“Meditation rather than an escape is engaging life at its deepest level.”
~ Bob Holmes a Daily Contemplation
Meditation Is Native To Us
We might need to clear up some confusion around the meaning of meditation as there are Hebrew, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Taoist, and even scientific definitions of meditation. On top of this, there are hundreds of various of named and unnamed meditation practices. This is because meditation is native to all human beings. And because it is native to all of us, meditation stripped of any religious connotation is a morally neutral practice.
Listen. The hunter in a treestand or the person fly fishing, the wood worker, or the gardener can be in a meditative flow state. Heck, you can meditate washing the dishes. Brother Lawerence did.
Hillsong, Bethel, and IHOP use music as a meditative flow state to help open others up to their own spirit in worship.
Our awareness shifts from seeing things as ‘either or’, into seeing things unified, or as whole. We see the whole landscape and not just the trees. Our binary awareness normally doesn’t totally drop away, but it does become subordinate to our whole awareness.
Let me say it another way:
And another way
Meditation is the process of shifting from our old, fallen, broken, dysfunctional, false self, to our new, whole, true self.
It’s dying to our old self so we might live out of our new self in Christ.
Let’s Look At David
In David’s song, the 23 Psalm, he’s giving us a window into how meditation works.
The Lord is my shepherd
I shall not want
he makes me lie down in green pastures
he leads me beside the still waters
he restores my soul
Let’s briefly look at this with contemplative eyes.
The Lord is my shepherd reveals a lot of things, but with regards to meditation, it means we are drawn and directed by God, not driven. We are drawn. We declare that the Lord is in charge Shepherding us. God has initiated it and we are following God’s lead. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
I shall not want reveals that we are intentional in our seeking nothing. We intentionally empty ourselves out. This is our dying to our old self. This is our letting go, a trust fall into the hands of God. Expecting nothing, trusting all.
He makes me lie down in green pastures reveals that God gives us rest, even when we don’t seek it. He brings us to a place of fertile, beauty, nourishment and rest.
He leads me beside the still waters reveals that the good shepherd leads us beside the flowing stillness…a place of peace. Water is an image of the living, flowing Spirit of God, we drink from and enter into.
He restores my soul reveals that as we’ve soaked in the stillness of life, that the healing and restoration of our old, broken, fallen soul come from God, the Holy Spirit restoring through our spirit, every disconnect and broken flow of God’s life within us. (ie the process of meditation and contemplation)
We as Christians experience meditation as a doorway from our body and soul into our spirit that allows Jesus to welcome us into the presence and into the dance of worship in the Trinity of God, which will always remain a wonderful mystery beyond us, even as we’ve tasted and entered in.
Types of Meditation
I’ve noticed two basic types of meditation: Meditations of Flow and Meditations of Being.
Again, Meditation is any practice we use to engage our spirit.
It can be as simple as taking a breath or as complicated as praying the Daily Office seven times a day.
Many of us shift into our spirit the moment we sit down for our morning devotions and take a breath.
Muscle memory is our ally here. And because meditation is native to us, it’s not complicated or religious. It is our intentional focus…the gaze of our heart.
Having close to sixty years of experience with all kinds of shapes, colors and varieties of meditation, I’ve noticed that what works for each of us is totally unique, and the form will morph and change with time.
Every sense we have can be used as a vehicle to enter our spirit, such as deep thought in Lectio Divina, breath meditation, or the smell of flowers on a warm evening.
Photo by: Deviant Art