The Story Of Christian Meditation And It's Practice (Part 1)
MEDITATION MIND BODY SPIRITUALITY RADIO

The Story Of Christian Meditation And It's Practice (Part 1)

Author: Jeffrey Ordonez

You might think that to talk about Christian meditation we have to start with the Gospels, Jesus, the apostles, or maybe even early Christianity. You might even think we need to look at early Judaism and search for its early roots Jewish mysticism. Or maybe you think that Christian meditative practices are based on mysterious principles that a few privileged people are privy too.

Well, this is not the case. To speak about true Biblical meditation we have to go all the way back to the creation of man, Adam and Eve. As the first man and woman created by God, they existed in a pure state. They were highly tuned to God able to clearly perceive Him with every sense. They understood every living word that proceeded from the mouth of God and it's knowledge was perfectly clear.

Living on newly created land, Adam and Eve purely loved God without the interference of dark knowledge. Because they were untainted by the thorns of sin and death, they existed with eternal life... in the flesh! Life was great. Physically, sickness or disease did not exist, in fact, Adam and Eve had the perfect genetic code, a genetic structure crafted by God himself. It was perfect.

Mentally and spiritually Adam and Eve were God's counterparts, but without sovereign power over the universe. As created beings, and dependent on God for existence they were given dominion over a small part of the universe, earth.

Dwelling on the earth was a serpent. The serpent was cunning and crafty. His desire was to corrupt God's pristine creation. So the serpent in his cunning ways lured Eve, and then Adam. They ingested the knowledge of evil.

As their eyes were opened, darkness filled the mind and heart. The perfect genetic code was broken, corrupt, and no longer able to sustain eternal life in the flesh. Mentally and spiritually Adam and Eve descended, and soon doubt, fear, and deceit veiled their understanding of God and creation. Life was no longer perfect.

In time Adam and Eve adjusted to the fall, but the experience of God remained in their memory. Then two children arrived, Cain and Abel. Cain, the first born, was an agriculturist, while Abel became a livestock specialist.

At that time Cain and Abel began to offer sacrifices to God. Offering sacrifices to God was a way of showing love, respect, and hopefully they would receive atonement for the imperfect life of a debased generation.

All seemed to be well until God refused to honor Cain's sacrifice of livestock. Cain becomes enraged. At his reaction God replies, “Why are you angry? Why has your countenance fallen?” (Genesis 4:6) Before we go any further we need to understand Cain's mental and spiritual state.

The original Hebrew word for “countenance” means, face, person, or presence. It can also mean face of an angel, like the Seraphim or Cherubim which beam with light. This term can be used in literally or figuratively. In its literal form it reveals the quality of someone's countenance. Some may have a pleasant countenance, while others may have a downcast countenance. In either case, the countenance of the person is reflective of the inner condition, a less tangible spiritual substance that affects the demeanor of our outer appearance.

A person who is illuminated by Godly thought will generally have a “bright” or pleasant countenance. Whereas, a downcast countenance maybe indicative of inner conflict, turmoil, or trouble.

Cain's inner condition and his troubled disposition is out-rightly highlighted by God's first question, “Why are you angry?” So it's anger, a spiritual condition that starts as thought and if uncorrected can root itself in the heart as a strong negative force, that God sees in Cain.

By questioning Cain's spiritual condition, God implies that anger, or any negative feeling or emotion toward another is wrong. Furthermore, by not accepting Cain's sacrifice it reveals to us that God does not take purposefully interact with people who operate in the darkness of negativity.

So it is the way Cain conducts himself internally that causes God to disapprove of Cain's worshipful offering. Ultimately, we can say that Cain lost God's greater knowledge. The knowledge that illuminates heart and mind.

Another lesson we can learn from the Scriptures, is that God is mindful of our inner being. Whether light or dark, God is aware. God also cares enough to question human beings about our condition. Fortunately, God also guides us to walk on the path of illumination, and He does so in this story.

