With meditation being prescribed by doctors to relieve stress and spiritual leaders touting meditation as a way of spiritual growth,more and more Christians are becoming interested in this practice but are concerned as to whether it goes against their Christian faith. However,Christian and eastern meditation is very different in both their objectives and methods.
Eastern meditation is actually more common throughout the world than Christian meditation. 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.
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. Western culture is very goal oriented,and this is reflected in everything from meditation to religion to art. Look at Asian films,paintings,music and comic books,and there’s more focus on “being”rather than “doing”.
This 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.
Christian meditation is more goal-oriented. It has to do with,specifically,finding a closer understanding of God and a closer understanding of self. It’s much more structured in terms of method.
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 also not a component of Eastern meditation.
For a Christian,meditating on God can be rewarding and life changing. 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.
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. Meditation allows us to worship God in Spirit and in truth.
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