Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
~Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV)
I recall the first time I had a profound meditation experience. I was living in Utah and attending massage therapy school back in 2003. As part of our curriculum we took Tai Chi, and our teacher for that class taught us how to do a transcendental type meditation. After that class I wanted to try meditating on my own so I put on some relaxing instrumental music in my head phones, laid in bed, and did as my instructor taught us... I withdrew my senses from the world and went deep within, being totally present with the moment, taking my attention away from any thoughts, and relaxed as much as I could by following my breath and melting my body away from any tensing or holding. Within minutes it was blissful and intriguing! I saw colors, I saw images in my mind of different eyes looking at me, of silhouettes of trees, of my deceased grandmother, and I felt like I was dissolved and floating. It was addictive and I wanted to experience it again, and although I would try over and over to get back to that same feeling, it would take me years to get close to the meditation experience I had that day.
Since then I have participated in many meditations of all varieties. These were guided meditations, group meditations, meditations involving lighting candles and other rituals, and silent meditations. The settings of these meditations were everywhere from living room floors to the banks of the Ganges River. Along with yoga, meditation was an important part of my self-care and spiritual practice. It was how I managed stress, kept myself clear, received guidance from "the Universe" and my "Higher-Self", and worked toward awakening and enlightenment. The common themes that ran through most of the meditations were themes of letting go, aligning my energies, connecting with the spiritual realm, and gaining liberation from this play of life we are in. For me there was an overall sense of being empty and at times dissolved; feeling completely at one with the world, and other times feeling as if I did not exist. A feeling that there was no boundary between where I ended and where my surroundings began.
Fortunately, by God's mercy, most of my meditation experiences were pleasant and encouraging, but in contrast to my experience, I personally knew of people and heard of people experiencing evil attacks and increased anxiety from their meditation practices. I practiced this type of meditation during a long period in my life when I did not believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Without His firm foundation at the center of my meditation practice, I now realize how I was opening myself up to the influence of all manner of forces and energies including dark and demonic ones. Through this very open way I was meditating, it was not clear in my life that I was on God's team and obedient to Him alone.
Since my salvation experience in June, I no longer meditate like I did when I was living without Christ. Previously, the transcendental and enlightenment type meditations helped me manage life and satisfy a yearning I had for spiritual connections with Creation and eternity. Now with Christ, meditation has further become a way to support and strengthen my relationship with God, our Creator, in a focused and sustainable way. It has allowed a space to ponder over and fill my mind with God's word and pray to Him. By reading the Bible we find in scripture that we can: meditate on His law day and night, keep our mind stayed on Him, keep our eyes fixed on His ways, meditate on His promise, meditate on all that He has done, and ensure that the meditations of our heart are pleasing and acceptable to Him. We are keeping our focus on Him.
Now looking back at the way I was meditating prior to Christ, I see that the emptying of myself and blissing out I was doing during meditation was leaving me open to all that is out there in the spiritual realm, including the demonic influences. By not keeping my focus and attention on God, I was leaving the door of my heart and soul opened to all varieties of spiritual beings, including the fallen and deceitfully motivated ones. I love the way one pastor put it by saying that if you leave the throne empty it will not stay empty for long and something will fill it, and that could very well be Satan. We must be clear in who is sitting on our Throne. I want only God on my throne, and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and placing my faith in Him grants me that.
We are fighting a spiritual battle here... "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12). Satan and the dark energies cannot attack God directly, so how do they try and win... by trying to lead God's people astray. The way many people are meditating these days, with the transcendental and enlightening type meditation, can open one up in such a way that is conducive to being led astray and for the dark energies to keep a hold on them. We must turn toward God in all we do, including meditation, repent for our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (Ephesians 6:11) And we must keep this armor on. If we are not keeping our focus on God during meditation (as in any other area or activity of our life), this can open up a spot in the armor that makes us susceptible to the evil one. God has everlasting love for us and wants a relationship with us. Meditation, which can be practiced day and night, is a beautiful opportunity to focus on God in all His glory, and to honor what Christ has done for us.
The Whole Armor of God: Belt of truth, Breastplate of righteousness, Shoes of readiness given by the gospel of peace, Shield of faith, Helmet of salvation, Sword of Spirit which is the word of God
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. ~Ephesians 6: 13-20 (ESV)
Other Scriptures with instruction for meditation:
(All from ESV translation)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
... and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
Psalm 119: 148
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Believer in Christ