Inasmuch as there are various forms of meditation in today's world, it is important to determine how Christian meditation compares with other forms of meditation.
There are two major differences, however, between traditional forms of meditation and Christian meditation. In traditional forms of meditation, the individual seeks to empty one's self; in Christian meditation the believer seeks, rather, to be filled. In traditional meditation, the object is self, albeit the higher self, whereas in Christian meditation the object is God, who is high above all.
During the practice of meditation, the non-christian strives to clear his or her consciousness of all thoughts, concentrating intensely until in a prescribed period of time a bare minimum of thoughts has been allowed or entertained in the consciousness. In Christian meditation, the believer seeks to fill his or her thoughts with truths about God. In seeking to reach one's higher self, the traditional meditator may achieve his goal, but has really achieved a state which has no real value.
Yet, God in his wisdom and absolute truth gives us a fail proof method of gaining everything we want– to meditate on Him and his word, always.
So how do we mediate on the Lord?  This question may produce images of sitting lotus style in a meadow or Buddhist monks chanting in some far away land.
With all this working against us, it is of great necessity that we put into practice tools that will help us combat the pull to live a less authentic life in Christ. Although meditating means to ponder, reflect, or think about, the art of meditating on God can take many forms. You can also select a whole scripture or just one word, like “Jesus” or “Jehovah” to meditate on. Rhonda Jones is the creator of over 25 Christian meditation and affirmation Cds and the author of Help Me God Change My Life and A Date with God. Through the union of the divine and the human breaths accomplished in Breath Meditation, we come to life, grow “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:13) and attain the knowledge of God through that union. God, being the source of life, is also the source of breath, “seeing he giveth to all life, and breath” (Acts 17:25).
Saint Paul also informs us that these “sighings of the Spirit” are alaletos, unutterable, and therefore cannot really be spoken by human beings, though they can be approximated.
Through meditation we literally breathe the Holy Spirit, becoming filled with and united to the Life that is the Holy Spirit. In the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, we are told that “cloven tongues like as of fire” appeared over the heads of those who were present. In the first quarter of the fourteenth century a man named Gregory entered the monastery on the sacred mountain of Sinai. A few weeks later his solitude was disrupted by the arrival of the old priest at the mouth of Gregory’s cave. In the practice of Breath Meditation the tip of the nose is called the gate or the door, since that is where the breath enters and exits. I have used the Pali term anapanasati because it best conveys what the practice of meditation should be: the awareness of exhalation and inhalation.
In many texts Hesychia it is simply called “attention.” This is because Hesychia is not “prayer” in the usual sense of verbalization, but rather is the cultivation of prajna–awareness–through observation of (attention on) the breath. Attention is the effective element of Breath Meditation, awareness of the movements of the subtle breath at the nosetip.
The religions of the East fundamentally understand that God is utterly beyond all words or thought of any kind, that communion with God must necessarily occur beyond the mind in the silence of the spirit whose nature is pure consciousness. The greatest Hesychast [Keeper of Silence] of the Eastern Christian Church was Saint Isaac of Syria, and his teachings on interior life are found in a large number of essays. May we ever seek the holiness that Saint Isaac calls “the secret silence of the Lord,” the Silence that is the Lord.
Above all it is important for you to keep your mind bare–without imaginations and images and free of any sort of entanglement, so that you are not concerned about either the world, friends, prosperity or adversity, or anything present, past or future, whether in yourself or in others–not even your own sins.
