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It dawned on me today that meditation might be more compatible with LDS spirituality than with traditional Christian practice.  Oh, of course we meditate on the word of God.  However, I'm thinking of the kind where the practioner quiets herself, and searches within.  My speculation is that one who is LDS may seek that place where the veil between mortality and premortality is thinner.  Likewise, she make seek glimpses into future exaltation.

 

Am I way off here, or is meditation, and similar practices, something that attracts some LDS?

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I meditate, as in I quiet myself and search within. Rather, I am learning to meditate and I try to reach that state. We are commanded as a people and a church to meditate. Our prophets through-out the years have counselled us to meditate. I can find some quotes if you wish.

 

I believe that meditation is an often neglected part of LDS worship despite it being a commandment. In most cases I believe LDS uses ponder and meditate interchangeably but although they are closely related, I think there is a distinction between the two. Namely, to ponder is to think deeply about something. To meditate may mean emptying your mind of all thoughts and to reach a state of internal peace.

 

-Finrock

Edited by Finrock
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It dawned on me today that meditation might be more compatible with LDS spirituality than with traditional Christian practice.  Oh, of course we meditate on the word of God.  However, I'm thinking of the kind where the practioner quiets herself, and searches within.  My speculation is that one who is LDS may seek that place where the veil between mortality and premortality is thinner.  Likewise, she make seek glimpses into future exaltation.

 

Am I way off here, or is meditation, and similar practices, something that attracts some LDS?

 

I meditate.  

 

Sometimes I mediate just for quiet.  This calms my mind and enables me to be a better person and follower of Christ.

 

Frequently I mediate on the Word or a prayer, gaining calm and clarity.  This is also great for my personal harmony and relationship with God.

Edited by Jane_Doe
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Are some hesitant to meditate for fear of welcoming "unclean spirits?"

 

Ummm.... pardon my dumb question: but why would quieting the mind invite unclean spirits?

 

 

*Edited for clarification.

Edited by Jane_Doe
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It dawned on me today that meditation might be more compatible with LDS spirituality than with traditional Christian practice.  Oh, of course we meditate on the word of God.  However, I'm thinking of the kind where the practioner quiets herself, and searches within.  My speculation is that one who is LDS may seek that place where the veil between mortality and premortality is thinner.  Likewise, she make seek glimpses into future exaltation.

 

Am I way off here, or is meditation, and similar practices, something that attracts some LDS?

 

I don't think meditation to reach beyond the veil would be a practice that any LDS would engage in nor do I necessarily think it's appropriate. No where in our teachings are we encouraged to seek communication with those beyond the veil. Some report experiencing visitations or feeling close (a presence) for those beyond the veil but again it's not something that is encouraged.

 

Meditation is mentioned many times in Psalms and other places such as Timothy. When it's mentioned in our Doctrine and Covenants it's the act of thinking and pondering. 

 

Regarding Eastern mediation (which has nothing to do with looking for the dead) where one quiets ones mind and thoughts I think that would be a great benefit to Christians in that we learn to rest our busy mind and listen for the spirit or for inspiration from Heavenly Father. I think Prayer, Meditation and Pondering (Heavenly Father, our Savior, the Atonement, etc.) are very similar. 

Edited by Windseeker
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"Meditation" just means "contemplation", so in that sense, Latter-day Saints do meditate. Of course, the term "meditation" has so many connotations that it becomes impossible to give a strict yes/no answer.

 

If you are speaking of "transcendental meditation", no, Latter-day Saints generally don't do any such thing. We believe illumination comes ultimately from God, not from navel-gazing -- though some of us do plenty of that. Transcendental meditation is an Indian practice and seems to have a lot of Hindu philosophy behind it. The more spectacular claims made for transcendental meditation look to me like mostly nonsense and superstition. I have never heard of Latter-day Saints participating in transcendental meditation in any organized fashion, though I have no doubt some Saints somewhere have given it a go.

 

As for the "unclean spirits" thing, I doubt that's much of a motivating factor in either direction. I don't see how introspective meditation would invite unclean spirits.

