Demystified Meditation

Meditation may not be what you’ve imagined it is. In my experience, the art of meditation is essential but is also highly misunderstood. It can also become unnecessarily confusing.

Why Meditate?

The practice of Christian meditation finds its roots in the Scriptures. The Bible writers mention the practice of meditation at least 20 times and link it to blessings and the prosperous way.  Seems kind of important, eh?

However, since the early 1700s, the church-world has become heavily influenced by the philosophies that were birthed by, what is known as, ‘The Age of Reason.’

In a nutshell, the idea was that the process of intelligent reasoning was the only vehicle to discover the truth and, therefore, adequately navigate life. Any notion that there is a spiritual dimension for informing reality was rejected. With this belief, the church’s systems of theology, and discovery of spiritual truth became increasingly intellectual, logical, and reason-centered.

As Author and Christian Apologist Josh McDowell has said, “Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean the person checks their brains at the door.”  I agree with Josh. God created human beings with an essential capacity to intelligently and logically reason. We cannot navigate our way through life – or spiritual truth – without it.

The Challenge

However, God also created us in His image and after His likeness with the vital capacity to think with the language of the heart, i.e., the theater of intuition. This stage of reality is nonrational (not to be confused with irrational). In other words, the intuitive heart knows, sees, feels, and senses things that the rational, logical mind does not (and cannot) perceive on its own.

In short, the rational and intuitive minds of the head and the heart must learn to work together.  Without the logical process, the intuitions of the heart would find no practical, constructive, daily focus. Without the intuitive process, though, the rational mind would be deaf, dumb, and blind to the heart of God.  Yes, the logical mind forms and presents important building-block facts; but, those bits of information tend to be sterile and without the ability to add meaning, warmth, and creativity to life. When the rational and nonrational minds learn to become a symphony working together, the quality of one’s life takes on a whole new dimension, and the Scriptures come to life.  It’s then that the breath of heart- intuition breathes into the rational mind and Ezekial’s dry bones rise and walk out of the valley of lifelessness. (Ezekial 37:1-14)

Another Unfortunate Christian Belief

It is my opinion that we need to be discerning as to which beliefs we allow to guide our lives, but this includes the teachings of our churches, as well.  Too many Christians have come to believe that anything they don’t understand – or is beyond the scope of their churches understanding of the Scriptures – is demonic. Too often we’ve focused our teachings on what to believe instead of how to think with wisdom. We’ve raised sincere believers to be fearful rather than wisely discerning.  Our sermons tell the people what is correct belief.  Instead, we need to be teaching people how to study and think through the scriptures with the Holy Spirit as their guide.  With the what to believe mind-set, instead of how to believe the Western Church has developed a ‘Body of Christ’ locked into immaturity and ineffectiveness.

What Comes First?

In some ways, we are faced with a ‘chicken vs. egg’ problem when we ask which comes first. As Educated Western thinkers, we want to break truth down into compartments of testable scientific order. In reality, healthy thinking is a harmony rather than a separation of definitions.

However, it has been my experience that it has been most helpful to allow the intuitive mind to take the lead.

The Challenge

The rational thought process has been the boss for so long, that even in Spirit-based Christianity, logical reasoning has become a long-standing King…even in the process of doctrinal beliefs. The rational thought process of having to connect all the dots, close every loop in thinking, eliminate ‘not knowing,’ and make sense of everything is something that the rational ‘boss’ fights to retain. It doesn’t like, at all, taking the sub-dominate role.

Meditation’s Role

Truth be told, the average person’s rational mind looks and feels more like a cage of drunken monkies on crack. The role of meditation is primarily two-fold: The first phase, whether it’s for 2 minutes, 20 minutes, or longer, is to purposefully disengage with the ‘monkey mind’ Let the thoughts be there. Simply don’t engage with them. Instead, focus your attention on something that doesn’t require deep thought or problem-solving. A very uncomplicated focal point that doesn’t require your logical processor to engage. Instead, let your thoughts be the paying of attention to a word of worship, like ‘Abba,’ or ‘thank you’ to simply the relaxed inhale and exhale of your breathing. Do that until you feel relaxed in mind and body.

Non-Traditional Meditation

You can actually meditate while you are doing dishes, mowing the grass, of shoveling snow. Yep, that’s legitimate. It works. The point is to allow your attention to be focused, for at least a few minutes daily, on a task that doesn’t require energy from your rational mind.

