Meditations: Mantra Mandala Making

Meditations: Mantra Mandala Making

The practice of mandala making is based in Buddhism, but the complex circular designs have been adopted by others for their beauty and serenity and can be seen in Christian cathedrals, stain glass, and even adult coloring books. While the practice of coloring can be relaxing, the practice of mandala making is much deeper, especially when paired with the practice of mantra.

The basic idea of a mandala is a circular design originating at one point with repeating patterns spiraling out. Usually, the design spreads out in four main directions like a compass with other leaves budding off and between the four main directions. The thought is that the circularity and complexity of the mandala captures the essence of the world.

Like how the complex design draws into the singular center point, mantra is a word or syllable that is meant to encapsulate the whole of a passage or text. The practice of repeating and focusing on the word is thought to evoke the text that it represents. Most common is the Buddhist “Om” which represents the text that tells of the three main Hindu deities. It can be thought of as a prayer in some ways.

Creating a mandala takes focus and detailed thought. It can be done with a variety of mediums from pen and marker, to paint, to colored sands or stained glass. I will be creating my own mandala throughout this week guided by a mantra.

First, choose a word to be the center point of the mandala/mantra. This will be the word you wish to meditate and center your focus on for the week while creating the mandala. Everything branching off of the mandala will be pulled back to this center word.As I am doing this meditation series for Lent, a word such as “Easter” or “Jesus” or “Lent” may be appropriate choices. Or something such as “Love” or “Friendship” or “Listen”…

This practice is often paired with a rhythmic music such as drums. I like the music of the hang drum. If you can match a beat or note to your word, listening to the song can help you stay focused by bringing your attention back to center every time you hear that beat or note.

On the first day, listen to your song and meditate on your word, drawing only a single dot in the middle of the page and maybe some guidelines or points around it as you focus on what the word means to you.

In the next days, start with your word at the center point of the mandala, then branch out to related words as you draw out towards the edges of the page. Start with your inner views on the topic, then as you near the edges of the page consider the world’s perspectives on the topic. Let the icons you draw represent a singular word or phrase and meditate on it as you draw, always tying back to center. Don’t let your thoughts get too complex, focus on single words, shapes, and rhythms as you build the complexities around your word.

Reflect on the complexities as you come back to center. With each session, start with the middle and spread outwards with your mind, then follow your drawings and the words they represent back to center.

When your design is complete, choose a series of colors. Use specific colors to highlight each main direction while moving in a spiraling fashion around the image. Leave the center point black or white, allowing it to absorb the complexities around it to create it’s true color. Perhaps you are affiliating a word, idea, or rhythm with each color adding more depth to the shape and word it represents. Meditate and listen, absorbing how these concepts meet and intertwine as you fill in color. Are there gaps or voids? Meditate on these empty spaces as well, allowing your mind to empty and recognize that voids exist even within complex systems. How do these voids add to the mandala?

If you are listening to music while you draw, focus on a singular beat with your centered word then allow your attention to branch out, opening to the complexity of rhythms and melodies in the song even as your mandala is branching out into more complexities yet always working together with that base word or beat as one complete whole.

Carry the working mandala with you throughout the week, looking at it throughout the day to recenter yourself.

At the end of each drawing session, reflect on the movements of your mind. Follow the path back to the center, letting your word be your last thought.

Once your mandala is finished, look at it as a whole, observe each detail, start from the center and spiral out and back in. Take in the whole as one piece. There should be a consistency throughout the complexity. Meditate on your word and all of its complexities which you have been exploring. What does the topic mean to you? What does it mean to the world beyond you? And how do these perspectives unite in the mandala?

Hang your completed mandala and return to it as your word comes up in your life. Return to your journey creating it and remember its complexities – how it relates to you and the outer world and how those views are threaded together. Perhaps over time the shapes and colors begin to represent different things to you as your perspective shifts and your experiences grow.


*If you create a mandala, I would love to see it and support you! Feel free to comment on this post with a picture and the word you centered on. I will post an image of my mandala once I complete it.

**Cover image from Pinterest


Killing Beauty

Killing Beauty

I bit my nails. The eyes of the models on the wall glared down at the people in the waiting room. I didn’t want to be beautiful; I just wanted to disappear.

A girl plopped down next to me. “Can you believe we won free makeovers?!”

I looked towards the exit, but my step mother’s eyes burned into me over her Beauty magazine. She seemed to think that a makeover would help us grow closer.

