An essay about Christian meditation
Life can be very stressful. The pace of change is continually accelerating and the clash of cultural perspectives and conflicting viewpoints can be a source of confusion in the modern world. We may often feel that we lack the wisdom to cope with the challenges of the day. Many advocate meditation as a way to deal with such challenges. There are many different forms and their focus and technique can vary with the religious outlook that informs them. The Eastern forms of meditation based on Buddhism or rooted in the Hindu faith, for example, are very different from Christian understandings of it. This essay will focus on Christian forms of meditation because the author is a Christian and believes that there is little value to be gained from the alternative forms.
Christian meditation is neither an emptying of the self nor a detachment from desire or thought. Nor is it a response to the world and its conflicts but rather to the Divine. Instead of merely seeking to purge out the negatives, Christian meditation is focused on the positives. It is through the richness and quality of our thought that we purge out the shadows, wounds and stresses of the world. The main focus of Christian meditation is a prayerful reading of the Bible and the key to understanding scripture is the person of Jesus Christ. We meditate on scripture in order to better understand, connect with, and revere God as He has been revealed through His Son. As we hear His words and absorb them into our lives, our perspective is altered and deepened by His instruction.
So the love of God is our motivation for meditation and to love God better, more deeply, and with more wisdom is its aspiration. The greatest of all commandments is to 'Love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul, and strength.' As we meditate on the love of God revealed in scripture, so our hearts are transformed by that love, taught to love more passionately and more deeply, and stirred to a stronger reverence for the God who first loved us. His Spirit within us is the means by whom we are transformed. Meditation allows God to lovingly work inside of us.
The result of meditation should be a deeper reverence for God through Jesus Christ. So also, it should connect that reverence to our daily lives so that we are not just hearers of the word but doers as well. Reverence is the proper response to a deeper appreciation of the Divine. Meditation helps to integrate God's insight, love and life into our practical existence. Our lives are raised by meditation to a deeper reverence for the Divine that is demonstrable in our thoughts, words, and actions. It is by the fruit of our lives that we can measure the results of our meditation.
Christian meditation is therefore focused on scripture, for which Christ is the key to understanding. It is conducted in the love of God so that we might love God better. The result is a deeper reverence for the Divine demonstrated in all aspects of our lives. Meditation improves the depth of our understanding, desire and reverence for the Divine, connects our lives to His love and puts our thoughts, words, and actions in the proper perspective of the Divine will for our lives.