The science of meditation

My column this week could, for some of you, be one of the most useful things you have read for a long time. Not for all of you, inevitably, because some will know about it already, and others will – for a variety of reasons do nothing about it. I am going to write about the scientific basis of meditation and what it can do for those who choose to take it to heart.

For most of us, meditation suggests mystical Christian prayer, or Buddhist contemplation, or – for the right generation – the Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. But, for the moment, put all that aside. Think instead of spending some 20 minutes in deep relaxation. And by deep, I mean very deep indeed. The effect will be a great calming of the spirit and tranquillity, a lowering of blood pressure, and, should you suffer from it, a marked relief of depression.

Deep relaxation is a skill. It is in theory accessible to everybody but it takes about a week of regular practice to acquire the rudiments. The skill then continues to deepen until you can call it to your aid instantaneously. As a trivial example, were you to feel my muscles in the dentist’s chair, you would find them completely relaxed, and my capacity for pain reduced to a minimum.

First, an exercise. Clench your fist as tight as you can – so tightly that it shakes with the pressure, Then relax it slowly, attending the growing feeling of relaxation. At the end you will find your fingers to be floppy but – more importantly – you have learned what relaxation feels like. Got the basic idea?

Now lie, or sit down comfortably, and relax every muscle in your body. Follow a sequence: hands, arms, shoulders, neck, face, chest, stomach, buttocks, legs and feet. Clench each muscle and then feel it slowly relax. Occasionally check back to see if earlier muscles have tightened. You will not find it easy and only practice will help you into a state you may never have experienced before A fully relaxed state uses so little energy that breathing becomes lighter and almost seems to cease.

Lie there, relaxed – perhaps listening to some tranquil music – for about 20 minutes. And then bring yourself to – but slowly; and get back to the trials of real life.

What is happening inside your brain? Theta waves associated with deep relaxation increase, and so do alpha waves, which tend to increase when the brain withdraws from intentional or challenging tasks. Beta waves which are needed for such tasks are few, and so are delta waves. Delta waves are associated with sleep – which is a quite different state from deep relaxation. But you don’t need to remember any of that. I put it in just to show that deep relaxation is a measurable state of the brain, induced from the relaxation of the body. You need to be neither holy nor clever to learn how to use it.

My original exploration of the subject started many years ago because the evidence showed that two separated periods of 20 minutes deep relaxation had a measurable and continuing effect on blood pressure. That investment of daily time has yielded high returns in so many ways.

Further practice develops further uses. I can now use “triggers”. I am able to deepen my relaxation throughout my body in the midst of ordinary life, simply by relaxing a hand. The number of occasions when this has checked an irritable remark or an imprudent decision is countless – although my wife would tell you that I still have some way to go. This brief, instant relaxation is also useful for, say, a mother of young children for whom five quiet minutes is a luxury.

Deep relaxation puts the brain into a highly suggestible state. And it becomes possible to use it for self-hypnotism – by definition this is conscious and controlled. It can be a valuable way of changing an unsatisfactory attitude of mind simply through autosuggestion. Don’t expect sudden conversion: this is not magic but just an effective way of moving the mind into constructive directions.

Now that I have demystified this neurological phenomenon, let me replace some of the mystery. I suggested that one might use music as a background. This helps to clear the mind and checks thought processes so that intellectual focus is curbed. But many people prefer to use a mantra – recited throughout the process. Many will know the Tibetan Buddhist mantra, om mani padme hum. No exact translation exists, but it relates to the virtues of withdrawing from self-centeredness.

I prefer one which is more overtly Christian. Maranatha (“Our Lord has come”) is popular; but I favour Julian of Norwich’s “All manner of thyng shall be wele”. It encompasses the idea of Christian peace and confidence. But it’s a personal choice.

More recently I have started to train myself to a further stage where I eschew mantras and simply place myself in the presence of God. I regard thought of divine attributes as a distraction since any human understanding diminishes rather than embellishes. Nor, of course, does any prayer of petition apply, since the only relevant reaction is open-ended wonder. I am not very good at this yet, but, as I have suggested, much practice is required at every stage.

My description of deep relaxation (and its use in prayer) has been short and personal. The professional audiotape I published several years ago was widely used, but is no longer available. However, secular accounts of deep relaxation are available in good bookshops for further study. I look forward to comments on http://www.secondsightblog.com from your experience – especially with regard to its use in prayer.

