I’m a Christian. I believe there is a God and a Jesus. I believe there were disciples, a burning bush, 10 commandments, an ark, people turned into stone, giants, talking snakes, blah blah blah, but I am really struggling with a subject that I find hard to approach some of my Christian friends about for fear they will think I’m falling off the Jesus wagon, which I’m not, but sometimes a not so open mind will see it that way.
The subject is “meditation” and by meditation I don’t mean meditating with “The Word” as so many of my Christian friends and pastors have guided me to do when I’m struggling. No. I mean plain old fashion buddhist style, om mantra’ing, sitting crossed legged on the floor and imagining the color of my chakra meditation. Are you getting a pretty good visual of that description? Now imagine the smell of incense and that visual will be complete.
I struggle with it because I have been told, repeatedly, that this is not of God and that it’s evil and wrong and oh boy I’m gonna go to hell if I even considered doing such a thing, but in all honesty and from the bottom of my heart, I just ain’t feeling the evil in it.
Now hear me out before condemning me to hell. I should probably start by giving you a brief history of where I’m coming from and why I’m even seeking meditation. You see, lately I have been so overwhelmingly stressed that I literally can feel my blood pressure rising to an unhealthy level. My ears ring, then my head buzzes, then something sounds like it’s snapping (more like a boinging sound) in my head, and then I get confused. Sometimes my speech slows down. I’ve never really looked up the symptoms of high blood pressure, just the effects, so I could, for all I know, not even be experiencing a blood pressure thing. Could just be an adrenaline rush. Either way, it freaks me out and I know it can’t be healthy, so I’ve been trying to discover ways to de-stress, decompress, chillax. Basically, I need to just mellow out, and aside from praying, which is wonderful don’t get me wrong, I’ve looked into other ways, other more worldy ways if you will, like yoga, changing my diet, drinking less coffee, drinking more vodka, picking my battles, I even listened to hours of Tony Robbins, but none of these things seem to be doing the trick, although Tony Robbins does suggest a sort of ritual where you repeat certain things, like changes you’d like to make in yourself, or things you are thankful for before you jump out of bed which, to me, I look at the same way I look at how some people do their “things I’m grateful for” countdown to the Thanksgiving holiday, usually done of facebook or another type of social media we use so everyone can see it. I truly believe counting one’s blessings is healthy and healing. It changes one’s perspective and can make a horrible moment less impactful because, I mean, who are we kidding? It could always be worse, right?
Now, let’s go back to how Tony Robbins asks that we repeat things. Repeat. Hmm….. This could sound a little bit like a sort of chant. Have you ever, as a child, swore a monster was coming out of your closet to kill you and you’d repeat over and over again something like, “Monsters aren’t real! Monsters aren’t real!”? Wasn’t that, in a weird way, kind of comforting at the time? Or how about when you have the flu? Have you ever moaned through the pain? I have, and it always helps. Always! Sometimes I rock back and forth and moan at the same time. Come to think of it, that got me through a stomach ache just yesterday. Sounds strange to some, but I know I’m not alone on this, right? Be honest.
Now, let’s go back to this post about meditation and how my brain works. Thinking about the comfort of a moan led me to research the benefits of them. Moaning takes my focus off of my pain. This could actually be healing. Then I researched the various practices of self healing. I’ve heard of people who swear their positive thoughts actually healed them of cancer. The more I thought about that the more I believed in the power of self healing. Researching self healing led me to meditation and mantras. Also, there are these things called “Chakras” that are believed to be specific areas in our bodies that can be centers for healing or poisoning us physically and or mentally. They are thought to be seven energy centers that serve as junction points between the body and consciousness. Chakras fascinate me and I’m still researching them, but I hope to someday be very educated about them for personal use.
Now, even though I was raised to believe anything other than that meditation is pure evil, my curiosity got the better of me. Don’t get me wrong. I did a LOT of soul searching and praying about it first but eventually I decided to just take the plunge. I also reasoned that medicine was once thought to be the practice of magic, and I have friends who swear their oxycodones are pretty magical, but in all seriousness, we now know better and some of us know we’re alive and well because of it. I think we all know better now because at some point in time more of us were willing to be open minded, and who’s to say this can’t be said for meditation as well?
