...And God won!
The main preoccupation of most Christian meditators is peace of mind. When carnal thoughts, emotions, or concerns interrupt our meditation they become disturbances to an otherwise peaceful spiritual landscape revealed by Christ Jesus.
Most disturbances of the mind are simply a product of an undisciplined mind distracted by all types of worldly affairs. Generally, the antics of the unrestrained mind subsides within a few minutes after focusing on God's word and calm breathing.
But what happens when the mind cannot be restrained and placed at God's service? Most reports show that stress, anxiety, and even depression result from the lack of meditative spiritual time with God.
So what's the solution? It's possible that if you have taken up a Christian meditation practice and still feel stressed and anxious you haven't addressed your perspective about God and who you are in His creation.
The Science of How God Won The Battle
New science indicates that anxiety and depression can quickly descend upon people who are not facing the big questions about God and life. In stark contrast, those who embrace questions about God, faith, and life tend to naturally avoid the traps of anxiety and depression.
People who ponder the meaning of life have better mental health than those who fear of confronting these kinds of questions which is now linked to problems around regulating emotions.
Professor Julie Exline, co-author of the empirical research document she titled, "Suppressing spiritual struggles: The role of experiential avoidance in mental health" explains it like this:
“Religious and spiritual struggles — conflicts with God or religious people, tough questions about faith, morality, and the meaning of life — these are often taboo topics, and the temptation to push them away is strong.
When people avoid these struggles, anxiety and depression tend to be more intense than if they faced these struggles head-on.
People who more fully embrace these struggles with fundamental beliefs and values report better mental health than those who don’t.”
Researcher now admit that trying to avoid God or faith has a negative affect on people, while opening oneself to God and all the questions that come from that relationship result in better mental health.
Struggle between science and faith is over. God wins.
That's not to diminish the value of counseling and therapy. Instead professional guidance should enhance one's faith and vice versa. In this area, Christian counselors got it right. They marry sound psychological principles with Christian faith.
In her survey of 307 people, Professor Exline revealed how those who were unwilling to consider spiritual questions also tended to be more close-minded to other people, such as those of different faiths which exacerbated mental health issues.
Professor Exline stated:
“People seem to be more emotionally healthy if they’re able to accept troubling thoughts.
Looking at spiritual doubts in an objective way seems to help.
You may or may not work through them, but at least you can tolerate having them.”
If this sounds familiar, it's because Professor Exline is explaining the principles expounded by Jesus in Matthew 5:43 - 47 which describes our duty to love all people and to have good intentions toward them through prayer.
Professor Exline's research touches the surface of a principle God laid over over us, His creation. If you go beyond just accepting others and love them, the principles of Matthew 5:43 - 47 lead us to verse 48 which states:
"Therefore you shall be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect."
In other words, if we accept all people regardless of what they do, or who they are, the Spirit of God will be a more prominent feature within us. It's logical to reason that if God's presence increases in us our mental health will change accordingly.
Researchers concluded that regular avoidance of spiritual topics can make it very difficult to identify any real sense of purpose to life.
Continually re-visiting these thoughts without clear acceptance, or at least a loving perspective, can create strains in emotional health, especially if a person sees this kind of reasoning as unacceptable or dangerous.
Conventional psychology hit a brick wall on this one. But from the rubble comes greater understanding and healing for all. It's nice to know that science is some ways accepts finding as discovered.
If you have trouble relaxing and getting the most out your Christian meditation practice, try with basics of our faith. Relinquish yourself to God and His word. Start thinking of others, love them, and remain at peace with all people at all times through Christ who loves you.
According to lead psychologists your journey will take on a brand new dimension in health.
God bless you. We're praying for you.