The Second Step

Once you have become relaxed, you can engage with imagining and feeling a scripture passage of the written word. What would it look, feel, sound, and smell like to be ‘within’ the story? But, you don’t always have to engage with the written Word of Scripture to be meditating on the Word. God also speaks to us through His Word of Nature. For example: Take a few moments to consider the beauty (not the scientific chemical complexity) of a leaf. If you’re a new mother, watch your baby breathe while it sleeps. Allow your breathing to harmonize with hers or his. Feel the deep sense of gratitude. Ask God to show you something about yourself as you watch your baby. You can do the same thing as you watch your baby play.

The point is to relax, deep breath, and process with your heart. Ultimately, the brain will also be engaged and help you form the intuitive thoughts that the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.

Christian Revelation

The arena of God’s truth is so vast that limiting it to the size of our intellectual capacities to understand is ludicrous. We need, what the Apostle Paul calls, ‘revelation.’ If you prefer the term ‘illumination,’ then use that description. Without the eyes of our heart seeing much deeper than the eyes of our human logic, we are chained to the Sunday School theology of a seven-year-old. In fact, in my opinion, that’s the problem with the average Christian and Church today. Holy Spirit wants to reveal so much more of God’s heart, but we’ve willingly, or inadvertently shoe-horned our faith into the boxes of human design and understanding.

There’s more. So.much.more! And in knowing the truth more thoroughly, you’ll discover His freedom more wholly.

What method of meditation is for you? The one you can make a consistent habit of. The one that is not an occasional hobby but a routine like putting on your pants.

The Art of consistent meditation is the doorway of a fresh new world of wisdom and wonder.

Gary

Finding Stillness Surrounded By Chaos


The conditions of life that we often ache for, we already have.  Above everything else, inner peace is what we crave.  We wish for moments of tranquility that will serve as a breath of fresh air before we’re launched back into the unfolding chaos around us.

What if we dare think that ‘moments’ of peace could become consistent inner peace as our reality of life?

Transformed Thinking Is The Way

As the Apostle Paul stated it, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
(Romans 12:2)

The solution is transformation.  The hub of the wheel is a renewed way of thinking.  Our minds have lost their way.

Computer Jargon

What if we come to realize, in contemporary computer jargon, that we already own, through Christ, a superior Operating System that will never need any upgrades?  It’s the Infinite Kingdom Operating System.  In fact, our OS comes pre-bundled with love, joy, peace, patience, endurance, etc.  (Galatians 5:22-23).  Being bundled with the IKOS, these ‘programs’ are more advanced in capability than their natural counterparts.

Activating Our ‘Programs’

Activating the programs of our Infinite Kingdom Operating System doesn’t require years of special spiritual training.  It doesn’t depend on theological degrees, or the ability to remember and understand doctrinal foundations.

(Now that we’ve established computerese as a plausible way of understanding our intangible self, we’ll move on with more common vocabulary.)

Logic Is God’s Gift For A Purpose

The human ability to think logically and diagnostically is a gift from God.  It’s necessary for navigating our way through the material world.  Systematic building blocks of thought are essential for functioning in the physical world.  We need these abilities for building bridges, wiring generators, baking cakes, finding cures for diseases, and material progress in general.  Rationality is a vital element of life; but, it’s not the source of life wisdom, itself.

Slow Your Thoughts

Finding consistent peace doesn’t require the activity of more naturally rational thinking.  The necessary condition for realizing the quality of God’s peace is learning how to slow your thoughts down so that your mental process returns to its God-designed purpose:  Servanthood.  It helps us to communicate with a natural world, the eternal ‘Mind of Christ’.  (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Detached from the mind of Christ, the logical reasoning process isn’t smart enough, or wise enough to successfully navigate life in a broken world.  The abundance of life that Jesus freely gives us (John 10:10) is so awesome and yet practical for daily life that searching its depths with natural reasoning power is like attempting to explore the depths of the Milky Way with a $5 pair of binoculars.

Drunken Monkeys

It’s an established reality of psychology that the number of thoughts that bombards the average person in Western society is 35-48 fragments per minute.  When we consider the subconscious ramifications of those fragments the amount of information our minds are processing at any given moment is exponentially higher and inundating in volume.

As someone put it, “Our Western minds are like cages of drunken monkeys on crack!”

Peace is not “out there” in the world around us.  The peace that thrives in a place beyond rational understanding is “in here” (point to your chest).