Though it is not commonly recognized, the British novelist, Emily Bronte, was a highly developed mystic, as is shown in her poetry. In the eighteenth century, two saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain and Saint Makarios of Corinth, compiled a five-volume collection of writings from the fourth to fifteenth centuries on Hesychia which they entitled The Philokalia–The Love of the Good. This course provides an opportunity for those interested in finding out about Christian meditation to experience the practice in a small group, to learn about its origins, and to discover its relevance as a form of prayer for the contemporary world. Admission is free. Christian meditation is similar to other forms of meditation in that it involves a deliberate action on the part of the individual, in time that he or she has set aside purposefully to ponder or think. Often, a tool called a mantra is used which may be a word or a series of sounds that a person repeats continually until they are completely empty. Seeking to reach one's higher self is to reach for nothing; it may achieve a state of thoughtlessness and cessation from stress, but the individual will still remain empty and unfulfilled. We may meditate on our careers, our love relationships, our goals in life, or becoming successful.  People also meditate on things that are harmful or destructive to them or others. We believe if only we have the right job, the right spouse, more money, a nicer home, children, better parents, own a home, or have more vacation time, we would be complete. Unfortunately for Christians, the practice of meditation has been misunderstood and as a result we have forfeited and shun a practice that is not only encouraged by God for our success, but that will also create deeper intimacy with Christ, improve our mental and physical health, help us maintain our priorities and balance, and live with more peace and joy. It’s built into the fabric of our society.  We’re going against the grain when we try to live for Jesus. I would like to elaborate on four ways to meditate on God that will help to fuse the word of God and his life changing principles not only in your head, but in your heart. When he came down from the mountain, it is said that Mose’s countenance was so bright and intense that the children of Israel could not look at him.
Meditate in silence or record music to play in the background.  It’s best to time the music or use a timer so that you’re not worried about being late for work or missing an appointment.
No evil thing can stand in God’s presence.  I created two guided- meditation titled, Abiding with Christ and Mantra Meditation, which guide believers through these steps. And meditating on God’s word in the form of contemplative prayer is a way to reflect upon the scripture and ponder its relevancy in our personal life. In the Bible it is clear that breath is identified with the deepest thing in man; it is precisely when breath enters into matter that man becomes man.
The word translated “groanings” is stenagmos, which more properly means “sighings”–in other words, the subtle sound of the inner breath. Our part is to meditate and enter into the Holy Spirit’s utterance of them, the Holy Spirit’s speaking (breathing) which gives us life–the Life in (and of) Christ. Filled with zeal, he engaged in all the ascetic practices that were being done there, always exceeding his brother monastics in their observance. Upon reaching there he met several devout people who urged him to visit an aged priest named Arsenios that was living the eremitical life in a cave somewhere on the island. And the Lord said unto me, Son of man, mark well,…mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth” (Ezekiel 44:4, 5). But in the tradition of the Christian East the word commonly used for meditation is the Greek word Hesychia: the Silence. They further realized that the shaping of the mind into “waves” in the form of sensory impressions and thought patterns was an impairment-veiling of the true consciousness that lay behind it. Hesychia is frequently translated “Stillness,” and this is quite appropriate because in Breath Meditation we are silently aware so that in time the mind and heart become absolutely still–unmoving. To make the chariot of the mind stand still and descend into the stream of the breath to be baptized in the Silence is to be baptized in Christ, in the Word, and to be truly Christed (Christened).

When Jesus said: “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while,” it was also meant to be a symbol of entering into silence, a “desert” free from thoughts and sense impressions.
The use of the simple word “attention” also implies the truth so often spoken by Jesus that the kingdom of God is right at hand–we need only turn around and there it is.
In the seventeenth chapter of First Samuel we are told that when he went to being food to his brothers who were fighting the Philistines he found everyone, including the king, terrified of the gigantic warrior Goliath and unwilling to fight him. The Hesychast Fathers say that the “closet” referred to by Jesus is the heart–not the physical heart, but the metaphysical heart, the core of our being: our pure spirit consciousness. Although, beginning with Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, Christian writers and mystics have said the same thing, over time words and thoughts have almost completely taken over the province of spiritual life, including meditation.
In the twenty-third essay he has this to say about “spiritual prayer,” which is pure silence, as contrasted with “word prayer” that remains in the domain of the mind and cannot, despite its efforts, reach into the realm of the spirit where truth resides.
You must guard your understanding from daydreams and thoughts of earthly things.…In just this way your whole mind gathered up with all its powers and faculties in God, may become one spirit with him, in whom the supreme perfection of life is known to consist. But consider yourself with a certain pure simplicity to be alone with God outside the world, and as if your mind were already in eternity and separated from the body so that it will certainly not bother about worldly things or be concerned about the state of the world, about peace or war, about good weather or rain, or about anything at all in this world, but with complete docility will turn to God alone, be empty for him and cleave to him.…And let your spirit be cleansed in this way from all imaginations, coverings and things obscuring its vision, like an angel not tied to a body, who is not hindered by the works of the flesh nor tangled in vain and wandering thoughts. And this is the waking sleep of the Spouse, of the which the Scripture thus: I sleep, and my heart waketh. For, as we have said, in order to attain to this state the natural operations must be completely disregarded, and this happens, as the Prophet says, when the soul comes into solitude, according to these its faculties, and God speaks to its heart.
