I posted this three years ago. It was part of a series of posts on the practice of Christian meditation. Back then, mindfulness wasn’t even the buzzword it is now.
The lack of response from Christians regarding their own historical practice of meditation and mindfulness is concerning. Grown Up Christians have so much to bring to the table on this topic but we are largely silent. Maybe republishing these posts will help spark some thought and discussion.
Yes. I am going to talk about meditation.
No. I haven’t tipped over into a woo-woo land full of rocks, colors, reincarnation, and chants.
I want to introduce/reintroduce meditation as an important practice among Christians. Before you get nervous and confirm all of your fears regarding me and all of this spiritual life talk, let me explain why I think this is important:
- Meditation is a mainstream phenomenon that is extremely popular among secular creatives, productivity gurus, business types, and blog heroes. Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Brian Koppelman, and Chase Jarvis are using meditation and are spreading the message of this practice on their popular web platforms and podcasts. These people have thousands of followers who are hardwired to practice any tactics that are brought up in blogs, podcasts, or books. There needs to be a Christian response to this.
- Meditation app, Headspace, has 3 million subscribers and celebrities like Emma Watson, a favorite of my daughters, calls it “genius.” A third of these subscribers are under the age of 30. Other meditation apps, such as Calm, are also very popular.
- Christian meditation is so different and counter to the type of meditation found among the people and apps above that the message embedded in its practice needs to be spread more widely and with enthusiasm.
While the type of meditation practiced by the secularists and the New Age dabblers is primarily an exercise to empty your mind, Christian meditation is an exercise to fill your mind with God.
One practice seeks nothingness, the Christian practice seeks abundance, one practice seeks suppression of thoughts and feelings, the Christian practice seeks redemption of thoughts and feelings.
You may be asking, “Isn’t my scripture reading and my prayer life my way of filling my mind with God?” It helps but our approach to these tasks often fail us. We can’t help turning scripture reading into an academic study that begins to remove the chance to encounter God. Having a “prayer list” makes this exercise more of a task to complete rather than a chance to commune with God.
So, we need an intentional practice that is solely for the purpose of providing space for God to speak and for us to listen, for God to reveal himself and for us to behold his Glory, for God to forgive and for us to savor his mercy.
Secular meditation leaves everything up to the individual to achieve some kind of peace or fulfillment. Christian meditation is an opening for God to touch every aspect of our self. Which option sounds more appealing?
Next time, I will discuss ways that meditation has helped me over the past few months.