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Ummm.... pardon my dumb question: why would someone?

 

A good many Evangelicals find the "emptying" of one's consciousness as "New Age spirituality."  I'm one that leans towards that understanding.  I pray when I want the Holy Spirit to guide me, and my meditation is on God's words, not a search for something withing.

 

The purpose of this thread is to explore whether or not the doctrines of premortal existence and Exaltation make the idea of the emptying kind of meditation more palatable.  I'm sensing it does.

Edited by prisonchaplain
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A good many Evangelicals find the "emptying" of one's consciousness as "New Age spirituality."  I'm one that leans towards that understanding.  I pray when I want the Holy Spirit to guide me, and my meditation is on God's words, not a search for something withing.

 

 

 

That makes sense. No, I don't view mediation as having anything to do with New Age, as the meditation predates New Age by several millennium. 

 

For me, meditation is stepping away from all the noise of the world (both external and internal), into a peaceful quiet communion with God.  This is not only good, but essential because--

 

 

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lordbut the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lordwas not in the earthquake:

 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a astill small bvoice.  (1 Kings 19)

 

A good many Evangelicals find the "emptying" of one's consciousness as "New Age spirituality."  I'm one that leans towards that understanding.  I pray when I want the Holy Spirit to guide me, and my meditation is on God's words, not a search for something withing.

 

The purpose of this thread is to explore whether or not the doctrines of premortal existence and Exaltation make the idea of the emptying kind of meditation more palatable.  I'm sensing it does.

 

 

I hesitate to say that the LDS inclination for mediation is a result of preexistence doctrine.  I much more attribute it to the LDS stressing that the Holy Spirit is a still small voice (see above scripture) and how God brings peace.  I could possibly agree that the LDS more optimistic view of the nature of man (God's in embreyo) could be a minor factor (we're trying to cultivate God within ourselves).

Edited by Jane_Doe
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I was going to say pretty much what Jane_Doe said--I don't view "meditation" or finding some sort of "inner state" as terribly relevant to either the notion of a premortal existence or exaltation. Rather (and I say this as someone who doesn't meditate at all, in any deep-Eastern sense of the word), a Mormon form of "meditation" would strike me as an attempt to tune out the external influences that distract us from the innate goodness or "Light of Christ" that resides deep within each person.

 

I suppose a mainline Christian might find some basis to object to that sort of meditation on the basis of Luke 11:25-26; but I think the LDS position would be that it is affirmative action, not mere "emptiness", that invites the presence of evil spiritual influences.

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Joseph Smith spent a lot of time in his life in meditation. His mother once wrote that his brothers and sisters enjoyed reading more, but he far more given to meditation and deep study. He once remarked, "It is my meditation all the day, and more than my meat and drink, to know how I shall make the Saints of God comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind." Nephi also spent time in meditation, pondering many things. As he sat in his tent pondering things, or as I would consider meditating, he was carried away in the Spirit. To me, meditation is an integral part of prayer and supplication. It's that portion of time spent "listening" when I ask the Lord questions. I sit and wait and listen until an answer comes. Sometimes it takes hours, sometimes days, and occasionally months and yes, even years.

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As I put this response together I am somewhat conflicted.  In some ways I would really like to put something into print that many would find offensive.   This is because I honestly believe two things - many religious thinkers have the attitude -- if it was not invented here it is not of value - especially in considering what is necessary for salvation.  As much as I have been accused of a superiority complex and being arrogant I personally find this "knowing" attitude the most offensive and least "Christian" of all religious offenses and the most unbecoming attitude of a disciple of Christ pretending to love and care about their fellow men.  The second problem is that I do not think, especially among those critical of eastern meditations, have any clue or know anything about meditation as embedded in eastern culture. 

 

The idea of transcendental meditation is not to connect to our pre-extance or past death spirits.  There are two things that the meditation student strives for.  The first is not so much to empty the mind but to clear it of corporal or physical stimulations - or in Christian terms "worldly" inputs that are directly linked to your 5 senses.  As much as I have had discussions about spiritual things and connections to empirical evidences - I am more convinced because of this thread that I am dealing more with prejudices than someone that really understand and experiences spiritual communion void of our 5 senses or beyond empirical evidences. 

