Announcement

Collapse

Psychology 101 Guidelines

Welcome to Tweb's couch. Please join us in discussing the joys of the human psyche. Watch in wonderment as the Tweb crowd has violent mood swings. help us understand what makes us tick.

Like everywhere else at Tweb our decorum rules apply.
See more
See less

Meditation

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Meditation

    (The only reason I posted in this section is I didn't see a good reason to restrict the thread to Christians only given that meditation is obviously not exclusively a Christian thing.)

    My first seminary class is on spiritual discipline and this week, one of our focuses is on meditation. Honestly this is something I've never really done before, at least not formally. I have had moments such as in college when I would go on late night campus walks and try to approach God, but I've never really consciously tried to meditate. The book we are reading (Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster) states that the difference between Christian meditation and Eastern meditation is that the former is for filling one's mind; and the latter is for emptying it.

    This isn't easy for me. I've never really been one to experience mystical emotions or moments, but seminary is a time for trying new things and putting aside preconceptions, so I'm giving it a try.

    What I've tried so far has been to find a quiet place (I've gone outside) and to follow Foster's instructions of reading Scriptures very slowly, letting the words sink in. And I mean very slowly. I've been doing this with the Psalms. And to be honest, I haven't experienced anything mystical. But I did enjoy the opportunity to relax and enjoy the serenity (despite all the cicadas around). And even more, I did get some good thinking in.

    I'd like to know others' thoughts or experiences with meditation.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

  • #2
    I have only dabbled, but I do not think real Christian meditation should bring about "mystical" experiences.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jedidiah View Post
      I have only dabbled, but I do not think real Christian meditation should bring about "mystical" experiences.
      Yeah.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        My reading sort of implied that some sort of connection is common, but I reasoned that to go in expecting something to happen would be putting possibly false expectations on God... so I've felt fine with the way things have gone.
        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
          My reading sort of implied that some sort of connection is common, but I reasoned that to go in expecting something to happen would be putting possibly false expectations on God... so I've felt fine with the way things have gone.
          When thinking about meditation, I often think about Psalm 46:10, and how we tend to fill our lives with noise or stuff or things going on, and RARELY ever -- on purpose -- just sit quietly and "be still". So I make efforts, often quite rewarding.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            For an Orthodox perspective, check out The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology by Igumen Chariton.

            Essentially, one prays the "Jesus Prayer" (a variant of "Lord Jesus Christ, Savior, have mercy on me, a sinner.") with the mind in the heart (in other words, focusing all one's mental and emotional faculties on the prayer). The church fathers warn against mystical experiences, as they can only distract one from the prayer of the heart. One may, with time and much practice, see the "uncreated light of Tabor" which is the energy of God made sensible. They also warn that it is dangerous to attempt this prayer without a spiritual father (guide), because as one progresses, suppressed sins of one's past are brought to light and need to be dealt with. It is a cleansing process, but not one to be undertaken lightly. It is only after a lengthy process of cleansing that one may see the light of Tabor.
            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
            sigpic
            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

            Comment


            • #7
              The closest thing to meditation that I engage in would be to close my eyes as I play on a swing - sometimes at midnight. Occasionally I open my eyes and look at the moon and stars. During the day time it's equally as beautiful. I am not really making a concentrated effort to think of anything - I just do it freestyle and whatever thoughts enter my mind, I let it flow. Sometimes I think of Christ and heaven, sometimes I think of our place in the cosmos, sometimes I think of pleasant childhood memories. It's fun.

              When I read Scripture, I tend it read it slow and really let it sink in. Is that mediating on it? Doesn't seem like it. I don't really think I would enjoy mediating on Scripture, it's just not my style. I don't think I would enjoy mediating on anything with a concentrated effort quite frankly, because once again, it just ain't my style.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                ...The book we are reading (Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster) states that the difference between Christian meditation and Eastern meditation is that the former is for filling one's mind; and the latter is for emptying it. ... I'd like to know others' thoughts or experiences with meditation.
                The Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman recently wrote a book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, which reveals some of the latest thinking about how our brains or minds work. He discovered that the mind works in two different ways, called System 1 and System 2.

