Grace For The Journey
Recent studies from the world of psychology have created doubts upon the effectiveness of meditation as a therapy and have undermined the widespread idea that Eastern-style meditation can be good for whatever ails you. One news article reports:
‘Scientists have revealed the trendy Buddhist practice does not make you more compassionate, less aggressive, or less prejudiced. Meditation, incorporating a range of spiritual and religious beliefs, has been touted for decades as being able to make the world a better place. However, researchers from the U.K., New Zealand, and The Netherlands have found meditation doesn’t change how adults behave toward others.”
One popular meditation therapy that is being questioned is mindfulness therapy. According to the website of Psychology Today:
“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
Now, this blog is neither adequate to review the evidence nor to come to any conclusion regarding the science behind meditation therapy, but I want to use my blog to provide helpful comments from Scripture about it all.
People of the West are not meditating people. We are in a big hurry most of the time, and we are more interested in searching for practical solutions on the internet than in searching our souls, or, as someone has put it, in “just sittin’ there thinkin’.” But the hurry of life has left many cold, and many have turned to the East for help.
Eastern religions have fueled the rise of meditation, a way to slow down and to focus. It sounds good. It looks peaceful. But now scientists tell us, perhaps it is not what it appears.
It is strange that we in the West do not meditate, since our culture springs from a meditating religion. The Old Testament often speaks of meditation and reveals it to be a normal part of life among God’s people. Yet, we who follow Christ, within whom the Holy Spirit of God dwells, have little time for engaging our minds in what seems to be “doing nothing.”
But biblical meditation is not “doing nothing.” Yes, “nothing” is the end result of mindfulness meditation, as we see it explained above. You become merely an observer, focused upon yourself. You live “in the moment,” observing “your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad” and ignoring both the past and the future.
And if all I can see is me, then really all I can see is nothing!
Biblical meditation is far different from what is proposed in Eastern meditation, especially as it is portrayed in mindfulness. Listen to the Word of God . . .
Joshua 1:8a, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.”
Psalm 1:1-2, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”
Psalm 63:6, “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.”
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
These verses teach us several things:
- First, the key Hebrew words for “meditate” are used to signify something that we consciously are concerned with. The biblical teaching about meditation is not “observing myself,” but rather it is engaging in deep thinking toward God and what He wants, making judgments based upon what He show us, and think consistently upon God and what He wants.
- Second, the biblical call to repeating is about remembering. We understand that the Lord is with us now by remembering where we have been with Him before.
- Third, the primary object of biblical meditation is the Law of God, the standard and guide of our daily living.
- Fourth, biblical meditation is to be done while we are living life, day and night.
Meditation is not reserved for times of aloneness, aloofness, or introspection.
Meditation must invade every part of our lives. This is part of what it means to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15a-c).
- Fifth, biblical meditation has a purpose – “that the man of God may be perfect (complete), thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:17). It leads to self but to a life of honoring and glorifying God.
- Sixth, biblical meditation has an external standard of success. Our meditation succeeds when it pleases our Lord.
- Seventh, biblical meditation ultimately is focused upon our Lord God Himself.
It is easy to see that biblical meditation is far different than the meditation of eastern religions.
Eastern meditation leads us to look within and
draw strength and balance from “the source” within us.
Biblical mediation leads us to God and to a life
that is progressing toward His purpose and goal for us.
When God Himself and His Word is our greatest concern and living out that truth is our utmost thought, biblical meditation. And such meditation is strong medicine, good for whatever ails you … and so much more.
Let’s stay with God’s way … it is not only the best way it is the sure way to peace and power!
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”