Debunking Christian Meditation Myths
Recent scientific research indicates that meditation reduces stress, increases creativity, improves cognitive function, reduces heart disease, and improves health. In fact, in 2012 study, patients with coronary heart disease were placed in a health and wellness education class or given instruction in meditation. Those in the meditation group not only reduced their stress, five years later, their overall risk for heart attacks, stroke, and death decreased by 48%.
Although much of the world has embraced the benefits of meditation, many Christians see meditation as anti-Christ or new age. In this article I want to debunk some common myths that Christians have regarding meditation and encourage more believers to embrace meditation as another tool in their arsenal for overall mental and spiritual health.
Myth #1- Christian meditation is not of God! This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bible actually encourages Christians to meditate and even the word meditate is found numerous times in scripture. Christians are encouraged to meditate on God’s word, his presence, his character, and his works. My favorite meditation scripture is Joshua 1:8, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Myth #2- Meditation will open your body to evil spirits seeking an entrance. Many Christians don’t realize that we “All” meditate all day long. To meditate is to put your focus on a single item of attention. Anytime you are deep in thought, whether negative or positive, you are participating in a form of meditation. At the church I attend we sing a song that says, “Our thoughts are prayers and we are always praying. Our thoughts are prayers, be careful what you’re praying. Seek a higher consciousness, a state of peacefulness and know that God is always there and every thought becomes a prayer.” This song emphasizes that our very thoughts create our life. Many believers block God’s blessings because they are consumed with fear-based thinking. Therefore, if you are meditating on the presence or the Word of God, you are allowing your body to be FILLED with God’s Spirit and darkness cannot penetrate God’s light.
We open ourselves to evil when we neglect to control the negative emotional urges in our mind and heart. In Genesis 4, God told Cain when he was angry at his brother,
“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
When we meditate on evil and allow it to overtake us, we open the door to darkness; however, God instructs us to take authority over our sense nature and bring it under the submission of Christ and his nature. Through Christian meditation we open our mind and heart to the love of Christ and his wondrous workings in and through us.
Myth # 3 – If I meditate I will immediately see results. Just with any new practice, it takes consistency to see real results. If your goal is to lose weight and you exercise once a week, you may never lose a pound. The benefits of meditation are very subtle and people don’t often recognize them right away. With a consistent practice, you may notice that you’re not as irritated by problems or circumstances that would have pushed you into a major tantrum just a few months ago. As your mind becomes calmer and clearer, you may experience impressions and knowings that you couldn’t hear with your spiritual ears before. As you let go of fear-based and negative thinking, you’ll notice that you are experiencing greater peace, well-being, and joy. These are all byproducts of a regular meditation practice but don’t look for them, they will find you with regular practice.
Myth # 4 – I’m not doing it right. As long as you are showing up for meditation, you ARE doing it right. If your mind is wandering a million miles a minute, you are doing it right. Don’t allow yourself to get frustrated thinking that you must be the poster child of inner and outer peace. As long as you are alive and have a brain, that’s not going to happen. Think of meditation as a method to help you condition your mind. Therefore, meditation is often like a mental workout. If you are meditating on your breathe, a sacred word, or even a scripture, the objective in meditation is to bring your mind back to your focal point each time it wanders off. Sometimes during my meditation practice I just observe my thoughts until they disappear or I blow or wash them away. Also, note that it takes about 10 minutes for the mind to calm down, so try to meditate at least 20 minutes for the best benefits. Please not, even if you struggle throughout the entire meditation, you are meditating correctly.
If you are new to Christian meditation, I would encourage you to try one of my Christ-centered meditation recordings to provide structure and guidance during your meditation practice. Many people find guided Christian meditations especially helpful if they are easily distracted. Any focal point in meditation is just an anchor for the mind. If your mind needs a big leash to keep it from wandering off, you can find a variety of meditations on many different topics that will help. Don’t allow the myths of Christian meditation to keep you from the benefits that so many individual have embraced.
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