They say that a catholic should not meditate in a buddhist sense, because it brings us closer to ourselves, and not to God and others. We are made in the image of God, however, so surely the best way to get to know God is to know ourselves. By centralising the mind on the self, we must be able to learn a thing or two about God. The holy spirit is in all of us that are baptised; wouldn’t it make sense that we should explore our own soul and mind, and unmask the holy spirit for ourselves. Surely in meditation, when we are purely focused in on ourselves, God can easily inspire us and guide us by creating desires within us, without us even realising . How can you get to know and love others if you don’t know and love yourself? I’m not talking about worshipping any false idols, such as buddha, simply the meditation of focusing purely on the self. Also, might the burning of herbs and spices have positive effects on our souls?
Merely focusing on oneself is a sure way of becoming self-absorbed. This is the last thing that will help us know who we are. I am aware that Buddhist meditation can acknowledge the tendency in us to be selfish. But even those Buddhist forms that seek enlightenment, end with enlightenment. The Christian goes beyond enlightenment to UNION with God.
Who but our Creator who designed us, could possibly know us better? It is by focusing on Him that we will ever really know who we are.
The best way to focus on Him is to focus on the greatest Self-disclosure He has ever revealed to the human race: His Passion. That God would enter the human race and then allow people He created out of nothing to torture and put Him to death for their benefit is beyond the limits of our minds to fully fathom. But it surely demonstrates that his goodness is beyond our ability to measure. This is who God is! Since we are the objects of such love, His Passion tells us who WE are.
The great genius and doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, declared that he learned more from looking at a crucifix than from any book he ever read. The more we focus on His Passion, the more there is to know. This is the treasure you have as a Catholic. What you suggest pales in the comparison!
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.