Question: There is a yoga studio opening in my area that will offer meditation. This is not a Christian program, and there are no Christian programs in my area. Is there any advice you can give me to avoid classes with influences that could become harmful?
Answer: There is nothing inherently evil about meditation. Meditation simply is a practice used to quiet, renew, and heal the mind, all of which provide a variety of benefits. Meditation can be practiced along with a religious belief or without one; therefore meditation in and of itself is very neutral. It’s just how you decide to use it. In addition, there are many forms of meditation. The ones that I teach and practice are guided Christian meditation, centering prayer, mantra meditation, and scripture meditation. These meditation practices help us to quiet our mind by focusing or concentrating on a spiritual anchor like the breathe, a sacred word (Jesus, peace, love), or a series of scriptures or inspirational text. Mindfulness meditation is another popular form of meditation where you become the observer of your thoughts without doing anything with them. You just watch them until they dissolve or dissipate. This form of meditation helps us to detach from our thoughts and see them as separate from us giving us the ability to not be controlled by them. As you can see, you can practice any of these meditations as a follower of Christ. Most meditation groups allow you to meditate anyway you like. As a Christian, I would stay away from any meditation groups that force you to meditate in a manner that goes against your conscience or faith. I have attended many meditation workshops and retreats and without exception we are told that meditation will enhance your faith and relationship with God regardless of your religious background. I would visit the group and get a feel for it. If this one doesn’t feel right, find another. Check out meetup.com for other meditation groups, Christian or otherwise, they are popping up everywhere. Lastly, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind. Just use good judgment. So many Christians want to preach the gospel of fear and put us in bondage when Christ has given us liberty and tells us to work out our own soul salvation. You have the Holy Spirit living in you to lead and guide you. Trust God’s spirit living in you. Fear is NOT from God, but wisdom is.