Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

Meditation: Not Just for Jesus and the Evil New Agers Anymore

In Life, Meditation on January 10, 2011 at 6:46 am

If you haven’t tried meditating, I highly recommend it for the young, old, religious, non-religious, healthy, unhealthy, and for those of any background or walk of life. There are no rules for meditating. You can do it any way, any time and any where you would like. If you’re not quite sure what it is exactly, or would like to hear about my encounter with it, read on.

Meditation from its Latin root means to ponder. It’s basic definition could also include, focused attention. Many say that it is a way to rise above the body and the mind in order to awaken to true spirituality.

Relax your body and mind and let your Spirit soar high.

For me, meditation had been associated with some preconceived ideas and misconceptions until I had tried it out for myself. Long ago, I feared the idea because it was practiced by those of Eastern religions which I was taught were Satanic or cultish. It was okay to meditate on Bible verses however, but that seemed like too much work to me so I never got around to it.

In my experience, the Christian idea that meditation consists of contemplating scriptures comes from the famous Psalm 1:2, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” The law of the Lord, his precepts, his works and the Lord himself are meditated upon, apparently, by focusing on the written words of The Holy Bible.

If Christians are conditioned to interpret the scriptures according to certain traditional beliefs, meditation is only a means of reinforcing this conditioning. But I have come to understand meditation or contemplation to be an entirely different endeavor, one that involves the personal soul within, rather than a Christian teaching from without.

Meditation enables us to enter to the depth of our spirit. On the way, we encounter obstacles such as buried emotions. We might have to face our fear, insecurity, anger, regret, depression and anxiety but only to replace them with peace and strength. Meditation brings clarity, hope and confidence, and it discovers it within our very selves, instead of a distant and detached teaching outside of ourselves which may or may not be trusted. To unleash calm and inspiration from within means that it is already a part of us rather than something we must strive and struggle to adopt for ourselves.

This focus within, bravely facing and accepting what we find within, results not only in conquered emotions but also health, longevity and harmony within our relationships. Although the Bible contains some beautiful meditative truths, this was something I hardly experienced when memorizing scriptures, studying them or thinking about them.

It is recorded in history that Jesus stole away from the crowds to be alone and to pray. I have a hard time picturing Jesus meditating on the Old Testament scriptures during his time alone in the mountains. I have an equally difficult time imagining a modern day Jesus with a modern day Bible. Although the Messiah knew the scriptures of old, he hardly mentioned them except to communicate to his Israelite followers. He often clarified what they really meant, implying they needed something other than the scrolls just to understand them. But the fact that even the Son of God spent time alone speaks volumes. Perhaps solitude, or time spent with the self, is our direct path to God, as opposed to say, through the Bible?

In my church-going days, I was cautioned against focusing upon myself at all. This is considered prideful and “pride comes before the fall.” It is also considered selfish and getting dangerously close to my sinful nature, which could take over my entire life if I wasn’t careful. This is why I could meditate upon the Bible, but not upon and within myself.

Yet when I began to dare to look within, I did not find demons or arrogance as expected, but I discovered a very damaged soul that had been hurt by all kinds of people and circumstances in my past. This broken self of mine needed some care and affection, not an avoidance.

Once my buried emotions were released, I now had room for love. This meant that I could receive love and therefore possess it to give to others, and God. How can we genuinely express what we have not already experienced for ourselves?

As I mentioned there is no specific way to meditate. I will explain what I have tried and what resulted from it at the risk of coming across as though I have found the secret. I have only found what works for me personally.

When I first began to meditate, embarking upon the unknown, I would sit in a quiet corner on a comfortable chair in my bedroom where I wouldn’t be distracted. I would close my eyes, lift my hands into the air and begin to breathe deep while focusing on my breathing. I concentrated on my senses, awakening myself to the very present moment, where time does not seem to exist.

Once I found myself in the present, everything became still and quiet. This is when I could “hear” the deeper voice within me. I then allowed myself to think of any thoughts and feel any emotions that came up. I examined those thoughts and feelings and pondered them without judging them. I would wonder why I have them or whether or not I liked having them. I thought of where they might have originated in my past. I might forgive myself or someone else, or I simply allowed myself to think and feel and become more aware. It often ends with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and an intricate awareness of details.

As a warning, the first week of meditating every morning was pretty rough for me. I spent most of the time either distracted or else remembering my past and crying. Sometimes I would cry for an hour or longer. But they were therapeutic tears. It takes an average of a week to detox and release buried emotions. But after that first week, I can’t put into words the intense freedom I experienced.

Now I usually meditate when I wake up in the morning before I get out of bed, while I’m already at rest from the night’s sleep; and again as I’m falling asleep at night. I spend as much time focusing on the present and then upon my thoughts and feelings as I need. It either energizes me for the day or gives me a peaceful night’s sleep. This can actually be done any place and any time, even in a noisy and crowded place, although a place of solitude is much less distracting, especially for beginners.

Meditating has affected my entire life. It is how I found release from my past, a passion for the present and direction for my future. It is where I discovered myself and my real hopes and desires. It has become my refuge, my rest and where many of my questions are answered, especially questions I have about God. It has given me a whole new perspective of prayer, and a new understanding of my creator and the spirit within me, that is totally and intimately connected to me.

If you try meditating or if you already practice it, I would love to hear about your experience with it, whether positive or negative. And here I will leave you with some quotes about meditation from those who have ventured to discover it.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~ Siddhartha Gautama

“When we meditate, what we actually do is enter into the deeper part of our being. At that time, we are able to bring to the fore the wealth that we have deep within us.” ~ Sri Chinmoy

“And waking towards dawn, meditation was the splendour of light for the otherness was there, in an unfamiliar room. Again it was an imminent and urgent peace, not the peace of politicians or of the priests nor of the contented; it was too vast to be contained in space and time, to be formulated by thought or feeling.

Meditation was the very essence of life.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Meditation is silence.
Silence is God
In His Infinity’s Smile.

~ Sri Chinmoy

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  1. Wow. I am at the very beginning of the meditation journey–and as a person who was taught for years that anything ‘new age’ opens the door to Satan, it has been a challenge. Thank you for this post–so encouraging. I’m just beginning to trust my own instincts over the tapes that play so loudly in my head.

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