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A different perspective on meditation

Discussion in 'Deeper Fellowship' started by Eftsoon, May 7, 2021.

  1. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    I've been asking myself why meditation tends to be forbidden in Christian circles. I've come to the conclusion that meditation excludes the essence of our faith. The meditator is not only taught to deny the supremacy of the Godhead, but to deny that the universe is suffused through with value and that everything participates in the Divine.

    A meditator is taught to bracket out value-seeking and to accept things 'as they are'. The problem is that the structure of reality is based on the teleology of all things towards God. Everything is striving and straining toward God. To deny this in meditation is to focus and build one's being around a lie.

    Christian meditation would have to be the contemplation of the idea that our experience is shot through with God's power and majesty, and that our experience is predicated on God's sovereignity.

    We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Romans 8:22

    The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.Psalm 19:1

    For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

    All You have made will give You thanks, O LORD, and Your saints will bless You. Psalm 145:10

    My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2


    These scriptures contradict the Buddhist conception which is promoted through formal meditative practice. We cannot rightly contemplate things with detachment because the cosmos is just not made that way. Everything is in a state of high emotion. The universe is participative. Everything is directed toward God, everything is longing for reunion, reconcilliation and restoration to Him.

    So can Chrsitians meditate? We can meditate on these scriptures. Beyond that I dare not suggest anything resembling formal practice because ultimately, this is all Gift and Grace. This is of course the other big difference between Christianity and Eastern mysticism. All that we receive is given by Grace.

    All I am willing to say is that focusing on the breath or on some object of attention and allowing that to fill consciousness is the wrong approach. If 'enlightenment' is a lifting of the veil, we should strive to see the universe as it really is. The true subjects of meditation are:
    our dependence on God;
    the presence of God in experience;
    the beauty of that experience (not dependent on our ability to see it);
    the fact that our bodies are themselves in a state of constant praise;
    the universe's continual praise

    To rightly meditate, we should be in tune with this reality. How you do that has to be worked out in prayer. Perhaps it is different for every soul. I do think that it is more likely that this is given as a grace and that trying to induce it methodically is liable to be spiritually harmful


    NOTE:
    1) There are some with psychological conditions who use traditional meditative techniques to relieve their symptoms. I have an anxiety-based disorder and have stopped meditating for the reasons cited above, but I am not recommending that such people follow my lead. Ultimately you have to bring that to God in prayer. Perhaps our unique situation warrants a different perspective.

    2) I am not promoting panpsychism. Again that is a metaphysical conjecture which is not explicitly stated in the bible. We just don't know whether all things have their own subjective experience. We do however know that nothing is 'dead' or 'lifeless'.

     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
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  2. SugarCookies

    SugarCookies New Member

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    Interesting topic.

    IMO meditation is risky for a number of reasons the main being it is in and of itself an act of opening yourself up in both physically and spiritually to other unknown energies. We know that God is the one true living God and he is all powerful and all knowing but even God mentions in scripture there are other Gods (Pagan Gods, Idols, Eastern God's, Kali, Shiva, Brahma etc) that use meditation as a gateway to introduce people into believing in their inner divinity (Satan believed he was equal to God)

    The meditation God was talking about in Joshua 1:8 differs greatly from Eastern meditation. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that participating in any form of meditation, apart from biblical meditation, is opening the door wide to the enemy.

    Points to consider:

    1. Eastern meditation empties the mind. Biblical meditation fills the mind and spirit with God’s Word. Emptying our mind is actually a very dangerous thing because it gives the enemy room to fill it with his deception.

    2. Eastern meditation focuses on self: centering yourself, your inner self, self actualization, your breathing, physical feelings, and emotions. The enemy will do anything to get us to stop focusing on Christ. Furthermore, his ultimate deception is pride or elevation of self. Biblical meditation takes our focus off of ourselves and places our focus on Jesus Christ.

    3. The positions used in Yoga and Eastern meditations such as 'The Lotus' are aimed at opening the 'Chakras' or 'Flower petals' while this may sound harmless the idea that other spiritual energies would be interfering with your God given energy is dangerous. Transcendental Meditation is a veiled form of Hindu yoga, though it claims to be a religiously neutral method of relaxation and rejuvenation. Initiates to TM receive a mantra (Hindu holy word) to repeat while sitting in yogic postures and engaging in yogic breathing. The goal is to find God within their own beings, since God (Brahman) and the self (Atman) are really one.

