The Discipline of Meditation / An Undivided Life, by Chris Lanier, Soli Deo Gloria

Comments on Chapter 2 of "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster,

  • Transcendental meditation uses a mantra, such as a word, sound or phrase repeatedly silently, to narrow your conscious awareness and eliminate all thoughts from your mind. You focus exclusively on your mantra to achieve a state of perfect stillness and consciousness.
  • Christian meditation is a attempt to fill the mind with thoughts on scripture, creation or quiet prayerful discussions with the Lord.

Preparing to Meditate:

"It is impossible to learn how to meditate from a book. We learn to meditate by meditating. Simple suggestions at the right time, however, can make an immense difference." - Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
  1. Time
    1. Will become a way of life, but setting aside specific times (especially at the beginning) is critical.
  2. Place
    1. More when we get to the discipline of solitude
    2. Find a place that is free from interruption.
      1. No telephone
      2. Place that looks out on a lovely landscape, if possible
      3. Consistent spot versus looking around each time
  3. Posture
    1. In one sense, it makes no difference, but there are some helpful ones that can reflect the inner posture. The Bible contains everything from lying prostrate on the floor to standing with hands and head lifted toward the heavens.
    2. Comfortable and least distracting (sitting with back straight and feet on the floor, as one example)
    3. Some times it is helpful to close the eyes to remove distractions
    4. Some times it is helpful to ponder a picture of the Lord or look out at some lovery trees and plants for the same purpose.
  4. Foms
    1. Meditation on Scripture (see below for detail)
    2. Quiet, contemplative consideration of your activities, thoughts, and emotions, and discussing them with the Lord.
    3. Meditation upon creation
      1. NOT an "infantile pantheism", but a "majestic monotheism in which the Creator of the universe shows us something of his glory through his creation. The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God, and the firmament does show forth his handiwork (Ps. 19:1)" - Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
      2. Psalm 8 - When I consider the heavens . . . what is man, that thou art mindful of him . . .etc.
    4. Meditation upon the events of our time while seeking to perceive their significance.
      1. Thomas Merton writes that the person "...who has not meditated on the Passion of Christ but has not meditated on the extermination camps of Dachau and Auschwitz has not yet fully entered into the experience of Christianity in our time."
    5. Mantras:
      Maranatha Mantra, an ancient mantra of Christian tradition. "Ma-Ra-Na-Tha" ("Come Lord" in Aramaic)

      My own "Praise-Patience-Peace-Wisdom-Strength"
      - "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name." [Psalm 100:4]
      - "Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." [James 5:10-11]
      - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7]
      - "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. [James 1:5]
      - "But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. [Psalm 22:19]

Meditating on Scripture

  • Ortberg:
    • Ask God to meet you in Scripture
    • Read the Bible in a Repentant Spirit (not "how much", but "how" we read)
    • Meditate on a fairly brief passage or narrative (what is your goal?)
      Take any person you know whose knowledge of the Bible is, say, ten times greater than that of the average unchurched person. Then ask yourself if this person is ten times more loving, ten times more patient, ten times more patient, and ten times more joyful than the average unchurched person..."- John Ortberg, The Life You've Always Wanted
    • Take One thought or verse with you through the day
      "Meditation is not meant to be esoteric or spooky or reserved for gurus reciting mantras in the lotus position. It merely implies sustained attention. It is built around this simple principle: "What the mind repeats, it retains." - John Ortberg, The Life You've Always Wanted
    • Allow this Thought to become part of your memory (memorization)
  • "Whereas the study of Scripture centers on exegisis, the meditation of Scripture centers on internalizing and personalizing the passage.... Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, '... just as you do not analyze the words of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, accept the Word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.'" - Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
  • "Resist the temptation to pass over many passages superficially....Suppose we want to meditate on Jesus' staggering statement, 'My peace I give to you' (John 14:27). Our task is not so much to study the passage as it is to be initiated into the reality of which the passage speaks. We brood on the truth that he is now filling us with his peace. The heart, the mind, and the spirit are awakened to his inflowing peace. We sense all motions of fear stilled and overcome by 'power and love and self-control' (2 Tim. 1:7). Rather than dissecting peace we are entering into it. We are enveloped, absorbed, gathered into his peace. And the wonderful thing about such an experience is that the self is quite forgotten. We are no longer worried about how we can make ourselves more at peace, for we ar attending to the impartation of peace within our hearts. No longer do we laboriously think up ways to act peacefully, for acts of peace spring spontaneously from within." - Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

More on meditation here.
Meditation: Take a stress-reduction break wherever you are -
4 Practices to Transform Your Morning | Spirituality & Health Magazine
Meditation in health here.
"Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster