‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to them ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. The second is like it: you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all thet law and the prophets.’ (Matthew22:26-40)
My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love. (1John4:7-9).
In these scriptures we have some of the core teaching of Christian spirituality: only God is God and you will experience this God as love when growing in this same love for God, others, and yourself. Growing in this love is the purpose of living.
In our efforts to love with all our heart, soul, and mind we discover that life has real purpose and meaning when we are loving with a God of love. Not somehow separate from God, but actually in union with this divine love-life within all.
God wants our heart, our mind, all our soul growing in harmony with, and being an expression of, God’s profound and whole love-life. Once we have experienced this love, nothing else will do. Happiness happens when we are in love with and expressing the only Being that can truly love us in the way we are made for: God.
Christian meditation, through the consistent and faithful giving of attention to a mantra, gently brings our minds (our psyche) to a simple and still silence. In this silence the mind and heart can unite with and in Christ and we come to experience, in some way, the love-life of God. This experience centers our whole humanity in God, heals us, and enlivens us to love.
No one and nothing else can be God for us. This is often a painful thing to learn. Attaching to people, things, roles as if they were God for us – this can happen because we have somehow forgotten that only divine Love can be our inner all. Often, in instances of attachment to these, suffering can be our painful teacher. Finite expressions of love cannot be the infinite source of love that our hearts long for.
Christian meditation has the effect of ‘weening’ us off the attachments in our lives that can cause unnecessary suffering. It is a highly practical and transformative practice. As we focus on the mantra Christ blooms in our consciousness and, without thinking, we experience God as our growing all. This state of union, for the Christian, is a spiritual normality that we are invited to grow into over the course of our lives.
During this course of a Christian and human life our God who is Love keeps on inviting us into a deepening of our relationship with God in Christ. God keeps up the invitation for us to find the home of our mind’s awareness in divine Love. As this happens our psyche has the opportunity to rest and heal in the divine Love that Christ gives to our often troubled and over-worked inner landscape.
As this happens attachment to the finite begins to lessen. With our attention turning more and more to Love, we find our hearts softening back into a longing for God, a longing that perhaps we have not felt since the time of our childhood. God simply wants to love us back into a freedom of soul and spirit. When we are on this journey home fear loosens and fades and we experience life as an invitation to a loving and playful expression of being.
A commitment to Christian meditation will, like all contemplative practice, deepen our hearts, minds, and lives in divine Love. As this happens we come to experience the inner expansive liberty of being loved by God into an expression of our own unique being. we come to deeply understand that fear is not God.
This commitment to Christian meditation, over time, graces us with growing patience, humility, and compassion. As we go with God into an inner world that can be so full of self-conscious preoccupation and distraction, the practice of giving attention to the mantra gently loosens the hold that ego has over our awareness. It is during those times when distractions seem to hold our attention away from the mantra that patience, humility, and compassion can grow. The growth of these fruits often happens in secret, without our conscious knowledge. These fruits can then be offered to others. This offering helps others to see and nurture this growing fruit within themselves.
What is invited from us is a continual and faithful yes to God, a growing in the graced letting go into God, so that this God can love and heal our attention home into Christ and our true mysterious Self. God invites our yes respecting our freedom and never forcing. Divine Love is completely non-violent.
If our attention is somehow lost in the ‘stickiness’ and woundedness of our minds, then this yes from us will often require great courage, faith, and hope. At other times, when our attention is more grounded in our God-given and unique being, then this yes can be as natural as breathing.
Christian meditation grounds our attention in our unique being. The mantra is a graced word, a sacred word, through which our loving God gently shifts the focus of our attention from a finite, limited psyche and into the ‘no-place’ of our true home in God. This is done as we depth in the silence, stillness and simplicity that Christian meditation brings to our lives.
Find out more at http://www.wccm.org/.