“I’ve heard they can even change your body shape.”

I squeezed my arms around my flat chest and squirmed, imagining razors slicing me up like a chicken.

“It’s like magic!” The girl fiddled with her Tinkerbell zipper pull.

I texted a friend: Save me.


I took a deep breath. A door opened and staff in long leather coats called out names from their clipboards. I felt sick.

The girl beside me squealed.

“Yori Yamora.”

I froze in my chair, but my step mother’s eyes got me moving again.

The woman in the leather coat glanced at me. “You must be so excited about this opportunity.”

I glanced back as the door slammed shut. It was heavy. Reinforced steel? My bones went cold.

The woman led me down a hallway of doors. The only sound was the rubbing of plastic as she walked. I pulled my wool poncho closer. It smelled like my neighbor’s alpacas. My boots left muddy smears on the white tile floor.

The woman opened a door. “Right this way.”

“Um. Maybe I don’t want to…”

She laughed. “Don’t worry. You’ll come out beautiful.” She shoved me into the dark room.

I heard a lock click. I groped at the door. LEDs flashed on. There was no door knob. I turned to a thousand eyes. I shuddered. They were my own eyes, reflected from every angle, duplicating me endlessly. The room was empty except for me. “What is this?!”

They were like mirrors in a crazy house. I walked around the room watching my reflection change. Even my clothes changed. My hair twisted into tight curls and grew out straight. My eye color flashed from brown to blue to green. My heart pounded. The room spun.

I collapsed clutching my flat chest, my fingers tangled in my frazzled hair. It wasn’t real. They were just reflections.

“Let me out!” I pounded on the mirrors, wailing into my reflections until they looked nothing like me. I stared through my reflection.

Beyond the reflective glass, it looked like inside a dry cleaners. But it wasn’t clothes moving on the racks. They were skins. Human skins: colored, stretched, and empty.

My legs gave out, but my reflections remained standing. They posed. “Choose me,” one said. “I’ll make you happy,” another said. “Pick me!” “No! ME!” They screamed. A thousand of my voices jabbing at me.

“NO!” I yelled. Something pulled my voice; I couldn’t breathe. I smothered my mouth.

The room went dark. Something tugged at my clothes. My scalp burned. I clutched my alpaca poncho as the rest of my clothes were torn off. The floor opened under me, and I breathed in water. Sharp spikes pierced my skin, but all I felt was a numb sensation as my skin was peeled away like peeling wax off cheese.

A warmth surrounded me. It squeezed until I thought my lungs would collapse. I felt my chest expand and stretch. A flash of blue burned into my eyes. My legs ached. There was an elastic tension through the numbness, like I was being drawn and quartered.

All I could hear was the whirling of the gears moving the skins throughout the building.

I woke up on the floor and saw a girl in the glass. “Run! Get out of here!” I yelled at her. But, she just stared back at me. She held something to her chest. A scrap of cloth?

I felt a damp softness between my fingers. I looked down at my shred of poncho. It no longer smelled like alpacas.

My chest felt heavy. I staggered on long legs. I looked at the girl in the mirror and followed her hand through my hair, now blonde and straight. “This isn’t me!”

Everything was numb as I ripped out blonde hair and tore at the growths on my chest. I beat the mirror, smearing red on everything. “I’ll kill you!” I screamed. I choked the reflection until I couldn’t breathe.

The impostor fell.

My vision flickered red…


Meditations: Deep Listening

Meditations: Deep Listening

Is it just me, or is communicating super difficult? Listening to others is just as important as listening to yourself. Our inner being longs to understand and be understood, to connect with others. Words can be powerful, but a still tongue and open ears can be just as important.

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” James 1:19

The practice of deep listening is similar to the previously discussed sensation walking in that it starts off as passive observation then moves to action and reflection.

First, find an active public space. A mall is a perfect example. Spend the first few minutes emptying yourself of all distractions. Sit or stand in a comfortable position. Let your muscles relax. Make the space your own: adjust the chair, put your feet up, get a hot beverage.

If you’re like me, it’s uncomfortable just being in an open public place with lots of eyes around. Let those negative self-conscious feelings pass away. Accept that you are present and a part of this setting.

Be aware of the space around you and yourself in it.

Close your eyes and clear everything from your mind. Don’t have any expectations or goals, just let what is around you approach you without judging it.

First be aware of motion and movement around you. Is there wind? Rustling? Footsteps?