 

The first goal of Christian meditation should be the separation of that which is truly spiritual from that which is physical and of this world.  I may have missed it - but I honestly do not see a single post that seems to actually understand and is capable of realizing the difference between that which is physical from that which is indeed spiritual.  If anyone did they would have a much different attitude about meditation and especially transcendental meditation.

 

The second purpose of the student of meditation is that once the physical is cleared or removed - to become aware.  The key word here is "aware".   This awareness is symbolically represented in eastern cultures as "the third eye" often seen in art work as either an eye in the forehead or in the back of the head.  Jesus spoke directly to this understanding when he said those that have eyes but see not.  In other words eyes that see only the physical and are incapable of seeing anything spiritual. 

 

To oppose transcendental meditation is in direct opposition to Jesus trying to get his disciples to see things by means other than one's physical eyes.   It is my observation that many "Christian" believers that if actually connected to that which is indeed spiritual - that they would quickly clear away the false and apostate traditions that so plagued modern society as well as the ancient Pharisees and Scribes.  For this reason many religious schools teach their students to fear and avoid transcendental mediation knowing full well that if they don't - they will lose their converts that will discover spiritual things that they have no intention of allowing them to experience or understand.

 

The final problem is that there are false spirits that indeed will misdirect and confuse many.  There are reasons many end up misdirected in understanding physical or spiritual things.  Having experienced spiritual confusion - there are things I understand - and often observe others making mistakes I have made - but learning that even with fellow LDS - that many deliberately journey on a path of deception with blinder to prevent themselves from considering evidences that their path is in anyway flawed.  So learning, considering or discovering something new is forbidden.

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Joseph Smith spent a lot of time in his life in meditation. His mother once wrote that his brothers and sisters enjoyed reading more, but he far more given to meditation and deep study. He once remarked, "It is my meditation all the day, and more than my meat and drink, to know how I shall make the Saints of God comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind." Nephi also spent time in meditation, pondering many things. As he sat in his tent pondering things, or as I would consider meditating, he was carried away in the Spirit. To me, meditation is an integral part of prayer and supplication. It's that portion of time spent "listening" when I ask the Lord questions. I sit and wait and listen until an answer comes. Sometimes it takes hours, sometimes days, and occasionally months and yes, even years.

 

Sorry but you posted this while I was putting together my post - there is a post that does seem to understand meditation and the spiritual connection.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

I meditate, yes absolutely!  Meditation (like forgiveness and feminism) can mean very different things to different people, so I'll explain what I mean. 

 

I practice different forms of meditation.  One is "mindfulness".  Jon Kabot Zinn and others have written books on this topic so I hesitate to try and explain it in a couple sentences, but I will.  Mindfulness to me means being in the moment.  Much of our lives we spend thinking about the future, or the past.  I use this the most when I feel stressed or anxious.  I just "stop" and quiet the racing thought in my mind and tune into the sounds I hear, the sensations I feel.  It sound very simple but it has proved to be a powerful tool for me.

 

Centering Prayer is another form of meditation I use.  I learned this one from Fr. Thomas Keating, a Catholic Monk.  (I mean from a presentation he did, I've never met him.)  For this form of meditation which people have also written books about, I also quiet my mind, this time I think of a special word or words I have chosen for this purpose.  For example someone might chose the word "peace".  I say a prayer and dedicate this time to Heavenly Father and express my desire to listen to him.  Then I try to be quiet.  It is actually difficult to keep one's mind quiet so when thoughts come to me and I find myself distracted, I just say the centering word (for me it something that reminds me of our Savior) and try to be quiet again.  

The third form I practice is to listen to mediations that other people have prepared.  There are actually apps for this...very cool.   The ones I chose to listen to tend to me more of the "mindfulness" variety, helping me center, relax and be calm.

