What is Christian Meditation and How to Practice it?

Christian meditation stands as a timeless spiritual practice found across various religious traditions, guiding individuals from the realm of thought to that of emotion. It embodies simplicity, silence, and stillness, accessible to anyone regardless of their life stage. Recently, there’s been a resurgence in the contemplative aspect of Christian faith, notably through the revival of ancient Christian meditation methods originating from early monastic communities like the Desert Fathers and Mothers. These practices provide a tangible way to enact Christ’s teachings on prayer.

Practical Steps for Christian Meditation

  1. Establish a comfortable yet alert sitting position, ensuring relaxation without drifting into sleep.
  2. Maintain bodily stillness to reflect attentiveness and reverence.
  3. Keep the spine straight to promote alertness.
  4. Breathe naturally, ideally from the abdomen, fostering a relaxed yet attentive state for inner peace.
  5. Close the eyes gently and commence reciting the chosen prayer-word or mantra, such as “Ma-ra-na-tha,” throughout the meditation session.

When initiating meditation, take a moment to settle into a stable and cozy posture, releasing tension from the shoulders, neck, eyes, and forehead. Experiment with sitting in a chair with proper back support, using a prayer stool, or sitting cross-legged on the floor. Select a quiet time and place to minimize disruptions, prioritizing these meditation sessions as crucial moments in your day. Consistency in timing and location aids in establishing a rhythmic prayer life.

Incorporating soothing music or rituals into the prelude and conclusion of each meditation session helps focus and calm the mind. Meditation can seamlessly blend with other prayer forms like Eucharistic Liturgies or scriptural reflections. Joining a weekly meditation group enhances and reinforces individual practice, offering communal support and shared inspiration. Group sessions also amplify the sense of Christ’s presence, as emphasized in Matthew 18:20.

The chief obstacle encountered in meditation is the persistent challenge of distraction stemming from incessant mental activity. Employ the mantra as a simple yet potent tool to address distractions effectively:

  • Refrain from combating distractions, whether they arise as thoughts, images, or emotions.
  • Devote full attention to the mantra, gently redirecting focus to it whenever distractions arise.
  • Disregard distractions as background noise, maintaining humility, patience, and fidelity to the practice.
  • Maintain a sense of humor and avoid overly dramatizing distractions, understanding that perseverance and grace are essential.

The mantra serves as a navigational guide through the labyrinth of the mind. Regardless of how narrow the path may seem, faithful adherence leads one from the mental jungle to the vast expanse of the heart. Embrace failures and successes as irrelevant notions in meditation, transcending ego-centric labels to foster deeper spiritual growth.