FIRST: Discursive Meditation
When you say meditation, I think of either someone sitting on the ground cross-legged, fingers pinched, ohm-ing or maybe someone is in a life group trying to find their “power animal.” Either way, it’s definitely not something that Christians practice. Meditation is for other religions…at least that was how I thought.
Within the last 2 years, though, I’ve been introduced to the concept of meditation from a Christian perspective. There is a difference between the two concepts. In Eastern Religions, meditation has to do with an emptying. It’s an exercise to clear your mind. The Christian practice, however, calls us to meditate on something—to be clear, God—and to fill our minds with his beauty and truth.
The first time I experienced meditation, was in a Spiritual Life Development staff meeting. We were led in a practice called discursive meditation. Discursive simply means “conversational” and we were lead through this time, prompt by prompt. We were asked to close our eyes, sit comfortably and picture what was described to us.
It went something like this:
“Imagine you are walking down a path. This is the path of your life. What does that path look like? Curvy? Straight? Rocky? Concrete?”
As my mind worked through this prompt, I saw the road from Gladiator that Maximus envisions on his way up to his house. It’s a dirt road, with wheat stalks grown up waist high.
“Something is in your hand as you’re walking on this road. You’ve been carrying it for a long time. It’s something in your spirit. What is it?
Guilt. I was carrying guilt. It was a gut reaction and the first word that came into my mind, so I just went with it.
“What does it look like?”
I saw the top from the film Inception. Again, it was the first thing that popped into my mind.
“There is a figure coming down the road toward you. You can just make them out and as they get closer, you see that it’s Jesus. What’s the expression on his face?”
He’ smiling like the Buddy Christ from Dogma. He’s happy to see me. We were like old buddies who haven’t seen each other in awhile. We picked up wherever we left off. There weren’t any of those occasional awkward few minutes to get reacquainted.
Now he’s standing right in front of you and he’s holding out his hand-he wants you to put the object you’re carrying, in his hands. How does it feel to give it to him?
Unable to look at him, with my eyes fixed on the dirt I handed it over.
“You start walking the road together. Do you have a conversation? What is that like?”
I don’t wait for him to speak. “Listen, I’m sorry about…”
“Matt, don’t worry about it…I’ve got it.”
“Yeah but, I…”
“I’ve got it and it’s okay.”
“I know, but…”
“Matt, stop…everything is fine.” Still smiling!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.” Philippians 4:8 (VOICE)