Christian meditation techniques are a lot different from the forms of Eastern meditation. Some Eastern forms are better recognized by names such as Yoga, New Age, Zen, TM, (which stands for Transcendental Meditation), and the Now. Basically they have come to us from the Hindu, Buddhist and Indian religions. And frankly there are a large number of Christians who do not meditate because of their lack of clarity on several main issues, such as:
1.) lack of understanding of the term to meditate, which has be muddled by the confusion of the way it has been characterized by Eastern meditative styles, and…
2.) Most Christian’s have ambivalence toward meditation as a means to increase their relationship with God; because they believe they would be sinning by participating in a non-religious activity. The general objection of meditation as it relates to the Eastern styles of meditation is the voiding of the mind of all thought taught by some forms, and the use of mantras that are calling ancient non Christian gods into your mind.
This is the major antithesis of Christian Meditation as it relates to Eastern meditation. For in Christian Meditation one concentrates on God or on a Psalm or Scripture which is about God or what God has done or will do. Christian meditate to aid in spiritual reflection, understanding, and to increase their relationship with God. Actually initial meditation techniques of all forms may be somewhat similar, the process changes when the actual meditation takes place. God actually commands Christians to meditate through His Word in the Bible. There are actually over 80 references made by God, Prophets, Apostles, and others to meditate on God and other spiritual matters.
So what techniques should we utilize when we want to go about meditating? As mentioned above, the beginning process is very similar to any form of meditation. So you will need to find a nice, comfortable, quiet place with absolutely no distractions. Decide whether you would like to sit yoga style on a pillow, a soft rug, or even your bed. Whatever you decide you’ll need to maintain an upright posture with your back. Some people like to use a favorite easy chair but again keep your back upright, this will keep the mind alert. If you push yourself back in an easy chair, individuals sometime have the tendency to drift off to sleep.
The next step is to place your hands gently in your lap and decide whether or not you want to use typical yoga posture of placing your index fingers on your thumbs and place the tip of your tongue on the back of your upper teeth. Using these yoga forms is okay as it is just the position of the body; you are not inviting ancient God’s into your mind. After this is accomplished it would be wise to tense the muscles in your body for a period of 3 seconds, not too hard, and then let them relax. Do this a couple of times to help your body relax and then start the process of deep breathing. If you know what diaphragm or belly breathing is you can use this form because it actually increases the oxygen content to your body, which will aid in your relaxation. If not concentrate on breathing slowly in through your nostrils, hold for account of three, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth using pursed lips. As you settle into this process for a couple of minutes it is now time to start contemplating on the word of God, this is something you should have figured out previously as in a Psalm, a section of Scripture, or a word or concept about God.
What you will find happens as you try to relax and meditate on God, is that your mind will start to rush with all sorts of unwanted thoughts. Such as things you needed to, things you’ve been wondering about, things from the past that didn’t go right, and what might happen in the future. Try not to fight the thoughts but continue concentrating on your Christian thoughts. In order to assist in this process you might consider using some type of guided christian meditation. All this means is some additional way to help direct you through this procedure. Actually you are already doing this by concentrating on your breathing. Other items would be things such as using a fan to mask bothersome background noise, using soothing music, picturing a relaxing scene or different colors in your mind, and or using Christian Meditation CDs.
These CDs combine soothing music, along with selected Psalms and Scriptures from the Bible, making it easier to shut out the unwanted noise and thoughts that will flood your mind. They are especially great for beginners. And like they always say, practice makes perfect, if this is a novel situation for you, the only way to master Christian meditation is to practice daily. Usually one to three times a day would be great for about the fifteen to twenty minutes each time. But any amount of time is better than no amount of time and once the principles have been mastered. You will be able to meditate at any time, any place, and in any situation just as easily as you breathe in and out throughout the day.