Then, be aware of the variety of voices (both human and natural): their tone, pitch, pace, rhythm. Listen to words as those words become sentences and merge with other voices to become dialogues. If it helps you focus, jot down the words and dialogues you hear.

Then, extend your observation to your vision. Watch people’s motions and postures. Take it all in without judging.

Meditate on the complexities of speech, centering on the similarities between people.

As you finish, move yourself into the mass of people, greeting those around you with a smile, wave, or word.

If possible, start a dialogue with someone and practice listening as you were before, engaged and focused without judgement as the person talks. Let your focus be on their narrative, focused on them rather than yourself. What is their body language saying? Does it match their words? Their tone? Do you understand what they are truly saying? How can you bring yourself to understand them? Don’t think about how to convince them of something you believe or how to fix their problem. There is time for that later. For now, just listen and let them know that they are heard.

Be aware of your own posture, your eyes, your tone and words and what all of that is saying to the other person. Does it say that you are listening? That you believe this person is worth listening to? Does eye contact make them uncomfortable? Is it appropriate to take their hand or pat their shoulder?

“Whoever has ears, let them hear.” ~Jesus

The simple interaction of being listened to can be immensely powerful for people. What if we all took just a few moments each day to truly listen to others? Perhaps we would have less conflict? Perhaps we would have fewer people who feel worthless, insignificant, and hopeless?

Deep listening is a skill that must be practiced often and honed. It requires focus and a wider awareness. It requires one to be still, yet reflective. It builds empathy and patience and understanding.

When you take the time to listen deeply, you not only hear their words, but you learn to hear what their inner voice is crying out–that voice that longs to be understood and connected to others. When you understand how others communicate, you can better understand what they need and what you need to do for your inner voice to reach them. Most of the time, people just want to be heard and acknowledged.


Meditations: Sensation Walking

Meditations: Sensation Walking

A lot of forms of meditation work on inward reflection whether focused on the body or the mind. However, it is equally important to be aware of your surroundings and your place among them. Sensation walking is meant to heighten your awareness of your surroundings and your presence among them without getting caught up in your own thoughts and feelings.

You can do this alone or with others. The setting does not matter, whether urban or rural. Personally, I feel more relaxed in a rural setting like a forest or park, but doing this practice in an urban setting is just as beneficial, if not more beneficial for heightening my awareness even if it is sometimes uncomfortable. If it is safe to do so, I encourage you to walk barefoot to further sync with your environment, or at least allow yourself to stop and touch the textures of your surroundings.

You should pick the same time and path to walk for this practice so that you can better observe how the surroundings change and stay the same over your daily trips.

Begin, motionless. Close your eyes. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Be aware of the impressions that your footsteps leave. Breathe deeply focusing first on your body, allowing yourself to relax.

Then, move your awareness outwards. Do you feel the warmth of the sun? Coolness of wind? What does the air smell like?

Let sounds come to you, allowing your mind to be filled only by the immediate impulses and sensations of your present surroundings.

When you are ready, open your eyes and begin walking. Take in not only the sounds and smells but also the colors and motions. Observe how your perspective shifts as you move around stationary objects or alongside moving objects.

Look first to the details nearest you–a leaf on the ground, a wrapper in a bush, a nearby chirping sound. Allow yourself to stop and observe closer when moved to do so. Look at the way light hits dewdrops. Pick up a piece of litter. Feel the texture of pine needles. Observe what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Be aware of how your presence changes your surroundings. Do the birds take flight? Do people move around you? How long until your footsteps will fade? Do not let your thoughts wander further than the immediate present, spurred by your direct observations.  Be aware of your perspective and possible bias, let those bias pass away for the moment. Take in your surroundings without judgement, see things as they are.

Expand your awareness farther and farther outwards until you are craning your neck back to observe the apex of the sky and space beyond. Become aware of the vastness of time and space and aware of your own eye and mind observing it. You are alive, you are present, within this vast universe and eternity, and you have an effect on it just as it has an effect on you.


I’ve always been good at observing, but at the risk of detaching and dissociating myself from my surroundings or allowing my mood to skew my observation or my observation to skew my mood. There are days that are sunny, and I feel happy. Cloudy days that I feel tired or sad. Sunny days that look gray because of my mood. And rainy days that glimmer from my optimism. I must acknowledge that my connection with my surroundings skews the observation, but by acknowledging that, I am able to shift my perspective beyond and realize that beauty may yet be found in the dark day and that darkness still lurks in the shadows of the sun unrelated to me but still affecting me.

