Meditation methods - what's your favourite?


#1

Anybody here know a good meditation technique?

You know, something one can practice that will give one a transendental experience of sorts.

“quieting the mind” but in the presence of God, rather than actively “speaking” to God… if this makes any sense.


#2

[LIST]
*]Gazing at a crucifix
*]Gazing at Our Lord in the monstrance or tabernacle
*]Lectio divina (especially the final stages) forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=283559
[/LIST]


#3

meh…

anything else?


#4

lectio divina, the ancient monastic tradition of meditation and contemplation
Ignatian meditation through the imagination
what Teresa of the Child Jesus describes as mental prayer
in other words, meditation on the gospels of Jesus in the Church tradition

certainly not transcendental meditation, eastern religions or any other new age practice. I meditate to recollect myself in the presence of God and to hear his Word, not to annhilate myself or deny God


#5

“Transcendental meditation” is not Christian prayer.

Christian meditation is grounded in Christ — meditating on the life of Christ or the Word of God in Scripture. This is what all the saints practiced and recommend. It can prepare your soul for infused contemplation, which is a pure gift from God which you cannot bring about on your own. God will give it when it is time.

I’m not sure what you meant by:

meh…

anything else?

Is “meh” some sort of abbreviation I’m not familiar with? Could you elaborate on what you mean? Are you seeking some kind of feel-good experience? You probably won’t find any serious pray-er recommending that. Our meditation should always be God-centered; in prayer and meditation we should always be seeking God and His holy will, not any sort of extraordinary experience.


#6

It mean bah (ie, it carries a “not good enough” meaning).

I have to question the motives of a poster posting on a Catholic Forum about TM, and scoffing at lectio divina, TBH.

Call me a skeptic.:wink:


#7

TBH? Call me clueless. :wink: I even looked it up on the Virtus website’s list of 688 internet abbreviations. Not there.

But thanks for your support of lectio divina over TM!


#8

Sorry TBH=to be honest

Some other common ones

FWIW=for what it’s worth

IM(H)O=in my (humble) opinion

BTW=by the way

:slight_smile:


#9

PhilotheaZ, I think you are getting a little hung up on the semantics of all this. I said a “transcendental experience of sorts” - this just means “contact with the divine”… i.e. God.

Methinks you might have a slightly simplistic view of things here. Your tone ref: “seeking some kind of feel-good experience” would lead one to believe that you have your own set of prejudices and unfounded preconceptions which may be clouding your judgement somewhat.

Do some googling and you might have come up with things like this

"In the Eastern Christian traditions theoria is the most critical component needed for a person to be considered a theologian (it is not necessary for ones salvation per se). Theoria as being with God,[45] God in Eastern Christianity being the one thing that mankind truly desires the most,[46] that which is infinite (apophatic or transcendent) and also personal and real (cataphatic or immanence). God as ever new, never ending love, happiness, joy and bliss as is glory to glory. An experience of God being necessary to the spiritual and mental health of each and all created things, including human beings.

  • granted it may be one of the sticking points between eastern and western Christianity, but it might be a more positive if you open your mind a little before posting.

#10

“Meh” - in this case - meant “not really what I was looking for”…

Granted I should have been more specific in my OP and response.

Your a skeptic :slight_smile:


#11

yes in Christian meditation, and lectio divina in its classic 4 steps or phases best states it, one may be led by the Lord–not by the use of any method, by one’s own power or activity–but by the Lord to a transcendant state called pure contemplation, but that may or may not happen to an individual, or all the time. Even a saint who is immersed in contemplative prayer may enter into that state seldom, even only once. It is for the Lord to lead the person. All classical Catholic spiritual counsellors, and Teresa says it best, warn against reliance on a method to attain this state.

:Leave off thinking like “what I am looking for.” What you are looking for is what every human heart longs for: union with God. That union comes through prayer, fasting and almsgiving and a life of prayer and service. It comes at a time and place, and speed, that God wills, and comes through his action in the soul, not the efforts of the soul.


