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Discovering Richer Purpose in Life

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Christian meditation has been a life-changing experience for me. A book that has helped to transform my life is The Hunger for Depth and Meaning: Learning to Meditate with John Main, edited by Peter Ng (published by MedioMedia in 2007). The following outline, with notes, is based on this book which in turn is based on John Main’s writing.

Everyone who perseveres in meditation discovers that although during the time of meditation it might appear that nothing happens, yet gradually the whole of one’s life is changed. The fruits of meditation can be listed as follows (and are described in the book):


      1.     Living in the Present Moment

      2.     Learning to Be

      3.     Abandonment of Desire

      4.     Detachment

      5.     Liberty of Spirit

      6.     Freedom

      7.     Growing in Love

      8.     Rooted in God

      9.     Personal Harmony

    10.    Mature Relationships

    11.    Christian Community

    12.    Other-Centredness

    13.    Meaning, Significance, and Purpose

    14.    Stability

    15.    Fullness of Life

    16.    Values System Based on God


In Christian meditation, the summons one has from Jesus is to follow the Way, not one’s own way, but The Way. He is the Way, the way that is truth and life. Specifically, this way is:


      1.     The Way of Silence

      2.     The Way of Stillness

      3.     The Way of Simplicity

      4.     The Way of Discipline

      5.     The Way of Commitment

      6.     The Way of Leaving Self Behind

      7.     The Way of Faith

      8.     The Way of Trust

      9.     The Way of Love

    10.    The Way of Wisdom

    11.    The Way of Enlightenment

    12.    The Way of Peace

    13.    The Way of Attention


One form of Christian meditation, which can be understood as part of the Christian tradition of prayer from the beginning, involves the use of a mantra. The mantra in Christian prayer (alluded to, for example, in the work of John Cassian and by the author of The Cloud of Unknowing) has been historically documented.


Using the mantra involves:

      1.     Choosing the Mantra

      2.     Saying and Sounding the Mantra

      3.     Listening to the Mantra

      4.     Breathing and the Mantra

      5.     Stages of Saying the Mantra


The essence of meditation is learning to stand back and to allow God to come into the forefront of one’s life – that is, to take that step away from self-centredness to God-centredness. The essence of meditation brings about:

      1.     Fullness of Being

      2.     Leaving the Ego Behind

      3.     Discovering One’s Potential

      4.     Ultimate Meaning

      5.     Expansion of Being

      6.     Re-linked to One’s Centre


Christian meditation has a theology. This theology includes:

      1.     The Theology of Prayer

      2.     Only One Prayer

      3.     Beyond All Concepts of God

      4.     To Lose Oneself in Christ

      5.     God’s Mysterious Presence Within

      6.     The Birth of Christ in One’s Heart

      7.     Transformation of Human Consciousness

      8.     Death and Resurrection


The practice of meditation involves understanding:

      1.     How to Meditate

      2.     Times of Meditation

      3.     Preparations to Meditate

      4.     Distractions


Finally, the journey of meditation entails understanding:

      1.     Setting One’s Mind on the Kingdom

      2.     Self-Transcendence

      3.     Persevering

      4.     Meditation as an Art

      5.     Avoiding Expectations


Source: Notes taken and adapted from Peter Ng, ed., The Hunger and Depth for Meaning: Learning to Meditate with John Main (Singapore: Medio Media, 2007).


Photo credit: Intellimon Ltd.

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