My soul shall
be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee
with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate
on thee in the night watches. (Ps.
Christian teaching and preaching tends to focus more on doing than on thinking. When thinking is mentioned, the focus is on ethical, moral, and doctrinal thoughts. Little attention is paid to the trivial random thoughts which scurry constantly through our minds. Eastern religions, on the other hand, have much to say about these monkey-thoughts. The practice of meditation in Buddhism or yoga is intended to bring stillness to the mind, and to silence the chattering thoughts.
Many Christians view Eastern-style meditation as highly suspect, or even demonic. To them the only ‘kosher’ meditation is meditation upon God’s Word, as a means of gaining insight into the Scriptures. Once again, this reflects the Christian preoccupation with profound, ‘religious’ thoughts – which is all very well, but we run the risk of overlooking the commonplace, so our minds continue to be filled with chatter.
Please do not get me wrong here. I love meditating upon the Scriptures. Still, I feel that Eastern meditation be understood in a positive light from a Christian perspective.
Some meditators see thinking as an obstacle to enlightenment. They speak of “stinkin’ thinkin’”, and seek a mind which flows spontaneously with "no thinking". But if you untether your mind and ride the current, then you will go wherever the flow takes you. There are many currents and many streams, some leading to quiet ponds and peaceful coves, others to churning rapids and vicious riptides. And it is not possible beforehand to know which leads where.
“Be still, AND know that I am God” (Ps.
46:10). In Christ, it is possible both to achieve stillness of mind
and remain centered upon Him. Many schools of Eastern meditation pay a
great deal of attention to technical details of sitting position, posture,
breath, mantra, etc. As followers of Jesus’ spiritual way, so much
more should we pay attention to our spiritual positioning when we meditate.
Spiritually, we should be seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6);
even while we are standing upon the Rock who is Christ (Ex. 33:21).
Our breath should be the Holy Spirit-life which He has breathed into us
(John 20:22). Our mantra should be the murmuring of the Spring
of Life which He has opened up in the rocky recesses of our hearts (John
help us be still and to know that You are God.
Copyright © 1998 CrossPollen
Last Revised: March 8, 2003
CrossPollen Main Page || top of page || CrossPollen e-mail