Christian meditation

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Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:52 pm

Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study, and to practice. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.

Christian meditation aims to heighten the personal relationship based on the love of God that marks Christian communion. Both in Eastern and Western Christianity meditation is the middle level in a broad three-stage characterization of prayer: it involves more reflection than first level vocal prayer, but is more structured than the multiple layers of contemplative prayer. Teachings in both the Eastern and Western Christian churches have emphasized the use of Christian meditation as an element in increasing one's knowledge of Christ.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_meditation

There are many teachers of meditation. I have used Christian and Buddhist teaching, which both are helpful.

Has anyone else experience with meditation?
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Dan~ » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:06 pm

Has anyone else experience with meditation?


I've tried a variety of meditations.
I think everyone should try them.
The results vary a lot based on who does it.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:27 pm

This then is what it means to seek God perfectly:
- to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display;
- to keep my mind free from confusion in order that my liberty may be always at the disposal of His will;
- to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God;
- to cultivate an intellectual freedom from the images of created things in order to receive the secret contact of God in obscure love;
- to love all men as myself;
- to rest in humility and to find peace in withdrawal from conflict and competition with other men;
- to turn aside from controversy and put away heavy loads of judgment and censorship and criticism and the whole burden of opinions
that I have no obligation to carry;
- to have a will that is always ready to fold back within itself and draw all the powers of the soul down from its deepest center to rest in silent expectancy for the coming of God, poised in tranquil and effortless concentration upon the point of my dependence on Him;
- to gather all that I am, and have all that I can possibly suffer or do or be, and abandon them all to God in the resignation of a perfect love and blind faith and pure trust in God, to do His will.

And then to wait in peace and emptiness and oblivion of all things.
Bonum est praestolari cum silentio salutare Dei. (“It is good to wait in silence for the salvation of God.”)
Thomas Merton “New Seeds Of Contemplation”
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Dan~ » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:33 pm

I agree with most of that list.
Like 99% of the time, i am at peace and free from aversion.
I try to cultivate positive, progressive qualities.

Sometimes suffering comes and goes.
But it is just a phase.
Peace is free. You don't need to do anything to obtain it.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:33 pm

C.S. Lewis – Footnote to All Prayers

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, muttering Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshipping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.

Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in Thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Dan~ » Sun Nov 29, 2020 5:43 pm

Are temples idolatry too?
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 9:33 am

Dan~ wrote:Are temples idolatry too?

And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.

Anything can be an idol, even a thought ...
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 11:17 am

I think an interesting practice is contemplation, which I would contrast with meditation in that it is more free form and can even include verbal thinking. There is a Christian version of this. Meditation tends to be more structured with a focus of exclusing the verbal, even if some words are stimulating the meditation.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 11:20 am

Bob wrote:This then is what it means to seek God perfectly:
- to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display;

It seems to me that anxieties and desires are a part of us (and perhaps a part of any deity). So for me I would include anxieties and desires as part of any meditation or contemplation. Emotions, including the ones judged in religions are a core part of us and if we are made in a deity's image than they are likely a part of him her or it also. This is of course to some degree outside of Christian practice (and I am not a Christian, though I was partly raised in Christianity), but I think it is good to at least consider that the judgments against emotions might be cultural distortion or for some reason not in our best interest. If we cannot love them, we cannot love ourselves, I would say.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby MagsJ » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:18 pm

_
As a born Catholic, I witnessed no meditation from that demographic.

As a part South Asian person, I witnessed much meditation from that demographic.

Perhaps Christianity is different to Catholicism, in that regard? I do recall the matter being touched on, in Theology class, but it had little to no impact on me or my psyche, and was not deemed an important part of that religious belief system, so which of I had to gain from the East, but I did see the similarities between Catholicism and Eastern practices.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:24 pm

MagsJ wrote:_
As a born Catholic, I witnessed no meditation from that demographic.

As a part South Asian person, I witnessed much meditation from that demographic.

Perhaps Christianity is different to Catholicism, in that regard? I do recall the matter being touched on, in Theology class, but it had little to no impact on me or my psyche, and was not deemed an important part of that religious belief system, so which of I had to gain from the East, but I did see the similarities between Catholicism and Eastern practices.
Much of Christianity focuses on prayer belief and ritual participation. That's what most people do. And Christianity prioritizes believing (often called faith) and morals. Traditions like Buddhism, say, are more focused on practices like meditation and less interested in belief. You have to go to expert practitioners to get other Christian traditions like meditation and contemplation. Monks, priests, nuns, mystics.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby MagsJ » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:28 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I think an interesting practice is contemplation, which I would contrast with meditation in that it is more free form and can even include verbal thinking. There is a Christian version of this. Meditation tends to be more structured with a focus of exclusing the verbal, even if some words are stimulating the meditation.

