A Christian friend asked how to do biblical meditation. So I thought I would write a detailed answer to help out.
For starters, Christians use meditation for a different purpose to Hindus, Buddhist, Jainists and Daoists. In the East, meditation is about purifying the mind, transcending the self, and achieving enlightenment and oneness. The largest Western religion, Christianity, does things a little differently, albeit with somewhat similar results.
Christians practice meditation primarily as a way to be closer to God and to understand the bible better. One of the most popular meditation exercises for Christians is to take a passage of the bible and to meditate on it contemplatively. This is calming and can certainly have many positive results like developing depth of character and positive traits.
For the devout Christian, many scholars advocate that there are three essential rules of Christian Meditation that must always be followed. The first is that Christian meditation should be grounded in the Bible. The reason given is that the God of the Bible is a personal God who is sacred to Christian’s and whose words are holy. Mantras given by mystics and by Gods outside the Christian faith are generally discouraged. Secondly, Christian Meditation should always be focused on the love of God. And finally, Christian Meditation should be practiced in the interest of heightening worship of God. American Catholic author Thomas Merton says, “The true end of Christian meditation is practically the same as the end of liturgical prayer and the reception of the sacraments: a deeper union by grace and charity with the Incarnate Word, who is the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.”
NOTE: The above rules are taken from Christian scholars whom you may or may not agree with. Personally I believe in spiritual freedom and independence. But I did think that any Christians reading this might like to be aware of the opinions of other Christians on meditation.
Examples of Christian meditations:
Meditative prayer is a type of contemplative meditation. Here the individual repeats the words of a prayer in a similar fashion to repeating a mantra (though, arguably, without the energy resonances that mantras produce).
Meditating to God is another popular type of meditation for Christians. In this exercise the individual opens their heart to God and asks to be made one with God (which is similar to the Buddhist technique of Bhakti, which we’ll be looking at in depth later on).
How To Do Biblical Meditation — Introduction
If you’re looking to learn how to do Biblical meditation, the best place to start is with Psalm 119:15, which instructs us to “Meditate on God’s precepts and ways.” But just how exactly do we do biblical meditation?
The word meditation can be interpreted in many different ways, as meaning “repeating” or “reflecting” or “thinking.” It is about making your entire being about one thing. In order to do biblical meditation, we need to make our entire being about the word of God.
So, logically, if we going to focus on the word of God we first need to choose which specific words to focus on. It is worth finding a few passages of the bible that are particularly important to you on an individual level. Once you have this passages, write them down, it is these we will be meditating on.
Select one of your bible passages and then follow the instructions below.
How to do Biblical Meditation
1) Go somewhere quiet and peaceful where you will not be disturbed.
2) Close your eyes and sit comfortably and with good posture.
3) Focus your mind on your breathing for five minute. This is in order to relax your mind and develop concentration.
4) Once you feel focussed and calm, read your chosen bible passage to yourself. Read it once and then hold the words in your mind.
5) Focus your mind absolutely on God’s words, meditating on them. You should hold the words in your mind lightly and remain calm. Just allow the words to be present in your mind.
6) Continue focussing on the words for up to twenty minutes. During this time you may like to consider how the words are relevant to your religious life, or to your life in general. You may also consider how you might make use of the words, how you might go about enacting the words of God. Permit yourself time to reflect on the words of God from a variety of angles.
The key to doing biblical meditation is to a) completely still your mind (any technique will do this) and b) with a still mind, focus on a chosen quote from the bible.
Continual practice of this technique will help you to develop a higher understanding of god and of your own relationship to god.