Should Christians do Yoga? What is the Difference Between Christian Meditaton and Other Kinds of Meditation?
In our society, meditation is regarded as something hip, zen, and positive. People meditate for all kinds of reasons - to achieve spiritual enlightenment, to feel better about themselves, and to experience feelings of peace or liberation.
We often picture images of meditation as people sitting cross legged, we one hand on either side of their knees, with their back straight and their eyes closed.
In the Bible, Christians are called to meditate too. Is this the same kind of posture as other kinds of meditation? In this hub, I write about the differences between Christian meditation and other kinds of meditation.
First of all, Christian meditation is different from other kinds of meditation, as Christians are told to fill their minds, as opposed to emptying or freeing their minds.
- Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. - Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
- Blessed is the man.... whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. - Psalms 1:1-2
Christians are told to think about what is pure, and to think about God, and His word. On the other hand, other kinds of meditation teach people to free their minds and to empty them. From a biblical perspective, such emptying of the mind is not advocated, as it is when we are vulnerable and unprotected by God's word, which is our shield and guide. The common saying 'an idle mind is the devil's workshop' thus applies in the Christian context.
Second, Christian meditation turns our attention to focus on God, while other kinds of meditation turn our attention away from God.
In Christian meditation, when we think about things that are pure and noble and true... and when we think about God, we are directed to God, and Jesus. We learn more deeply about their character and who they are, and in the process we grow in our spiritual knowledge and love for God.
However, in other kinds of meditation, we are taught to use words like 'ommmmm' to clear our minds, and to visualize our worries and concerns leaving us... we are told to focus on our posture, our breathing, our sensations of lightness... all these turn our focus away from God, and onto ourselves and bodily sensations.
Third, Christians meditation finds its roots in the Bible and in God, while other kinds of meditations have links to other belief systems.
Christian meditation is done with the goal to increase our Christ-likeness.
Yoga, transcendental meditation... can be traced to certain belief systems such as Hinduism.. while many people may engage in meditation as a form of recreation or exercise or relaxation, sometimes we do not realize the roots that these forms of mediation have. Often, there are different levels of meditation that people engage in, and what we may engage in at a superficial or entrance level may lead to something else that has greater and darker spiritual underpinnings, if we are not aware.