The tradition and practice of Christian Meditation
What makes meditation Christian is our faith in Jesus. It is Christian too because it is in a historical and theological tradition that leads directly to the mind of Christ.
It is Christian because we meditate within the whole context of Christian prayer and practice. Because we meditate with other Christians and because it empowers us with the fire of faith and love it enables us to evangelize. The teaching of meditation in the modern world therefore is a form of evangelisation.
Meditation is a simple practice of ‘pure prayer’. It does not replace other forms of prayer. Quite the reverse it recharges these forms with new meaning and vitality. It does not replace the need for ecclesial life or theological discourse. It renews the self-understanding of the church and brings theology to a new acuity and self-confidence that engages with the secular and scientific worlds. In this secular world meditation is well-established through scientific and medical research as beneficial to our physical health and mental well-being. The door is open to us to acknowledge this and to point to deeper meanings – to the spiritual fruits that meditation activates and to meaning and truth as experiences, not concepts. In meditation we discover the meaning of human existence in the process of our own transformation and divinization.
It is simple. This is why we are here to speak about children and meditation. But it is more than children who benefit when we teach children to meditate in this tradition. It is we ourselves who remember the full power and wonder of the tradition that has formed us and to which we belong. But it is radical. Meditation changes the life of the person who practises it and of the community in which it is practised. It does this through silence rather than conflict because it brings the process of transformation into the soul and does not project conflict outwards. As a result it changes the relationships between people and this redistributes the power and meaning of authority. In this sense meditation is as dangerous and as liberating to human potential as the gospel itself.
I have tried to show very briefly how this simple practice belongs to the Christian tradition and offers us today a way of radical simplicity to make this tradition once again capable of meeting the world in its deepest crisis with the hope, the vision and the love of Christ.
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