If another person credits their success to a daily meditation practice it’ll be too soon. Is this a fad or something of substance?
Meditation isn’t a fad and has ancient origins. But the version we see today doesn’t draw from its Biblical roots. Regardless of what the latest personal development guru or Indian Yogi says, meditation is God’s idea.
A couple examples from the Bible:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. -Joshua 1:8
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. -Psalm 1:1–2
Christian/biblical meditation defined as chewing, holding in one’s mind, thinking on, musing over, and soaking in the teachings and truths of the Scriptures.
Opposed to Transcendental Meditation, and other forms, focused on breathing, relaxing, emptying the mind, and trying to enter a higher state of awareness. This kind of meditation touted as the key for success.
The greatest difference between Christian meditation and our modern form is the place of the mind. Christian meditation is about filling the mind with truth. TM is about emptying. Christian meditation is coming to an awareness of ultimate reality in God. TM is about finding relaxation and awareness in the self.
CM engages the mind with truth and promises outside of ourselves. TM looks for truth within. CM seeks relationship with our Creator. TM seeks deeper awareness of self in the mind.
CM concerned with unearthing places of sin and evil lurking in the heart leading to repentance and obedience. TM is about finding success and achieving higher planes of self regardless of the state of the heart.
I understand my summations are not exhaustive and have room for detail. But for the sake of argument these are the basic tenets of both meditation practices.
Why do I care?
Many “so-called” personal development gurus and successful entrepreneurs claim meditation is the key to their success. They say,
“…if you don’t have a daily routine of breathing, relaxing, and visualizing your dreams, you’ll never be wealthy like me.”
I’ve been reading a book someone recommended called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. A solid book encouraging the reader to see personal growth not as seismic shifts, rather, small progress infused with daily practices. No problem, makes sense.
But small progress, daily habits, practices, or spiritual disciplines is as old as the Bible. Christians have practiced things like prayer, Bible meditation, fasting, service, worship, repentance, confession, and other spiritual habits, for thousands of years.
Olson claims the path of happiness and success is being found in the research of positive psychology. In the book he gives examples of the practices needed for a happy life:
- Make room for friends.
- Practice savoring the moment.
- Practice having a positive perspective.
- Put more energy into cultivating your relationships.
- Practice forgiveness.
- Engage in meaningful activities.
- Practice simple acts of giving.
Interesting. All biblical ideas.
Make room for friends. Check.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. -Proverbs 18:24
Practice forgiveness. Check.
“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” -Matthew 6:12
Practice simple acts of giving. Check.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:34
I could go on and on.
Before we announce from the rooftops, we’ve discovered the keys to human flourishing. Much of what is touted as personal development has roots in Christian practice and theology.
Maybe what people are tapping into is a perceived or unperceived need for God. Maybe the designer of the universe knows what he’s talking about and has the pathway for joy, happiness, and true success in his hands.
If daily TM works for you… get after it.
But let me challenge you here. No human holds within themselves lasting happiness, peace, self awareness, and truth. No amount of breathing, relaxing, and mumbling, can cure an aching soul. A soul longing for something beyond itself. A soul built for eternity… for God.
The only one who has ever claimed to hold all truth, joy, and life in himself was Jesus. Who said:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Please stop selling dreams and success because of your meditation practice. A success placebo at best.
Consider meditating on the truths of ultimate reality in the Bible. You may not become a billionaire but this version of success will last a trillion years.
Maybe the Creator and Redeemer of all things knows the meditation we truly need?