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Lenten meditation is a process of self-reflection that many Christians practice during Lent, the part of the Christian liturgical year lasting from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Lent lasts for 40 days, reflecting the 40 days that Jesus, according to the Gospels, spent fasting and praying in the desert. There are three main practices that Christians, depending on their particular denomination, are expected to increase or start during Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The prayer aspect often comes in the form of Lenten meditation, in which an individual spends time reflecting on his relationship with God, his past sins, and how to be a better person. For some people, such meditation is a highly personal process while others may gather at a church several times each week for formalized group meditation sessions.
While many forms of meditation are based on blocking out all worldly concerns and attaining a state of deep relaxation, Lenten meditation is based on pointedly reflecting on one's life and relationship with God. In practice, this differs little from other forms of meditation. If one wants to meditate alone, he should find a quiet and secluded place where he can be alone at least a few minutes. Upon doing so, one generally sits or lies down and pushes immediate concerns relating to work, personal relationships, money, and other worldly things out of one's mind. With these thoughts pushed to the side, one is free to ponder God and how to change one's life to align oneself more perfectly with God.
Some people prefer more guidance in their Lenten meditation. During Lent, many churches distribute prayer books that include daily meditations prompting people to reflect on certain aspects of their lives or faith. Many find this to be helpful, especially those who choose Lent as a time to return to a faith that they've abandoned for some time. These prepared meditation topics tend to cover a variety of different topics, so using them allows one, over time, to comprehensively assess the state of one's faith.
One common practice during Lent is giving up an activity that distracts one from God. Many choose to give up things that they find to be merely distracting, such as television or video games. Others may try to eradicate harmful behaviors, such as smoking or drinking, during this time. Some people use the free time that they gain from such sacrifices for the purpose of Lenten meditation. The sacrifice allows them to avoid something that distracts them from God while the Lenten meditation is a directed attempt to become closer to God.
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