In verse 7, God shares this advice with Cain:

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Genesis 4:7

God teaches that if we do well, our worship is accepted and by implication it allows God's purposeful interaction in our life. We can also say that because he interacts in the life of the faithful our countenance will change, which is an indication of higher illumination.

So God teaches that there are two paths in front of us. One path leads to life and another leads to death. God's word provides us with an important lesson about choice and freewill. Not only is it possible to to increase God life and light within ourselves by rightly cultivating our inner being, but we are told that it's our choice, and choice is a natural byproduct of freewill.

So it's up to us to fundamentally change ourselves from inside so we can enjoy a higher existence with God and ultimately rule over the dark forces which continually desire our down fall.

But Cain doesn't follow God's advice. Instead he allows anger to become the dominating force of the heart. This drives him to kill his brother Abel.

This event had such an impact on the people of the time that a new trend emerged, after all, it was the first murder, something that was unseen at the time and never experienced before. It was shocking to say the least. The new trend leads us to some of today's meditative practices and is revealed shortly after the story of Cain and Abel.

The Biblical Meditation Of Genesis 4:26

Within this story there is a deviant force at work. A force that dims our light and drives us to live with negativity, anger, envy, jealously, dishonesty, vanity, lies, and deceit. This dark force introduces errors in judgment to the mind and corrupts the heart. This force opens the door to sin, and if acted upon can enslave the heart as a ruling power.

You might think that we've gleaned all we can from Genesis 4:6 – 7, but we haven't. Within these two little verses there is another very important lesson, a hidden lesson, and we must look at before moving forward. This lesson requires deep contemplation and careful observation.

If we step back and look at Cain and Abel's ordeal, and God's response to their act of worship, we must ask the question, why? Why were Cain and Abel so different? Their personalities and dispositions were completely unlike to each other, and each behavior triggers a different response from God.

The answer is simple – the cultivation of mind. After the fall, the human mind was no longer naturally illuminated by God. Without the knowledge of sin and death there was only one knowledge, God.

Since the fall people have been presented with the choice of cultivating the mind positive or negative thought. Positive thought enlightens the mind, while negative thought darkens the mind, and both states of mind changes our physical and spiritual countenance.

Both Cain and Abel, by their own choice, cultivated their inner being in very specific ways. In the face of temptation Cain, like so many people today, mentally explored sinful ways. This caused him to think, speak, and act in ways that lead to spiritual death. Abel, on the other hand, did not. Instead Abel, also like many people today, halted evil imaginations, and diligently lead the mind in Godly thought, making his mind word in ways that pleased God. His continued reflection of God produced thoughts, words, and deeds acceptable to God in many ways. (Romans 12:1-3, Proverbs 4:23)

The underlying message here is that we have to be diligent about our mind. We need to watch over every thought and make sure it adheres to the Bible. If we don't make the effort to shape and mold our mind according to the word of God we may fall into temptation that can rule us. Fortunately, we have Jesus in whom we are more than conquerors, because He is the relentless light of God, our life in Him is covered by the grace of God which gives us sufficient power to obey God's advice to do well and conquer.

The most frequent problem I encounter from those who request help from me, is that their minds are riddled with dark entangling thought patterns. The problem is further compounded by the fact that they are unaware of the dark force that wreaks havoc in their life. Listening to them is like being exposed to a steady stream of half truths, exaggerations, and flat out lies the enemy has planted. Their mind is a field of disjointed falsehoods expressed with fear and doubt. Confusion, even anger, keeps them from what they yearn for so deeply, God, peace, tranquility, freedom, clarity of mind, understanding, and fortitude of heart, soul, and mind.

I'm always amazed, despite the negative riddles that cloak the mind of people, I can always detect light. As light peer through the clouds, I see the light of Christ peer through the doubt, fear, anger, and confusion. This spiritual light are flashes of God in the soul, calling, begging, yearning to come out to fulfill a greater purpose. For that reason ChristAudio exists, and many people come for help. The person who recognizes dark and light, and who prefers light, will always show up, and we're more than happy to help them navigate through the riddles of the enemy.

