Meditation Discipline 2014-26
What is Meditation?
What is meditation, its meaning and goals? I have taken the liberty of using data gleaned from a Sunday School lesson I did, which drew from Richard Foster’s “Spiritual Disciplines, which I asked for permission to use, but the publisher never responded to my request. I highly recommend his book which has detailed and very useful information.
Hopefully, I can get the message across to you for the original question. There are two basic types of meditation, the Eastern and the one I will be discussing, the Biblical/Christian Spiritual Meditation.
You might be aware of the Eastern form with a person sitting on a mat with legs crossed, showing the bottoms of their feet, eyes closed, hands together and saying over and over, OOOOOHHummmmmmmmmm, OOOHHummmmmmmmm, etc, or whatever mantra or chant he or she is used to saying. Detachment is the goal of Eastern religions or meditational prayers. It is the escaping from their wheel of existence, trying to control their psychological or emotional well beings. That is ok if that is what your goal is; of emptying the mind of thoughts.
Biblical or Christian meditation, however, involves becoming detached from the controlling and hindering influences of the world and instead being attached to the living God through Christ. In this way, we might, through faith and transformed values, experience the sufficiency of the Savior and reach out to a hurting world in need of the living Christ or to ourselves. It is object oriented beginning with reflective reading of the Word , followed by reflection on what was read.
For instance, with Biblical Meditation we do NOT want to empty the mind and ponder infinity by repeating a chant over and over. Once more, it is reflective thinking on biblical trut, so that God is able to speak to us through Scripture and through the thoughts that come to mind as we reflect on the Word. With Biblical Meditation, we hope to personalize the Scripture so that truth can affect how we think, change our attitudes and how we live and take action in life. No OOOHuuuuuummmm’in in this type of meditation.
What is the basic purpose of Spiritual Meditation? The purpose of Biblical meditation is to “Hear God more clearly.” We can do this, in one way, through the process of meditating and many cases combining it with Prayer. Meditation can be incorporated with many of the other Spiritual Disciplines in the Inward, Outward and Corporate areas, which I discussed the blog Spiritual Disciplines. Also, remember, Spiritual Meditating is not like the eastern culture of meditating as we just discussed.
In the midst of an exceedingly busy ministry Jesus made a habit of withdrawing to “a lonely place apart” (Matt. 14: 13). He did this not just to be away from people, but so he could be with God, His father. What did Jesus do time after time in those deserted hills? He sought out his heavenly Father; he listened to Him, he communed with Him. And he beckons us to do the same. Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word.
I absolutely and firmly believe all of us CAN, yes CAN get to the point of hearing God speak to us and in doing so, being able to obey what He tells us. There are NO mantra chants to do, no hidden ways, mental exercises or flights into some kind of cosmic thinking to do. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit wants our fellowship and desires to hear from us, through prayer, and then speak to us through meditation, as an example. One thing needed though for this to happen, is commitment on doing it.
To Hear from God???
There may be a fear factor involved in hearing from God. The Israelites did not want this type of intimacy and in the time of Moses told him, “You speak to us and we will hear, but let not God speak to us, lest we die”, as written in Exodus 20:19. This is when God gave them the Ten Commandments. There was thunder and lightning and trumpets blowing and the mountain was in smoke, so it was daunting to them. God can whisper in your ear and does not have to shout to be heard.
The verse from Exodus shows why meditation is so threatening to us. It boldly calls us to enter into the living presence of God for ourselves. It tells us that God is speaking in the continuous present and wants to address us. Jesus and the New Testament writers clearly state that this is not just for the religious professionals— the priests— but for everyone. All who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord are the universal priesthood of God and, as such, can enter the Holy of Holies and converse with the living God.
I used to think “Why did God speak to those in the Old Testament, but doesn’t do so now, today? Did He get laryngitis or has He forsaken us as his children?” If God is alive and active in the affairs of human beings, why can’t his voice be heard and obeyed today? That is what I used to think!!!!
God’s voice can be heard and is heard by all who will know him as present Teacher and Prophet. How do we receive the desire to hear his voice? “This desire is a gift of grace. Anyone who imagines he can simply begin meditating without praying for the desire and the grace to do so will soon give up. But the desire to meditate, and the grace to begin meditating, should be taken as an implicit promise of further graces.” One of the amazing ways to hear God talk to you is very simple; read Scripture. By doing so, we form the biblical foundation for meditation. Combine this with prayer and just see what you hear!!!!
I may continue this later with ideas on HOW TO meditate. For now, stop, read this and consider what I have said. The how to, is not that hard, but I found that I HAVE TO DO certain things to make it work.