I didn’t grow up with the concept of sin or meditation, but what I have come to realize is there are just as many people debating the nature of sin as there are the nature of meditation.
Since I am a Christian teaching Christ-centered meditation, I must believe I’m not causing someone to sin. To do this successfully, I take a deep breath in and focus on the very thing I have learned in meditation and that is to be compassionate. How horrible it must be for someone to think that something so beneficial would be harmful to them, especially if that someone calls themselves a Christian.
A person who has accepted Christ into their heart has been born again and is forever free of sin. This is the ultimate empowering act of receiving total freedom. Yes, freedom, sought after by most people and perhaps the very thing that drives beginning meditators to learn more and Christ followers to be born again.
In his book, “Redemption,” Reza Safa writes, “‘Sin can no longer dwell in the born again Christian.’” (Romans 5:21) He defines sin as “union with darkness.” A Christian is united with the light and life of God. Some Christians miss this point of how redemption occurred on the cross for us by the death of Christ. They are still talking and feeling guilty about sin as if it’s even a “thing” anymore. Jesus removed our sins forever.
In Christ-centered meditation, we experience and awaken to the transformational teachings of Jesus, in which he says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.”(John 15:5) We are free to experience this oneness as truth, and, as He also said, “Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32) A Christian who meditates is doubly free.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a set of techniques intended to bring about a heightened awareness and an increased ability to focus. It is also known as a consciousness changing practice that has many benefits to overall wellbeing.
Meditation is a practice to keep ourselves spiritually fit by focusing on spiritual truths, just like physical exercise is a practice to keep our body physically fit.
Secular meditation and Christ-centered meditation are similar in that the practitioner is searching deep inside for a union with a higher consciousness or God. To find and have an experience of this union is called by many different names, including bliss, enlightenment, one with the universe, freedom, Oneness, love, light, entering the mind of Christ, the True Self, dwelling in the Secret place of the Most High, etc.
Someone who practices meditation is bringing an awareness to thoughts, feelings, and desires with the goal of observation, non-judgment, non-reaction, and compassion. It is the act of sitting vulnerably in our truth in order to allow reality or change our attitude towards it. Meditation can train the mind to make new pathways to better feelings or behaviors, such as peace and stability.
What is biblical meditation?
Biblical meditation is pondering, contemplating, and thinking deeply about scriptures found in the Bible. Since the Bible is known as the word of God, biblical meditation is thinking about and getting to know God, His thoughts, and His ways.
When you meditate on God’s word, you think deeply about what each verse, promise, or story meant back when it was written, and what it can mean for your life today. This gives us a greater understanding of how we can apply His word in every situation of our lives.
The promise is that if we fill our mind with His thoughts, our own thoughts will be transformed into better ways of thinking. Better thinking leads to better feelings and behavior.
Christ-centered meditation involves surrendering the soul (ego) to go deeper into the heart where Christ’s Spirit dwells. Biblical meditation can be used for guidance into God’s truth about where and how we can experience more of Him.
For example, we can use this bible verse from 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” And this one from Ephesians:3:17: “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
We can use these words of God to find and know Him. He is the Spirit inside of our hearts and establishes an even more trusting and intimate relationship which, as promised in the scriptures above, gives us freedom, love, and strength. In Christ-centered mediation, we not only can intellectually know this, we can be still and experience this truth.
What does the Bible say about meditation?
The Bible mentions meditate or meditation 23 times, 19 times in the Book of Psalms alone. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditari, which means to concentrate. Meditation in the Bible is about concentrating and focusing on spiritual truths.
Many Christians write about how there’s a right and wrong way to interpret all the different ways meditation is used in the Bible. Some insist meditation is only to be used to reflect and concentrate on scripture, yet, there are just as many Christians who write that there are many ways to interpret meditation, as long as the goal and the focus is on God. I fall into both categories.
To get into a debate of who is right or wrong defeats the very purpose of meditation, and that is to go beyond the ego and dwell in the Spirit to see what He has to say about what’s right for you. God’s righteousness and truth is inside you. Jesus told us we are free to take out the middleman and that we can find truth individually with the help of the Holy Spirit.
In Ken Blanchard’s book, “Lead Like Jesus,” he suggests, “Today, this day, choose to meditate on His love, let it fill your heart and head until it overflows through you.”
Whether he is suggesting sitting still and going inside to do this, as in a meditation practice, or taking the verse below and concentrating on it, this meditation is focused on God.
“Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.” (Psalm 48:9, 10)
Is meditation dangerous?
There are real dangers out in the world, but meditation is not one of them. It would be difficult to find evidence of someone being endangered while meditating.
Meditation is a conscious choice, and if it doesn’t feel right, we have the choice to stop. God gives everyone a free will to make their own choices, even though, according to the Bible, He wants everyone to choose Him through choosing to love Christ.
Knowing why or on whom or what you are meditating on makes a difference for each individual. Christians meditate on Christ, just as Buddhists meditate on Buddha. It would not be beneficial for a Christian who wants to grow closer to Christ to do a Buddhist meditation practice. But would it endanger them? No. Perhaps they would gain something to consider more deeply, such as another’s spiritual truths.
The following Bible verse explains another of God’s thoughts about freedom. In Jeremiah 52, the people were urged to “test and examine their ways and return to the Lord.” The interpretation is that we are free to test, and then we can examine if that thing was in alignment with God’s Conscience or His Will. Was this thing we tested beneficial? When we return to the Lord, we gain a deeper truth for ourselves.
Is meditation healthy?
In the 70s, when exercise was all the rage, all I heard was the many benefits to movement and physical activity. I put on my leotard and joined Jane Fonda in aerobics. I jogged to school, and I rode my bike all over town. I felt good, too.
Today, meditation has the same tone. There are long lists of benefits to overall health which come from a meditation practice. The list is impressive. Think for yourself if you have ever needed help with one of these:
- Reduced stress
- Emotional balance
- Increased focus
- Reduced pain
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased creativity
- Reduced depression
- Increased memory
Meditation is healthy. The worst thing about meditation is that you can see your flaws, and the best thing about it is that you can see your flaws! When we see and are “awakened” to the truth of who we are, it makes it easier to want to grow closer to God because we acknowledge that we need some help.
Meditation can bring us closer to our humanity. It helps us to see how we are all flawed, which increases our ability to have compassion for others.
Is meditation a sin?
No, meditation is not a sin, never was, and never should be considered as such. If you are a Christian and another Christian tells you that you are sinning if you meditate, share the good news with them: Christians are free to explore spiritual truths as led by the Spirit of God.
One definition of sin that I like and can remember is “sin is harming yourself or others.” This one really makes sense to me. I could hear Jesus himself saying, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
And if we fall short, we are forgiven, always forgiven! Not a sinner, not quite a saint, just an imperfect human being. For the grace of God I return to my meditation space daily to reunite with God who is the only perfect one.
Meditation is a path to experiencing and knowing spiritual truths. I can feel and be in the union between Christ and my own heart. This practice never hurts myself nor another, far be it, I am renewed and refreshed with His love and this helps me to go out and love others. Jesus would meditate with me, I’m sure of it.
Tonyah Dee has studied the Bible and wisdom traditions of the world for the last 30 years and teaches about finding ways to increase inner strength, stability, and confidence through practicing spiritual disciplines and healthy habits daily. Tonyah is a nutritionist, registered dietitian (R.D.), and earned her B.S. from Loma Linda University. She also holds certifications in Christ-centered life coaching, equine therapy, and meditation. Tonyah has been published in Scary Mommy, MSN, The Mighty, Mantra Wellness, CoveyClub, Thrive Global. Follow Tonyah on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Medium.