I was pleasantly reminded that the Christian practice
- actually does exist, and
- is quite beneficial:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:4-9, English Standard Version
The blogger at Creation-Evolution News continues:
Christian meditation is God-focused, becoming attentive about God’s attributes, such as His mercy, goodness, kindness, grace and love. That includes all the good things that flow from Him: truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, excellence, and praise. It’s hard to imagine that kind of meditation would generate negative emotions.Some Meditation Practices Can Be Scary
As I recall, people who are generous with their time and money are rather less likely to develop mental problems, compared with the fearful and the selfish.
For some mysterious reason, Christian meditation is not compared to Eastern (Buddhist) forms of meditation, which can be rather harmful:
The study, though, was quite harsh about Buddhist meditation: not only considering wide reports of bad experiences, but attempts by teachers to cover them up or explain them away.Some Meditation Practices Can Be Scary
For once, though, I am willing to attribute this oversight in the scientific study to ignorance (even I forgot about Christian meditation!), rather than some flavour of secularist malice.
In his postscript, the author rightfully notes:
Secular scientists, by denying the spirit world of God and demons, cannot even ask the question if these people are seeing evil spirits in their meditation that are causing their bad experiences. The Bible strictly condemns opening up oneself to occult practices that tap into the spirit world. Notice that the Bible treats demon possession/oppression and mental illness as separate categories. Even though some demons can mimic physical effects of epilepsy, for instance, they are not treated the same in the Bible. However, demons are real, and capable of much harm. Their purpose is to deceive, cause suffering, and destroy. Jesus cast them out with a word, and they knew who He was. Some Eastern religions openly acknowledge demonic spirits and even worship them, adoring serpents and calling upon them. It is not surprising to Christian missionaries that symptoms of demon possession are very evident in those lands. Psychologists who refuse to consider the existence of evil spirits cannot begin to understand what is going on when they merely speak of “unpleasant experiences” by people who have opened themselves up to demonic powers, and are suffering the consequences. Imagine a secular scientist watching the man with the “Legion” of demons in Mark 5, then trying to write it up in a scientific paper in psychological terms! It would be completely baffling to him. It would see only dirty bath water, and not a baby. One can imagine what a psychologist would write about the swine, too!
Christian meditation weakens and cuts off the hold of the devil, exactly BECAUSE Christians can recognize and draw close to the light of God, the salvation of Christ, the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and the casting off of unclean spirits.
And how does Christian meditation accomplish this?
By focusing the mind on what is true, just, honourable, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent.
To get to a high place, you have to focus on a high place! If you just “empty your mind”, any ugly old thing will be happy to move in and take over.
NOT a good thing!