Biblical Meditation is different than traditional meditation in that believers are meditating on God, his presence, his glory, and his Word. In this article, you’ll discover what makes Christian meditation different from Eastern and other types of meditation.
In today’s fast-paced, increasingly secular society, it’s harder than ever to be a Christ-like—not just to attend church and read His Word, but to truly live surrendered to the Lord. We cannot truly grow spiritually or fulfill the great commission if our minds are constantly filled with distractions and mindless chatter. Because of this, it has become easier and easier for Satan to weaken our lines of communication with God. Our souls always long for God, but as the world grows louder, our faith, and our need for our Savior is drowned out by all the noise.
We are tired, we are busy, we are distracted, and so many of us desperately need help to relearn how to receive and abide His Presence. But, as with so many things, the answer lies within our innate connection to Him. And the key to that door is dwelling in God’s presence or Christian meditation.
During Christian meditation you can meditate on one of the following:
- God’s word
- A passage of scripture
- His presence
- Or even a sacred word, often called a Mantra, like the name “Jesus.”
Meditating on a passage of scripture, a phrase in the Bible, or a sacred word is great for quieting the mind and controlling repetitive thoughts. However, maybe you are wary of meditation. Many Christians today view meditation as a new-age or pagan phenomenon, closely related to witchcraft, secularism, and anti-Christian, but these beliefs are false. Meditation, like the written word, is a tool that can be used by any person for any purpose, and one of its most divine purposes is to strengthen and clarify your relationship with the Lord. The Bible even uses the word “meditate” many times, each time encouraging us to pray and reflect upon the glory of the Lord.
What Makes Christian Meditation Different Than Other Types of Meditation?
There are many forms of meditation and all of them have have different outcomes. Meditation can be both secular and religious. You can learn to meditate in a way that has no spiritual or religious connotation with great results on your mental and emotional health. Some health reasons for meditation are to relieve stress, quiet their minds, and to detach from worrisome or fear-based thoughts.
In addition, meditation is also a part of some religious, faith-based, and spiritual institutions. In fact, when most Christians think about meditation, terms such as Buddha or Transcendental meditation come to mind. However, as a Christian, you can meditate according to your faith, keeping your heart on Jesus and you meditate on his word or in His presence.
Christian vs. Eastern Meditation
Eastern meditation is actually more common throughout the world than Christian meditation. Below are some differences between the two types of meditation.
Eastern Meditation as a Path to Spiritual Enlightenment
Eastern meditation isn’t just something Buddhists do, it requires no belief in any sort of god, it does not require that you follow any specific belief system. Eastern meditation is much more of a personal experience than it is a religious experience.
Eastern meditation is often used as a path to spiritual enlightenment, but doesn’t necessarily prescribe to any particular affiliation. Regardless of your religious or non-religious tradition, individuals can attain the same personal benefits from meditation while embracing their own paths of spirituality.
Christians Believe that God, Not the Universe is in Control
Eastern meditation is based on the belief that human beings have the power to control and change their circumstances and situations. This is done through chanting and visualization, which are the two key elements of Eastern meditation. Christian meditation on the other hand, is based on the idea of God’s superiority over Human Beings. In this regard, God is all powerful and all knowing, and therefore God’s word is the unchangeable truth. Human beings have to accept that God is in control of all circumstances and situations.
Christians Meditates on God and His Word
The method of meditation is where the two forms differ most. In Eastern meditation, one empties the mind. You empty your mind, you think nothing, essentially, and allow yourself to simply be, to just exist. Meditation, according to Buddhist teachings and the teachings of other Eastern religions, is supposed to free the mind from anxiety, stress, anger and other such emotions. Thus the main purpose of meditation is to free the mind.
The purpose of meditation in Christianity is to bring Christians closer to God and enrich the soul, mind and body with God’s truth. Indeed in Psalms 1:2 it is written; “his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law he meditates Day and Night”.
To free the mind can be helpful for anyone of Eastern or Western descent alike, as it allows you to take a moment to simply appreciate life for what it is, to appreciate simply being, the gift of having been born, or just being a child of God. For a Christian, this can even help one become closer to God by just taking in the gifts God has laid out for us, not trying to figure it out or understand it, but just to appreciate it and experience it, to allow the experience to flow through you rather than to be analyzed and studied and contemplated.
A major component of Christian meditation is to reflect on the love, peace, provision, and goodness as well as the Word of God. This is not a component of Eastern meditation.
We Believe that Jesus is the Son of God
Christians believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ as contemplated in the Holy Bible. It is on the resurrection of Christ that Christian meditation is based. In this respect, Christians rely on the power of Christ to raise them from the bondage of sin and darkness. For a Christian, meditating on God can be rewarding and life changing. Eastern meditation does not recognize the power of Resurrection nor Jesus Christ as being the key to inner peace.
The Bible Encourages Christians to Meditate
Meditation can be contemplative (meditating on scripture, attributes of God, or a sacred word), for relaxation (to let go of stress and anxiety), or the practice of just abiding, waiting, and soaking in God’s presence. Christians meditate as it is a command from God elaborated in the Holy Bible. Therefore the sole reason why Christians meditate is to obey God’s commandments and be closer to Him. Other forms of Eastern meditation are used to relieve stress and anxiety.
Although different in both nature and practice, they have something integral in common. For the Christian, meditation helps you to find a deeper appreciation of the waking life, of yourself, and can draw you closer to the Lord. By learning to meditate on God and quiet your mind, you give the Lord greater opportunity to speak to and guide you by his still small voice. Christians don’t empty their mind in meditation, but give their attention to the love, peace, and wisdom of God. Complete understanding of God is inherently impossible, but these methods of meditation can bring you ever closer to Him and to a better understanding of oneself. Christian meditation allows us to worship God in Spirit and in truth.
Why Some Christians Fear Meditation
When Christians run from the idea of meditation in fear that it will leave them vulnerable to Satan or to other evil spirits, they forget what meditation really is in the simplest terms. To meditate is to devote the entirety of your being to one thought, feeling, or idea. Any time you find yourself focusing wholly on one thought (whether you’re trying to solve a problem or simply ruminating on how angry you are with another person), you are, in fact, practicing a form of meditation!
What opens you up to evil is unbridled meditation—that is, a sense of focus and obsession that operates outside of your control. When you fail to direct your whole being to hearing and receiving from the Lord, it becomes easy to obsess over the darker, harmful emotional impulses that the world around us can so easily encourage.
Since we meditate every day, whether we intend to or not, it follows that Christian meditation would be a natural, accessible way for us to achieve our spiritual and emotional goals. Simply put, it is connecting with God with our heart instead of our head. Christian meditation is simply meditating on God, his word, and his presence. Christian meditation can take various forms depending upon what outcomes you desire. If you want to meditate for stress release the method you choose would be different from someone who wants to draw closer to God.