For many, combining meditation with Christianity seems almost blasphemous. And while the topic has generated much controversy in the past, when it comes down it and you ask Christians what they are seeking through prayer, it doesn’t seem to far off what those who practice meditation are also hoping to find.
Linda Andrade Rodrigues pens this recent South Coast Today post about a group of parishioners in Taunton, MA using a Christian contemplative tradition known as the centering prayer to not only connect to scripture, but also meditate, contemplate, and reflect on its meaning. According to Rodrigues, the group begins by listening to a scripture passage and then sits in silence as they experience how the words and meaning affect different aspects of their minds and bodies.
Ethel introduces the gathering to Lectio Divina or listening to the Word of God in Scripture. It is a method of prayer — reading, reflecting, responding and resting in the Word of God — that helps one grow in relationship with God.
“This is the sacred way to read Scripture,” said Ethel. “It is entered with the mind, then the heart.”…
…The participants practice centering prayer for 10 minutes.
They choose a sacred word as the symbol of their intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
Sitting comfortably with eyes closed and back straight, they settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word.
When they find themselves engaged in any thoughts, body sensations, feelings, images and reflection, they return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
At the end of the prayer period, they remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
Ethel describes the levels of awareness as a circle with three inner circles. The outer circle is ordinary awareness, then moving inward, there is the unconscious level, the true self, and the Divine Presence at the center.
Read more from Rodrigues on using meditation with Christian scripture here.