One of the oldest and most talked about biblical commandments requires us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. The one other is to love our neighbor as our self. The ancient principle has been taught by Jew and Christian for millennia.
In recent history, the new age culture, as well as Buddhism, have adopted the love command as a central theme for meditation. Its practitioners rave about its mind calming power, as well as its ability to heal a stressed body.
God's ancient command is so removed from the contemporary spiritual practice that the actual meaning of the love meditation is gone. The modern version, known as Loving-Kindness meditation, asks followers to remain silent for a few minutes while envisioning love for others. The ritual is touted to overcome mental health issues, boost stress relief efforts, and heal relationships.
What is missed by fans of the precept is that it is a biblical command and that loving others is only half the formula. Any individual who experiences love by meditation, or other means, experiences God because God is love.
God and love are synonymous. You cannot separate love from God. Any human being that focuses his or her attention on being more loving will experience its designed benefits. Unfortunately, because the today's version overlooks loving God, the other half of the biblical instruction, people only reap a small portion of the advantages which are mainly physical.
The Old Testament commandment instructs people first to love God and then to love others freely. This method allows us to love our creator, experience Him, and to love others with a greater understanding from God's perspective. The current model does not teach, nor does it prepare students to derive all knowledge from God, instead love is taught as something that just exists. In other words, there is no focal point, no origin, or purpose. Therefore, God is missed.
Love is so powerful that even reducing it to the lowest denominator still has tremendous advantages while packing a powerful array of benefits.
In two studies, conducted by Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D, where people were randomly selected and taught loving kindness meditation showed the practice produces a broad range of positive emotions. The emotional changes led to increased mindfulness in subjects, a greater sense of purpose in life, better social abilities, and a decrease of illness symptoms. The scientist demonstrated that overall life satisfaction improved and depressive symptoms reduced.
The miraculous power of meditation doesn't stop there. People who practice the secular version of the love meditation are noted to experience mindfulness, that is, they begin to understand life from the present moment. The evolution of the meditative journey into mindfulness brings even more benefits.
Dr. John A. Astin from Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California published research findings showing how mindfulness reduced stress and transformed cognitive behavioral coping skills essential to more peace.
If you think living the present moment is biblical, here's what Jesus has to say about that, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34
It's fine to think about life, our plans, our family, and so on, but it's not healthy to ruminate on something that causes stress which is the most common mental pattern observed in people today. Living each day present in the moment while tackling life challenges is what Jesus advises us to do, and doctors support Him.
The biblical instruction to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, as well as others, is a meditation instruction and a life principle. It's impossible to follow the precept unless you clear the heart, soul, and mind so that only love for God and others exists.
Continual practice of the meditation technique will translate into a mindful experience with Jesus who is God's love embodied. Although secular versions practice only half of the Bible instruction, they miss 90% or more of the benefits. The genuine benefit of following God's love commandment is a profound relationship with Him, and it's from that experiential relationship that selfless love for others becomes a natural byproduct.
I hope this article inspired you to start following God's to love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind. Obey this commandment with real diligence, and you will find that loving and forgiving others is much easier. The benefits you experience will go beyond what doctors have documented, and your life will be more peaceful.
We're praying for you everyday. See you in the kingdom. God bless you.