    So in conclusion, meditation is a disguised word for Idol worship. I would stay far away from the concept of meditation and read other stories of people who came from Eastern and New Age backgrounds to the light of God's truth.
     
  3. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    Thank you, I agree with some of this, but I don't think that you are emptying the mind when you meditate. What you are doing is actually filling it with a new model of reality as I described in my post. Emptying the mind isn't really an issue in my opinion. The problem is what you then fill the mind with afterwards.

    Most of us need to empty ourselves of the rubbish we accummulate throughout the day so that we can focus on God's voice.

    I think that the traditional Evangelical arguments against meditation don't really grapple with meditation as a secular tool. My argument is meant to fill the hole there. The question is: why shouldn't I clear my mind of distraction and detach myself from all my seeking and striving? It helps me relax.
     
  4. SugarCookies

    SugarCookies New Member

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    "I think that the traditional Evangelical arguments against meditation don't really grapple with meditation as a secular tool. My argument is meant to fill the hole there. The question is: why shouldn't I clear my mind of distraction and detach myself from all my seeking and striving? It helps me relax."

    Quietening down your mind and focussing on breathing is not the same as meditation as a tool. There are many ways to detach yourself from all seeking and striving by resting, taking hot baths, gentle walks, nature, sleeping without making it a seperate ceremonial thing (That's what meditation in and of itself is)

    Mark DeJesus has some good videos on topics like this on his Youtube Channel from a non legalistic viewpoint.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  5. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    Sadly it's a lot more nuanced than that. Meditation encompasses a lot of different tools and techniques. It isn't just sitting and doing a mantra, that's a tiny corner of the whole practice. Monks do things like walking meditation or simply practice the art of attention in their everyday life. In these cases, there's nothing ceremonial, but the system and the goal is the same.

    A goal of mindfullness is to leave the ceremonial behind and enter a permanent state of focused awareness. We haven't addressed this as a church from what I can see. What do you say to someone who practises meditation in this way? It really complicates things.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  6. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    But please... this is off topic. I would love to maybe start a separate thread on this idea, but I would like to concentrate on the idea that I raised in my post because there's quite a bit to chew on there.
     
  7. SugarCookies

    SugarCookies New Member

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    I am open and interested to see where this debate leads and I hope there will be more people who can comment from experience.
     
  8. SugarCookies

    SugarCookies New Member

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    Noted haha, I enjoy a debate but there are others who may have more knowledge on this subject add in. Checking out!
     
  9. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    No actually, I apologise. I can't really dictate the conversation like that. The thread will go where God leads it. I can't monopolise it that way lol
     
  10. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry I directed this to you in error.
     
  11. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have much to say about this subject as I am an X TM Sidha who engaged in Yogic flying. I will start with the unfortunate mistranslation of the word
    " meditation" in scripture. It only means to "think about" or better yet Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. With the mixture of Eastern philosophy within Christianity this word is regrettably being defined incorrectly leading to error. May I ask how you are achieving your meditative state? Thanks for engaging! Be blessed.
     
  12. Scott Husted

    Scott Husted Well-Known Member

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    The foundation of biblical meditation is captivity ...
     
  13. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, meditation > I have just looked up a few definitions > it seems meditation can mean >

    . . . thinking about something

    . . . methods of controlling our attention

    . . . ways to heighten our awareness

    . . . methods of improving our realm of consciousness

    For worldly people, this could mean trying to change our mental state and consciousness so we feel better and see things better. It would depend, in the case of an unbeliever, mainly on one's own effort . . . with one's own understanding being developed to know how to do this. And it would depend heavily on some human mentor, possibly.

    And if the person does not believe in spiritual beings, then he or she would be very focused on the actions of the body, including breathing and maybe aromas physical and what the person's body is experiencing. So, a lot of busy-ness with the body would be not the Christian manner of meditation, I would say.

    We need to start with spiritually . . . submitting to God, first, so God is directing our meditation.

