Normally we think of meditation in reference to the many practices of “Eastern Meditation” which have recently quite successfully become part of our western culture. Some of these Eastern techniques, both mental and physical, are borrowed by the West and are turning to be useful in handling or easing tensions and stress typical of our modern life. In this context, various beliefs, religious and not, are coexisting.
For example, Buddhism, the closest philosophy to many eastern meditation practices, has answered the restlessness of many Western souls. Some prefer the encounter between the Christian tradition and the various Eastern meditation techniques. According to other, religion just causes conflict and uneasiness to mankind and believe that man stands alone towards nothingness. And finally some, following the “New Age” culture, consider some meditation techniques almost like a form of new religion, with specific therapeutic intentions and joined to certain life styles.
The core of all this is undoubtedly the intimate desire of man to nurture the spirit. The holistic approach to these issues is acceptable, but on the other hand modern man runs the risk of getting lost in the great grocery store of spirituality. In this scenario, where does the Christian religion stand?
Often Christianity, even by Christians, does not seem to be valued as a way of life. The abundance of the aforementioned supply, is not only disorienting, but also belittles the importance of the man-God relationship, facilitating the belief that man can find in himself all the answers to live well, regardless of God.
Therefore the risk is to downplay the role of Baptism, as the crucial step which unites man to God through the effusion of the Spirit: the divine gift which accompanies the baptized throughout life. God Father, the Creator does not abandon his creatures alone during the hardships of life, but does give a spiritual life full of “well-being” to those who welcome Him in their heart. Obviously we are not referring to the modern, consumers’ society well-being.
God’s gift is the possibility of intimate communion, achieved through our total surrender to Him. When man lives in this perspective, he can overcome his limited human abilities and can face even the hardest trials of life with hope and trust. Christian meditation pursues this precious intimacy with the Creator, unlike Eastern practices which envision man by himself and trusting himself only.
The Spirit donated by God can also be seen as His Love for us, which lies at the core of our inner self, in our deeper heart, as a fire. This fire can burn more or less vibrantly, emanating warmth and well-being, depending on how the Christian feeds and protects it.
Through Christian Meditation, as well as through prayer and adoration, it is possible to facilitate the state of grace where the encounter with God becomes possible. This encounter, where God and man completely turn to each other, is eased by the deep listening of His Word which, once meditated and welcomed in our soul, allows God to take care of us.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and the bread for the eater, so is my word that goes from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55, 10-11)