Many types of meditation are being practiced today; each with followers from all walks of life. What are they and how do we know which is suitable and good for us?
Meditation from the East are gaining popularity not just in the East but also throughout the Western world. The followings are a few that you might have already heard of : Zen Meditation, Buddhist Meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Mantra Meditation.
Zen meditator tries to concentrate on the breath, whereas the Buddhist's main focus is concentration on the body to attain peace and tranquility.
Transcendental meditation on the other hand aims towards being transcended to a mental state that is calm and peaceful and Mantra meditation teaches the use of a sound called mantra and focusing and concentrating on that sound to keep out all other sounds and thoughts.
Like all Eastern meditation, all Western meditation also strives to bring the meditator to a state of peace and calmness. Many Western psychologists are using one or more of these types of meditation techniques to treat their patients.
It is noted that the main and primary goal of these various types of meditation methods for the one who found it and those who are practising it is to find or attain peace; peace within oneself and peace with the world. Because of the hectic lifestyle that we are living, most of us are living in a constant state of stress and tension. Therefore, to attain a calm and peaceful state in mind and body is something that everyone needs to live a full and meaningful life.
As Christians who believe in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ, the purpose and goal of meditation is not to attain peace for we have the Prince of Peace who said that He has given us peace.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid."
So if it's not to attain peace that we meditate, why then do we need to meditate? And how can we meditate?
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
- 1 Timothy 4:15
Christian meditation is a very important aspect of the Christian life. It is as important as praying. Prayer on one hand is communicating with God, meditation on the other hand is contemplating, reflecting and thinking God's thoughts. Both prayer and meditation are necessary in our journey with God. Thinking God's thoughts by meditating on His words and His works strengthen our inner man and enable us to stand on higher ground - to view the world and life situation from God's perspective. Meditation on His word keeps us anchored to Him and His will for our life and not let our thoughts take wing on unfruitful whim and fancy.
Joyful reflection on God's creation and the care and love He put into designing each of His creation enable us to know Him intimately and help us to trust Him to provide and care for us. For example, the detail in a leaf, helps us to know that God takes care and delight in working out every little detail in our life.
Paul in his final exhortations to the Philippians told them to think right things. Below is the scripture verses in the New international Version. I also included verse 8 in the Amplified version for it effectively amplified the meaning of this exhortation and help us see what Paul desired of the Philippian believers. In it is one of the most quoted scripture verse - "Do not be anxious about anything ... and the peace of God..."
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
- think about such things.
New International Version (NIV)
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable,
whatever is kind and winsome and gracious,
if there is any virtue and excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think on and weigh and take account of these things
[fix your minds on them].
Amplified Bible (AMP)
So in view of these, Christian meditation stands apart from other types of meditation. To meditate for a Christian is to ponder, muse and contemplate on God's word, to think lofty thoughts, to dwell on things that are good, to reflect on past experiences of God's goodness and every thing that is Godward.
And as we think God's thoughts and do His will, His peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. God's peace stood as sentry against all negative emotions and thoughts - protecting us from depression and worries and stress.
And here are some other resources concerning Christian Meditation which I hope will help you in your daily meditation practices.
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