Wednesday, August 31, 2005

om...

when my father was on a rampage against secular humanism back in the day, one of the things he railed against was new age thinking. back then, the closest i ever got to new age anything was The Wave, a radio station that played kenny g and manheim steamroller. i never really paid all that much attention to it.

one bible study of my father's once mentioned that meditation was dangerous because 'when you empty your mind the devil can step in.' i never quite understood that, either. it seemed equally irrational.

to me, never giving your mind a rest seemed like a recipe for a nervous breakdown.

things like yoga and meditation, though the mental/health benefits of them are well-documented, aren't a part of the good baptist girl's upbringing, i guess. idle hands, empty minds, flexible limbs...all these are the devil's playground.

well, not anymore.

(my office is starting a weekly yoga class in the fall and i've signed up. i'm 35 and the stiffness in my joints is starting to piss me off. the devil be damned.)

6 comments:

allaboutgeorge said...

Take care of that temple!

zeke said...

No disrespect for your dad, but considering all the death and destruction caused by non-meditating "Christians" carried out in God's name, I'd say it's about high time we give meditation a twirl.

I am reading a book by Sun Bear in which he talks about Native Americans' experience at the hands of "well-meaning" Christians who helped exterminate 90% of the indigenous population of this continent.

How's that for counterpoint?

Zeke

ding said...

you know, zeke, you have a point. i don't mean to bash all christians but i think that a significant part of the religious community doesn't recognize most mental health issues as 'important.'

(how's that for a blazing generalization?)

i'll amend that - i don't think that a majority of the black religious community thinks seriously about mental health, though the black community is severely impacted by mental health issues.

for instance, depression among black women is terribly high. for a remedy, we are advised to seek the Lord, submit to our husbands or pray harder. we aren't told, ok you sound like you may be suffering from depression and you need to speak with a doctor or a counselor.

what's the difference between a devotion or a meditation? just a focus, that's all.

reverendmother said...

Centering/contemplative prayer (which is quite Christian, although not so baptist) is a different way to think about meditation, but it's basically the same thing.

If you empty your mind, God could also step in.

Anyway, meditation as I understand it isn't about emptying your mind, but quieting it. "Be still and know that I am God."

ding said...

you know, when i was talking with a life coach about my writer's block a year ago, she recommended i start doing these kinds of exercises as a way to control my anxiety about writing. (the more fretful i'd get, the harder it was to write.)

being a good baptist girl still, i was uncomfortable with the whole zen aspect of it until i started thinking of it exactly the way you put it: being Still.

worked a treat and i have incorporated it into my prayer practice.

Pastor John said...

Good post my dear daughter; and I must say that I never thought that I was ragging on being still and listening to the God those many years ago when I spoke against the “New Age” (I think I was saying) being aware of inviting spiritual excitement from areas that we are not familiar is important. As a Christian I am aware that “Demon Spirits” invite themselves into human lives not only through drugs; but also through a spirit void of Christ alone. If doing meditation in any from assist you in your mental health; go for it (I guess). You see; the old fashioned way still works for me; ‘Going to God with an open bible and then weigh your life.” The danger with certain forms of meditation is found in the replacement of our Lord for cheap deities. As for the comments concerning Christians behavior towards native peoples of the Americas; I would agree. Sporting the name (of Christ) without evidence of love and tolerance for other people of color; makes for a poor witness. My native brothers and sisters have their traditions; and so do we as Christians (biblical traditions). I meditate more often then none. Usually I drive the L.A. freeways; vent, and then ask for divine forgiveness. Cutting no jive on the jamming “405”.