Advertisements

About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Bio-ethics, Catholic Herald columns, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The science of meditation

  1. Ion Zone says:

    An interesting choice of article!

  2. st.joseph says:

    Gosh ,Quentin that sounds like hard work to me.I find it easier to go for a long bike ride and play indoor bowls, then listen to some nice light clasical music and fall asleep in the chair with a nice cup of Horlicks.Where I dont find it too difficult to clear my mind.
    But I am not knocking it- one doesn’t know until one tries it.
    I am more of an active person but do find my relaxation and meditation with my ‘best friend’,no need to tell you who that is, you will guess.But maybe I will have a go at it,I might get to like it! Thank you for the suggestion.

  3. eclaire says:

    One could also slowly and meaningfully repeat the Jesus Prayer, too: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner’. (It is suggested that we repeat this invocation throughout the day, though I forget all too often).
    I am interested in Christian meditation, though I have never tried it.
    I have the following queries, however: despite the physical benefits meditation might bring, is it not a form of escapism? How close is it to being in a hallucinatory state? Does it not encourage one to be too concerned with the self, rather than with the other?
    As for self-hypnosis, personally, I would not venture down that path because I do not feel enough is known about the brain and how it functions and the father of lies might just take the opportunity to make an appearance when I am less in control of my own mind. In any case, what happens if one cannot ‘snap out’ of a hypnotic state? Did Jesus meditate or did he pray? (I suspect they may be the same thing).

  4. John Candido says:

    Thank you Quentin for raising this topic. As someone who has practised Christian Meditation for about 18 years, I have found it a great joy to practice. It has deepened my spiritual life immensely and probably had a hand in gradually growing to be a more mature person. You must practice it regularily, which means daily, if you are going to get anything out of its practice. I think that what Quentin has written is a very useful introduction to relaxation and meditation. If any person is interested in Christian Meditation, that Qeuntin mentioned in the introduction, as rediscovered by the late Englishman Benedictine Fr. John Main OSB, you can go to the website of the World Community for Christian Meditation at http://www.wccm.org/home.asp?pagestyle=home . Another English Benedictine by the name of Fr. Lawrence Freeman currently directs this community which is headquartered in London.

    If you want the specific method of how to meditate, it can be read on the same site at http://www.wccm.org/item.asp?recordid=howto&pagestyle=default . Also on this page is a list of frequently asked questions, and videos introducing the method of how to meditate. What st. joseph described in how she relaxes is partly equivalent to the elements of meditation.

    I can try to answer eclaire’s questions from my own expreiences with meditation. It isn’t a form of escapism because you will inevitably rejoin the rest of the community in life’s struggles and crosses. I have found it be the reverse. It seems to have the capacity of mysteriously enabling me to think more clearly about my own issues and assist me to do something about them if I can do something about them. We all still live in the real world but regular meditation or relaxation is a help to anyone.

    If somebody needs counselling, then you have to attend to it even if you are a meditator. It isn’t a hallucinatory state but a very, very deep form of mental relaxation and it is also accurately described as a form of prayer without words, to use Fr. John Main’s description of it. After eighteen years of its regular practice I have never fallen into a hallucinatory state. I have found it to be a form of grace similar to the grace of regular prayer, and it had never been a catalyst for increased personal selfishness.

    But for me it has been even better because it has been a way of making me still in thought and still in body. This regular practice infuses stillness in my mind and body and through this I have grown in greater contentedness in my life almost as an aside. After my long experience with it I find that I hardly do much conscious prayer at all. It seems that the practise of meditation has made my life a sort of prayer in itself, because I don’t, as I said before, do much intercessory prayer as I know that God knows what I am going to ask before I even think of asking it. When I do pray it is usually an informal prayer rather than any set or formal prayers.

    As I don’t go to mass I cannot avail myself of the help and assistance one obtains through the liturgy and the Eucharist and other sacraments, but meditation, informal prayer, general reading, scripture readings, as well as my own living is what my catholicity has become over the years. Please don’t be put-off by my posts in Candid Candido and surmise that it was the meditation that has made me think and say what my genuine thoughts are about the current state of catholicism. They are a product of my own thinking, reading, and values over many years. I am a liberal and I cannot help it anymore than another person is a conservative.

    Please try meditation on a regular basis for yourself and you will most likely come to appreciate it as a long lost priceless treasure of the church, which has been rediscoverd as the prayer of the ancient desert fathers and hermits, that predated monasticism. God Bless. Sincerely and respectfully yours, John Candido.

