In last week’s blog, I talked about Dharana, the practice of concentration which precedes the practice of meditation which is what today’s blog is about. To enter the practice of meditation, the two previous stages (sense withdrawal and a single-pointed concentration) must be practiced. The stage of meditation, called Dhyana, is simply being part of the experience that comes after concentration. One of my teachers once said, “While you’re in dhyana, you become aware of the fact that you’re meditating, then you have come out of the meditation.” The experience of dhyana is not a constant state; you come in and out of this stage during your practice of meditation. Just like asanas (or anything else in life), constant practice improves one’s ability to stay in dhyana for longer periods of time. So as a Christian, how can dhyana be practiced; and is there even a difference between biblical meditation and an non-biblical meditation? Here’s an excerpt from my book, “BE STILL: The Power of Biblical Meditation”:
“Shortly after moving to Charlotte, NC in 2015, I invited a college-aged girl to church as I was leaving Panera Bread. She said she was a student at a Bible College and was very involved in the church that was affiliated with the school, and after a brief but pleasant chat about God and the Bible, I gave her my business card to keep in touch.
Later that evening, I received a message from her where she was expressing her deep concern for my salvation because she read on my website that I’m a meditation coach. She advised me to pray to God and not engage in meditation that she believed was not righteous. She referred to a scripture about how you can invite evil spirits to enter you (Matthew 12:44-45). She told me that I was on dangerous ground and that I needed to repent.
I must admit, my initial reaction was to get prideful and defensive (which is really the same thing). Instead, I took a step back and thanked God for her in prayer for her heart of boldness to stand for what she believed was for God’s glory. I replied to her with a humbler heart than I otherwise would have before praying, and I thanked her for her concern. I also explained to her that meditation is absolutely biblical and that not all meditation is a “paganistic practice.”
Just like anything in life, we can take something God created and make it not of God (i.e. – corruption in politics, religious organizations, corporations, etc.). The meditation she was referring to was not the meditation that I practice. The biblical meditation that I practice is to practice stillness in heart, mind, soul and strength as stated in Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-2; Psalm 104:34.”
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.”
As a Christian, my intention for meditation should be to keep His Words close to my heart, for it to always be on my lips, and to rejoice in the Him so that I can please the Lord, the God of the Universe. To set myself up for success, I read a scripture and pray. I pray for God to allow the Spirit to intercede and make our time together glorifying to Him. I then move on to pranayama, followed by pratyahara, and then dharana. While I’m experiencing dhyana (going into and coming out of dhyana throughout the practice), God reveals many things to me. Experiencing this intimate communion with God is not an unattainable practice; it simply requires us to take the first step so that He can carry us through the remainder of the way.
If you would like to purchase and/or read about my book, “BE STILL: The Power of Biblical Meditation,” click here.