Sit down, take a few deep breaths, and think about one thing. Are you meditating? It depends. While some people believe that these three steps are all it takes to achieve a meditative state, there’s actually more to meditation than most people know. There are different kinds of meditation and different levels of concentration and attention that all entail as well as different forms of mental exercise.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
The mindfulness style does not seek to empty the mind. Rather, mindfulness meditation allows individuals to experience thoughts and feelings as they come. Think of your mind as the shore and your thoughts as constantly ebbing waves. While they might splash and glide against your mind, they also recede back into the body of water where they come from. Mindfulness works on this premise. The mind is left open and thoughts are welcomed instead of rejected. The basic concept is to allow feelings and ideas to wander around you, but to refrain from reacting, engaging, or judging them once they appear in your mind. No holding on, no reacting, no response.
Paying attention to the breath is also a staple of mindfulness. Observing one's inhale and exhale patterns, as well as the movements it creates in the chest. The idea is to help the mind stay stay centered while thoughts pass like cars on a busy street.
With mindfulness meditation one is encouraged to simply let the mind “be”. Pretend you are on the median of a busy street and cars all around are driving past you. The noisy cars are your thoughts. You are the center of your mind. Your goal is to simply be still while the chaotic traffic dives by. Within minutes, the traffic will diminish and you will enter a state of peace, deep peace.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Imagine those times in class when you would mindlessly copy writings on the board until the act became mechanical, monotonous, and automatic. This is transcendental. This particular type of meditation does not require in-depth realizations about thought or the world around us. It simply requires one thing – that we concentrate on a mantra. Transcendental meditation occurs when an individual focuses on their mantra long enough until the mind is released from busy thought.
How and when will transcendental meditation be helpful to you? As with all meditations, learning to let the mind enter a state of serene peace by concentrating on repetitive word or phrase takes practice. Generally speaking within 30 to 40 days most people will begin to experience a deep sense of tranquility. During these moments the body will reap the benefits of meditation, but even you never reach that “zen moment” don't worry, meditation works even if you don't think it is. Meditation works in subtle ways and gradually overtime it has a tremendous beneficial impact.
Beside the physical benefits one may reap, when you focus your mind until it reaches a state a peace and the mantra simply fades away, your brain becomes naturally wired for its highest performance. This I called whole brain learning. Your mind will will employ more neurons while remaining focused. The side effect is greater consciousness of negative thought which can be easily discarded. This activity optimizes the use of mental energy for any given task while decreasing ideas and feelings that cause instances of frustration and anger.
What is Christian Meditation?
Let's set the record straight. Before mindfulness meditation and transcendental mediation existed there was biblical meditation. The history of Christian meditation began after the first murder. This event was so dreadful and so unthinkable that people devised a very effective way of experiencing God. The concept was simple. If people can be exposed to God's presence during meditation sin would be diminished and this activity would be pleasant to God.
So worshipping God through meditation started at the time when Enos was born, the third generation of Adam. (Genesis 4:26) Mindfulness and transcendental meditation borrow from the original meditation found in Genesis 4:26 when people began to sing, or chant, the name of God in repetitive fashion.
To perform this meditation one would repetitively chant God's name until union with God became an inner reality. The technique required long inhales, and audible, as well as mental, repetitions of God's name. Mentioning the repetition of an audible mantra may conjure imaginations of Buddhist monks, but remember it started with the people of God. Everything else is a synthetic copy of the real thing, and void of God.
This technique can be practiced either audibly or mentally. Both have a powerful effect of clearing noisy thought from the mind. As you inhale and exhale you can repeat the name of God. Here at Christ Audio we mentally repeat the word “Yes” on the inhale, and “Jesus” on the exhale. This technique has a way of positioning us in the power of Jesus. By accepting Jesus with the words, “Yes, Jesus” the prayer-mantra becomes a tool that focuses the mind solely on Jesus. One can also practice this meditation with a short scripture verse, or holy name.
Christian meditation is a form of meditation that aims to lead people towards a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. It is said that during Christian meditation, people are able to create stronger bonds to God and in so doing they find answers to many of the questions. While these are all impressive benefits, there is one thing that Christian meditation fulfills other techniques don't offer, unity with God through Christ.
Can Mindfulness, Transcendental, and Christian Meditation Help You?
We can learn from the techniques of mindfulness, transcendental meditation and apply them to Christian meditation. This is especially important when a person has no formal training in the art of meditation. Learning how to observe the mind, the breath, and the state of blissful peace can enrich the focus of Christian meditation.
Think of it this way. Would you enter an olympic event without proper training? Of course not. Regardless of your trainers' faith you would train hard. But your faith is the light that helps you along. So we can learn from the other traditions and become more fruitful in our mental exercise. Oftentimes, meditation starts out with breathing and mind cleansing, which is concentration. When the mind is properly prepared for meditation, an individual can begin repeating the name of Jesus in the silence of the mind. When the mind wanders and starts to think about other things, an individual can choose to acknowledge the thought and revert back to Jesus.
The most important thing is that Jesus and God are the center of your practice, and that an individual does not lose sight of the goal they have set for their meditation, unity with God through Christ.
The Benefits of Mindfulness, Transcendental, and Christian Meditation
All three practices work to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental threats that could take a toll on a person’s motivation and will. What’s more, each of these can teach a person important mental skills to help cope with the challenges of daily life and become better equipped to deal with problems and worries.
Despite the similarities, there is only one that offers enlightenment with Christ Jesus, Christian meditation. The experience enriches not only the mind and body, but also the soul. Because Christian meditation is seen as a spiritual practice rather than a mental exercise, individuals can effectively improve their relationship with God. With this contemplative discipline individuals become more accepting of God’s presence in life thus learning that we are not alone in our troubles. Christian meditation is a great way to surrender to the Lord and to become one with our Savior who brings true comfort, joy, and peace into our lives.
Have you practiced other types of meditations? What are your experiences? We'd love to know. Input your comments below, We love you and we're praying for you.