LC writes: “I was a little disappointed to learn that eastern meditation is not recommended for Christians. I felt that the last one I did by Deepak Chopra led me to the Daniel fast which ultimately changed my life. I started this new meditation challenge also by Deepak Chopra and instead of saying the Hindu mantra, I meditate on the actual phrase. For example “I am a radiant and spiritual being.” Is that such a bad thing if I also incorporate prayer in my life and keep Christianity first?”
The problem with the type of “meditation” you describe is made abundantly clear by the phrase you chose to meditate upon – “I am a radiant and spiritual being.”
Christian prayer is not about “us”, it’s about God. You would be better off saying, “God is a radiant and spiritual being” and then spending your time meditating on the nature of His radiance, or the qualities of His being such as His omnipotence and omnipresence. This puts the focus on God rather than on yourself.
This is not to say that you can’t spend some time working through the problems and upsets of your life with God because He longs to share these with us. But only part of your prayer time should be spent that way. Make time to simply praise Him for Who He is, followed by prayer for your needs and those of your loved ones. You may want to follow this with some meditation on Scripture (known as Lectio Divina). After this, take 10 to 15 minutes just to sit quietly in His presence and let Him “speak” to your soul any way He wishes.
But beware! God is spirit, which means His action upon you may not be heard or felt. This is because He has no real need of your senses in order to communicate with you. He may choose to bypass your senses completely and speak directly to your soul (known as infused contemplation). In this case, you will leave your time of prayer feeling refreshed, stronger, calmer, all because of a touch that you weren’t even aware of. It is at times like this when we realize the enormous power of the One we’re speaking with in prayer that He can do so much without us even knowing it!
LC, it sounds as if you really want to “meet God” but you’ll never get there by following New Age gurus like Deepak Chopra and meditation gimmicks. Follow God in the way He has laid out for us through the writings of His saints, especially St. Teresa of Avila and her classic, The Interior Castle. A more modern version of the Catholic contemplative tradition can be found in the book Fire Within by the late Fr. Thomas Dubay. Believe me, this stuff will blow your mind and make Chopra look like kindergarten.
Try it – and don’t forget to write back and let us know how it’s going!