What is Christian Meditation?
Meditation in the Christian tradition is a form of prayer. In contrast to therapeutic (relaxation) meditation or psychological (mindfulness) meditation, the goal and trajectory of Christian meditation is God/Christ. That does not mean, of course, that Christian meditation cannot have therapeutic or psychological benefits (it typically does).
Another word which is commonly used in the Christian tradition is 'Contemplation'. The distinction between the two words might be thought of as this: 'Meditation' is our action (for example, the discipline of saying our prayer-word) and 'Contemplation' is the gift of what God does in us as we are meditating - it is pure gift and may or may not be evident to our conscious minds.
For those who come to Contemplatio with an existing practice of silent meditation, we encourage you to continue in your practice. For those who are new to meditation, we teach the method practised by the World Community for Christian Meditation. This way of meditation was rediscovered in the 20th century by the Benedictine monk, Father John Main, and is based on the teaching of the early desert monks.
‘The purpose of meditation for each of us is that we come to our own centre. In many traditions, meditation is spoken of as a pilgrimage – a pilgrimage to your own centre, your own heart, and there you learn to remain awake, alive and still … The importance of meditation is to discover from your own experience that there is only one centre and that the life task for all of us is to find our source and our meaning by discovering and living out of that one centre’.
John Main, Moment of Christ
"To meditate, sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Silently, interiorly begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer-phrase, ‘Maranatha’. Say it as four syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything – spiritual or otherwise. If thoughts and images come, these are distractions at the time of meditation, so keep returning simply to saying the word"
(The World Community for Christian Meditation)