I was chatting with my new neighbor at the almost-fully-formed-but-not-quite-ready Shekina center just two days ago, when something happened, something i get all the time.
My resourceful hill tribe woman neighbor complete with her magnificent conical bamboo hat was commenting on how I could just throw up some bungalows and make some money, seeing as how i had land like her now. I explained (all in Thai, crazy huh?) that we were building a center for meditation. She smiled and said meditation was for Buddha.
I said yes but also we happen to be Christians. Her brow furrowed and she said nothing for a second. Christians? Yes I said, Christians. I could see that Christians and meditation did not go together in her head. But she humored me.
It’s still a minor shock to many people. That can't quite take it in, like when you ask someone for a football bat. There's a double take. It should bother me at all, but I find myself explaining a lot.
But this double take really doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. Why should the two not go together? The truth is Americans, and especially American Christians don't meditate enough. We don't value it. We are even alarmed by it. I feel tht just about any kind of meditation would help our frantic lives have moments of peace, and that would be beneficial without a doubt.
And for clarification, devotional time or quiet time, something millions of people do, is not really meditation. I'm all for it, because its good. Devotional time has many meditative aspects (quiet, listening etc...) and can be incredibly benificial.
But its generally too mixed in with other things, like prayer and worship. It's too generally shapeless to stand up in comparison to a developed meditation practice. I don't know, you'd have to do both to form an opinion. True Christ-centered meditation? Those us you place a high value on the Bible and Jesus words haven't gotten our heads around this incredibly valuable discipline, for the most part.
But its very visible in this original book that should be a guide to our faith. Just crack open the Psalms and you'll see it too, it’s everywhere. Commands to meditate and evidence of a rich meditative practice in the life of the writers.
Cant live without a cluster of references? Got you covered. Ready? Psalms 1:2, 4:4, 27:4, 63:6, 77:6, 77:12, 119:15, should I keep going?.
Isaac even has a practice himself in Genesis, "Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming." Evidently the biggest threat to your meditative practice in those days was not being accused of being an outsider to the faith but of random interuppting camels.
You should look into it if the very idea of Jesus alongside the word meditation is shocking to you at all. Christians have practiced meditation in many forms for centuries, all the way back to out roots with the ancient Hebrews practicing Judaism. Listen, no one can really own a particular practice of discipline. Christians don't own prayer, Buddhist don't own meditation. Those practices belong to all of us. As humans, we do them for many reasons.
More often than not it just comes down to fear, plain and simple. Doing and talking about meditation feels foreign to too many people. It should be a natural part of any spiritual discipline. It only feels foreign because it is. Just like a lot of things we believe deeply in, just like Jesus himself, for example. Foreign and valuable. I think we should get back to it, like it was in the Psalms.
Shekina meditation is all about meeting God in modes that may seem unfamiliar. In silence, in listening. In fewer words, in more time. In being still and knowing There is a world of health and peace to be discovered in those kinds of spaces. Do you know how to get i?