A few years ago, the well-known media mogul Rupert Murdoch tweeted that he was learning Transcendental Meditation. I found this to be quite interesting, but have to admit to not knowing much about TM as it’s called.
Murdoch said to his followers that everyone recommends it, but it’s not that easy to get started. It is said to improve everything. We don’t hear much of Transcendental Meditation as much these days, though it is apparently a cornerstone of the New Age movement. It is supposed to help you relax and focus. To be in touch with yourself and other people and to find God within yourself.
Why all this interest in meditation? My guess is that we are so caught up in ceaseless activities—running here and there, our minds are caught up in too much stuff—we feel like we are in a frenzy. We need to reach out to something else to calm us down. I don’t know Rupert Murdoch, and so I can’t comment on his reason for being into Transcendental Meditation. But I do know what the word ‘meditation’ means, and how it applies to Christianity.
Meditation helps us pull the plug on the mental whirlwind. It focuses our minds—and then our hearts in response—on God’s sovereignty, His purpose for our lives and our day, and his truth meditation brings a clarity and cleansing. It settles our minds. It’s about praying to all-loving God who knows us intimately and is the One who created us.
There are 1,001 forces competing for attention and attempting to overload our minds. Sometimes our minds become cluttered through detail overload, sometimes through emotional overload, sometimes through media or information overload. In fact, the information age poses a serious threat to hearing from God. Everyone, it seems, is on Facebook and that can become so time consuming we don’t have time to be quiet and still before God, and talk to him.
We may become so busy that we don’t have time to be still before God.
Sometimes we need to purge and clear through our minds as well. We set aside the details we don’t need and the demands that don’t fit into God’s plan for our lives. And then we narrow our focus:
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- What does God want from me today?
- What does my family need today?
- What has my employer asked for today?
These are very practical day-by-day matters, but they make up the stuff of daily life. There is a better alternative. Read the Bible, and try to understand what the eternal God is saying about meditation. And Psalm 1 from the Old Testament is tremendous teaching.
1 God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
when you don’t follow the advice of those
who delight in wicked schemes,
When you avoid sin’s highway,
when judgement and sarcasm beckon you,
but you refuse.
2 For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness.
It is your focus—from dusk to dawn.
3 You are like a tree,
planted by flowing, cool streams
of water that never run dry.
Your fruit ripens in its time;
your leaves never fade
or curl in the summer sun.
No matter what you do, you prosper.
This amazing Scripture says it is possible to live a happy and fulfilled life, only on God’s terms. That’s the catch. True happiness, authentic joy and true peace are found only in the Lord. That blessedness comes from building your life on the Word of God—the Bible.
What Do You Delight In?
The true way to float rubbish out is to pour water in. You can’t get rid of the garbage in your life simply by mental effort. You must replace the negative with something positive. The psalmist tells us that the godly person ‘delights’ in the law of the Lord. That means he loves the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. The word ‘delight’ means to take great pleasure in. It has the idea of a consuming passion that controls your life.
Everyone ‘delights’ in something. Some people delight in food. Others delight in a job or a hobby or a career. Some delight in a particular friendship. Many people delight in money or the things money can buy. And many delight in evil pleasures and wrong desires. Mark this well: your ‘delight’ determines your direction. Do you agree?
The word translated ‘meditate’ has the idea of digesting something thoroughly. It means to ruminate on a truth, to ‘chew the cud’ by considering a verse or a passage or a truth from the Word from various angles. The Hebrew word can mean to mumble under your breath. God’s Word is more precious than gold or silver. If we delight in the Word, we will find a way to read it, to meditate on it, and even to memorise it. Have a helpful Bible reading plan. Buy a few books to help you understand the Bible. It’s worth the effort.
It’s not a religious duty—something you have to do while gritting your teeth. No. It’s about reading and loving God’s Word, and taking time to seriously think about it, meditate on it, every minute you can. Have you embraced a God-centred philosophy? Try it. I guarantee it will make all the difference.