Meditation is one of the most ancient and time-tested ways we cooperate with the indwelling, Divine impulse to grow, mature, transform, and flourish.
Though every religious tradition has a form of meditation practice, many American Christians associate meditation with the East, and have consequently feared and resisted the practice. What a shame so few Christians have been taught their own scriptures, their own traditions.
Until the Enlightenment reduced Western society’s experience of life to a cognitive affair, meditation was normal in Christian experience. Lectio divina, or “spiritual reading” was the most common form of Christian devotional practice until about 500 years ago. It is a practice of listening to a spiritual reading, and then carefully pondering it. But it was also a prayer practice – praying with words, and praying in silent, thoughtless, wordless rest. It is historically a very “Christian” practice to rest in the Divine presence, beyond thought, in wordless silence.
We embrace the Eastern and Christian tradition of mediation to calm our minds, to quiet our lesser instincts, and to open ourselves to the Divine Presence flowing in and through us. We still our minds, we set aside the regrets of the past and the worries of the future. We practice being fully present to each moment, and opening ourselves to the fullness of God’s loving presence within us and all around us.
We meditate because when we do, we find ourselves living more lovingly, more patiently, more kindly, more honorably. We find the image of God is more purely manifest in and through us when we are faithful to our meditative practice.