Of course my duty is to help them draw from God's light in ever increasing ways, while dispelling falsehoods. Scripture is very powerful in dispelling myths and lies. Many people quickly and positively react to logical biblical arguments. Once false thinking is overcome with the word, it's important to form a habit around daily Bible study, especially around issues one may have. So my usual recommendation is once in the morning, and once at night.

The more difficult challenge however is to let go of old negative patterns. Generally if a habit is difficult to let go it is because it may be physically ingrained into the brain. You see, thought creates neurological patterns in the brain which oftentimes are very difficult to break at will. The truth is that even though a person may believe in the salvation of Jesus Christ, have deep love for Him, and may even be extremely remorseful at their own unsavory behavior, but despite all that, they continue down the path of sin. The most common cry of these people is “I can't control myself!”

This is part and parcel of the enslavement we spoke of earlier, and it starts and ends with the neurological connections in the brain. Since these connections have been ignited thousands, or millions of times, they become deeply ingrained memory pathways. So behavior becomes almost uncontrollable. To compound the effect the patterns are oftentimes associated with the pleasure centers of the mind and body. Meditation is the scientifically proven way to “disconnect” ingrained neurological pathways.

Consider this, over the last four decades it's been proven that even the simplest meditation reduces violent behavior, has broken addictions, decreased anxiety, increased creativity, enhanced productivity, boosted memory, while improving cognitive skills in thousands of people who have submitted themselves to scientific scrutiny. The results have been well documented since the 1970's. So there is no question meditation works.

The reason why meditation is so effective in vanquishing the demons of the mind is that it allows the mind to slowly calm down and become wholly refocused. It's almost like a "reboot". The influential disjointed noise that drives people to act and behave in unwanted ways, begins to naturally unplug itself. When the negative neurological pathways are unplugged, something wonderful happens – peace, love, clarity, and joy... freedom.

Some people may cry, others may sense joy, others may even experience “divine bliss” or “peaceful bliss” during their meditation practices. Whatever you may experience, meditation always works, always. Even if you don't feel anything, meditation is working in the background in very subtle ways. You may not feel anything, but rest assured it's working, so once you start don't stop. Keep going and live God.

Meditation also helps the body to “reboot” in healthy ways. Energy increases, the immune system is balanced, the heart rate stabilizes, blood pressure normalizes, digestive activity becomes efficient, and hormonal activity becomes regulated. For these reasons, and many more, millions of people are turning to meditation.

Positive biological activity is a natural effect of meditation, and positive biological reactions were designed by God to help us be the best of ourselves. Like I said, even the simplest secular mediation can initiate the healthy state God designed into the body.

The greatest challenge however, and the barrier I frequently encounter with students, is calming the chaos of the busy mind. This challenge has existed for centuries and students often ask, “How do I calm my mind?” I've also heard, “My mind is so frantic, so busy, so full of thought, that I can't be still.”

This question has been asked by sages, monks, priests, and prophets for thousands of years. Most secular and spiritual leaders discovered that if we keep the mind busy, or focused, on one task over all other things, the “busy” thought, or the noise, will pass away, allowing us to enter into a deeper experience. This method is currently taught by popular mindfulness and transcendental meditation teachers today.

To summarize, mindfulness meditation is a way of becoming aware of one's mind and body. After observing our mind and body, mindfulness teaches us to focus on the ebb and flow of the breath. This technique allows the mind to unwind from its busyness while giving it something to concentrate on.

Transcendental meditation on the other hand, teaches that we should focus on one word, sound, or mantra. This technique also focuses the mind until it unplugs from the mental chaos. Both techniques are essentially the same and aim for the same goal, deep stillness.

This of course raises a ton of questions. Mainly. Where did this technique come from? Why is it that repetitiveness calms the mind? Is it okay for Christians to perform these techniques?

You'll be happy to know that these questions, and many more, are all answered by one simple little verse, Genesis 4:26.

Picking up where we left off with Cain and Abel, we discover that Cain is cursed and then expelled from the Garden of Eden. At that time Adam and Eve had another child, Seth. Then Seth had a child, and he named him Enosh (Enos). Enosh was the second gemeration from Adam.