    "Therefore submit to God." (in James 4:7)

    "Be still, and know that I am God" > in Psalm 46:10

    "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

    And this would not depend on what we get ourselves to do, but we need how God in us transforms us into His peace, and how His grace in us changes us so we are submissive to Him in His peace. Then we are functioning in His realm, in His kingdom . . . sharing with God Himself in how His love is and even feeling what He is feeling in His peace which is "the peace of God" > which God Himself experiences if this is His peace > so this is not only about having certain words and thoughts developing that we ourselves control.

    But first is submission to God, not self-producing meditation using methods we can control consciously.

    Any Biblical thought meditation, then, is the result of submitting to God, first. But, deeper than the words, is our submission to Him in His peace, and with this comes sharing with God in His own creativity for how to love each and every person. I did a video about what is involved in obeying God in His peace > if you please you are welcome to check this . . . about 13 minutes > you can search Youtube with "p1QCRyQztLc" to get the specific video > "obey God in His peace".

    So, how we love, how we relate with each person, comes with submissive meditation. Our attention becomes focused to God, and discovering how He makes us submissive, how Jesus in us gives us His "rest for your souls" (in Matthew 11:28-30), and then discovering how this has us loving any and all people . . . in sharing with our Father working this in us >

    "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

    So, in our meditation, we are denying ourselves so we can submit to God working our willing and our doing. Jesus says, if we want to follow Him > "let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (in Luke 9:23)

    So, we need to deny our selves; and our human wills are included in our selves, I would say. This, to be sure, is what secular meditationists will want to avoid. Not to mention, there are people who worship free will and having their own control.

    But with God managing our wills comes how He has us loving like Jesus on the cross. And this is commanded in scripture >

    "And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." (Ephesians 5:2)

    This loving, then, has us sweetly pleasing to our Father, like Jesus on the cross was so pleasing to our Father. So, the meditation process of this is going to be personally pleasing to our Father. We will be fragrantly pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 2:14-15), while developing in being all-loving while sharing as family with others who are doing this.

    We do not depend on physical aromas, then, but we are even enjoying "the fragrance of Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14-15) while we are submissive to our Father in His peace with Jesus Christ's "rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-30).

    So, this will not in isolation of our own effort, plus this will not have us isolated from other maturing believers. Because we do not depend on self-effort, and self-willing, plus we help one another.

    So, in case what you are trying is not working, this can be because this is what does not work! Trust God to succeed . . . in us . . . not by ourselves.

    At first, I was taking "praise of the universe" to mean praise to the universe. But now I see you mean praise coming from the universe to God.

    Yes, God's grace brings us into meditation in which He shares with us so we experience Him in His love.

    I would say there can be some sort of method involved. We might be quiet somewhere so we can be sensitive and attentive for how God brings us into sharing with Him.

    But it's like getting into a nice sleep. You can not consciously make yourself sleep; because while you consciously try to control the sleep, your conscious effort keeps you awake :doh:I trust God to bring me into sleep, while I be still and do not try to control. And, likewise, I be quiet in order for God to transform me and guide me in His peace.

    But how we become with God while by ourselves is our standard of how God wants us to continue to be while doing different things He has us doing with Him, all the time . . . including while we are relating with others.

    And take pit stops when we get away from being submissive and sharing with our Father in this peace. If I start to get out of sorts, I can stop right then and trust God to restore me, then discover what He has me doing. And, of course, enjoy :pray::groupray::prayer:
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
  14. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    There is a point of convergence. In both cases there the spotlight of consciousness is trained on a single object. The object makes all the diference however. When we meditate on scripture revelation comes as a Divine grace, not by self will.
    I abandoned my meditative practice. I practised a form of Buddhist meditation.
     
  15. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    Taking every thought captive to Christ.
     
  16. Eftsoon

    Eftsoon Active Member

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    Yes, all that is required is submission, acceptance and a receptive heart. God is the fountainhead of all peace.
     
  17. Bruce Leiter

    Bruce Leiter A sinner saved by God's astounding grace and love

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    I say what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, replace meditation with constant joy, prayer, and thanks to the true God of the Bible.
     
  18. RickardoHolmes

    RickardoHolmes Active Member

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    There have been a number of scientific studies in regards to meditation, and the benefits are well documented. From Lowering stress to increasing attention span, the act of meditation has so many benefits. I have found it to be a very important part of my life.
     
  19. Scott Husted

    Scott Husted Well-Known Member

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    Light comes out of this darkness ...
     
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