03 October 2007

Prayer or meditation?

Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Hinduism may lay more emphasis on meditation, but it is not entirely absent or unknown in the Christian tradition. It is only that Christians have viewed meditation more as a form of contemplative prayer - a time to be still... and know God. In such a view, the spirituality underlying all world religions seems to be showing its true nature. For what is meditation if not the stilling of the mind so that it can perceive the larger, looming nature of reality, above the petty and fragmented pieces of our routine existence?

The Bible may not explicitly mention 'meditation' in too many places, but if you want to evolve your own personal meditation as a Christian, find some very useful suggestions and methods that could put you on the path to contemplation. In fact, Christian meditation is very real to those who practise it, even when, like John Main, they have been introduced to it by a guru from another religion.

Finally, while orthodox traditions may underline the rosary and prayer, and humility rather than the clear-eyed contemplation that meditation represents, meditation by itself is such an intensely personal spiritual activity that practitioners of all hues are likely to pursue it in every age. Besides, the boundaries of prayer and meditation do merge for the most sincere meditators. The corner marked for prayer in a devout household may well become a place for meditation.
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