This is topical right now in Australia – check out Beyond Spirituality: The Role of Meditation in Mental Health on The Conversation. Are prayer and meditation the same thing? If you’ve asked that question before, you’ll gain fresh insight by my guest post today from Cynthia Barnett, media spokesperson for Christian Science in North Carolina, USA. And enjoy the music-to-meditate-with whilst reading…..
Some people like to find differences and then debate them. I don’t. I prefer to find commonalities and then confirm them. I like bridges, not walls.
I’ve been recently inspired by a new Wilmington friend who practices meditation. He loves this activity and has found healing through its practice. No wonder he’s started a business teaching it to others.
Is meditation the same as prayer? I wondered because prayer is important to me as a Christian Scientist, although the Bible speaks also of meditation. Let the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, says the Psalmist more than once. More currently, Elizabeth Gilbert’s best seller Eat, Pray, Love focuses on the balm of meditation.
In some Bible versions meditation is translated “unspoken thought.” It refers to deep reflection or pondering. Interestingly, the word has common roots with the word medical, which comes from the verb to measure or consider. It’s a mental process we’re talking about here, the most profound kind there is. And it heals, as my friend Kyle Harper and I can attest.
Prayer adds the concept of God to this definition of deep thinking. Prayer implies an earnest, humble entreaty to the Creator. It can also include praise and thanksgiving. Prayer is meditation, but with reliance on a higher power than the human mind alone.
According to my friend’s practice of meditation, there must be a willingness to put aside material values and appetites and an openness or receptivity to better, more spiritual ideas. We prayer people totally agree! With practice, both meditation and prayer solve problems and bring peace.
So I’ve found our common ground. Hear ye, both meditators and prayer people: I’ve planted myself on the bridge between us. The view is lovely, whatever side you come from. Are you planning to stroll over any time soon? I hope so. I’ll be there to meet you.