Meditation, Discomfort, and 40 Days in the Desert
Often in life, we find ourselves looking for a sense of existential meaning, and sometimes we
find ourselves in a pit where we find ourselves as victims of circumstances ranging from bad
luck to bad decisions. Sometimes, we ignore the answers within ourselves because we refuse
to take a step from the regular 9 to 5 grind and take some time to focus on ourselves for our
own sake. Coming from a Christian viewpoint, whenever I find myself in a situation like one of
the ones mentioned earlier, I take out my Bible for an opportunity to observe, study, and reflect
on a life full of grace and love, as well as struggles and hardships, of Jesus of Nazareth. One
story that often holds many means to those who read it is in Luke 4:1-14, in which Jesus, after
being baptized and performing many miracles, camped in the desert for forty days in order to
reflect on God and meditate. During that period of time, he fasted and prayed until Satan arrived
to tempt Jesus in order to pull him off his path.
After defeating Satan’s temptations, Jesus was spiritually rejuvenated and was able to return to
his followers in order to carry on his holy mission. What the temptation of Christ shows is many
things to many people, but as many of us prepare for a better season and newer opportunities,
perhaps we need our own equivalent of a walkabout in the desert in order to refocus our minds
and energies. Before we can jump into a long road trip away from work or plan a destination
escape far and remote, we need to understand our mindset in order to dedicate our thoughts
towards real change.
“One thing you learn in rehab is that you’re responsible for your own actions.” ~Dale
No one comes close to living a Christ-like life, no matter how good a man or woman may live.
We have faults, deficiencies, and demons of our own we all have to carry. In America today, we
see in our communities across the country addiction to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, the list goes
on. Typically when one goes on a spiritual journey, it is because they are either running away
from one thing and running to another. You are distancing yourself from your own temptations in
order to achieve a better state of living.
In order to start your journey, you must first take into account what has led you to this decision,
and understand fully that your mistakes of the past have already been made, but you can
ultimately control your actions going forward. Just as Jesus dedicated himself to fasting thus
depriving himself of food, and constant prayer thus depriving himself of human interaction, when
Satan arrived to tempt Jesus this was a struggle that he ultimately had the strength to
Once we understand that we can take ownership and control over our own lives instead of
letting bad influences or our temptations control us, anything is possible.
“The thing about meditation is: you become more and more you.” ~David Lynch
Whether you are praying in a meditative state to God or meditating for the sake of mental clarity,
establishing good meditation habits are shown to do everything from preventing diseases to
increasing self-awareness and better sleep, and the evidence is there to back it up . Sometimes
we need to look into ourselves for the answers we need, through faith or sheer logic, in order to
ultimately decide what is the best decision for us. By effectively learn the style of meditation that
best suits us, taking the time to get away from work and responsibilities so we could have some
time to work on this could help our sense of being long term on our road to better tomorrows.
“The temptation to take the easy road is always there. It is as easy as staying in bed in
the morning and sleeping in. But discipline is paramount to ultimate success and victory
for any leader and any team” ~Jocko Willink
From soldiers to athletes, anyone in high stakes and highly competitive environments knows
that ultimate opponent usually isn’t another team or individual- it's yourself. While Jesus was
confronting Satan in the desert, all Satan did was provide Jesus with options any human man
would have typically been tempted over; food after fasting, ultimate power as a ruler of
kingdoms, the need to satisfy pride by proving yourself to those unworthy by placing yourself in
dangerous situations. Ultimately, Jesus made choices and stood by them by choosing the path
of holiness over the temptations of Satan. Which is what brings us to our final point...
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through
the whole countryside.” Luke 4:14
Anything that makes us better people is ultimately worth doing. By facing real threats and
dangers in the desert all by himself, Jesus armed himself mentally and spiritually for the road
ahead of him. By going out on your own to discover your own personal journey of
self-development, the goal isn’t to simply go on a nice vacation or somewhere relaxing; the goal
is to put yourself in an environment where you are distraction free and ultimately out of your
comfort zone. By focusing on your own improvement, practicing discipline so that you can
become more accountable over your actions, these are the things you need to do so when you
come back from your own desert you are stronger, wiser, and better because of it.