Right after the birth of Enosh the Bible states this:

“Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.”
Genesis 4:26

Not much is said, or taught, about this verse. Most Christians interpret this verse to say that during those days people began to pray. The proper understanding and meaning of this verse comes from the Old Testament in the original Hebrew language.

Let's begin with the first part of the verse, “Then men began”. These three words do not exist in the Hebrew scriptures. Instead there appears only one word, “chalal”. Chalal means to profane or defile. It also represents the past tense, “to have been profaned or defiled”. Other meanings include, to be pierced, to pipe, flute, horn, or player of an instrument.

The oldest interpretation of this verse comes from the Talmud, a body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law, and legend. This collection of authoritative Jewish writings were composed in early 200 A.D. Within this work, Genesis 4:26 is interpreted to say that people began to profane the name of the Lord. This interpretation has been challenged numerable times over hundreds of years.

Because of limited time and space, I cannot expound in detail on each challenge. Instead want I offer you my sincere analysis and interpretation directly from the Hebrew language.

Let's begin with the oldest and challenged interpretation.

“People began to profane the name of the Lord.” The first thing that caught my attention is the exclusion of the word “call”. The word “call” was removed from the interpretation.

Adding the word "call" back to the interpretation, it would read somewhat disjointed. The only way to make the verse comprehensible is by adding more words. So it could read something like this, “People began to profane the name of the Lord by calling upon it.” or “People began to call on the name of the Lord and profane it.”

Of course by adding words a person can begin to change the meaning, so this is the less desirable way to interpret the verse. Because there isn't one clearly defined interpretation that is universally agreed upon, I will expose to you the Hebrew verse exactly as written without interpretation and then we will decipher each word within its historical context and events. At the end of this analysis you can conduct your own analysis and judge for yourself the true meaning of the verse.

In the Hebrew language, this verse reads:

chalal qara shem yhwh

A direct translation would read like this:

Profane or profaned (defiled, polluted, desecrated, corrupted), call recite or called recited, name or glory, YHWH (the name of God).

Now let's reason through the verse according to historical context as as well as word definitions. The greatest two events of this time were the physical, spiritual, and mental descent of humanity, and as a result the first murder. The corruption of God's pristine human creation and how it led to the destruction of a a human being. That was the dominant thought and concern at the time.

Within this historical context we can say that, we, the human creation were profaned. We can view the perfect human creation as the defiled, or the desecrated ones. So is using the past tense word for profane correct? Let's move on to the second word to find out. The second word is, “call, called, recite, recited”.

Let's put the first word and the second word together in both present and past tense within the verse and see what happens:

“Profane called name of YHWH”

“Profaned call name of YHWH”

“Profane call name of YHWH”

"Profaned called name of YHWH"

This last direct translation is probably the most likely. But no matter what terms you use they pretty much say the same thing. One version is in past tense and the other in present tense.

Additionally, the word “call” or “qara” also means to audibly call or recite for the purpose of meeting or encounter with another.

So the meaning of calling or reciting God's name for the purpose of meeting or experiencing Him begins to emerge. This interpretation holds the most weight when we consider the story of Cain and Abel. Abel who offered a sacrifice probably called, or recited, the name of the Lord to make his offering which the Lord accepted.

Cain also called on the Lord's name as he offered the sacrifice, but God did not accept it. Then the scripture states that God replies to Cain as though from a distance. This implies separation from God and the fact that God does not reply favorably to those who are inwardly corrupt. Since God does not mingle with an evil, we can say that Cain's spiritual, mental, and physical countenance is downcast, or defiled.

The opposite is true of Abel, who please please God. Although Abel is also a fallen imperfect human being his disposition and call pleased God. We can say his countenance was illuminated by God and that his recitations were answered.

So the Bible clearly teaches that it's impossible for someone with evil intentions to call on God for the purpose of profaning Him. God does not play games. One may try, but as we learned the penalty God dispenses is severe and a curse can quickly follow.

