FAITH

Meditation is not a four-letter word

 

meditation

meditation

Meditation has gotten a bad rap among Christians, although I do see a changing trend. I can remember being critical of Yoga myself because of the “Eastern” philosophy connected with it. I practice Yoga myself every once in a while when I can’t work out due to my feet.

I may offend some Christians but if we don’t look at the issues that tickle our sensitivities, we’ll never understand our world. And when it comes to meditation, I wonder how it ever got such bad press anyway.

I wonder what people think Jesus was doing when He went off alone to pray? He was meditating. He might even have sat cross-legged. I mean, does anyone know? Really?

Of course, I would call this kind of meditation, Christian meditation. What is Christian meditation and how is it different from Eastern meditation?

Christian meditation is quite simply listening to God and obeying His word. There’s nothing mysterious about it. No mantras. No chants. No seeking a deeper consciousness. It’s filling our mind with Him.

Christian meditation

Christian meditation

Eastern meditation is all about emptying the mind and finding a “deeper level of consciousness through repetition, chants, body posture. Its ultimate goal is a sense of detachment from the world.

Christian meditation is not a religious manipulation to bring about psychological or physical changes.But any form of meditation, including Christian meditation can result in lower blood pressure. And that’s just an added benefit.

Very few Christians practice meditation. They pray, yes, but that’s something very different than meditation.

Meditation is a little scary. We are listening for God’s voice. Because meditation is silent, it’s scary.We’re so much better when we are busy talking.

meditation

meditation

Meditation is intimidating. We feel inadequate. How do we begin? How do we avoid distraction? There’s an old saying, “If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.”

I do not admit to having all the answers. I’ve meditated for a few years now. Not every day, of course. Sometimes I sense I get it right. Other times, not so much.

But as with all things worth pursuing, I keep at it. This is one of those times where the process is also the result. Hope you followed that?

I would like to recommend two books if you are interested in the subject. This first book is considered a classic. It’s called Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster. The second book is one I’ve mentioned many times. It’s “Hearing God” by Dallas Willard. (I recommend all books by these two authors although be prepared. Dallas Willard’s books require a lot of thinking and re-reading. But I happen to love a challenge.)

4 replies »

  1. There is a form of Christian meditation called Comtemplative Prayer which originates from the suggestions that Jesus gave the disciples in Matthew 6. And recently I heard of a form of Yoga called Stretch and Pray, which is based on Lutheran liturgical formats. I don’t seen anything inconsistent at all with being Christian and meditating. Good piece here!

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    • Why is it Christians are always so afraid of being “contaminated”? Thanks for commenting. Was good to hear from you again. I am going to check out the Stretch and Pray Yoga. You don’t happen to know if there are books or tapes, do you? God bless.

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      • Hi Rebecca. I only heard about Stretch and Pray over the weekend, but I see there are lots of materials if you search Stretch and Pray.

        The other item I mentioned — Contemplative Prayer — came from a Roman Catholic tradition, founded by Father Thomas Keating. It also goes by the moniker Centering Prayer or Contemplative Outreach. There are several videos: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=thomas+keating&stid=3ca28862-3d22-aef9-3fbc-3a6fbe5a8796&qpvt=thomas+keating&FORM=VDRE

        My previous Lutheran congregation had a series on this latter approach. I found it very useful, but I am afraid it has been the while since I have actually practiced this.

        Yes, there is resistance to these approaches by some well-meaning Christians. I have a friend who calls any form of meditation “the work of the devil.” That doesn’t dissuade me in the least. Good meditating!!

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