream. Hurry up and get busy, you have many important things to do, and you’re late for all of them.” This encourages “running around with one’s head chopped off”, and losing sight of goals (assuming you actually have any conscious goals).

    Another aspect of this is not being “jacked in” all the time. Some people hate and fear silence, and need the constant stimulation provided by iPods, the Internet, satellite / cable TV, etc.

    You know I haven’t subscribed to TV for two years, and use my TV now only for a (rare) DVD. Guess what, I haven’t turned into a pumpkin.

    Your mileage may vary, but I need to turn the damned computer off now and then, much as I love it and make my living from it. I value living thoughtfully and mindfully, and need it for my sanity. If I don’t do this, I don’t say “no” to enough things, and too much cruft gets into my life. I lose my focus, and become much less effective.

  13. Jayne says:

    Yes- I pray throughout the day, but wish I was more disciplined and had an actual morning devotional time. I keep a list of people that I pray for and also try to read a chapter of the Bible daily. This sometimes leads to meditating on the bigger picture, God’s love and mercy, and occasionally a personal moral inventory (sadly not often enough.)

  14. wayne says:

    I do both. I find that I CAN pray without meditating, but not the other way around. When I meditate I become thankful, which in turn becomes a prayer of thanksgiving. If you pray without meditating, it’s hard (if not impossible) to hear from God. God’s is a quiet, still voice. Prayer is like sending, meditation is like recieving.

  15. Samir says:

    I pray and meditate twice a day, early in the morning before leaving to work and in the evening after coming back from work. It helps me to de-stress myself and focus on two different lives ( professional and personal) which makes me move ahead in life.

  16. Monica says:

    In theory (but not always in practice), I say Morning Prayer every day (from the 1962 Canadian edition of the Book of Common Prayer), including reading the Scripture lessons. Afterwards I pray for whatever special intentions I want to pray for, with a wooden “holding cross” in my hand. Also, I send up little “arrow prayers” at various points in the day. For example, if I hear the siren of an emergency vehicle, I pray “God, be with them” (them being all those involved, whether victim, offender, paramedic, family…).

  17. Mrs. Micah says:

    I try to do both. I like Brother Lawrence’s idea of practicing the presence of God–being prayerfully aware while working.

    I also observe three of the “hours” while at work: Terce, Sext, and None. (9am, noon, and 3pm) I use the readings on the universalis website and then try to spend a minute at least breathing if not praying. Or I chant songs from Taize ( in my head. Only this week I got it set up so that my Outlook reminds me of the hours. Otherwise I’m prone to be caught up in something. Outlook for church bells, whodathunkit.

  18. Mariette says:

    I meditate every day, in the morning and in the evening. It’s invaluable. I’m calmer, more relaxed and able to face upheavals in my day and life much more equanimously. I don’t get as caught up in all the sturm and drang of it all. I also get a lot more done because my mind is more balanced and can just take what comes a lot better than it used to.

  19. Geron says:

    Thanks for asking. I pray at least 3 times each day:

    Once in the morning
    Once in the afternoon
    Once at night before bed

    Human beings are, in our essence, spiritual beings, and prayer to God is a great way to nourish our souls.

    When performed in the spirit of service to humanity, work is worship. (according to the Baha’i Faith)

  20. Ann says:

    I pray/meditate…it’s grounding and keeps me focused on The Bigger Picture…it’s not about me. We all worship something…prayer and meditation helps me to keep focused on Who is really Worthy of my worship/prayers.

  21. Jess says:

    I take a yoga class at least once a week. At the end of every class we go into a pose called “corpse pose” (savasana) and just chill out and relax – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly (or actually) fallen asleep. It’s great to just take an hour away from school and my thesis and focus on me for a change.

  22. Jim says:

    I pray. Alone and with my family. I also read scriptures alone and with my family. Almost every day. Not only does it benefit me with better concentration and all that, and my family with better relationships and all that, but I can see blessings from God in my life. God blesses me when I keep his commandments and acknowledge his influences in my life.

  23. ruthie says:

    I pray to Jesus for guidance concerning how much to put into my 401(k), what exactly to invest in, creative ideas and strategies, which financial planner to hire, especially before I sign any contract. He is faithful to advise me.

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