When we hear about Christian meditation, simple meditation, yoga, Buddhism, Zen, transcendental, or mindfulness meditation, are we talking about the same thing? No, not at all, but few practitioners know it. Many Christians ask themselves if meditation is a sin, and the answer is no.
Meditation is a full-fledged spiritual practice whose purpose for Buddhists, Christianity, and Hindus is similar but not the same. For Hindus, it helps to understand the ultimate reality to aspire and reunite with the Absolute. To no longer be prisoners of saṃsāra, and therefore to reach definitive liberation, the Mokṣa, and never to be reborn again. In Buddhism, meditation has as its goal enlightenment, the understanding that everything is Maya. Illusion, emptiness, conditioned co-production, and all to reach nirvana, extinction, and never be reborn again. For Christians, daily mediation is significant.
History and origin of Christian meditation
Christian meditation is a form of meditation that belongs to an ancient Christian tradition, still practised today in some specific places of the Eastern Christian world, such as the monastic republic of Mount Athos. The Western rite has never worried about the usefulness of techniques necessary for activating a good prayer.
To have the desired effect, prayer and meditation should arise spontaneously and naturally as an outlet for the individual’s love for the mystery of the infinite.
Representation of Christian meditation
Source: Superpower Wiki
The benefits of Christian meditation
Focusing on God’s ‘human figure’ and personal requests takes man away from his nature. The techniques contributing to inner silence are indispensable for coming into contact with Grace.
All scientific research shows that meditation can lower blood pressure and improve the immune system. But the most relevant thing about Christian meditation is the improvement of human wholeness in the harmony of body, mind, and spirit. The physical benefits of Christian meditation shouldn’t even be sought after, as the path of spiritual growth is the actual end of the practice.
Description of the Christian meditation technique
The basic technique of Christian meditation suggests sitting posture, staying still with your back straight. He silently repeats a single word with his eyes closed as if it were a mantra, maranàtha, articulating the four syllables.
By focusing on listening to yourself, you don’t have to look for anything spiritual. Christian meditation can be done twice a day, in the morning and the evening, for a time ranging from twenty to thirty minutes.
What is daily meditation?
Daily meditation is not a sin but is of fundamental importance in our ascent to Christian perfection. As anticipated, in this episode, we will talk about meditation, its importance, and the practical way to do it. While in prayer, we speak with God, in meditation, God speaks to us. Certainly not with a sensitive voice. But with heavenly inspirations and religious purposes.
Sant’Alfonso M. de ‘Liguori affirmed that without meditation, it is impossible to persevere in the grace of God. We will inevitably fall back into our usual sins. Our Saint also added that meditation is not a sin and sin never goes together.
Why does meditation not a sin but takes us away from evil? The answer is simple. This is because it opens our eyes, so we realise the disorder in our life. And the need we have to find a remedy. In meditation well done, the intention will arise to change our life, to become “good Christians,” and to do away with sin.
How is meditation practically carried out?
First, we must put ourselves in the presence of God; we must gather and prepare our minds for prayer. When we feel collected, we begin the reading of a spiritual text. Let’s read slowly and stop when we find something that strikes us particularly. We must not be in a hurry. And, like a hardworking bee, we must dwell on that “flower” until we find nourishment there.
Once we have found the passage, phrase, or episode that strikes us, we try to reflect and see how to treasure it by applying it to our daily life.
Joseph Schryvers recommends not going into abstract and arid meditations, which are often inconclusive. But to prefer simple and concrete meditations, such as those on the lives of the saints. Their examples draw us to the practice of virtue. And, from their life, we concretely learn to put the Gospel into practice.
Key Verse related to meditation with the Immaculate Conception
« Meditation must turn to concrete objects because they make an impression and strike. For example, has it never been noticed how Saint Alphonsus skillfully uses this law of human nature? Almost all of his meditations have as their object tangible things … Nowhere will abstract considerations be found, but everywhere moving details, touching scenes, tender exclamations ».
What is Christian meditation good for?
3 Main points when practising Christian meditation
1) safeguard daily meditation (possibly half an hour);
2) make it a practical meditation (examples of the saints and virtues of Mary Most Holy);
3) help yourself by applying the following steps: placing yourself in the presence of God, invoking the help of Mary; calm reading; reflection on a point that strikes us; affectionate conversation with God; practical purpose for improvement; prayer to be able to put into practice what we have proposed to do.
Meditation is not a sin because it makes us feel more of the presence of God. Therefore, our meditations should be based on simple texts, rich examples, and uplifting. Meditation on the lives of the saints will offer us the best meditation on the “Word of God,” or Sacred Scripture.
From severe and prolonged reflection on a sentence or an example of a saint. A great affection will arise and, from the latter, powerful intentions for improvement. With the practical purpose, we have reached the meditation’s end. At this point, all that remains is to ask the Lord for the most important thing. The grace to be able to put into practice the purpose we have made since. As is well known, “between saying and doing, there is the sea.”
Only if we meditate assiduously every day in this way will we be able to pray with fervour, and our prayers will become more and more fruitful. Otherwise, our spiritual life will dry up more and more without meditation, and our prayers will become drier and drier.