Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Christian Meditation (Pt 1)

Meditation can be a taboo thing in Christianity for the fact that when we think of "meditation" we automatically think of nature soundtracks, positive affirmations, hypnosis, and other worldly things. Nevertheless, meditation is actually a concept the world has taken from the bible and made their own! Now we find that Christians rarely ever meditate because they don't want to be like the "world". However, it was a practice that started in the bible!

Sometimes in the Old Testament, when the word "meditate" appears, it was literally meant to mean, "tune out" or be unaware of your surroundings. In Isaiah 33:18, the scripture reads “Your heart will meditate on terror”. In the literal translation of this scripture the term “soliloquize” is used in place of the word “meditate”. Soliloquize means to utter in a soliloquy. By definition, a soliloquy is an utterance by a person who is talking to himself or herself and is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present.

We get the idea that to be disregardful of one's surroundings means a person is in an intense state of meditation or concentration. The way the word meditate (or soliloquize) was meant to be used here shows a deep level of being consumed by one's thoughts: to "meditate on terror".

In comparison to the way the term meditate was used in some other parts of the bible, to soliloquize means to be in a deeper state of concentration. For example, David says in Psalms 145:5, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty”. Here David is implying he will think about or reflect on something. This use of the word shows less intensity than being consumed by thoughts of terror as seen in the above scripture, Isaiah 33:18.

Interestingly enough, the intense version of the word “meditate” is also seen in one of the most popular Old Testament scriptures where the word is used. Joshua 1:8 reads:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous”
In this scripture the word “meditate” was, once again, literally translated from Hebrew to the word “soliloquize”. Unlike common belief, this scripture does not simply mean to read the word or reflect on the word every day and night. It literally means to utter repetitively to oneself, with such a level of concentration that the person becomes disregardful or oblivious to his or her surroundings. This scripture was actually a suggestion for Joshua to engage in actual meditation in order for the book of the law to be a subconscious lifestyle for him. Doing this is what was suggested to Joshua as the way for him to make himself successful and prosperous.

Meditation has become a practice that is almost barely used in Christianity. In fact the world has taken meditation and trivialized it to become a worldly concept with an almost evil connotation. However, just because the world has trivialized meditation this does not mean it is something that should be removed from Christianity. (The world has also trivialized music, but as we know, music is something that was created in heaven!)

Nevertheless, believe it or not, meditation is actually used in Christian churches more than we realize. Every time a congregation is directed by a leader to repeat a certain phrase, especially when the people are asked to repeat the phrase over and over again, this is a form of meditation. When a preacher says the same phrase or idea to a congregation in more than one different ways, this is a form of getting the people to meditate on what they are being told. Meditation literally is the act of concentrating on and rehashing a concept or thought in order to reach a heightened level of awareness (almost at a subconscious level) so that the concept can automatically come back to your remembrance whenever necessary (in times when you're not "meditating"). 

Click Here to Read on to Part 2 of Christian Meditation
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