How to Meditate as a Christian and the Difference Between Christian and Eastern Meditation
Many Christians are missing out on the invitation to meditate from the scriptures:
Joshua 1:8 & Psalm 1:2 both say "...meditate... day and night..."
Philipians 4:8 "...whatever is true...noble...right...pure...lovely...admirable...if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, meditate..."
Genesis 24:63 "He went out in the feild one evening to meditate..."
Psalm 4:4 "...when you are on your beds, search your heart and be silent." meditate.
Others include: Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 6:6, 1 Timothy 4:13-15, Proverbs 4:20-22, Psalms 49:3, 63:6, 77:10-12, 104:34, 119:15, 119:78, 119:97-99, 119:148, Ps 143:5,
Other Christians are adopting eastern practices in an attempt to be open to the idea. Eastern meditation methods are dangerous because of two areas of focus that are normally included in reaching Awakening, Nirvana, Chi.
The first is that you are emptying yourself out, often through the use of mantras and the like to kind of "quiet" the frontal lobe of the brain. From there they teach you to spend time achieving "higher levels of consciousness" that brain scientists have documented. This is very doable and very physical. Alpha Waves, then Theta then Gamma is sometimes the goal. In a state of Gamma without the Frontal Lobes influence, the brain is experiencing mega-doses of Dopamine which feels very euphoric, often induces hallucinations, and is physically addictive. In this emptying objective as well as the mantra (The Mantra is a word that is said over and over to help control the mind and remove thoughts and noise, often even made up of demonic words foreign to many Christians.) the Christian is often opening themselves up to demonic oppression by inviting the demon by name to come into the swept clean mind that they are pressing towards.
The second problem with Eastern practices of meditation is the concept of Chi. Chi almost sounds Christian to many believers. It's the concept that everything is connected. Everything is one. The Yin and Yang symbol is one way to illustrate this idea. Chi followers and believers don't believe that Chi is a god necessarily, they just believe that everything is one with Chi whether people, or flowers, or energy or even ideas and so on. The way they explain the question of darkness, and justice is that light and dark are in a kind of war until they are balanced. They usually proselytize others by explaining how there's an awkwardness that is felt until you balance out Chi in your own life.
This is also a major problem for the believer because Chi depersonalizes the oneness that Jesus talked about in John 17. Jesus is casting the vision for a family and a personal relationship with Him, the person of the Holy Spirit, and with the person of Father God. Chi is everything but it is also nothing and both concepts tend to either produce the pride of selfishness (that you too are then god) or the false humility of nothingness (also a form of pride) that leads to lostness. Most would argue that you can do both Chi and be a Christian, they are usually very inclusive about ideas like this, but even so this physical activity of meditation practice they offer is hardly more than a drug, where Biblical meditation is an invitation into connection to the Family of God. Biblical Meditation is an invitation to encounter and know God personally.
The absolute best example of Biblical Meditation is found in Psalms 19 where David teaches us how to do it step by step. Check it out here in The Passion Translation. In step 1 David shows us how to enter His gates with thanksgiving (Psalms 100:4). I picture David sitting in a field shepherding sheep, his mind focused and being filled with the present moment. It's hard to be present but it is the key to Biblical Meditation. David shows us that by being grateful for the moment we are in we can become fully present. In the Psalm he watches the sun on its journey across the sky, and as David begins to exalt the Lords handiwork, and admires the purpose-filled creation all around him he then shifts and realizes he's there with the person of God. He's entered the gates. God is speaking in this Psalm as well, He inspires David to take note of the perfection of the sun. David begins to feast and gorge himself on this counsel. David says to himself something like, "that must mean that I am made with this same pure purpose." that leads him to then ask, "Lord if there is anything in me that has missed that mark then help me to become more like the sun, more like a man of destiny, alignment, purity, and purpose. I don't want the wrong version of myself anymore, I want to know who you know me to be."
When David sees himself in the context of the suns journey his identity is revealed to him by the presence of the Father. This is Biblical Meditation. It's about connection with God, the keeper of our truest identity. From identity flows purpose and destiny. David's meditation is also admirable because rather than zeroing in on what is wrong with him, and saturating himself with sin consciousness, he is allowing God to show him what is right about him. As a new covenant believer we are no longer being convicted of sin, because Jesus paid for that, but we are now being convicted of righteousness. 1Corinthians 15:54b says, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY" in the NKJV in all caps. All that is wrong with us, that has missed the mark is being swallowed up in the righteousness of Christ Jesus. His victory in us is then the hope of glory and the focus of Biblical Meditation! We become our truest selves, the one that God counsels into understanding not only who we are but what we are equipped, what we need, what is missing and so much more.
Biblical meditation is not an act of emptying ourselves out and moving into total oneness with the universe by becoming nothing or everything, it's more like a family meeting where we feast on the delicacies of heaven's supply, our personality and identity intact to hear from the Father about our inheritance and all the hope, joy and love that we can receive and release through our daily lives. We can practice it anywhere while doing anything! There are no limits to its application in our walk with God. It's an exciting tool that we can use to find peace when things are hard and difficult, find answers when we have questions, find connection when we feel lonely, perspective, position, hope, encounter and so much more. We are empowered to be who God says that we truly were created to be. Jesus would only do what He saw the Father doing and say what He heard the Father saying.
Now it's your turn.
We are releasing a podcast today that walks you through Psalm 19 and a meditation time, check it out here.