A component of many religious traditions, is guided meditation. Different disciplines encompass different techniques and practices that emphasize a specific goal. Some religious goals include: achieving a higher state of knowledge of the creation, greater mental focus and clarity, developing creativity, and a state peace or tranquility.
The main goal of Christian meditation is the knowledge of God. Most human beings intuitive know that there is something greater than themselves and believe in God.
Many religions today have embraced meditation as a way of perfecting their faith in something. Some main forms of meditative disciplines include: Yoga Meditation, Buddhist Meditation, Baha'i Faith, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Taoism.
Unlike all other religions Christianity is the only spiritual technique that calls for the spiritual consumption of the Word in the Bible until it becomes the manifestation of God within us. (John 14:23) To "consume" the Word in times of deep reflective thought, or Christian meditation, practitioners can begin to "abide in Christ and they in Him". Being "one" with Jesus Christ is one of the main goals of the Christian faith and is even the prayer of Jesus Christ recorded in John 17.
TechniquesSome forms of meditation are completely void of any religious principle and simply focus on the physical and mental practice of being still or meditating on stillness.
Edmund Jacobson's Progressive Muscle Relaxation techniques were developed in the early 1920s. Jacobson theorized that anxiety accompanied muscular tension and that by learning how to meditate and relaxing the muscular tension in the body one could relief anxiety.
Autogenic training was developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz in 1932. Schultz emphasized techniques similar to yogic meditation; however, this kind of training is void of any mysticism focusing soley on the beneficial qualities of stress-free moments which very difficult to do in our contemporary world.
Dr Ainslie Meares, an Australian psychiatrist published research chronicles in the 1960s entitled Relief Without Drugs. In his journal he records that simple meditation techniques, which he adopted from Hindu practices, was a powerful means of combating anxiety, and reducing stress and chronic physical pain.
Herbert Benson a leader at the Harvard School of Medice pioneered a series of scientific tests on people who regularly meditated and who were trained under different under meditative disciplines. In His book The Relaxation Response (1975) Benson describes how secular relaxation techniques produced similar results
Health applications and clinical studiesA review of scientific studies identified that the practice of meditation, relaxation, and concentration, was accompanied by a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body that changed metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, brain chemistry, and brainwaves.
Today meditation and relaxation techniques are used as a way of clinically reducing stress and pain. The United States National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2007 published the results to an independent study, peer-reviewed and meta-analysis of meditation and it's benefits.
The research was handled by the University of Alberta which tracked and analysed 813 individual studies in five different categories of meditation: mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong. The stringent analysis concluded that "the therapeutic effects of meditation practices cannot be established based on current literature," and "firm conclusions of the effects of meditation practices in health care cannot be drawn based on the available evidence. However, the results analyzed from methodologically stronger research include findings sufficiently favorable to emphasize the value of further research in this field."
Effects of Christian MeditationThe effects of Christian meditation is clearly spelled for us in the Bible. In John 14:23 Jesus explains that "keeping" His word will result in the manifestation of God within. In other words, and entire transformation of the inner being which can affect our physical body.
But Christian meditation has a much greater effect than as discovered by experts. The manifested presence of God within us reveals the mind of Christ along with it's powers. This is something scientist cannot measure or detect with equipment, yet it is a tangible presence to the devoted believer.
Science confirms that the mind has the ability to "move" into a state of peace and tranquility. The word of God confirms that if we use that ability while concentrating on the Word of God we ascend in understanding with God.