Listen: Leah Bulfin chats to Emma Mullings about God-centred meditation
Leah Bulfin was running on empty.
Raising three children, including a newborn, wasn’t the only thing on her plate. She was also building a new house, running a business rocked by a global economic crisis, and supporting her husband through his MBA studies.
In her own words, she was “at the end of herself” – exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In the middle of this emptiness, Leah woke up one morning, longing to be with God. She went into her walk-in-wardrobe, shut the door, sat down on the carpet—and began to meditate.
Over the next 20 minutes, something remarkable happened.
A feeling of rest that Leah hadn’t experienced in a long timed settled in, and the heaviness she’d been carrying, lifted.
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“As I waited in silence, I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace and rest,” she wrote in an article for ‘She Is’.
Having been a Christian most of her life, Leah had prayed thousands of prayers, but this was different. Instead of giving God a list of requests, there in the wardrobe that morning she just sat still, and ‘waited on the Lord’.
“For 20 minutes I sat in stillness and experienced the character of God, His faithfulness, His love, His strength, His peace,” she wrote. “The anxiety and stress that had plagued me for so long melted away as I sat alone with God.”
The Start Of A Life-Changing Journey
That morning in 2012 was the start of what Leah describes as “an incredible, life-changing journey”.
There’s hardly been a day since, when she hasn’t set aside 20, 30 or even 60 minutes, to meditate on God. She’s even begun a popular blog about the practice, called GodCentredMeditation.
For Leah, meditating on God and His word led to some remarkable life change in a short time.
Her constant stress dissolved. Her persistent anger disappeared. Her home and relationships became happier. Her business saw a remarkable turnaround. She even found herself getting flight upgrades at the airport.
And most importantly, peace became her permanent companion.
“I’d been in a very difficult season,” she told Hope 103.2. “Lots of things had not been going well. I had this sort of emptiness in my soul. When life gets really tough and so busy, often the first things that goes is the time you spend with God.
“But when I meditated, I found the peace stayed with me all day long. All the things that had been weighing me down were lifted off my shoulders.
“No matter what was happening, I’d wake up with a sense of peace that things were going to work out instead of going over thing s in my mind. And the amazing thing was, things did start to work out. The things I’d strived so hard to sort out myself just began falling into place.”
Business And Family Began To Flourish
“We ‘d been in business for many years, and have never seen so much turnaround and health and life in the business as we have in the last couple of years,” Leah said in an interview with Emma Mullings.
“God would give me strategies in those times that I waited on him. Opportunities began to open up for little dreams I’d had in my heart for a long time, and things began to happen that I hadn’t tried to make happen.
“It’s changed our whole family life. We have a completely differently life and circumstances to what it was like three and a half years ago.“
What is God-Centred Meditation?
To explain what “God-centred meditation is, Leah begins with the Bible verse, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
“God centred meditation is about taking time to be still, and to stop all the thoughts and the noise and the chaos that goes on in our minds, and allowing our spirits to be able to connect with God,” she said.
“Things like fear, anxiety, worry, stress, and all the general busyness of life, these things live in our mind. But the Bible tells us that God is a spirit, and He lives in our spirit and connects with us through our spirit.
“So it’s so important for us to make time regularly, even daily, to get out of the “head-space” and get into the heart space where God lives, and to connect with Him heart-to-heart and spirit-to-spirit.
“When we make a practice of taking time to be still and connecting with God, then He’s able to fill us with His peace, strengthen us, restore us, and to fill us with hope.
“And we find that we begin to live our life from that space, rather than from the head-space where all that other stuff lives. It’s a really powerful thing.”
It’s Not Eastern / Transcendental Meditation
Christian meditation is very different to the Eastern / transcendental variety, as it focusses on God, His presence, and His word.
But for many Christians today, the word meditation still conjures up thoughts of Eastern religions, New-Age beliefs, flower-power, crystals and incense—and is therefore taboo.
Leah Bulfin believes the loss of the ancient practice from the modern church is a tragedy.
“In the last couple of hundred years, the church as a whole has become very nervous and backed right away from the practice of meditation,” she said. “It’s such a terrible shame that it’s largely become lost to Christianity and the church, because it is such a powerful way for us to be able to connect deeply and intimately with God.
“In this fast-paced world that we live in, we need that now more than ever.”
A Long Tradition of God-Centred Meditation
“What a lot of people don’t know is that meditation originated with God and in the Bible,” Leah said.
“The first recorded instance of meditation is in Genesis (24:63) in the Bible, where it says that Isaac went out into the field to meditate one evening. Right through the Bible we find references to meditation and meditating on God. The Psalms are full of references to meditation. “
One of the more famous Biblical scriptures about meditation is Isaiah 40:31, which says “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”.
Church history is full of Christian thinkers and writers known for their practice of meditation and contemplative prayer.
Famous ones include Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), Saint Teresa of Avilla (1515-1582), Brother Lawrence (1614-1691) and Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717). More recently, the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) was an advocate of meditation.
In a sermon called ‘Quiet Musing’ he said, ‘Such a man never has a cold heart or a slack hand who is much in meditation with his Lord Jesus”1.
Meditating: Different To Just “Praying”
In Leah’s view, meditation is different to prayer alone, as meditating is about listening, rather than bringing your requests to God. Both are important.
“I’ve heard somebody say that prayer is about us talking to God, and meditation is about us listening to God or making space for Him to speak to us,” she said.
“Prayer is absolutely a vital part of our Christian life, but sometimes our prayers can be reduced to us simply giving God a grocery list of everything that we want Him to do. Meditation, though, is about making space to connect with Him from our heart-place and allowing Him to speak to us, and allowing Him to fill our spirits with His love and peace and joy.”
Leah said there are no rules or formulas to meditation, no special words or poses or rituals required. Simple is best.
“Sometimes we feel like God’s so far away but actually He’s not, He’s always with us, because He lives in us. It’s just our attention and our focus that moves away from God. It’s about bringing my attention and my focus back onto God.”
It’s More Than Just ‘An Escape’
According to Christian writer and long-time meditator Phil Fox Rose of Patheos.com, meditating isn’t just about escaping your busy world for a while before hurtling back into it again. It’s far better.
“The promise of meditation is not the 20 minutes of refuge from an otherwise insane day, wonderful as that may be,” he writes. “The promise of meditation is to make that day less insane, by making you less insane.”
By settling your mind on the things of God, your entire day can become more peaceful.
- How To Meditate: 10 Tips For For Christians
- Leah Bulfin blogs about meditation at godcentred.meditation.com
- The Complete Works of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 10: Sermon 576, Quiet Musing.