                I'll try to overview "empty mind" meditation using Kahneman's ideas. From his first chapter:
                System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.

                System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experiences of agency, choice and concentration.

                Someone who successfully empties the mind of thought will be using only the System 1 mental processing system, will have "no sense of voluntary control", and will be minus "the subjective experiences of agency, choice and concentration", ie without a sense of self and without a sense of having free will. Thus, depending upon the ideas they have been exposed to, they will probably identify this "no sense of voluntary control" either as their being without a self (Buddhism) or as their being a puppet of a Cosmic Self which acts through them (Hinduism.)

                Of course, the sense of self, agency, free will and voluntary self control will return the instant System 2 kicks back in. In System 2 the "sense of voluntary control" and the "the subjective experiences of agency, choice and concentration" are once more fully present. Anyone who has decided on the basis of System 1 thoughtlessness that there is no self, no agent, no voluntary control and no free will, will experience cognitive dissonance at this point and find it painful and confusing. That's a self-inflicted injury: is Eastern type meditation worth it?

                The mere possibility of using only System 1 for a few moments at a time (for those "empty mind" type meditation practitioners who have been laboriously meditating for a mere decade or two and achieved a partial enlightenment -- or using System 1 continuously in the case of those who have achieved that extreme rarity, full enlightenment) does not "prove" that reality/consciousness/experience [choose or insert your preferred word] is "really" selfless, is "really" minus free will and agency, or perhaps that it is "really" the local spark of the Divine Self. Bear in mind that someone who successfully empties the mind of thought will not be thinking rationally at the time: slow, concentrative, thoughtful rationality is definitely System 2.

                On this overview, the main difference between Christian meditation and Eastern meditation is which System gets priority and focus.
                Last edited by David Hayward; 09-05-2014, 05:11 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have two questions,
                  1) how are we defining mysticism
                  2) how are we defining meditiation

                  I have had what some might call "mystical experiences" in that I have felt God's presence in a way that I don't feel when I am not praying/meditating on God/being in nature (not just a walk in the park but really breathing in God's creation) but I wouldn't say it was beyond what anyone might experience if they were able to be disciplined enough to disconnect from others/jobs/phones etc. and really concentrate on what creation is, who God is, and why he put us where we are.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Does anyone know about this sort of meditation that uses stereo sound and different frequencies in each ear? Is that just a pointless gimmick or is there something to it?
                    "Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ." - That Guy Everyone Quotes

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hamster View Post
                      Does anyone know about this sort of meditation that uses stereo sound and different frequencies in each ear? Is that just a pointless gimmick or is there something to it?
                      Oh that sounds absolutely dreadful as a form of mediation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Scrawly View Post
                        Oh that sounds absolutely dreadful as a form of mediation.
                        Yes, it does. It sounds like a Zen koan, only more annoying.
                        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                        sigpic
                        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                          Yes, it does. It sounds like a Zen koan, only more annoying.



                          I'm always still in trouble again

                          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hamster View Post
                            Does anyone know about this sort of meditation that uses stereo sound and different frequencies in each ear? Is that just a pointless gimmick or is there something to it?
                            Gimmick.
                            Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hamster View Post
                              Does anyone know about this sort of meditation that uses stereo sound and different frequencies in each ear? Is that just a pointless gimmick or is there something to it?
                              I know nothing about it but what it says of itself. Here's a link to the "Brainwave Entrainment Science" website.

                              My own barriers go up against what I construe as typical pseudoscientific waffle, eg the "Brainwave Frequency List", where various overlapping ranges of frequencies treat just about everything.

                              If you just want to listen for a bit, stick on a pair of headphones and listen to (and watch) the Entrainment Videos.

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by Seeker, 11-02-2019, 02:05 AM
                              69 responses
                              16,571 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Hypatia_Alexandria  
                              Working...
                              X