Meditation TechniquesQUESTION: What are some meditation techniques?ANSWER:
There are many different kinds of meditation techniques. They range from sitting in a "lotus position," cross-legged with the feet resting on the opposite thighs, to staring intensely at a "mandala," a painting with repetitive geometric shapes. Meditation techniques can also include repeating a monosyllabic sound, i.e. "om" or the word "one" or staring at a candle flame.
Almost anything can become a meditation technique if one trains one's mind to become still, to clear it of all the noisy chatter that normally occupies one's mind and focus it solely on a single object. For example, in Zen Buddhism the monks are trained to meditate by solving an unsolvable riddle, called a "koan." A famous example of such a riddle is: What is the sound of one hand clapping? Another famous story about mediation techniques involves the Buddha. It states that he once gave a sermon by simply holding up a single flower for his followers to meditate upon.
These meditation techniques have several positive effects on the mind and body and have proven to be useful in dealing with stress and stress-related health problems. However, other New Age religions use these mediation techniques to achieve altered states of consciousness such as in transcendental meditation.
There is another form of meditation that is extremely beneficial and that is meditating on God. The Psalmist wrote, "They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works" (Psalms 145:5). And again, "…Search your hearts and be silent" (Psalms 4:4). Here we see that we are to mediate on God's glory and goodness and to make our minds and hearts still before His glory.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things" (Philippians 4:8). In these verses, we are exhorted to meditate, or think deeply and completely, about all things that are good, lovely, pure, just, praiseworthy, etc.
This type of meditation technique leads one to a greater and deeper relationship with God, to a fuller understanding and appreciation of His goodness and mercy. By focusing your mind and your thoughts on God, you will become still before Him and therefore able to appreciate Him more fully. By mediating on His Word and His attributes you will be able to do as He commanded in Psalms 46:10, and that is, "Be still, and know that I am God…"