day 02 One To One
there are 3 types of meditation:
(1) "Transcendential" meditation
(2) Secular meditation
(3) Christian meditation
and they are very different from each other.
(1) is dangerous to your mental & spiritual health. why? it is done with the aim of emptying the mind and bringing thought processes to an end. a guru tells a student a mantra (word or very short combination of words, either personal to the student, or the general purpose mantra "om". "the less meaningful the mantra is, the better" or so the theory goes),and the student is meant to repeat the mantra over and over again to crowd any other thoughts out of the head. If repeated often enough, the mantra loses meaninng, if it had ever had any in the first place. (Sitting in a dark room in the lotus position and looking at the flame of a single candle are optional). What happens is, the student enters a state very close to self-hypnosis, which is dangerous as even the medical profession does not understand hypnosis fully, but it is more often than not practiced/promoted by non-medically qualified quacks). But nature abhors a vacuum, and no-one can make his/her mind empty (if they could, how would they know when they had achieved that state, even if it was possible in the first place, which it isn't?). At best you get extremely bored, realise TM is a waste of time, abandon the attempt, and find something better to do. Or the self-hypnotized person falls asleep. (but NB the brain is active during sleep, and we dream whether we remember dreams afterwards or not). At worst, a person can become possessed by demons if they practice TM often. If you need to relax its a lot safer to listen to music, or simply go to sleep, which is a harmless natural process.
(2) Secular meditation: Unlike TM, this does not aim to empty the mind, but to fill it. It is only as useful/safe as what you choose to focus on and fill your mind with. The computing maxim "GIGO" applies: "garbage in, garbage out" (and conversely "good in, good out").
(3) Christian meditation is similar to the above (2), in that it is an active process where you aim to fill your mind, but you fill your mind with scripture. And with thoughts associated with it, what it means to you, and other scriptures it reminds you of. "Eat the Word" and focus on scripture, "digest it, assimilate it" until it becomes part of you. The note dated 20120915 with title "Chew the word" is helpful: the idea expressed is a process like rumination, which is a natural digestive process done by ruminant animals, during which a ruminant will chew food, partly digest it, chew it again, partly digest it some more, up to 4 times for each mouthful of fodder. Sheep are ruminants, having special stomachs & digestive systems which allow them to extract nutrients from grass, which human (non-ruminant) stomachs & digestive systems are not designed to digest. "Ruminating scripture" involves focusing on a portion, meditating on it, moving on to meditate on another portion, returning to the first, focusing on it again, shift focus, return, shift focus, return....But beware, don't over-do repitition. You do not want to chant scripture the way pagans/TM practitioners over-repeat mantras/ritual prayers recited parrot-fashion, to the point of losing touch with the meaning of the words, a practice which would be self-defeating (so even worse than a waste of time). Jesus warned us not to indulge in "lengthy meaningless babble as pagans do" (a concise description of what TM aims to be). So maybe 3 repeats of a portion during 1 meditation session (as a ruminant returns to rechew a mouthful 3 times) may be just enough without becoming counter-productive.
Created 8 months ago