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Over the past two years, I have been touched by the gift of Christian Meditation. I encountered Christian Meditation through one of the teachers trained by the World Community for Christian Meditation (www.wccm.org). Once a week, my wife and I meditate with a group of fellow meditators, as well as continuing to meditate by ourselves at home. I am finding that the commitment to the practice of Christian Meditation has deepened my faith and communion with God, and this, in turn, has manifested itself in countless ways in the experience of my life.
What is Christian Meditation?
“The all important aim in Christian Meditation is to allow God’s mysterious presence within us to become more and more not only a reality, but the reality which gives meaning, shape and purpose to everything we do, to everything we are . . .” (John Main). It involves learning to live in the presence of God.
How to Meditate
The World Community for Christian Meditation suggests the following guidelines for meditating:
1. Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Breathe calmly and regularly. Silently, interiorly begin to say a single word or phrase.
2. Recommended is the prayer-phase MA-RA-NA-THA. Recite it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently but continuously.
3. Do not think or imagine anything — spiritual or otherwise. If thoughts and images come, these are distractions at the time of meditation, so keep returning to simply saying the word.
4. Meditate each morning and evening for twenty to thirty minutes.
Further Information on Christian Meditation
For further information, please see the following links on this website:
Overview of Contemplative Prayer
Contemplative Prayer: An Experience of the Heart
Called to the Contemplative Spiritual Path
How Did It All Begin?
Meditation is not something new to the Christian experience, but is deeply rooted in Christian
tradition. However, many Christians have lost touch with this ancient tradition of prayer. Meditation
involves coming to a stillness of spirit and a stillness of body. The extraordinary thing is that, in spite
of all the distractions of the modern world, this silence is perfectly possible for all of us. To attain
this silence and stillness, we have to devote time, energy, and love.
The way to set out on this pilgrimage is to recite a short phrase, a word that today is commonly called a mantra. The mantra is simply a means of turning our attention beyond ourselves, a method of drawing us away from our own thoughts and concerns. The real work of meditation is to attain harmony of body, mind and spirit. This is the aim given us by the psalmist: "Be still and know that I am God".
St. Paul wrote (Rom. 8:26) that "we do not know how to pray, but the Spirit prays within us". What this means in the language of our own day is that before we can pray, we first have to learn to become still, to become attentive. Only then can we enter into loving awareness of the Spirit of Jesus deep within our heart.
Meditation, known also as contemplative prayer, is the prayer of silence, the place where direct contact with Christ can occur, once the never-ceasing activity of the mind has been stilled. In meditation we go beyond words, thoughts, and images into the presence of God within.
St. John of the Cross says, “God is the centre of my soul”. Julian of Norwich says: “God is the still point at my centre”. Meditation is this daily pilgrimage to one's own centre.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Notes from Meditation Sessions
In the weekly meditation sessions, the group leader plays a short audio presentation (from various speakers) which instructs participants on different aspects of Christian meditation. When I was new to meditation, I initially created outlines of the audio instruction received in order to review and then apply the principles in my own life. I share these notes as PDF files, which are listed below and can be accessed:
How to Meditate
On the Way of Christian Meditation
What Is a Good Meditation?
Is the Mantra Prayer?
Humility of Prayer
Become as Little Children
The Grand Poverty of the Mantra
Two Traditions of Prayer
Fear to Freedom
Contemplation and Love