When you hear the word meditation what comes to mind? Do you picture some Yogi sitting in “the full lotus position” (an eastern variation of criss-cross apple sauce)? Do you think of an old wise oriental man with a long beard who refers to his students as grasshoppers? Or let me ask you a more direct question: who invented meditation?
The Origin of Meditation
The origin of something is important. If meditation has its roots in dark arts or the occult then we should steer clear of it. But if the origin is in God then we should embrace it and understand its purpose. Then we can meditate better than any swami or yogi could ever hope to! So lets take a look at the Bible to see when meditation was first mentioned.
The Patriarch Meditates
Isaac was born in 1,901 B.C. (that’s 3,912 years ago) and the first mention of meditation in scripture is when he goes to meditate in the field (Genesis 24:63):
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming.”
Here we have an account of one of the Patriarch’s meditating and this occurred over 3,500 years ago.
This means God’s children were in the business of meditating long before the fads of New age meditation. We can put it like this, “God’s people were meditating while the New Agers were still in diapers.” So what happened? Why don’t we think of the Church and Christians when we hear the word meditation? Could it be because the enemy has tried to steal what is rightfully ours and brand meditation as something dark and evil?
What do we go from here?
For starters, how about we stop being so freaked out about the word meditation and instead learn how to practice it so we can nourish our inner man? And on a side note, we don’t always need to preface meditation by calling it “Christian meditation.” There are a lot of false religions who practice prayer but we don’t insist on calling it, “Christian prayer.” Meditation was invented by God and is a spiritual exercise that rightfully belongs in the Kingdom of God. We are not afraid to pray and we should not be afraid to meditate either.
Meditation: an Antidote for Information Overload
I like what Charles Spurgeon has to say on the subject:
“It is well to meditate upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. A man who hears many sermons, is not necessarily well-instructed in the faith. We may read so many religious books, that we overload our brains, and they may be unable to work under the weight of the great mass of paper and of printer’s ink. The man who reads but one book, and that book his Bible, and then meditates much upon it, will be a better scholar in Christ’s school than he who merely reads hundreds of books, and meditates not at all.”
Spurgeon was aware of the problem of information overload and that was over 100 years ago! We now face this problem on a much greater scale due to the presence of the internet, Podcasts, TV, e-readers, IPhones, etc. If we can learn from God how to meditate we will cease from always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 3:7). And hopefully we will become as addicted to meditation as we are to information. I’ll end with another quote by the Prince of Preachers:
“We can meditate better after we have addicted ourselves to a meditative frame. When we have mused a little, then the fire begins to burn; and you will perceive, that as the fire burns, meditation gets easier, and then the heart gets warm; and oh! what holy affections, what blessed excitements those have who are much alone with Christ!”
So what are your thoughts and experiences regarding meditation? Has meditation helped you? Do you find it difficult to meditate?