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Meditation: Finding a new Spirituality

I see Deepak Chopra was speaking at the National Concert Hall last week. There was an interview with him in the Irish Times.

For those of you who don’t know who Chopra is—you mustn’t watch enough Oprah where apparently he is something of a favourite!—he is a medical doctor with Indian roots who has written 55 books on the mind, body and spirit.

It’s interesting that he has come to Ireland—it doesn’t surprise me, for we are ripe here for his message.

We live in a strange time—the more postmodern and technological we’ve become, the greater the yearning for spirituality of some description. It seems that the human psyche is hardwired for some sort of spiritual input.

People say of themselves, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”. This reflects the disillusionment people have with the established religions, particularly Christianity. They look for something that connects, something that has personal meaning and not empty forms or rituals.

In such an environment it is not surprising that eastern practices like those advocated by Chopra take off.

But are they really the answer? Take for example the increasingly popular practice of meditation.

Chopra advocates it saying:

“Meditation allows you to go past your mind and get in touch with your spirit. Eventually, it means the loss of fear and a gradual discovery of your true self.”

Meditation is commonly seen as an emptying of the mind, seeking a point where you are thinking of nothing, and so at true peace.

This stands in complete contrast to what the Bible talks of when it deals with meditation, transformation and peace. In Romans 12:2 Paul writes “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Biblical Christianity is intensely mind centred. It isn’t about finding peace by “going past your mind” but by filling it with something.

Meditation requires something to meditate on—It is when we grasp and think through the implications of what Jesus Christ did in history in his life and at the Cross that we can find peace, hope, power, and forgiveness.

What we need to find is not so much our true selves, but a true relationship with God, for that will change us, beyond measure.

Is meditation the answer? Yes, but not the emptying of our minds but the filling of them with the deeply satisfying unchanging truths of God’s word.