At the end of the summer, we took a company retreat and spent some time away from the ADDO office. We do this twice a year to cast vision, enjoy time together as a team, and talk about what’s next for our company.
Different members of our team lead sessions, and at this particular retreat, Patrick led a morning devotion to kick-off our time together. The anchor of his message was a quote from a former pastor of his: “What you meditate on, you magnify, and what you magnify controls you.” As he dove into this quote and explained it fully, I gained a new understanding of how our thoughts direct our everyday choices.
What you meditate on, you magnify, and what you magnify controls you. @KevinPaulScott
What do you think about on a daily basis? What thoughts consume your mind? What do you dwell on in your life?
Typically, our image of meditation is a person sitting with their legs crossed and eyes closed as they peacefully ponder the meaning of life. But the kind of meditation we’re talking about is a focus or fixation on something. It’s what you dwell on, and it’s what distracts you from thinking of anything else. As the quote says, what you meditate on, you magnify.
I love this picture that Patrick painted for us. He asked, “Have you ever been to an IMAX movie theater?” Then he encouraged us to imagine sitting on the front row of one of these monstrous theaters. You’re leaned back, looking almost straight up, and all you can see is this giant, glowing screen. It’s so big and so overpowering that you can’t even see all of it, you can’t see the movie clearly, and you definitely can’t see anything else around it. He explained that if you meditate on something, it takes over your mind the way an IMAX movie screen engulfs you on the front row. It is on the forefront of your mind, and it’s all-consuming to you. It becomes so overpowering that these magnified thoughts not only affect your emotions; they control your decisions.
As we examine the things that consume our thoughts, it’s often the difficult experiences that overwhelm us long after they have come and gone.
Someone special hurt you years ago, and it hinders your ability to have a healthy relationship today.
You were taken advantage of by a friend, and now, you respond differently to people because of it.
You had a bad experience at a church, so you’ve never gone back.
As a child, you witnessed your parent’s marriage fall apart, and it’s preventing you from committing to the person you love.
You won’t go to that grocery store out of fear that you’ll run into that person that you despise.
If you’re constantly meditating on something bad that’s happened to you, you magnify it, and you won’t move on from it. I once heard a sermon on forgiveness where the pastor said, “When you hate somebody, your world gets smaller.” Isn’t that true? You might actually choose not to go to a place or participate in some activity because someone you don’t like might be there. What a shame! If your mind is consumed by the negative, you will live in the shackles of your past circumstances.
Maybe, as you’re reading this, you are thinking of something that you have dwelled on for far too long. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve realized that you’re allowing those experiences, that pain, and those thoughts to control you.
Decide today that you will stop meditating on and magnifying that experience. Once you stop dwelling on it, it will become smaller to you. The smaller an object becomes, the less control it will have over you.
Instead, focus your thoughts on what’s important. “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you” (Proverbs 4:25, ESV). When you magnify what matters, your life will improve.