What is Meditation?

What is Meditation?


Fr Laurence Freeman OSB explains to us what meditation is and how to meditate:

The Kingdom of God does not come in such a way as to be seen. No one will say ‘look here it is’, or ‘there it is’ because the Kingdom of God is within you.
— Luke 17:20-21

It's a way of simplicity, silence and stillness:

Meditation is a universal spiritual wisdom.  It is a practice found at the core of all the great religious traditions.  Meditation leads from the mind to the heart. It can be practised by anyone, wherever you are on your life’s journey. It is only necessary to be clear about the practice and then to begin – and to keep on beginning.

Meditation in Christianity:

In recent times, there has been a major recovery of the contemplative dimension of Christian faith and prayer. The tradition of contemplation, the prayer of the heart or 'apophatic prayer, is transforming the different faces of the Church and revealing the way the Gospel integrates the mystical and the social.

The World Community of Christian Meditation teaches a meditation practice derived from the Gospel teaching of Jesus and the advice of early Christian monks. The Desert Fathers and Mothers teach a Christian spirituality of powerful relevance for those today who want to live their discipleship to Jesus in a radical and simple way.

John Main, and the community he inspired, have had a major role in this contemporary renewal of the contemplative tradition. His own introduction to meditation came to him from the universal wisdom, but led him to recognise and then go on to teach it as a way of prayer that is rooted in the Gospels and the Christian mystical tradition.

John Main teaches the practice in this simple way:

Sit down.

Sit still with your back straight.

Close your eyes lightly.

Then interiorly, silently begin to recite a single word – a prayer word or mantra. We recommend the ancient Christian prayer-word "Maranatha".

Say it as four equal syllables. Breathe normally and give your full attention to the word as you say it, silently, gently, faithfully and above all - simply. The essence of meditation is simplicity.

Stay with the same word during the whole meditation and from day to day. Don't visualise but listen to the word as you say it.

Let go of all thoughts (even good thoughts), images and other words. Don’t fight your distractions but let them go by saying your word faithfully, gently and attentively and returning to it immediately that you realise you have stopped saying or it or when your attention is wandering.

Meditate each morning and evening for between 20 and 30 minutes.