#12

That’s what I want. Gimme, gimme, gimme. :slight_smile:


#13

there is no gimme, every authentic CAtholic spiritual writer says the same thing, not only is there no method to induce pure contemplation, that we should beware of any method that promises to do so.

Infused contemplation is just that, a state to which God brings the soul, not because of but often in spite of the soul’s own efforts.

Read Ascent to Mt. Carmel and the Dark Night for the most poetic description of the soul in this journey. For a modern take on classic spiritual advice on the stages of the soul’s journey see Fr. Groeschels, the Spiritual Journey and also Journey Toward God


#14

:smiley:


#15

My apologies. When you asked for a “meditation technique” giving a “transendental experience,” I made the logical leap (illogical from your perspective) that you wanted something similar to Transcendental Meditation. I hope this does not mean I have a closed mind, as you seem to suggest; rather that I was experiencing a normal psychological response known as “closure,” with the following dictionary definition:

the tendency to see an entire figure even though the picture of it is incomplete, based primarily on the viewer’s past experience.

i.e., you see a picture of eyes and a nose, and your brain automatically draws the rest of the face.

I have no problems with the Eastern Catholic Churches, if that is what you mean by Eastern Christianity. I do have problems with Catholics who adopt non-Christian methods such as TM.

I stand by my assertion that you cannot use any method or technique to bring about infused contemplation, which is a free gift from God. The best we can do is to lead lives of prayer (including meditation on the life of Christ), holiness, and sacrifice, and allow God to do what He will in our souls. It is wrong to seek supernatural experiences (read the writings of St. John of the Cross — Ascent to Mount Carmel and Dark Night of the Soul, as puzzleannie suggests — to understand why).


#16

Hi thomfra -

You’ve been given very good advice thusfar . . . I only have this to add:

Be careful what you wish for :slight_smile:

While it’s true that contemplation can bring inexpressible delights and experiences of all kinds . . . it should never, ever be sought for that reason. Self-denial and the practice of virtue are the building blocks on which a contemplative life is based. So we must be ever careful to understand what it is we desire in contemplation: the gift (which is a violation against humility) or the giver of the gift (which is a profound expression of our love).

Further, we should never underestimate how hard the contemplative life can be. When it’s “true” it will become your life’s work . . . 24/7. And it’s all about personal transformations which can be extremely painful. You will come face to face with your darkest side . . . a side you might not even know you have right now. And your ever more fine-tuned conscience will convict you time and time and again. Why? Because as the Saints teach, opposites can’t coexist. The impure (us) must be made pure by the dark fire of contemplation in order to live in union with the All Pure . . . the indwelling Trinity. This is what contemplation does and knowledge of that fact should, all by itself, put the desire for “experience” in proper perspective. :slight_smile:

Secondly, as others have said there’s no technique or method that can bring about the “experience” of infused contemplation . . . all we can do is predispose ourselves for the gift should He wish to give it. Regarding that, St. Teresa says the most important thing we can do (over and beyond self-denial and practice of virtue) is to “enter into recollection” as often as is possible. This is what she calls mental prayer and others call the practice of the presence of God: talking to Him in our own words continuosly throughout all our daily activities. It is the ongong process we choose to undertake to habitually recall Him to our mind and heart. Or, to put it another way, it’s our continual work to “un-forget” Him. Think about it for a moment: even this on-going act of interior prayer - that lies just “this side” of infused contemplation itself - *is all about self-denial *. . . for it continually takes us away from all the useless or even sinful thoughts and emotions our mind and heart want to cling to in order to continually place us in His presence.

My personal opinion: when all this becomes like second nature is when He’s most likely to come in the way of prayer you say you seek. Let’s think about it again: if we scarely even think of Him, talk to Him or try and live our life in conformity to His will, do we really think He’ll come in the transcendent way you describe? Would we even know or recognize His voice . . . the sound of silence itself?

Food for thought,
Dave :slight_smile:


#17

Thomfra -

I thought I’d try and clarify one thing: it’s important to distinguish between the “experience” of infused contemplation (what I think you’re asking about) and it’s “effects” (which, imo, is what makes it transcendent).

