Meditation for Thursday 22nd December 2022
Most people in our Western secular society are content to define their meditation practice in the context of physical and emotional well-being. People are cautious about attributing meditation to any form of spiritual formation. Yet if you travel to the east, e.g., Vietnam, India, Japan, Korea etc almost everyone who practises meditation understands it as a spiritual practice. Much of this perception arises from the fact that meditation without an overlay of dogma, doctrines and creeds is part of the East’s experience but not so widespread in Western meditation, at least as practised in the last couple of hundred years.
There are unquestionably many examples of Christian mystics and movements that meditated, and in some cases still emphasise meditation in their tradition, in a way that would be acceptable to the prevailing Western secularist. The Carmelite library, here where we meditate on Thursday evening, is full of books that highlight writers that emphasise meditation as a spiritual practice.
Transpersonal psychology which expresses its concerns in terms of ecstasy, bliss, wonder, mystical experience; ultimate values, has arisen from the more well-known field of humanistic psychology. This is a common ground of East and West. Some people call this a search for God or a quest to find an Ultimate Reality.
In the end it doesn’t matter whether you meditate to relieve stress or to connect with the Divine; a God that is within or supernatural.
When meditating we are searching for consciousness. In the West we look at empirical research studying consciousness from the outside, in the East we explore consciousness from within. Both approach the same territory from a different viewpoint, but both are seeking the goal of being in the present moment.
Let us now meditate so that we can be happier, calmer, healthier and to transform and deepen our spiritual life.
Meditation is our way home.
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