I had a good friend ask a great question the other day. He wanted to know if it was accurate to use Biblical scripture to validate meditation as substantial to one’s spiritual development. More specifically, he wondered if it were truly valid to portray meditation as something central to the Biblical salvation process. I understand my friend’s concern. The New Testament specifically points to Jesus for salvation. I completely agree. But what does THAT mean?
Before we expound the concept of salvation, it is important to say that meditation was something foundational for spiritual transformation in ancient times. The practice of meditation was mainly lost when the church became institutionalized in the centuries following Jesus’ teachings. And the reason meditation doesn’t seem to be clearly spelled out in scripture is because we don’t know how to recognize it. But I assure you, it’s there. It’s only veiled to us because the language is very different now than it was back then. With that being said, I want to ask you, “What is salvation?” Go on. Think about it a moment, and then come back to this post…
If you thought about the concept of Biblical salvation long enough, you might have concluded that true Biblical salvation is about being ONE with God. Isn’t atonement just another concept for at-one-ment, or a state of being ONE. In the New Testament book of John, Jesus prays that “…they all be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…” (John 17:21). Jesus is expressing his desire for his disciples to realize this state of oneness behind the veil of separation. Is Jesus getting metaphysical on us here? Of course he is!
As it stands in scripture, the human race is in a state of separation from God. The Bible states it’s because of sin. Contrary to what you have been taught, the Biblical concept of sin does not mean something bad or evil. It means to miss the mark, or to reside in a state of ignorance. Ignorance of what? It is Ignorance of our true condition and separation from God.
Consider the following: we are all separate individuals. Now imagine the traditional Christian location called Heaven where people may go when they die. It could never be the blissful happiness you have been taught to think it was. Why? Because YOU’d be there! And YOU are filled with problems because all human egos are. It would even be fair to say that THAT kind of heaven would quickly become just like this earth, filled with imperfect, flawed people who inevitably cause suffering on some level or another. And let me tell you…we don’t need a heaven like that. For some, that’s the experience of EARTH! By the way, to some of the earliest Christians, the experience of life on earth was known as “hell.” This concept of hell was not a place of torment, but an existence of separation. Can anyone say, “Paradise lost?!”
So now the real question becomes: what’s the only way to truly become ONE with God and reach the state of Biblical salvation? For obvious reasons, it would have to be a state where YOU are no longer present. By YOU, I inevitably mean your ego! And what is the ego? It is that which is made up of our thoughts, emotions, habits, physical attributes, personalities, etc. In other words, it’s who we THINK we are! So where does meditation come in? I’m glad you asked.
Meditation is essentially about crucifying the ego. The more you practice meditation, the more you realize that the ego is not the TRUE you. The ego is the thief that has come in and bound the strong man as Jesus puts it, where the conscious observer, or the TRUE you, is not the one present. You must realize that your ego has hijacked the true YOU. This hijacking has made you forget how to be ONE with God. Meditation, therefore, becomes central to the process of salvation because it is the practice of crucifying this hijacker. During deep meditation, you enter the realm of spirit. And by this spirit you can become born again. That’s why Jesus told Nicodemus that one has to be born again by the spirit. This pure spirit can be experienced! The Spirit is raw awareness, beyond ego.
And by the way, when you reach this deep state in meditation, you might just realize that this Christ you have been trying to find is actually INSIDE of you, not OUTSIDE. You just had to strip away your own ego to realize this.
Have you ever thought about how most regular practitioners of meditation preach oneness and love, and a profound respect for all of God’s creation? It is usually the religious that are highly judgmental and always point the finger of blame. And Jesus told us not to judge.
The traditional church is a great place to socialize and fellowship with people. This is a part of life. You can grow and learn here through the experiences it offers. But at some point you have to follow Jesus and have a wilderness experience. You must be alone, in silence, withdrawn from this world, or the “out there,” which represents everything outside of us. In other words, you must practice meditation. Following Jesus is not about proclaiming a new set of beliefs. That’s just religion. Following Christ is about laying down your ego to experience union with God. Another expression for this would be laying down your will for His. Because let’s face it! When you remove YOU from the picture, you’ll soon realize that God is what’s left.
As always, what do you think? Does meditation have any kind of relevance to becoming more Christ-like?