In my research, I learned mantras are an ancient and sacred Hindu practice of Sanskrit recitations. To my understanding, Sanskrit recitation is the act of repeating an audial sound, like the sound om or aum. One can insert and repeat (or chant) a phrase, a prayer, or just a word as well. It can be spoken or sung. The sound of om is believed to actually mean God, so before and after a chant one says, “Om”.
Okay, here is where things can get uncomfortable for a Christian. Some religions aren’t chanting to the same God I believe in. Some beliefs have various gods. Though there are, for the lack of a better word, pre-set mantras, this isn’t to say those mantras are the only ones to use. I, for one, will not pray to another god. If I did I would be buying myself a ticket to hell. That’s biblical and I ain’t gonna test that, period. However, why can’t I pray to my god in the form of a mantra? Ah. See where I’m going on this?
For example, I can om and direct that om to my god, then I can pray melodically in the form of a chant. Wait a minute! Don’t Roman Catholics do this? Ever heard of Gregorian Chants? Gregorian chanting is thought to be a form of worship. I do believe the pope still uses this practice to this very day. I sing worship songs at church. So why can’t my melodic prayer chants be considered a form of worship? I’ll tell you why. Because most Christians I know don’t educate themselves past what they hear in a church service or what they read in the bible or, like myself, they just go with what they were taught to believe growing up without asking questions.
The bible is a guide that doesn’t include all historic practices of worship to God, if it did it would be huge and would take for-ev-er to read through, but more importantly, if it did we would all learn a thing or two about the various forms of worship. To me, there is a gray area because of this. I don’t like gray areas because they make me search for answers, and I don’t trust anyone to answer those questions because I don’t believe they know all the facts, because they’re human with room for error, thus my struggle.
Am I wrong to go deeper than just prayer and bible reading for self healing? Even worse, am I wrong to believe that the ways some other religions worship could be beneficial to myself? It feels very much to me like a form of bondage. Why is it that I can openly admit to a fellow Christian to drinking a glass of wine for relaxation but not trust them to understand the benefit of Sanskrit recitations without condemning me to hell? How can we evolve as Christians with such short sightedness and with such closed minds?
So, yesterday I decided to sit down and practice what I had learned about meditation while focusing on a specific Chakra. This included listening to various types of instruments. I discovered in my research that the note C is specific to healing the first Chakra, also known as the Root Chakra. I specified this one because it relates to our most basic survival needs and our sense of belonging, whether to our family or a larger group. When this chakra is clear and energy flows through it freely, we feel secure and confident that we can easily fulfill our needs. Fulfilling my need to seek self healing was my goal so I went with it. Blockage in this area can cause us to feel anxious and worried, a perfect example of my everyday being. Also, it’s believed to be located at the base of the spine. I have a bad lower back. Could this be a coincidence?
During meditation I concentrated on opening up my mind to a power of self, the power of peace, and the power of good health with God as my focus, but also with me as having the power to have the ability to be empowered. I struggled through what my Christian friends would think of me if they knew what I was doing. For the first few minutes I was overwhelmed with guilt, but each minute thereafter I became more and more calm. Why worry about what anyone thinks of me? God knows what I’m thinking and what I’m doing. I believe that is all that matters in the end, unless one of my friends is going to be standing at the pearly gates to speak on my behalf when my time comes, and trust and believe I know a few pompous and judgmental Christians who act as if that is even remotely possible.
After meditating I felt like a million bucks. I was so strangely calm my son even commented on it. I was energized and in a great mood, and believe it or not, my back pain was almost nonexistent. I truly believe all this was because I trusted meditation would help me and because I worked on opening up that chakra.
Later, I thought about all of the guilt I initially had going into my first serious meditation session and it really bothered me that I carried such a heavy load based on the ignorance of other people. It felt very much like bondage and bondage is as bad as stress. It holds us back from being able to see past the trees in the forest, and from seeing a light at the end of a tunnel. It keeps us constrained to the past. It imprisons us. Who wants that for themselves?
I have much more learning to do with regard to meditation and chakras but as it stands I believe in the benefits of keeping my mind open and learning about these things. I’m still a Christian, and being a Christian means using the brain God gave me to seek answers and gain wisdom. I’d like to hear someone elses take on the matter. Feel free to comment.