Thursday, November 15, 2007

Teaching is Important to Meditation

In the last post, I asserted that meditation brought our three levels of being together.

We utilize the intellect and the teaching of the Word so that we might hide the Word in our hearts. Psalm 119:11. Interesting place to keep the Word, in the seat of our emotions, in the place we all acknowledge leads us to trouble, in the one part of our being absolutely subjective!

This is exactly the point! Culture has inculcated within us, including church transmission mechanisms, a perspective that trusts the intellect and disregards the emotions--one full third of our being. Yet our intellect can support the exercise of our hearts in meditation. Our understanding and familiarity with the Word is very important to successful meditation.

Talk of meditation is largely rejected in Protestant Evangelicalism because it does involve the emotions. We suspect our emotions will lead us astray. Hence we don't trust the idea of "Christian" meditation. But if we our honest, meditation is in our Bible.
Consider these OT phrases lifted straight from a word search:

meditate in the field
meditate on it (the law) day and night
Meditate in your heart
meditate in His temple
meditate on You
meditate with my heart,
meditate on all Your work
meditate on Your precepts
meditate on Your wonders.
meditate on Your precepts.
meditation before God.
meditation of my heart
Let my meditation be pleasing to Him
O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.
meditate on Your word
meditate on all Your doings
on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
Your heart will meditate on terror (a statement attributed to God by the prophet Isaiah.)

Also, Philippians 4:8 doesn't mention meditation but describes what I am appealing for us Christians to do:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Teaching fills our hearts with the parameters that safely guide long periods of holding an open heart to the spiritual realm. Learning to meditate (muttering to ourselves the Truth -- thanks Terry, commenter on the last post for this very insightful image) opens us to an interaction with the Holy Spirit that is rewarding, comforting and full of instruction on spiritual matters directly from the Lord.

Basically, meditation isn't mystical as in the meaning of mysterious or enigmatic. It is a simple practice which can increase our love for the Father and our sense of His love for us, which then supports a more active love for others. More in the next post.


Craig V. said...

Great points ded. Thanks for your insights

I'm not sure the reason why meditation is ignored in evangelical circles is because it has to do with emotions. At least in my circles, I suspect it's more because we're not sure what it is. We admonish one another to read the Bible and pray. Neither of these is exactly meditation, but it's not clear what is different about meditation. It may be the emotional element, but it may be something else. Something along the lines of appropriating what we read into our relationship with God. You've got me thinking.

ded said...

craig v.,
Your comments through this series of posts have been invaluable.

...because we're not sure what it is. will be my next jumping off point.

I think getting you thinking (and others) is all I really wanted to do, so in this I sense some completion. Thnaks for reading over here. I appreciate it more than I can say.

Jesse said...

How would you relate meditation and fasting? Are they one in the same? I correlate fasting to the need to meditate but I know you do not to need to fast in order to meditate. I know my wisdom and understanding of both are still very juvenile. Thanks for your thoughts

ded said...

Hey Jesse!

I think fasting and meditation are two separate disciplines. I don't think there is any evidence in the Bible of them necessarily going
together,though fasting would seem to be a time of focus on the Lord likely to involve meditation. Meditation on the other hand, I would view as something that one could choose to do daily, if even for only a short period of time.

eedavis2 said...

daddy you need to write a book. EB

ded said...

Hey EB,

I appreciate your encouragement. You are probably a little bit prejudiced though.

Love you, always!