“All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
–Matthew 11:27-30

The idea and the abstract concept of meditation is one of the oldest ones there is, and it’s pancultural—it’s existed all over the world in such a variety of guises, spiritual and practical, monastic and ecclesiastical, for so many thousands of years, that it cannot help but be considered one of the most important practices that there is, a central component to the human condition. It literally means contemplation, the art of thinking deeply. It’s a wonderful idea, a powerful idea, a great idea that’s been handed down and kept alive for generation upon generation upon generation. And, like a lot of very old and very good ideas, it’s probably been ruined for you up until now.

The notion of meditation has become co-opted by those that tout the mind and the will—the “outer self,” or the soul—as preeminent. It’s metamorphosed into a practical, rationalist, materialist discipline, a way of asserting ourselves over circumstance. If you want to quit smoking or sort out your blood pressure, there’s meditation. You can increase your immune response or decrease your cholesterol, just try meditation. Boost the alpha waves oscillating in your brain or improve the blood circulation of your heart, using meditation! It’s all mind over matter after all, or that’s what they’ll say. They’ll tell you that human will is predominant over human nature, and that as we have learned to control our outer environment, carving civilization out of the wilderness, so we can learn to control our inner environment, imposing our will upon circumstance instead of allowing circumstance to overwhelm us.

This view is predicated upon the assumption that we are capable of a rigid dominance over the world with no spiritual component at all—that we must fight the world alone, that we can somehow find peace through constant struggle and a ruthless discipline. This is utterly a contradiction in terms. Peace requires stillness. Peace requires rest. Peace requires Spirit.

To meditate means to explore with mind and heart, allowing what you think to touch your innermost being. It’s creative thought, allowing ourselves to be led to a higher realm of revelation and wisdom. Meditation takes us beyond the place of simple reason and will, to a place where joy is seated and faith is activated, faith to search inside and outside the box of our current paradigm and find a new and better way of thinking. There are no quick fixes, and meditation is not easy money—no New Age charlatan or snake oil salesman can give you the keys to the Kingdom. 

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Stepping back into the rest of God is a letting go, a cessation of soul in favor of the Spirit, a surrender. Aggressive, hyper-masculine notions of dominance and control have no place in the nurturing arms of the Father. Deep truth has to be revealed over days and weeks and longer. It takes steadfast joy and patience to take truth down to its deepest level, to mine the depths of understanding the power that it releases to us. It’s beyond meeting our current needs and our soul’s need to fix what is broken straight away. All true meditation must ultimately come before the throne of His majesty, His sovereignty and His supremacy. He fills all things with Himself. What you see and hear there touches you profoundly, and what you experience is a joyful state of real satisfaction that can only come from stillness and God’s rest.

Fruitful meditation is not a casual search within ourselves for insight. There’s value in collecting random truth in examining our own consciousness, and one should never completely discount the perceptions that come when we review and quantify our lives in the light of our own thinking…but while it can be good, practical stuff, it cannot properly satisfy, and it cannot truly assist us in challenging the complexities of our lives. In meditation, we dig for buried treasure, and our guarantee of hidden wealth only comes when we come into the presence of God. We soak in that presence. 

We can only be truly comforted by an acceptance of the uncanny, overwhelming love of the Comforter Himself, and His love never fails, is never inconsistent, is never temporary or conditional…but it must be believed, received, and acted upon by the inner self. A response is required from us. Our thinking must change, a flickering from dim illumination to something brilliant.

Meditation means the art of thinking deeply, allowing us to explore the whole truth of God. It means thinking at a depth that changes our perspectives and makes us act in line with a far higher vision. As meditation means to contemplate, it also means to reflect. We see as God sees, we think as God thinks, we speak as God would speak, and we become reflective of the person of Christ. 

Think of all the ways that God’s astounding, transcendent love can lift your heart and life onto a higher level of being. Take that rest in Him, that perfect stillness in the place where love covers everything and truth is spoken through the Spirit to bring freedom and empowerment, never condemnation or guilt or shame.

We have a high calling here in the world. We are called to walk in a radical, unselfish, noble love, before God and man. We are called to walk a path that enriches everyone we encounter, a way that mirrors the person of Christ that saved us all. Selfish love has died within us. Soaking in the love of God, relaxing in that love, living a life depending on that love. Now that is a life worth living.