The first thought and image that crosses our minds when we think of meditation, is the typical Buddhist meditation. Monks humming the om, in yellow or orange robes, playing with their large beads. However, meditation is much more than that. Other religions, such as Christianity also practice meditation, although somewhat differently. Christian prayer meditation is one of the most powerful meditation types.
Prayer is the Christian meditation. The Christian bible tells Christians to think about God’s word. In Joshua 1:8, God says to meditate on His word day and night so we will obey it. The psalmist says “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). As a matter of fact, the Bible mentions meditate or meditation many times. Here meditation means to think. In Christian meditation, you have to think about the good words that God has commanded people to do. Also you need to consider focusing on them, so that you have a guide to teach you to live your life free of sins.
There are two major differences between traditional meditation and Christian meditation.
- In other forms of meditation, the person seeks to empty one’s self; in Christian meditation the believer seeks, instead, to be filled.
- In other forms of meditation, the object of the meditation is the higher self, while in Christian meditation the object is God, who is high above all.
So when is best to meditate? There are three times during the day we can actively turn our minds over to God’s Word in Christian meditation. Just before we fall asleep, we can have God’s Word be the last thing that occupies our mind. Upon awaking, we can have God’s Word be the first thing to fill our minds to start the day. Finally, we need a specific time each day to be in God’s Word so it can speak to us throughout out day.
You don’t have to lie down in order to do Christian meditation. All you need to do is think about God’s word wholeheartedly and also accept them as your daily guide in your daily life.
Christian versus Eastern meditation
Meditation in Western culture focusses on the mind concentrating on one objection, and forgetting about the others. In Eastern culture, however, meditation focuses on the mind being switched off completely, which means there is nothing thought about. The mind is empty of thoughts.
People adopt meditation as their spiritual practice for various reasons. Improving oneself, concentrating your mind to God, practicing yoga to improve health and achieve peace. Christian religion also adopted meditation. Meditation practices that are practiced on a regular basis are the Holy Rosary, and prayers focusing on Adoration, or the Eucharist in Catholic religion. They are not very different from the Eastern meditation, which focuses on concentrating on individual objects. Within the Christian tradition, meditation has often been referred to as the reflective pondering of scripture for the purpose of engaging with the divine revelation of the self-giving â€˜non-dual’ absolute. Several schools have emerged, with each emphasizing subtle differences in approach. The most notable examples are the four styles of meditative approaches described as Augustinian, Ignatian, Thomistic and Franscican.
Each of the styles has a connection with a particular personality temperament and each is named after the great saint who practiced the particular style of meditation. As we explore the different types of meditation, it is important to point out that once a meditative approach is learned, many people can use most if not all four types to their advantage, especially if the Benedictine Lectio Divina is used as part of the approach.
The most common form of Christian meditation is prayer. And one of the occasions when meditation, or prayer is included in the Christian practices, is Christmas, which also includes Advent recollections in preparation of celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Meditation can be usually done in two ways, either in guided or unguided form. Guided meditation is following the voice of a guide, or priest, or use meditation DVDs or CDs. It can be done alone, or with a group of like-minded people.
Unguided meditations can also be done within a group but no one speaks. The session is carried out in silence accompanied with meditation music. Some sessions are done in isolated locations with a quiet, peaceful, and natural surrounding. Still nobody speaks. Meditation music is the sound that can be only heard. You can do unguided meditation well after taking several sessions of a guided meditation.
Meditation, performed regularly helps you discover yourself. Increases your inner awareness to seeing and following your right path in your life. It is an inward fulfilling journey. Your consciousness about everything can bring clarity, serenity, and bliss harnessing and sensitizing your mind power. Also it manages your stress, so that you can experience your mind as a sanctuary of peace where you can retreat at any time. It neutralizes emotions to achieve bliss and nirvana. It can help you live longer because mediation creates a platform for a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.
So don’t think that just because you are Christian, you are not mediating. You are, every time you are praying, every time you are calming your mind, retreating to that inner quiet and peace within yourself.
Learning to meditate, and doing it on a regular basis can help you improve your daily lives and cope up with your environment. Inner peace can lead to world peace. Perhaps the two most important books on Christian meditation I can recommend are “Meditation for Christians: Entering the Mind of Christ” by James Finley and “Christian Insight Meditation: Following in the Footsteps of John of the Cross” by Mary Jo Meadow.