Christian Meditation in Contrast to "Mind-Emptying" Meditation

My husband and I were watching the investigative reporting program 60 Minutes recently, and one of the segments had to do with Buddhist "mind-emptying" meditation. The reporting journalist told of how he'd decided to try to immerse himself in the practice as part of a week-long journalistic piece he was preparing, but that he'd not ever given it much thought and didn't expect much to come of it. 

The piece went on, describing the retreat in detail, demonstrating how the participants learned to fall deeply into guided meditations, and discussing a bit the philosophy of meditation. At the end of the piece, the host shared that unplugging from the haste and hurry of life and the constant connectedness to email and social media had imparted to him a peace and a freedom that he'd not felt in many years.  

This got me to thinking: if this kind of meditation is a practice of quiet retreat into oneself in order to empty the mind and find silence, peace, and a respite from the incessant noise of the world, then we as Christians practice our own kind of quiet retreat into ourselves: prayer. But prayer is so much more than just meditation: it's a contemplative way to seek silence and retreat into ourselves, sure, but it's also a very powerful way of communing with God.  

As Pope Benedict XVI noted in Vatican II:  "In contrast to meditation techniques aimed at emptying the mind, Christian meditation makes full use of the intellect in an effort to understand God's Word and to hear God's voice" (p.62)

There's so much talk of late about mind-emptying meditation as a way to attain personal peace and health, but has it ever occurred to us to share with others how rich a practice prayer is? 

Offered respectfully,


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