There is a reason why meditation excludes words.. it’s the most harshest way of forming thoughts and of triggering focused thinking, but yet also not harsh.. a contradictory dichotomy I know, of which I cannot explain, but can express.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby MagsJ » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:35 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Much of Christianity focuses on prayer belief and ritual participation. That's what most people do. And Christianity prioritizes believing (often called faith) and morals. Traditions like Buddhism, say, are more focused on practices like meditation and less interested in belief. You have to go to expert practitioners to get other Christian traditions like meditation and contemplation. Monks, priests, nuns, mystics.

I grew up within that tribe of, them ^^^ but even then, no. It was more about personality/the person and character, than it was about any other thing.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:37 pm

MagsJ wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:Much of Christianity focuses on prayer belief and ritual participation. That's what most people do. And Christianity prioritizes believing (often called faith) and morals. Traditions like Buddhism, say, are more focused on practices like meditation and less interested in belief. You have to go to expert practitioners to get other Christian traditions like meditation and contemplation. Monks, priests, nuns, mystics.

I grew up within that tribe of, them ^^^ but even then, no. It was more about personality/the person and character, than it was about any other thing.
Oh, yeah, true. The average practitioner of almost any religion is just part of a clique.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:18 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:I think an interesting practice is contemplation, which I would contrast with meditation in that it is more free form and can even include verbal thinking. There is a Christian version of this. Meditation tends to be more structured with a focus of exclusing the verbal, even if some words are stimulating the meditation.

I agree, although it is my eternal monologue that I am silencing, not thoughts per se. Meditation can also be walking, sitting, standing, eventually laying down, but I can't do that without falling asleep. The way I learnt it, mindfulness meditation just lets the thoughts pass without engaging in them, but I find myself having to centre myself again, and again.

Contemplation is indeed interesting and either the first or the second practise I do. You can take anything from a text to a mantra, a prayer, a song.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:29 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
Bob wrote:This then is what it means to seek God perfectly:
- to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires, from the works that God does not want, from a glory that is only human display;

It seems to me that anxieties and desires are a part of us (and perhaps a part of any deity). So for me I would include anxieties and desires as part of any meditation or contemplation. Emotions, including the ones judged in religions are a core part of us and if we are made in a deity's image than they are likely a part of him her or it also. This is of course to some degree outside of Christian practice (and I am not a Christian, though I was partly raised in Christianity), but I think it is good to at least consider that the judgments against emotions might be cultural distortion or for some reason not in our best interest. If we cannot love them, we cannot love ourselves, I would say.

I am reading "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible" by Charles Eisenstein. He has pointed to the fact that more of the same will not overcome our problems, we need a paradigm change. This is what Merton suggests and his advice is to that aim.

Let us ask, “What kind of human being is politically passive, votes from fear and hate, pursues endless material acquisition, and is afraid to contemplate change?” We have all those behaviors written into our dominant worldview and, therefore, into the institutions arising from it. Cut off from nature, cut off from community, financially insecure, alienated from our own bodies, immersed in scarcity, trapped in a tiny, separate self that hungers constantly for its lost beingness, we can do no other than to perpetuate the behavior and systems that cause climate change. Our response to the problem must touch on this fundamental level that we might call spirituality.
Eisenstein, Charles. The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible (Sacred Activism) . North Atlantic Books. Kindle-Version.
Last edited by Bob on Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:31 pm

MagsJ wrote:_
As a born Catholic, I witnessed no meditation from that demographic.

As a part South Asian person, I witnessed much meditation from that demographic.

Perhaps Christianity is different to Catholicism, in that regard? I do recall the matter being touched on, in Theology class, but it had little to no impact on me or my psyche, and was not deemed an important part of that religious belief system, so which of I had to gain from the East, but I did see the similarities between Catholicism and Eastern practices.

Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk who identified a number of similarities in the monastic traditions in the world. Could be that you just didn't know a Monk?
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:50 pm

Bob wrote:I am reading "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible" by Charles Eisenstein. He has pointed to the fact that more of the same will not overcome our problems, we need a paradigm change. This is what Merton suggests and his advice is to that aim.
As far as I can see emotions are more and more pathologized and while worry is static, we generally deny fear. It drives us, but is never truly soothed. I don't think adding more judgments is useful and in fact accepting emotions is a paradigm shift.

Let us ask, “What kind of human being is politically passive, votes from fear and hate, pursues endless material acquisition, and is afraid to contemplate change?” We have all those behaviors written into our dominant worldview and, therefore, into the institutions arising from it. Cut off from nature, cut off from community, financially insecure, alienated from our own bodies, immersed in scarcity, trapped in a tiny, separate self that hungers constantly for its lost beingness, we can do no other than to perpetuate the behavior and systems that cause climate change. Our response to the problem must touch on this fundamental level that we might call spirituality.
Eisenstein, Charles. The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible (Sacred Activism) . North Atlantic Books. Kindle-Version.
Much of that list deals with real problems, which to me means that our emotions are natural reactions to real problems. That the answer is not to treat the reactions as the problems but to see if one can shift the causes and also respect the reactions rather than seeing them as causal.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby MagsJ » Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:20 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Oh, yeah, true. The average practitioner of almost any religion is just part of a clique.

