Did Jesus Meditate? Are Christians Allowed To Meditate?
I've been told on occasion that meditation is not a Christian act. And before I give my two cents on the topic, I want to establish the fact that I am not a religious scholar. Nor am I a student of the Bible. I have read it, but I don't profess to be an expert on religion.
What I do know, though, is that Jesus preached a message of love for everyone. As did the Buddha. So, whether you call it prayer or meditation (and yes, I know that those are two different things), as long as you do it with love, I'm pretty sure you're all right regardless of what God you pray to.
To me, meditation is neither Christian nor un-Christian. It simply is.
Meditation is an act that takes on whatever intent you've given to it. To say meditation is not Christian, well...that's like saying singing is not Christian. It all depends on the words that you sing.
So go ahead and meditate away—just do it with love and acceptance and equanimity. Feel into the practice's benefits and quiet your mind, contemplate life on a higher plane, and quiet that voice in the back of your head. Lower your stress and open your spirit to the Universe that is all around.
If you're looking for some more tangible evidence of meditation in the Christian faith, here are Bible verses that speak to it:
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (Timothy 4:15)
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room and close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask. (Matthew 6: 5-8)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)
Now, scholars can argue ad infinitum about the semantics and meanings behind the word "meditation" in these verses. But there it is for all to see. For my sake, I read the passage from Matthew and can't help but think that Jesus is teaching us that what he calls prayer is personal, that it is an act of solitude, and it is best done in silence. All things that sound an awful lot of what I do when I sit and breathe and, yes, meditate.
For those who say Jesus was simply praying to God, then I say:
The kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (Corinthians 3:16)
So if for some reason you find yourself resisting your meditation, simply smile and know that your mind was already closed before it had a chance to open. After all, you are free to meditate on anything you wish. Yes, even Jesus Christ. I leave that choice up to you. Simply do it with Love and do it regularly. After all, as we know from Colossians 3:2.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
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Jeff Cannon is a Modern American Monk and meditation teacher. He is the author of two books on meditation, spirituality, and wellness.