 

Honestly, I was very surprised the first time that I learned that some Christians avoided mediation because of a concern about evil spirits.  But recently a family member (who is not LDS) has gotten into meditation and told my husband some stories that made my husband and I a bit uncomfortable.  THAT is not the kind of meditation I have in mind.  I've been meditating for about 5 yrs, and have not had those kinds of experiences nor to I intend to.  What i have experienced is that I know longer have panic attacks that send me rushing to the ER.  My anxiety that had been getting increasingly worse to the point that I feared I would eventually become agoraphobic like my mother, has now decreased to the point I feel mostly "normal".  Of course, I attribute a lot of therapy to that as well, but it was in therapy that I learned to mediate as a coping tool.

 

So I see that for some like my family member, mediation can take them to strange places that I have no wish to go...but that can also be said of other things including some religions.  But I have found it to be a practice that has been a blessing in my life and helped me grow closer to God.

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Are some hesitant to meditate for fear of welcoming "unclean spirits?"

I've never heard anyone speak negatively regarding meditation; just the opposite.  I don't think you will find a propensity to do so within the general membership of the Church, but that would be more of a cultural thing. A Mormon would act as any other whom might be exposed to the experience and accept it as beneficial. I would go so far as to say we would adopt it under our 13th Article of Faith.

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Hey PC,

 

Thus far I've noticed that there are many different definitions of "meditate" that people use (as discussed above).  Would you mind me asking what specific definition you were meaning in the OP?  (I am quite enjoying this discussion).

 

It dawned on me today that meditation might be more compatible with LDS spirituality than with traditional Christian practice.  Oh, of course we meditate on the word of God.  However, I'm thinking of the kind where the practioner quiets herself, and searches within.  My speculation is that one who is LDS may seek that place where the veil between mortality and premortality is thinner.  Likewise, she make seek glimpses into future exaltation.

 

Am I way off here, or is meditation, and similar practices, something that attracts some LDS?

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Hey PC,

 

Thus far I've noticed that there are many different definitions of "meditate" that people use (as discussed above).  Would you mind me asking what specific definition you were meaning in the OP?  (I am quite enjoying this discussion).

 

I had in mind an experience I had while a volunteer at a federal prison hospital in Missouri.  An inmate meditation leader (who has long since finished his time, and is now serving with Prison Dharma Network) showed me a rudimentary lesson in meditation.  So, it was Buddhist in practics, probably Zen.  However, he made no mention of Buddhism or any school of practice, in showing me what to do.  It involved emphasis on breathing techniques, and quieting the mind.  The sense I had, was to empty it, and come across insights that are buried "within."

 

There are Christians who practice Zen, and insist it is mental exercise, not religion.  Most mainline denominations probably have no problem with this.  Some Evangelicals, and all Fundamentalists would oppose it.  From what I've read thus far, most here would be okay with it--though my thought that finding an area where the veil may be thinner, or catching a glimpse of future Exaltation, seem to have little to do with it.

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I had in mind an experience I had while a volunteer at a federal prison hospital in Missouri.  An inmate meditation leader (who has long since finished his time, and is now serving with Prison Dharma Network) showed me a rudimentary lesson in meditation.  So, it was Buddhist in practics, probably Zen.  However, he made no mention of Buddhism or any school of practice, in showing me what to do.  It involved emphasis on breathing techniques, and quieting the mind.  The sense I had, was to empty it, and come across insights that are buried "within."

 

There are Christians who practice Zen, and insist it is mental exercise, not religion.  Most mainline denominations probably have no problem with this.  Some Evangelicals, and all Fundamentalists would oppose it.  From what I've read thus far, most here would be okay with it--though my thought that finding an area where the veil may be thinner, or catching a glimpse of future Exaltation, seem to have little to do with it.

 

Interesting.  Would you then say that Fundamentalist difficulty with this practice is:

A)  The Zen/Buddhist origin of the practice making it unclean somehow?

B)  Thinking, that by searching within, a person is to find something there (within themselves) which is bad?

C)  Thinking, that by searching within, a person were to tap into something outside of themselves which is bad?

D)  Something else that hasn't occurred to me?

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