I think of it as a community, within a larger one.. that of the Faith. :)

Having thought on the matter this evening, I think it’s due to not wanting to fill my mind with prayers and psalms and rituals and such.. or it could be because of 17 years of constant regular church-going.

Bob wrote:Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk who identified a number of similarities in the monastic traditions in the world. Could be that you just didn't know a Monk?

Not personally, no.. though we were honoured with being able to be in the company of the local monks (and nuns), but only the head monk could speak/speak to us, and his sense of humour was a surprising revelation. The other monks lived in silence, though they also reacted to his humour too, and tried not to make eye contact as much as possible. Funny thing was, we didn’t know our school/church had monks, until we turned of age to know/at 15, so only on a need to know basis.

They taught us bell-ringing and special monk prayer, and yes, contemplation.. I remember that now. We would follow them around for many hours on certain days, to learn from them and their piety. School days became dull when they’d go, to wherever it was that they went, because they almost emitted a light/an energy. I think of them often still, to this very day..
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ
I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Huh! - MagsJ
You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:00 am

MagsJ wrote:
Karpel Tunnel wrote:Oh, yeah, true. The average practitioner of almost any religion is just part of a clique.

I think of it as a community, within a larger one.. that of the Faith. :)

Having thought on the matter this evening, I think it’s due to not wanting to fill my mind with prayers and psalms and rituals and such.. or it could be because of 17 years of constant regular church-going.

Bob wrote:Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk who identified a number of similarities in the monastic traditions in the world. Could be that you just didn't know a Monk?

Not personally, no.. though we were honoured with being able to be in the company of the local monks (and nuns), but only the head monk could speak/speak to us, and his sense of humour was a surprising revelation. The other monks lived in silence, though they also reacted to his humour too, and tried not to make eye contact as much as possible. Funny thing was, we didn’t know our school/church had monks, until we turned of age to know/at 15, so only on a need to know basis.

They taught us bell-ringing and special monk prayer, and yes, contemplation.. I remember that now. We would follow them around for many hours on certain days, to learn from them and their piety. School days became dull when they’d go, to wherever it was that they went, because they almost emitted a light/an energy. I think of them often still, to this very day..

I have been reading Charles Eisenstein who has taken a very interesting stance on how to change the world in his book “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” in which he asks why we fail to believe that by loving people around us, praying for them, seeking silence and solitude more, meditating, caring for the old and sickly, helping in various ways, we might be inadvertently solving the larger issues we are facing. We seem to be more focussed on the larger issues that we see as unassailable rather than the individual steps that might lead there. We want to affect the masses but fail to reach the few.

I think that we have been told too often that religious practise is otherworldly and old fashioned, superstitious stuff that we have been ashamed to keep up the care for the small things in life. We have a meaning crisis in the western world, and instead of those old religious practises there are people imagining rites and rituals anew, but noticing that they don't work. They don't work because they haven't got the experience and they are probably not addressing the essential. The Christian and the Buddhist rituals have the meditator in the centre, looking for peace and concentration, being in the world, not being pushed by it. The upright position is a position of dignity. It finds the centre and finds peace. Based on that, one can move forward and contemplation serves to reach the depths of verses, prayers, poems, songs etc. Then intercessory prayer can set in and has the effect that they move outwards with their care, first to their immediate family or friends, then to neighbours, to acquaintances, and then on out into the world.
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Re: Christian meditation

Postby Bob » Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:27 pm

The Masters of the spiritual paths, especially those from the Mystical Tradition, speak of "concentration". By this the mean that one should - for example after awakening - collect oneself from ones disorientation between dream and reality, from the many directions in which the inner and outer man is scattered. They say, bring the whole person you are in a clear direction. You come from the realm of dreams. Bring your dream into the new day. Be awake and whole.

They also say, if you have five minutes or half an hour at any time of the day, leave behind whatever is scattering you. Leave behind you the images that haunt you. Let go of that which binds you. Let go of what is bothering you on all sides.

When you have talked enough, keep your mouth shut for a while. Leave behind the Chatter that you come from. Even the chatter that goes back and forth within yourself. Try to remain silent, so that for a few moments the noise stops, even in yourself.
Or
Take a moment of freedom. Let go of what binds you. Let go of what you should do for a few minutes. Let what is chasing you in circles go and turn for a moment to someone or something that is important to you. Alternatively, stand by a pond for five minutes and watch the rain fall into the water. Nothing else.

You are full of a thousand things, occupying yourself, necessarily or unnecessarily, and you fill up like a crowded furniture store. Put your thoughts to one side. Leave everything behind you. Let a space arise in you in which as little as possible happens. Be empty. They used to call this “vacare Deo”. Be as empty as a person can be, who is full of himself every day and every hour.

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Re: Christian meditation

Postby felix dakat » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:29 pm

Good advice. Thank you for sharing!
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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