Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Exploring the practice of Christian Meditation with Laurence Freeman

Recently, I have been watching this dvd titled The Journey of Meditation by Laurence Freeman. I am trying to implement meditation into my life to see if it would help with some of my health-related conditions. I don’t hear much mention of meditation as a Christian practice amongst the Chrsitian communities that I interact with. And those people in church who do talk about it present it in a bad light. According to their belief, meditation is the emptying of the mind, which allows for evil spiritual influences to assume the void.

But I do think that it would be a pity for Christians to avoid or castigate a practice that has the ability to bring inner peace to the practitioner. And for myself, I am trying to resort to means that may help me deal with my problems while adhering as closely as possible to the stipulations regarding spirituality from Christianity. So the conjunction of Christian with meditation seems most intuitive as a way for Chrsitians to engage in meditative practice without feeling guilty about it.

From my watching of the DVD, as well as viewing a video on youtube of Laurence Freeman teaching meditation, Chrsitian meditation isn’t all that distinctive from common concepts of what meditation is about. Freeman even recommends the employment of a mantra as an aid in meditation, not quite unlike the instructions I have read about from other religious practices of meditation. For Freeman, his recommended mantra is the word “Maranatha”, which is an Aramaic word which has the meaning of Our Lord has Come. I actually think that there is a cool esoteric quality to the word. The interesting thing though that Freeman says about the use of the Mantra is that the person saying it should not attempt to conceptualise the meaning of the word when he is meditating with the mantra. It is more to guide the focus of the meditation, which is why Maranatha is such a apt word for the purpose as it does not instinctively provoke the meditator to think about its meaning.

Compared to what I have read about Eastern practice of meditation such as from Buddhism, I prefer the more simple and unphilosophical method of meditation that has been described by Freeman. I don’t like it when meditation has to be too complicated, such as having to empty desires, or an overfocus on breathing etc. A simple mantra and gentle refocus of the thoughts of the mind style of meditation seems more appealing and approachable to me as a layman to meditation.

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