Using Mental Time Travel in Meditation from Psalm 73:23-26


Dave Cover


My goal in this podcast — Christian Meditation for A Bigger Life — is to help 21st-century Christians in the always distracted digital age — to connect with God with your whole being — including your body — and to wire into your brain the reality of that embodied connection in each moment. And I think most of us as Christians are often living unconsciously anxious and tense lives with a kind of disconnection between our body and mind, and disconnection between our body and God’s Spirit. Where our “Christian faith” has become almost exclusively about certain beliefs rather than an embodied experience with God’s Spirit who is always 100% present with us and in us in the NOW.

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A good biblical image of what you’re trying to do in meditation…

Psalm 16:8-9 NIV

With [the LORD] at my right hand, I will not be shaken. …My body…will rest secure.

Your entire body resting secure in the love and care of your Father in heaven.

It’s important to use meditation to try to feel your whole body, bringing your mind and body back into a oneness where you embrace your whole entire body as part of your soul. Your body is an important part of who you are eternally. That’s why you will have a bodily resurrection in your salvation. Not a new body, but a transformed body without decay or sin or mortality. When we embrace our bodies as part of who we are, we are able to live as God intends. And we’re able to present our entire selves, including the members of our bodies, to God’s Spirit. 

So an effective way of feeling your body is to focus on breathing and relaxing the entirety of your body and at the same time focus on feeling your body relax. This is re-integrating your mind with your body in meditation. So take some time now to bring your mind’s awareness on relaxing your whole body with each breath. And feeling your body relax. 

Try to imagine your mind feeling your body from within. As if your mind is going inside your body and feeling your whole body.

A big reason we focus on getting good at learning how to feel your body from within is because that’s how you can feel biblical images into your body. When I ask God to fill me with his Spirit, I focus on feeling my whole body and imagining his Spirit filling every cell in my body as his holy temple. That my whole body would be filled with God’s Spirit. This is a much more biblical way to think of it than just limiting God’s Spirit to your spirit. You are an embodied temple of God’s Spirit. So think of your body this way, and use your imagination to feel this biblical image into your body.

Try that now…

Psalm 73:23–26 ESV

23 I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 

24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 

25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 

26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

“Flesh“ = Hebrew word that could also be translated into English as body.

(Chatter — a book by psychologist and neuroscientist Ethan Cross) 

“Mental time travel”— “Engage in mental time travel. …Think about how you’ll feel a month, a year, or even longer from now. Remind yourself that you’ll look back on whatever is upsetting you in the future and it’ll seem much less upsetting.”

He’s talking about the importance of seeing your life and circumstances now as you would look upon them a month or year or five years from now. But we can do that even better!

See yourself now as you will be in your resurrection. That’s who you really are! You’re NOT all the other things that tend to make you anxious and stressed. 

You will see ALL of your anxieties and tensions now very differently when you are “received into glory” in your body’s resurrection when Jesus returns to restore all things in this world. This is what this psalmist is doing.

He is mentally traveling between NOW and then. 

Zooming in and zooming out.

I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

“Afterward you will receive me to glory.” 

“God is … my portion forever.”

And now Imagine this — there will be a time in the future when your body will be transformed completely by resurrection into a body of glory, beauty, power, spiritual vitality and experience, with a perfect immune system that will never get sick, and some kind of perfect healing system that will never die, and a perfect logic in God’s universe that will never tempt you to sin. This is what the Bible calls being “glorified.” 

Imagine this as true of you one day, so now look back on your anxieties and insecurities and the things that threaten you and anger you and see them as if looking back from this future.

And now look at everything else on earth and see it in light of Jesus restoring all things on earth, including you and all those in him through resurrection. And he will wipe away every tear and you will visibly see him and all evil will melt away. And you will eat from the tree of life and drink from the spring of living water and everything that means forever. See everything now in light of then. 

I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

And feel this reality into your body now through your biblically guided imagination.

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Follow Dave Cover on Twitter @davecover

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Our audio engineer is Diego Huaman.

This podcast is a ministry of The Crossing, a church in Columbia, Missouri, a college town where the flagship campus of the University of Missouri is located.