By regular observation of surroundings, I can still say that a particular tree may be beautiful, though it may look ugly on a day that I am upset, because in past observations I had thought it beautiful. This ability to acknowledge an alternative view even if you can’t shift the perspective in the moment is a useful practice for combating rage, depression, and other overpowering emotions that can skew observation. You acknowledge that your inward awareness affects your outward view, even if the outward has not changed. And thus, you can breathe knowing that, like every present moment, this moment will also pass and a brighter moment may be awaiting you in the future.

This practice is also about action. Your presence has an affect on the surroundings. If a sidewalk looks nasty because of litter and I clean it up, the next day it may not look so nasty. I can know that I had a direct affect on the surrounding and, therefore, altered the surrounding’s affect on me. It is through observation that we are able to discern the action needed to make a change. Meditation doesn’t need to be idle.

The practice of sensation walking is to instill a self-aware observation of surroundings. By doing this regularly, you may become aware of how your perspective shifts and acknowledge that the world is constantly changing as you are also.

The present lasts only for one non-judgmental moment. Living in the present, you act on immediate impulse. Judgement and wisdom come after experience and reflection. There must be a balance between observation and reflection, outward awareness and inward awareness. The practice of sensation walking attempts to let these opposite types of meditation meet in a way that can be acknowledged and acted on.


Meditations: Grounding

Meditations: Grounding

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:8,9,18

During the season of lent, we remember Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. It was through his death and resurrection that we are able to find peace and eternal life.

There’s a lot of advice out there for anxiety. If you look to the root cause of most cases of anxiety today, it’s mostly psychological and has to do with your mindset. As a Christian, I hear a lot of advice like “give your burdens to God”, “have faith”, “pray”, “trust”, “be still and know.” Anxiety is a natural response to stress; it gives us that necessary adrenaline boost to get us out of a dangerous situation. However, when our anxiety gets out of control it can become immobilizing even in everyday situations–this requires a paradigm shift to correct and possibly the assistance of medication.

Today, I’m talking about the type of anxiety that gives you shaky legs before a presentation and makes your chest tighten when overwhelmed by emotion. The first step professionals will tell you is to recognize and acknowledge that the anxiety is normal, and thereby, stop yourself from spiraling out of control.

For the longest time, I believed that anxiety was something that could be controlled with my mind. But even when my mind is clear and I don’t feel nervous, my body shakes uncontrollably, my heart pounds rapidly, and my chest tightens so that I can barely breathe, let alone speak. Growing up, people would often mention that I was shaking, even when I didn’t notice it. The specialist said it was a minor “tremor” and would likely go away on its own. It didn’t. When I nearly collapsed while giving a presentation, the doctor gave me miracle pills that slowed my heart rate and stilled my tremor. After only a few times using the pills, their magic disappeared. To this day, I’m still trying to figure out how to control my emotions and my body.

Anxiety is definitely impacted by thought, but we must also acknowledge its physical reaction. For me, there’s a disconnect between my mind and body. Even if my mind is clear and focused, even if I feel confident and calm, my body may be shaking uncontrollably.

Grounding meditation is a practice used to train people going into protests or hostile situations. It is not as focused on the mind but rather on the physical response of the body. Unlike meditations that displace you from reality, this practice is meant to make you completely aware within the situation without getting overwhelmed.

Let’s try it: Grounding

Throughout the meditation keep your eyes open. In dangerous situations, you cannot close your eyes or you don’t want to close your eyes. It’s important to practice self awareness with the distraction of visual stimuli.

You can start in any position, but you may want the space to lay out flat eventually.

First think of something that makes you angry or stressed out. Allow your body to tense, allow yourself to cry, allow your natural response to come. Recognize what is happening to your body: which muscles are tensed? what position are you in? how did your heart rate or breathing change? As you turn your focus to your physical response, allow yourself to set your anger or stress aside for the time being. I do recommend going deeper into thought about your stress and anger, but at this time, focus on your body, not your thoughts.

Take a deep breath noticing how it feels for your lungs to expand. Do not worry about if you are doing it right; just note how your body is behaving.

Tense your whole body for 30 seconds, then take a deep breath, relaxing and releasing the stress as you exhale.

Spend the next moments tensing specific parts of your body for 30 seconds and relaxing. Focus specifically on parts that you noticed tensed during the beginning of the exercise. Pay close attention to the feeling of release. Move from the top down starting with your face, shoulders, then arms, fists, chest, belly, butt, legs, feet and toes. Tense and release, tense and release, tense and release. Go through tensing and relaxing until you become familiar with the feeling of release. Use breathing practices if it helps you to relax.

