Praying the Rosary: A Formula for Success

A US Marine Doing Pull-ups.
Any goal worth achieving takes energy and persistence.

I follow a lot of blogs and news sites covering topics ranging from technology, to personal finance, humor, and fitness.  Nerd Fitness is one of my favorite exercise and health blogs I visit.  Steve Kamb started the site when he decided to start a blog on a topic that is important to him.  It started out small with some posts and ebooks but he now has a small fitness empire where each of his posts reaches thousands of people and receive hundreds of comments.  His blog does for fitness what I hope RosaryMeds does for rosary prayer and meditation (he has apparently had more luck finding a large audience so far).  I like his articles because he doesn’t promise miracles or “six-pack abs in six days” type of exercises.  He understands that to achieve meaningful results one has to put in a lot of time and hard work.  That is similar to the how I feel about rosary prayer — it’s a long process and not a “quick fix.”  He recently published a guide on success and happiness which has a lot of parallels to what I’ve said about rosary meditation.

Steve mentions the progress principle meaning that “we love making progress so much that we actually enjoy it more than getting the thing we wanted in the first place!”  The progress principle fits nicely in areas where there are measurable results such as fitness, diet, work, and school.  But it’s hard to measure progress when it comes to prayer and spirituality.  There is no blood test you can take to measure how far you are in God‘s grace.  You can’t hop on a scale and see how many sins your soul has gained.  There is no report card and annual review from “the boss.”  But that doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress in your spiritual life when you pray the rosary daily.  The changes are just more subtle.  In my book on rosary meditation, I explain that praying regularly gives me perspective on life.  When you spend quality time with God, what He values starts to rub off on you and they become your values.  You just start to treat life in different ways whether it is not sweating the small stuff or feeling a little more confident when facing difficult challenges because you have faith that God knows you can handle it.

I’m going to skip to the end of the Nerd Fitness article.  The beginning is worth a read as he talks about money and happiness.  But the real crossover with rosary prayer comes when he talks about “being in the zone:”

When we are productive and happy, Haidt defines this as “flow,” or in “the zone”: a state where you are incredibly immersed in the task at hand while incredibly productive and happy.

Find a way to make time for these things as often as possible. Challenge yourself to make room for them in a busy day, for we all know that “I don’t have time” is a big fat lie.

In terms of rosary meditation, the concept of “being in the zone” should sound familiar to anyone who has read my book.  Praying the rosary is all about finding that zone where you lose yourself in prayer.  Like exercise, you have to put in some effort to find the zone where you get the most benefit out of praying.  You don’t get physically fit doing a single push up daily.  And you don’t get spiritually fit with a few, disjointed prayers either.  And while some prayers are better than nothing (just like some exercise is better than none at all), you really want to push yourself to find your prayer zone.  That zone is where you will make the most progress finding the true happiness to which God calls you.

English: A Discalced Carmelite nun sits in her...
Finding happiness through prayer also takes effort and discipline.

Finally, the Nerd Fitness article ends by offering a free tool that willincrease your happiness, energy, confidence, emotional balance, fertility, and immunity…while reducing stress, loneliness, inflammation, and risk for disease.”  And if you’re a regular reader of RosaryMeds, you already know this tool — meditation, specifically rosary meditation.  Steve writes:

When we learn to meditate, we can teach ourselves to ignore the stuff we can’t control and focus instead on the things we CAN control.  We can recognize our negative thoughts for what they are, and focus on the thoughts or lessons learned that make us happier.  Along with that, meditation can improve your attention span and self-regulation and can even lead to a longer life.

Science backs up the physical benefits of rosary meditation.  As I wrote in the physical benefits of rosary meditation about an Italian medical study:

Luciano Bernardi, associate professor of internal medicine at Pavia University, recorded breathing rates in 23 healthy adults during normal talking, recitation of the rosary, yoga mantras, and six minutes of controlled breathing.

Breathing was markedly more regular during the rosary and the mantra and was slowed to about six breathes a minute.  The results mean yoga enhances ‘aspects’ of heart and lung function and might be viewed as a health practice as well as a religious practice, he said.

The takeaway from all of this — develop a rosary meditation routine so that you can find your “zone” and make progress towards leading a healthier and happy life.  Your body and soul will thank you.

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