So the most likely association of the word “profaned” or “desecrated” is to the fallen human creation that was corrupted by sin and death. The most probably English interpretation of this verse could read like this:

“The profaned, or desecrated, called on the name of the Lord”

Another point to keep in mind is that the word “chalal” has more meanings than just profane. It can also mean flute, horn, or player of a flute or horn.

In ancient times, the voice, or throat, was known as the “horn” of a human being. So this verse can also be interpreted to say that, horns recited the name of God. In other words, at that time people began to use their throat as musical instruments when calling on the name of God.

Interpreting “chalal” as a musical instrument fits very well with the word call, or recite (qara), which also means to call aloud, or to proclaim and summon.

Through this interpretation we can say that the recitation of the Lord's name was in musical form with rhythm and pattern. If this sounds familiar it's because you may be well versed in ancient temple practices. One of the priestly duties was the recitation of God's name. It was never spoken, but sung, typically as a loud prolonged chant.

Also noteworthy, is that prior to the construction of the first temple, the name of the Lord was widely spoken, and recited by the Israelites. It was only later that the people of Israel were prohibited by the temple priests to recite, or exclaim, the name of the Lord.

This was done to protect the nation of Israel. The third commandment in the book of Exodus states that no person shall not take the name of the Lord in vain. The third commandment clearly states that anyone who uses the name of the Lord in “vain” will not be free of judgment.

If a person, or a group of people wrongly used the name of God could be held accountable to God and jeopardize the safety of an entire nation. This principle applies to us as well. The Bible does not prohibit us from using the name of the Lord, but it warns us that if we use His name, we should be respectful. If we recite God's name, we must recite His name with the utmost care, respect, and love.

Naturally God knows the intent heart so we are naked to him. All things are known to God, so we cannot hide our intentions and He deals with all people according to what's in the heart.

With a direct analysis of Hebrew scripture, historical context, and supporting verses, I believe most people would agree that Genesis 4:26 teaches that after the fall of humanity and the horror of the first murder, we, the human species saw the need to have contact with God.

The reasoning was simple. If we have contact with God we are probably less likely to sin. Atrocities like murder will at the very least be minimized. Chanting the name of God began as a widespread practice during the time of Adam's grandson Enos. A time that predates all meditation practices.

I hope this helps you understand how, when, and why the first tradition of meditation began. From the time of Genesis 4:26 moving forward, the practice of focusing the mind repetition has been copied and imitated. It's from these imitations that the transcendental and mindfulness techniques evolved from. All are in essence a counterfeit of the one true and real meditation. Of course, none claim to give you the ability to experience God.

There is only one meditation that claims the power of uniting us to God and it's found in Genesis 4:26.

The Final Analysis

I propose one final supporting document to Genesis 4:26, the English Bible. Virtually all scholars who have translated the scriptures into various English versions over the course of the last 1500 years have agreed that Genesis 4:26 reveals a form of worship by calling or reciting the name of God.

There is one exception. The International Standard Version, who interprets Gen 4:26 like this "At that time, profaning the name of the LORD began." which is a copy of the Talmud.

Here's how the rest of the biblical community has interpreted over hundreds of years:

New International Version
At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD.

New Living Translation
At that time people first began to worship the LORD by name.

English Standard Version
At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

New American Standard Bible
Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

King James Bible
Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
At that time people began to call on the name of Yahweh.

NET Bible
At that time people began to worship the LORD.

New Heart English Bible
This one began to call on the LORD's name.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
At that time people began to worship the LORD.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

New American Standard 1977
Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

King James 2000 Bible
Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

American King James Version
Then began men to call on the name of the LORD.

American Standard Version
Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.

Darby Bible Translation
Then people began to call on the name of Jehovah.

English Revised Version
Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

World English Bible
Then men began to call on Yahweh's name.

So it appears that biblical scholars overwhelmingly agree that this verse describes how people began to worship God by calling on His name, YHWH.

 Now we can move on to part 2 of this article and discuss the name of the Lord.

Continue reading - Part 2

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