Thou art to keep thy self in this mystical Silence, if thou wouldest hear the sweet and divine Voice.
It may be that at that time thou seekest more thy self, and the love of thy self, than the true Love of God, Because Love consists in Works, and not in fair Discourses. But God who searches the Hearts, standeth not in need that thou shouldest make profession and assure him of it; nor does he rest satisfied, as the Evangelist says, with Love in Word nor in Tongue, but with that which is true and indeed.
You see that in this process the soul is led naturally, without trouble, effort, art or study.
I join with thee in thy Prayer which thou hast in Solitude by Night prayed; in this Prayer of God grant that we may perform no other Prayer. Motovilov recorded a conversation in the first half of the nineteenth century with the renowned Russian Orthodox mystic, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, on the subject of the purpose of the Christian life–which the saint said was one thing alone: the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Breath.
In her final poem, written not long before her death and addressed to God, she says: “Thou art Being and Breath,” affirming the dual character of Divinity as both Consciousness and Energy, which is therefore reflected in us who can, by means of the breath, penetrate into the heart of being. We are able to welcome God’s loving transformation of us–letting go of the ‘don’t mess with me, I’m perfect just like I am’ attitude and of the ‘I must control my world’ attitude.
For the practice of stillness is full of joy and beauty: its yoke is easy and its burden light.
For the intellect itself naturally possesses an imaginative power and in those who do not keep a strict watch over it it can easily produce, to its own hurt, whatever forms and images it wants to.
For if the hesychast does not enclose his intellect within his body, how can he possess within himself the One who is invested with the body and who as its natural form penetrates all structurally organized matter?
Rather than emptying himself, the Christian fills his mind with hope and encouragement from the promises that God has given in His Word or on good things that God has done for him. We become what we repetitively think about.(Proverbs 23)  What we meditate on will steer the direction of our lives.
These things can provide joy in our lives, but if we believe they are the source of our fulfillment, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Instead, through the transformative power of meditating on God and his word, we will find a peace and contentment in knowing that God is the source of our success, period. If we, through ignorance and deception, relinquished this prized possession, we need it back, and now!  Stress, worry, misplaced priorities, depression, restlessness, negative thinking, addictions, and many other harmful behaviors plague the Christian community more than ever before.  We’ve lost the art of meditating on the Lord. We can even quote a variety of scriptures, but reading the word is different than meditating upon the word.  Reading doesn’t always penetrate our heart. In fact, they made Moses put a cloth over his head.  We can’t spend time with God and not be affected because God character just spills over and saturates us.
As you meditate, become fully present by paying attention to your breathing and your mantra.
Most guided meditation CDs begin with a relaxation exercises followed by a scriptural narrative.
It is very worthwhile to look up the passages in the Bible that speak of “spirit” and substitute the word “breath.” Some interesting insights will be gained.
This symbolic revealing and release that takes place in both the conscious and subconscious minds–and sometimes even the physical body–is the result of long-term watching of the breath, and is always a passively observed process. Those who go deep in their practice of Breath Meditation will sometimes experience the subtle currents of inhalation and exhalation as faint breath-like or “sighing” sounds. The Holy Spirit is infused into our breath, and thus the Christian literally breathes the Holy Spirit, becoming filled with and united in anapanasati to the Life that is the Holy Spirit.
So also in the practice of meditation the “water” of the breath flows–yet is perfectly still. After a while they became annoyed with the spiritual one-upmanship of the young monk, and he, too, was not pleased, for he intuited that there was more to spiritual life than what he had learned there. After a great deal of searching he found the priest and began questioning him both about ascetic labors and the complexities of theology.
