We are kicking off a new series on the spiritual disciplines of the Christian walk at a Bible Study group I attend on Tuesdays. First up: meditation.
Usually the word conjures the image of a monk, shaven head and legs crossed, hands resting on each knee as if they were holding an imaginary blade of grass. And what’s the first color that comes to your mind? Orange or Yellow I would wager.
The image that came to your mind is probably associated with Eastern meditation because that is what commonplace media promotes. However, it is fundamentally different than Christian meditation.
In Easter Meditation, the goal is to empty your mind.
In Christian Meditation (as with all the disciplines), the goal is to fill your mind (with God’s presence).
Lens of Scripture
Imagine for a moment that you were next in line to lead the nation of Israel. Moses, the one who courageously faced Pharaoh, lead you out of bondage, who talked face-to-face to God, has just died and the responsibility falls on your shoulders. This is the position Joshua found himself in. Incidentally, it is also where we encounter the Hebrew word for meditate:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” – Joshua 1:8
The word used here is hagah which is to growl, moan, mutter, devise, & plot. The New Testament Greek uses meletáō which carries connotations of diligence, devise, plan, study & ponder.
If you are eager to try Christian meditation and unsure of where to start, there is a technique I use with my palms. It’s important to find a posture that you are comfortable in to minimize distractions. Laying in bed doesn’t count as we both know you will just fall asleep.
Personally, I meditate in my bathroom. I turn the shower on full hot and let the steam fill the room. I lay a towel or cover down on the floor and sit with my legs cross. Next, I place each palm face down on my knees. This signifies that I am giving things to God. There is no real power in the posture, but it helps me focus my mind on the Father, which is my ultimate goal. To experience His presence.
I think through everything that is going on in my life and try to sum those events up in one or two words. It is important to give both your victories and your losses. I say the word and imagine me giving it over to God.
After I felt I have gone through everything I can think of, I turn my palms upward. This signifies me receiving God’s answer. I think back of the list of items I gave to Him and how I feel His response is based on scripture, prayer and the insight I receive from other believers. I imagine peace, grace, mercy, provision, and love.
That’s it. That’s how I meditate.
However, during this study, I am going to dive into tradition, the benefits of meditation and other techniques that Christians have used for meditating. I am also interested in your experiences with meditating.
What techniques have you used to meditate?
Interested in reading more about Christian meditation. Be sure to check out the other posts:
- Spiritual Discipline: Meditation
- Meditation: Lens of Tradition
- Meditation: Lens of Tradition II
- Meditation: Lens of Reason
- Meditation: Lens of Experience