Christian Meditation 101
My goal in this podcast — Christian meditation for a bigger life — is to help 21st century Christians in the always distracted digital age — to connect with God with our whole being and sense that embodied connection in each present moment throughout our day. And I think most of us as Christians are often living these unconsciously anxious and tense lives with a kind of bifurcated connection with our own soul and a fragmented connection with God. Where our “Christian faith” has become primarily about certain beliefs about our future rather than an embodied experience right now with the real God who created this entire universe.
6 years ago… I read a book by a psychologist that worked at Stanford Medical Center that led to my attending a 6-day clinic in Northern California with the author and his team, along with 10 other attendees, where, among other things, we learned and practiced his protocol for meditation and relaxation.
His method of meditation was not tied to any kind of spirituality. Mainly just focusing on relaxing your entire body at once and focusing your mind on feeling your entire body relax as you continue a slow rhythm of breathing. Pretty basic, but effective in rebooting the central nervous system from a sympathetic (limbic system fight or flight) to a parasympathetic (calm and free of tension and stress).
But since then, I’ve also read lots of books by various neurologists on the brain and body connection and other books by Buddhist authors on meditation, and I’ve used lots of various audio meditations by all kinds of meditation instructors — lots of Progressive Relaxation or body scan techniques. Almost all of them are tied to a Buddhist spirituality. Buddhists have discovered something real and beneficial, but they’ve misinterpreted the meaning of it. It’s not dissolving the illusion of the self and becoming one with the collective consciousness or Being of the universe, but rather helping our mind re-integrating our soul with our body. There is a transcendence to that that is felt as a mystical experience because we are spiritual beings.
But all of these techniques for meditation, while still helpful, were missing the kind of true spiritual experience in meditation and contemplation that the Bible talks about when it talks about meditation.
So I decided to try to integrate the two. Which I’ve been doing now for about two years. Taking the best of the non-spiritual kind of meditation protocol I learned in California, along with the best of various mindfulness or Buddhist meditation techniques — and integrating those with previous ways I’ve meditated on Biblical images of my connection with God. And it has made a huge difference in my life. And it’s what I want to help you do in these podcast episodes.
So I want to give you the basic structure I use for this kind of Christian meditation.
Eventually — once you learn the basic structure — you can even do it for a three to five-minute meditation to do easily and quickly at home, at work, before an important meeting, when you’re stuck in traffic, or anytime you have a pain or anxiety flare.
You can do it lying flat on your back, or sitting in a chair or sometimes I do it even while walking. It works. Although not in the same way as if I’m lying down. But something is always better than nothing. And it’s a great practice to learn to do whenever you can, wherever you are.
I’m going to do it longer in this episode by explaining and giving you more time to learn what to focus on. So I’m going to record this episode and then the next episode will be a shorter Christian meditation without much explanation that you can use whenever.
But with practice you can do it as quickly as you need to in any moment. But setting aside a longer time to do it each day (20-30 min) will make a much bigger difference not only in your central nervous system but in your sense of walking with God