Then, as he sat puzzling over the matter, the realization came to him that his visitor was not a fool, a donkey, or stupid. In the psychic anatomy of the human being, the head is “House of the Lord,” the Temple of God, the entire body being the City of God. Saint Gregory further cites Saint Paul’s statement that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit–the Holy Breath.
Water which is broken up by waves and swirls not only cannot act as an accurate reflective mirror, it conveys a distortion of whatever it reflects. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? So much so that simple silence is considered by nearly all Christians as meaningless and worthless. For when the awareness moves into spiritual prayer “it no longer possesses prayer, or movement, or emotion, or control, or acts of will, or petition, or desire, or longing for any ‘thing’ in this world or the next. Then the intellect does not pray with prayer, but it gazes in ecstasy at incomprehensible things which surpass this mortal world, and it is silenced by its ignorance of all that is found there. For it indeed cannot be so long as the soul is taking heed to the body, and the things which minister and appertain thereto, and to time and the creature, and is disturbed and troubled and distracted thereby.
It is not enough for gaining this Treasure, to forsake the World, nor to renounce thine own Desires, and all things created; if thou wean not thy self from all Desires and Thoughts. What avails it to tell them with great zeal and fervor, that thou tenderly and perfectly loveth him above all things, if at one bitter word, or slight injury, thou doest not resign thy self, nor are mortified for the love of him? Peter most affectionately told the Lord, that for his sake he was ready, willingly to lay down his Life; but at the word of a young Damsel, he denied him, and there was an end of his Zeal. The expressions “attention,” watchfulness,” “stillness,” and “silence” all refer to the practice of silent, pure awareness.
In this way the recollection of things good or evil can suddenly imprint images on the intellect’s perceptive faculty and so induce it to entertain fantasies, thus making whoever this happens to a daydreamer rather than a hesychast. The determined exterior aspect of this matter–the material body–cannot enshrine the essence of the intellect until the material body itself truly lives by adopting a form of life appropriate to union with the intellect. When the meditator wants to obtain peace in the midst of a tumultuous situation he or she can just call to mind or repeat the mantra and the desired result is obtained.

If an individual, with purpose and intent, will meditate on God, he will achieve the highest of heights, including joy and peace. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. Those who don’t have these things are on a constant mission to get them.  Those who have obtained them and realized their failure to produce, often become hopeless and despondent.
We can stop seeking, we can be still, and we can enter into a deeper relationship of knowing God that will sustain us through the elusions, trials, and inadequacies of life. God said in Joshua 1:8 that the way to spiritual prosperity and success which will ultimately lead to physical success is to mediate on His word continually.
John 15) One form of meditating on the Lord is to abide with him; to sit at his feet and to wait in his presence, just like the child who sits in his mother or father’s lap to be comforted. For the Holy Spirit–the Holy Breath–of which he is a living temple (I Corinthians 6:19) continually breathes within the depths of his being. Consequently, for the next years he wandered throughout Egypt and Palestine, visiting monasteries and hermits in the desert, learning of their disciplines and adopting them in an even more intense degree. Rather, he knew a whole dimension of spiritual life–real, inner spiritual life–of which neither Gregory not any of the monks he had met so far knew even a hint. That is, the awareness is kept on the tip of the nose alone and the sensation of the breath moving in there–not outward. It is our breathing that is the primary manifestation of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us, and for that reason it is possible to attain awareness of the indwelling Divinity through the merging of our awareness into the breath. These agitations of the mind are like radio static or television interference which can distort, reduce, or altogether eliminate the message.
He also used the simile of people waiting with burning lamps (Luke 12:35) to give the idea that we are silent in a negative or blank sense, but are conscious–even alight with consciousness.
Willing to try anything but fight himself, King Saul put his own armor on the boy along with a brass helmet and a coat of chain mail. And in hesychastic texts we are told to “lead the mind into the heart by means of the breath,” for through the breath we can enter into spirit. Ramana Maharshi made this observation: “The real Heart is just consciousness in its native purity.
Therefore I am including the following extensive section to assure you that the silent awareness of breath meditation is the highest form of prayer in the Christian tradition as well. For if the soul shall rise to such a state, she must be quite pure, wholly stripped and bare of all images, and be entirely separate from all creatures, and above all from herself.
