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  Meditation - A Little Bit Scary

For some time I have been both wary of and interested in meditation.

Wary, because as a Christian I don't want to loose my moorings and go wandering around in a land that has to a great degree been claimed by Eastern religions.

However, I've also been interested - even intrigued - by meditation, though I remain a rank amateur. This is because there is a rich history of Christian meditation, all the way from the various Catholic mystics to (yes, believe it or not) the Puritans.

However, what initially concerned me as I looked at various Christian meditative techniques is that they often resemble Eastern meditation, and I wondered if Christian meditation wasn't really a route that some have mistakenly taken that leads away from Christianity and toward Buddhism or Hinduism.

For example, both Eastern and Christian meditation materials may tell their practicioners to find a quiet and comfortable place, then to relax, to breathe deeply and regularly, and use various methods to clear their minds of the thoughts that come to them.

If I understand correctly, for the practicioner of Eastern meditation this is essentially the object of his or her meditation - to empty the mind and realize one's "oneness" with the universe. (I'm unsure how you realize anything without thinking, but that's a topic for another day.)

But it seems that in Christian meditation, this relaxing and clearing of the mind serves a very different purpose. It is not the object of meditation; it is a mere preliminary. The Christian empties his or her mind of the thoughts of the world in order to think about God, to ponder the sacrifice of Jesus, to consider a passage of the Bible, or simply to bask in the love and glory and presence of God - much as a lover might silently gaze into the eyes of her beloved.

Yes, I still think there are those who will become confused and lose their way through their involvement in meditation. But the fault, I think, lies with the lack of Christian teaching on meditation rather than with meditation itself.


Copyright 2000 Brad Haugaard.