Then, lay flat on your back or stomach and focus on relaxing from your toes to your head, allowing everything to sleep and remain motionless. Stay completely still and relaxed for a few minutes. Thoughtless. Feeling the emptiness and peace in your body with your eyes still open.

If there are some parts that you cannot release, consider getting a massage or stretching that muscle. When we have prolonged stress, our muscles can get knotted up and need some help to get untwisted.

Hopefully, after doing this practice of grounding regularly, you will learn how to control your body because you will become familiar with your physical reaction to situational stress and how it feels to release that tension. Then, you’ll be able to release the tension in the moment and move forward. This practice is most effective in the situation when paired with other practices for centering, focusing, and calming the mind. 



The Dock

The Dock


The warm grains beneath my hands left grooves on my palms as I lowered myself toward the water. Inching my butt over the edge, my elbows holding my back against the edge of the dock. The water shivered throughout the pond and from my toe up my spine. A gentle breeze ruffled the vibrant green buds surrounding the pond. An applause of new life. The taller trees remained barren yet. My eyes were blue, as blue as the sky, as blue as the ocean, as blue as a new born baby. Not even the clouds could hide the sun that day. Light rained over me turning the edges of my hair to gold. I craned my neck back like flower drinking. I took a deep breath. Then, a piercing cold. With puffed cheeks, I hung suspended, engulfed. My heart pounded in my chest. I opened my eyes and broke the surface.


Our fingers entwined. A perfect fit. Two worn woods growing around each other. His feet dangled beside mine, sending ripples pulsing through my body as he inched closer. The bushes had grown taller providing privacy from curious neighbors and spying friends. The taller trees had their full canopy. My secret place was now his secret place, too. And as we leaned closer together, we created another secret. Storm clouds were moving on the horizon, adding energy to the air, but for now, the pond was still and silent. His fingers twirled through my hair and rained down my body. I drank him in. His scent, his taste, his feel. Then, we separated. My heart pounded. My lungs gasped. I blinked and he was gone.


The dock was as rickety as my old bones. My wrinkles mirrored in the deep cracks of the wood from seventy years of freeze and thaw. I lowered myself slowly down, inch by inch, to the weathered wood. A chill breeze sapped at the minor warmth I still had, and the cold platform drained the rest from me. The barren branches blocked most of the sky. Ice encased the charred limbs of buck thorn surrounding the pond. Ice marbled the surface of the pond. Wood frogs slept under the mud, their veins frozen, hearts stopped. A rowboat floated in the weeds, and a scythe stuck out of it, likely abandoned from the fields behind me. I wheezed in the frigid air. My heart fluttered. I closed my eyes, leaving everything crimson.

Meditations for Lent: Week 1 Know Thy Self

Meditations for Lent: Week 1 Know Thy Self

This week, we are getting in the rhythm of routine. How you do this is up to you. Use this time to reflect on yourself, your needs, what you need to work on in your life. Or practice just sitting still, clearing your mind, relaxing. Think about what type of activities and meditations help you center yourself. What is your center?

Knowing yourself is not something that you can just sit down for a few moments and decide. Your being, your perspective, is constantly shifting as you experience new things in life. That is why it is good practice to meditate and self-reflect. Recenter your beliefs, goals, and ambitions so that you can move ahead on a clearer path.

Views on Meditation as an American and a Christian

The Concept of Rest

In American culture, there is an emphasis on productivity and efficiency. Rates of depression, obesity, anxiety, and other afflictions are on the rise because people no longer take the time to rest and take care of themselves personally or within community.

Christianity supports rest on the Sabbath, traditionally Sundays where one does not work and spends the day going to church, praying, and spending time with family. Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Even God needs to rest. And He calls this rest “holy” or “sacred.” Americans often perceive rest as laziness or weakness, but in moderation, rest is a sacred practice—a thing of beauty.

There have been increasing shifts in American culture to the generalized “self care” which could be anything from regular exercise to binge-watching TV shows. While it is important to take time to do things you enjoy, doing any random activity isn’t always meditation. For meditation, you must be actively engaged with your mind and your surroundings. It is a practice in stillness, focus, and repetition. Is watching an hour of TV before bed each night going to help reduce your stress? Probably not. It might actually increase stress because of the effects of screen lighting or because of the type of program you’re watching. Meditation goes one step further than self care. It is not just for health; it is a training of the mind and cleansing of the soul.