Adding to the reading list others have given, I’d specifically recommend St. Teresa of Avila (Life, Way of Perfection, Interior Castle) for the “experience” of infused contemplation for she is the true master . . . even St. John of the Cross largely deferred to her descriptions of the sucessive prayer states of recollection, quiet and union. By “experience” I mean those fleeting moments in which God temporarily suspends our intellect, will and memory (whole or in part) . . . thereby stilling our thought, feelings and emotions in a profound immersion into His very self. This experience is always joyful and peaceful . . . a profound good to the soul.

“Effects,” on the other hand, are *all the ways we respond *to this loving inflow of God throughout all our daily activity. And this, imo, is where St. John is most helpful (Ascent, Dark Night). Sometimes the joyful/consoling aspect of infused contemplation carries over into our daily lives . . . and sometimes we are led by dryness, airidity and suffering. He strenghtens us in those joyful times . . . and tries us during times of pain and suffering. Both are necessary for spiritual growth. As the saying goes, “no pain no gain” . . . which is just one of the many reasons we should never cling to consolations of any kind.

Again, transformation is the key . . . and this, imo, is what makes contemplation transcendent: our slow growth in holiness, virtue, self-denial, ceasless prayer even in the midst of daily activity and so on. This is “how” God takes the lump of clay (us) and carefully forms and molds us into the “new man” we are meant to be.

And here’s the important point in this bit of rambling: it’s the “effects” we should all strive for; whether or not we are ever given the “experience.” As others have said, infused contemplation is a pure gift; one that might be necessary for some souls to be brought to transformation . . . and not necessary for others. He knows best . . . and He works in many, many ways.

Hope this helps,
Dave:)


#18

Wow, lots of excellent advice here. One other book I would add is called “The Fulfillment of All Desire” by Ralph Martin. It is an overview of the mystic spirituality of John of the Cross, Therese of Avila, Catherine of Siena, the Little Flower, Benard of Clairvaux, Francis de Sales, and others. It is very easy to read and I’ve found it helpful.

God bless,
Dan


#19

Thomfra, I’m getting a really strong impression here that you’re seeking an experience with God…but the Saints warned us VERY strongly NOT to seek such experiences, because we can easily fall into delusion. St Teresa of Avila, who experienced ecstasies and visions said, DON’T seek such things. If God wants to give them to you, He will. If He doesn’t, He won’t. This is extremely important and I’m warning you from experience… I once sought what you are seeking… I know what you mean… and I almost fell into serious delusion. I hope that you will take this advice… study the writings of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila, they’re filled with wisdom and YEARS of experience :slight_smile:

what we are told to do in meditation and contemplation is to LOVE God. Nothing else matters. Even if we feel nothing at all, even if we feel FAR from Him, we are still called to love God. That is the essence of the spiritual life and this is what made the Saints so holy. They received all the experiences because they were humble and didn’t seek them, and didn’t even seek to feel close to God, but only to do His will alone and to love Him selflessly. He gave them these experiences because it was SAFE for them to have… but a person who seeks them, can easily fall into delusion, or pride, and so God doesn’t give these graces to such people for their own sake…so that they will not fall into greater error. He does this out of love and concern. Try to seek humility and doing God’s will first.

I agree with the first person who replied to you… go to Adoration, gaze at a Crucifix… perhaps you won’t at first fall into an ecstasy… so what? :slight_smile: you will however gain something infinitely greater, you will see your Savior’s love for you, and you will love Him in return with a sincere heart… meditate on His sufferings, pray the Rosary, that is the best way. It is a humble, simple way, perhaps, but it’s what the Saints recommend and it’s what helped them. When you’re at Adoration, you’re before Jesus PHYSICALLY present before you… isn’t this the greatest gift, next to Communion? Receive the Eucharist and talk to Jesus in your heart… no spiritual experience, no vision, etc, can even compare to this. This is the greatest grace. It’s Jesus, the real, living Jesus, giving Himself to you, out of love…receive Him, be glad, and seek nothing more :slight_smile: seek only God’s will, not experiences of God.
God bless


#20

:thumbsup: :slight_smile:


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