Meditation, or at least meditativeness, is integral to the practice of yoga. It facilitates the calmness of mind that many tout as one of yoga’s most profound benefits.
In fact, meditation in general is considered a fantastic way to improve mental health and find some stillness in a world that becomes increasingly frantic day after day.
However, although meditation is regarded primarily as a secular pursuit with very concrete health benefits, it is inherently linked to the spiritual, which is why it’s mentioned so frequently in the Bible.
Today, we’ll be exploring these references and their implications on the practice of yoga and meditation in general amongst Christians.
Bible Verses On Meditation
Meditation is referred to exclusively as a means of getting closer to and learning from god in the Bible, as evidenced by the following verses.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
This is perhaps the most famous reference to meditation in the Bible, and it’s rather encouraging, suggesting that meditation is a means of processing the teachings of Christian scripture and, consequently, living in accordance with their truest meanings.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
Again, meditation is put forward as a way of metabolizing scripture and living a pure life.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Here we see a parallel between prayer and meditation, almost as if prayer and meditation can be considered one.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.
Focusing on god rather than scripture is also recommended by the Bible on a number of occasions.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.”
This line presents yet more evidence of the power of meditation to bring understanding to Christians.
How Did Meditation Find Its Way Into Christianity?
Meditation originated in ancient India, far from Christ-centric theology, so its ubiquity in the Bible may be confusing to some, but we need only observe the origins of Christianity to understand why it’s so prominent in the faith.
Christianity is largely derived from Judaism, which is why practitioners of both worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Meditation was introduced to the Jewish faith via the Silk Road, at which point it had already been incorporated into numerous cultures and religions.
The only difference? The subject of meditation was different from culture to culture and creed to creed.
So, when “Jewish Christians” branched out and established their faith as distinct from classic Judaism, meditation had long been part of their spiritual DNA, part of the fabric of their belief system.
Is Yogic Meditation Sinful?
Yoga is seen by many Christians as problematic in a general sense, primarily because of its ties to Hinduism, but could there be an issue with the meditative aspects of yoga too?
Well, theoretically, yes, but it’s not hard to resolve.
Yoga encourages practitioners to disconnect from their bodies (with the exception of karmic yoga) in order to gain true self-realization and become one with the universe.
In other words, you’re not directed to think of a deity during classic yogic meditation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.
Both yoga and meditation are remarkably malleable and can be adapted to suit almost anything.
All you have to do to make yogic meditation your own is to think about the ideals that you hold dearest, and for Christians, that will be Bible scripture, Jesus, and god.
How Does Christian Meditation Differ From Eastern Meditation?
The big difference between Christian meditation and the earliest forms of Eastern meditation is that Christian meditation is all about establishing and strengthening a connection to god, while early Eastern meditation revolves around detachment.
There is always a distinction between the meditator and god during Christian meditation, and through pondering the nature of the Christian god, Christians bridge the gap between themselves and their deity.
By contrast, early Eastern meditation is about blurring distinctions until they are no longer present, allowing you to feel as if you are becoming one with the universe and the divine.
Some might argue that the history of meditation and its role in other religions means it’s not suitable for Christian use, but that would be ignoring the rich history of meditation in the Christian faith.
What’s more, for the most part, meditation has been secularized in modern society, meaning it rarely has ties to any form of religion, and from this state, it can easily be re-spiritualized to suit specific religious purposes.
Meditation: Just A Word
It’s also worth remembering that meditation comes from the Latin for “to ponder”, reminding us that meditation is simply a synonym for an act we all do, something human beings have always done.
As such, if the idea of yogic meditation or meditation in general troubles you, why not just give it another name, as ultimately, it’s only the language that connects meditation to various religions and ideals outside the Christian faith.
The act itself is universal.
The act of meditating is wholeheartedly endorsed by the Bible, so you won’t run into any crises of faith on that front.
It’s actually the subject of your meditation that determines the value and righteousness of the act, not the history or associations of the act.
For example, during secular meditation, someone might focus their mind on their desires in order to eliminate or manifest them, but a Christian will center their mind on god and godliness.
This is absolutely fine; meditation may have originated in India, but it is for everyone — No one can hold a monopoly on deep thought!
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