Meditation vs Christianity

The term “meditation” is often affiliated with Buddhism as a way to reach enlightenment or nirvana. Therefore, some conservative Christians are skeptical of meditation, sometimes equating it to a pagan ritual and sin. However, there are many forms of meditation. The practice in general is a way of recentering and grounding oneself. Christianity, itself, commonly practices meditations such as a variety of prayers, lectio divina, devotional readings, praise songs, and others.

Whether or not your meditation could be considered “sinful” depends on where your mind is focusing. There are a few Buddhist and pagan meditations that I would not recommend for Christians simply because they center at places where a Christian would not center and thus are likely to make a Christian feel out-of-balance. 

Pagan Meditation

Some earth-based pagan rituals talk through imagining yourself as a tree or wave, which is fine in a general sense especially if you are considering that as a Christian you are God’s creation and therefore connected to all of God’s creation—the trees, ocean, air, and animals. But if the meditation leads you into believing that you’re going to reincarnate into something else or that if you focus enough you could actually become stone or wood, then you’re centering at a place that is not Christian.


Mantra is a practice of simplifying a text to a single word or syllable and focusing on that word to encapsulate the whole passage. I think this is something Christians can adapt and use to dive deeper into the Bible, but don’t go off saying “Om” repeatedly because first of all—you don’t know what it means. Buddhists believe that a word such as Om can be passed onto students and that by knowing that word, they will come to understand the whole text that the word represents. In the case of Om, it represents the Veda, the three main deities of Hinduism. The repetition of the word is meant to invoke the deities like a Christian prayer. As such, it could be considered idol-worship for a Christian to chant Om because it would be like praying to a false god. However, if you are unaware of the meaning and are focusing your mind elsewhere, I doubt God will smote you.

Shalom as Mantra

You would get more out of a Mantra if you use a word that has more meaning to you and your beliefs. Try something like “shalom.” That’s right–Christianity has neat, powerful words like karma and zen, too! “Shalom” is a Hebrew word in the Bible which has mostly been translated to “peace,” but the Hebrew term encapsulates much more. It was a way of referring to times of peace between nations, but in a sense of wholeness or completeness. It is a completeness not only of body, soul, and mind, but also completeness in fellowship with community, creation, and God. It also refers to inner tranquility and health, and can be used as a greeting to mean, “May peace be with you” or “May you be full of health and prosperity.”

And before some of you start going, “Wait…Hebrew? That’s a Jewish term!” The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, and while Christians have adopted the New Testament in addition to the Old Testament, it does not deny that the things in the Old Testament are true. There are many parallels within the scriptures that link the Old and New Testaments with intimate truth. Shalom is one of those truths that exists throughout all of scripture, appearing over 400 times. Shalom is not just a present condition, it speaks to the Christian idea of New Jerusalem and eternal peace in a perfect, complete world—a world of shalom.

Transcendental Meditation

Another meditation that is widely practiced is transcendental meditation. The basis is that you let go of everything and experience an absolute nothingness or nirvana. This nothingness is a distancing of yourself from your mind and feelings, a separation of yourself from others and the world. Clearing your mind of distracting and stressful thoughts is one thing, but if you’re going so far into transcendental meditations that you end up in a mindless trance or levitate, that’s a different matter. As Christians we believe in a living community after death in the New Jerusalem. There is never nothingness because there is always God. He was in the beginning before time began. He is eternal, endless, timeless. As Christians, we want to delve deep into ourselves, into the Bible, and into the world around us; not separate ourselves from it.

Good Form

Most other forms of meditation I have found are based more on self-reflection and observation of the body and surroundings. These sorts of practices help us see ourselves and our place in the world around us. Practices like the Buddhist Vipassana meditation simply allow you to clear your mind, order your thoughts, and see once again the core of your existence. These are good practices.

There are many Biblical characters that spent hours or days fasting and praying in meditative states. It was through this process that they were able to commune with God, sometimes with words, other times with visions. So don’t be afraid if you experience something that seems supernatural, be open to it, but don’t meditate with the ambition to get a mystical vision.

The Purpose of Meditation

The purpose of meditation is to clear away the stress and clutter of your daily life so that you can realign yourself with your beliefs and calm yourself when faced with stress or danger in order to respond rationally.

Read Meditations for Lent: Introduction