How to Meditate
Meditation is simple. You learn to meditate by meditating. It does not demand that you master any difficult theory or special techniques. Christian Meditation is an ancient form of prayer that anyone can learn.
Sit down. Choose a quiet time and place and try to ensure you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably and alert, with your back straight. Close your eyes lightly. Then silently, interiorly, simply begin to say a single word, your mantra. An ideal Christian prayer word or mantra is "maranatha". It is an Aramaic word which means “Come Lord” or “The Lord comes”. It is one of the oldest prayers in the Christian tradition. Say it as four syllables (ma-ra-na-tha). Listen to the word as you say it without haste or desire. Saying the mantra allows one to become deeply and wonderfully non-possessive as Jesus taught when he said that his followers must let go of all their possessions: “Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God.”
Repeat the mantra continuously, gently and faithfully from the beginning to the end of the meditation period.
Let go of all thoughts and imagination, including religious thoughts. Meditation is not about thinking but being. Distractions will come, but do not be discouraged. Simply, humbly return to your word.
Meditate twice a day, for between 20 and 30 minutes, early morning and early evening being the best and traditional times.
Our local groups and individual meditators usually start off with a prayer and piece of spiritual music that fades into silence. At the end of the period of meditation the music fades back in, and often a further prayer is said to complete the practice.
At the end of your meditation, you may be tempted to evaluate how well it went - don't! Even after years of practice, established meditators will tell you that they too still suffer distractions. This is perfectly normal.
- Try not to judge how good you are at meditation.
- Try not to search for an experience of some kind.
- Do not look for results.
- Just try to be faithful to the practice.
- Any benefits are likely to emerge gradually over a long period of time.
Meditation and Other Forms of Prayer
WCCM fully recognises that Christian meditation is not the only way to pray. Practitioners will also engage in many other forms of prayer: vocal, liturgical, intercessory, charismatic, Ignatian spiritual exercises, etc. However, many say that since they started the practice it has deepened other areas of their prayer life.
Is Meditation for You?
Meditation is simple, but it is not easy. Some people take to it quickly, while others find that the distractions are so great they feel they cannot make progress with it. Of the latter group some sadly give up, but those that persist and overcome their barriers gradually grow into the practice as it becomes increasingly meaningful for them. John Main offers one piece of advice “Just turn up”. The benefits may be seen more by others around us, than by ourselves! Christian Meditation is often referred to as the prayer of the heart, a place where all is revealed, a place of authenticity, a place to just BE, a returning to the true self, the person God wants us to be.
Resources to Help you get Started
Here are some resources from theto help you start to meditate regularly:
Christian Meditation: Your Daily Practice. Available via GoodNewsBooks.net This book is helpful for anyone seeking a deeper spiritual life. it is especially useful to those exploring the basic teaching on Christian Meditation as a way to depth and meaning in their life. Laurence Freeman deals clearly and usefully with the simple but sometimes puzzling questions such as: What is prayer? How do we pray? How do we look at progress on this journey?
Weekly Teachings from the WCCM School of Meditation. These are part of a three-year course of teachings designed for individual and group use. The course begins by answering key questions including: What is Prayer? and What is Meditation?
Materials for Introducing Christian Meditation. Look here for a A Pearl of Great Price providing an overview of meditation and information on starting a group, and a six-week introductory course based on the A Pearl of Great Price.