The drunken monkeys of the mind have to be tamed.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  (Psalm 46:10)

The Mind Returning To Its Original Design And Purpose

Retraining and returning our mental process to its original design is not complicated.  Complication infers lots of mental activity.  The average mind loves that.  It’s become well trained over generations and is, naturally, very comfortable with chasing tornadoes of speculation.  The natural process of rational thinking, like a drug addiction, craves the next fix…the next high.

Our natural minds have long forgotten that ‘being high on (real) life’ far exceeds, in quality, the temporary counterfeit thrill that needs frequent feeding lest it tumbles into the pit of despair and depression.

Seems Too Simple

The Western mind has learned to thrive on, and honor, complexity.  Therefore, ‘simple’ has seemingly less value, and the simplicity of the process to quiet the natural mind becomes a stumbling block.  A barrier.  God’s Kingdom within His children, however, is so simple a child can do it.

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)

Be Still

The Psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).  That verse can also be read, “Cease striving (to) know (experience) the I AM God.”   Most of the striving that we experience is not physical activity, but instead the striving of our minds.

Taming Not Emptying

Don’t be mislead by any self-proclaimed guru.  It is not possible to cease thinking. Just wondering if I’ve emptied my mind of thoughts is, in itself, a thought.  The goal is to tame one’s thoughts.  Train them to slow down as they line up, as a servant, behind the Presence of God.

Lining Up One’s Thoughts

Remember… this is going to be simple.  I didn’t say easy.  It has to be a re-learned behavior that’s not easy.  The mind is used to being in control.  It doesn’t submit easily.  It will ‘balk’ in all sorts of creative ways.  It will appeal to your pride to be rational.  However, if you’re willing to learn to be ‘simple’, like a cranky child, your mental process will discover that the real and eternal you has decided to be boss and it will begin getting in line.

How To Begin

Begin realizing you are learning to experience something you already possess.    Next, relax without pressuring yourself to experience something.  When you pressure yourself to experience, your mind is actively engaged as a ‘searchlight’.  It’s doing what it likes best…analyzing.  That is counterproductive to calming and taming the mind.  The process of refocusing on His Presence will produce whatever He knows is good for that moment. Just believe that the most important thing to accomplish is gently refocusing your attention to God’s Presence.

A Practical Tool

To begin, practice taming and refocusing your thoughts at a time and space where you won’t be distracted for at least 15-20 minutes.  You’ll be confident you are in a space where you can relax without interruption.  For some in our busy world, and with young families, that may sound nearly impossible.  But, the time can be found.

Now, slowly breathe paying attention to your breath.  As you do so, allow your heart to worship with a simple word.  I personally use the name, Abba.  That’s the intimate Hebrew form of Father.

It may interest you to note that the most authentic way Yahweh (LORD) was heard was the simple sound of breath inhaled and exhaled.  It was more of an entonation than a pronunciation.  I sometimes listen to myself inhale and exhale knowing that I’m worship His name.

When Thoughts Arise

Be still allowing your attention to rest on your worship word, or listening to your breath ‘say’ Yahweh.  After a few minutes and you more fully relax, you’ll sense I AM with you as part of you.  It will be the kind of ‘sensing’ that is very hard to explain with words.  You know…but you can’t really explain it.

At first, the amounts of time will be briefer because your mind will be battling you, not wanting to get in line behind the interior Mind of Christ.  But, as you apply this simple exercise as a habit rather than a hobby, you’ll find your way of thinking is transforming.  When daily disturbances intrude, you’ll begin realizing you are automatically ‘looking’ to your Christ mind.

Transformation of What You Think To How You Think

Your natural mind will increasingly become your servant, helping you to sense the wisdom of God in what confronts you.  The tempo of your life will still be full of your normal activities, but they will ride on the waters of peace instead of feeling like you’re riding the swells of a storm-raged ocean.

You’ll enjoy increasing times with the Prince of Peace being your faithful companion.

Your presence wrapped with and generating His Presence will embrace your ‘neighbor’ representing the quality and nature of God’s Kingdom.

You’ll find that you’ve always had the peace, love, joy, wisdom, and power that supernaturally calms the chaos that surrounds us.   Now, you know the simplicity of living in it as a habit of life.

Last Word

Stillness is a learned habit, not a temporary (I’ll give it a try) hobby.  It will take the consistency of time to enrich the experience.  But, transform?  It will!

Don’t strive while you’re learning.  There not one ‘right way’.  Your intention for stillness is the most important.  I’ve explained the simplicity that truly works for me.  (So, give it a good chance? 🙂 ) But, also, experiment to find the best path for you to more fully know the powerful, supernatural peace and wisdom that’s found in the mind of Christ.

Gary