By not speaking, not desiring, and not thinking, one arrives at the true and perfect Mystical Silence, wherein God speaks with the Soul, communicates himself to it, and in the Abyss of its own Depth, teaches it the most perfect and exalted Wisdom. Rest in this mystical Silence, and open the Door, that so God may communicate himself unto thee, unite with thee, and transform thee into himself.
Mary Magdelen said not a word, and yet the Lord himself taken with her perfect Love, became her Panegyrist, saying that she had loved much.
This is true of the traditional meditator who often seeks to meditate as a way to free himself from stress and turmoil.
Paul rightly said in his epistle to the Romans, "I know that nothing good lives in me…" (Romans 7:18).
If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.What is your response?
Thus constant awareness of the breath empowers and recreates the individual, often working profound transformations in his inner makeup. Disgusted and angry, Gregory left, telling himself that the old man was nothing more than an ignorant beast, unworthy of anyone’s regard or attention. Chagrined, he admitted his ignorance and begged the old priest tell him how to turn within and reach the gate.
He then cites the mystical writings of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite which speak of the “circular movement” in meditation–an expression found also in Buddhist writings on anapanasati, and which refers to the inhalations and exhalations being so smooth and continuous that they are like a single, circular movement rather than two separated movements broken by pauses, however slight, between inhaling and exhaling.
David buckled on his own sword and started to go, but he stopped and said that he could not fight with all those encumbrances. For what pertains to prayer has ceased, while a certain divine vision remains, and the mind does not pray a prayer.
It is internally, then, that with dumb Silence, the most perfect Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity are practiced, without any necessity of telling God, that thou lovest him, hopest and believest in him; because the Lord knows better than thou dost, what the internal Motions of thy Heart are.
The talking throughout the meditation helps you to stay present and focused and diminishes wandering thoughts. When Jesus “breathed on [the apostles], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22), he was indicating that the breath and the Holy Spirit are identical–to meditate upon the breath is to meditate upon the Holy Spirit.
I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Revelation 21:6). Greatly disappointed at yet another dead-end search, he found a cave at the other end of the island and began living there. What is needed, then, is to get to the root of the breath and untie the “knot” that binds us to the mind and the entire range of relative experience. Mary chose the best part by not doing anything but sitting still and being aware, whereas Martha was running around doing many things. So he took them all off and left them behind–including his sword–taking with him only his slingshot, the toy of a child and no weapon at all. Every type of prayer arises from a movement of the mind, but once the awareness enters into spiritual territory, there is no longer any kind of prayer. And so began for him the path that would lead in his becoming Saint Gregory of Sinai: the practice of Breath Meditation, which he called Hesychia–the Silence. But onward he went, faced and challenged Goliath, and killed him with a single stone hurled from his sling. Dionysius, that it is possible, and may happen to a man often, till he become so accustomed to it, as to be able to look into eternity whenever he will.
Uniting ourselves with the breath is uniting ourselves to the evolving and life-giving action of the Holy Spirit. The breath of the Christian is his water of life, for his breath is also the Breath of God. All kinds of cumbrances in the forms of observances, recitations, and meditation methods are being thrust on us from every side by the professionals of religion and yoga–each one insisting that without their wares and trappings we either cannot succeed or will be hindered and delayed in our practice without them. Entering into the consciousness that is our true self through Breath Meditation is thus the Prayer of the Heart. This is because “whenever the intellect moves, it is found in the natural realm; but once it enters into that other realm, it ceases from prayer. For when a thing is at first very hard to a man and strange, and seemingly quite impossible, if he put all his strength and energy into it, and persevere therein, that will afterward grow quite light and easy, which he at first thought quite out of reach, seeing that it is of no use to begin any work, unless it may be brought to a good end. Thus, from the very first moment of Breath Meditation we are engaging in spiritual experience–experience in which any “phenomena” are of negligible and peripheral value.
For it is not the experiences within meditation that matter, but rather the result that manifests outside of meditation in the continuous state of consciousness. The “Father” is the witnessing consciousness of the meditator, the “Word” is the subtle sound of the breath, and the “Spirit” is the breath itself.

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