Is it permissible for Christians to meditate?
The Bible does speak about meditation, but that meditation is on God’s Word and is not the same as what many people mean when they speak of meditation. By meditation, we usually mean some practice of breathing and muscles to clear the mind and achieve a peaceful and relaxed state.
What are the concerns about meditation?
One of the churches I attended explained the danger of meditation in this way. If a person clears their mind, they are opening themselves to demonic oppression. Once the mind is clear, it is an open space for Satan to just step right in.
But where is that in the Bible? There is no hint that the demon possessed were meditating before they had their problems. I just do not see anything in the Bible that suggests that meditation is wrong. It may not command us to meditate (for stress or relaxation purposes), but it does not forbid it either.
Another concern is about the connection to Eastern religions. I take this concern more seriously. However, having connections or origins in other religions does not make something wrong. Rejecting meditation based on religious origins is an example of the genetic fallacy. We should judge an activity, not on where it came from, but by the value of the activity itself. Just because new agers do it does not mean it is wrong.
Is there any value in meditation? This post from the Mayo Clinic explains clearly that meditation is very beneficial both emotionally and physically. Can we assume that God does not want us anxious and that he would like us physically able to recover from illness? I am reminded that all truth is God’s truth. If God designed our bodies in such a way that meditation helps so much, it does not matter that people of other religions use it as well.
Should Christians be concerned?
I am not giving a complete pass for all forms of meditation. I have concerns about mantric meditation, especially when it comes to chants from another religion. If the words spoken are part of a different religion’s worship, it should be avoided.
The forms of meditation I am most familiar with are mindfulness and guided meditation. I have only seen positive outcomes from them. I would suggest that with meditation, as will all areas of life, Christians should use discernment.