  5. John Candido says:

    My apologies, I have neglected to tell you the method of Christian Meditation for those who might not have regular and easy access to a computer.

    The method is quite simple really. If you can breath air, drink water, or eat food, you can meditate, it really is that simple. Find a quiet place. Sit down with your back upright, but it is alright to use whatever chair you are comfortable with, even recliners. Sit still. Gently close your eyes and begin to recite your prayer-word, or mantra, silently, interiorly and lovingly throughout the time of your meditation: “Ma-ra-na-tha.” Say it as four equally-stressed syllables. It is an Aramaic word (which is the language that Jesus spoke) and it means “Come, Lord.” It is found in the Scriptures and is one of the earliest prayers in the Christian tradition. Do not think about the meaning of the word. Just give your attention to the sound of it throughout the time of your meditation, from the beginning to the end. Whenever distractions arise, simply return to your mantra. Meditate for 30 minutes each morning and each evening, every day of your life.

    When I first started meditating I could not sit still for an appreciable period of time. My legs wanted to move around as if of and by themselves. If that is your experience don’t worry. Meditate for whatever period of time you are comfortable with regardless of whether or not it is one or two minutes or five or seven minutes. After regularily doing this, you will be able to gradually build-up your capacity to meditate for longer periods of time.

    I cannot emphasise enough that the essential thing is to be as passive as possible throughout your time meditating. Passivity not only means physical passivity but also not having expectations of any kind whatsoever. Try to be passive by not expecting anything for yourself at all. Not any sense of or expectation of achievement or any expectation of feeling calm and peacefull while you are meditating. Regular periods of passivity are very beneficial for any person to do provided that they are in fact as passive as they can be in the moment. Some periods of meditation are superlative while others are no where near this at all. Don’t be worried or concerned about this because it is part of a meditators life just like you can’t be 100% and on top of the world during a whole year.

    Whatever mantra you use or even if you are trying to not have any mantra, the important thing in meditating is to gradually quieten or still the mind through its regular use. It is a form of distraction from your own incessant mind. Everybody’s mind during normal waking is always thinking about this or that, it never stops and will keep on going until you go to sleep or you deliberately go to a relaxed or meditative state of mind. The mantra is an aid to acheive stillness of mind. What your mantra is or whether you have trained yourself to do without one is not important. The essential thing is passivity, as I mentioned before, stllness of mind and body, and the use of a mantra in order to in fact achieve stillness of mind.

    Mental distractions and mind wandering is inevitable and you are not to worry about this as this is inevitable. You can spend a lifetime meditating but it is inevitable that your mind will wander away from your mantra and your purpose of meditating. That is simply the way our brains are built. The important thing is to not stop your practise but simply, gently, and quietly return to your mantra. Give it a go, you will be amply rewarded for it.

    Sincerely yours, John Candido.

  6. st.joseph says:

    I have been doing a little research on Christian Mediation.
    I came across a talk by Father Laurence Freeman OSB on
    The Eucharist and Silence.Lecture at the School of Prayer
    Archdiocese of Melbourne 20th April 2005.

    If one would be interested just type in his name and it will come up.
    He seems to have a deep understanding of the Eucharist.
    I am wondering if this is the same Fr Laurence Freeman OSB that John Candido mentioned in his earlier post.

    Quentin and John Candido gave quite an explicit detailed account on Mediation-whereby Quentin was Science orinated(I think) and Johns was on a Christians which he says he is involved in.
    I would like if you both could make a comment on Father Laurences lecture so that I can get my mind working as to the diffirence in the meditations between the three. I can associate myself with the Eucharist Silence,in the ‘Real ‘Presence Of The Lord’ and in Holy Mass.Also Vespers Terce and Psalms. Meditation before the Blessed Sacrament.I hope I am making this post clear, come back to me if it isnt ,I am going shopping-so I wont be in until later!And tomorrow on a Retret. So it wont be me ignoring you both. Thanking you in anticipation.

  7. John Candido says:

    Hello st. joseph and everyone else. Thank you for asking your questions about Christian Meditation. I am quite happy to respond to your questions about meditation and the talk that Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB gave at this particular diocese on the 20th April 2005. Yes it is the same Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB that I referred to in my first post. I also happend to misspell his christian name in that post. My appologies for that error. His first name is not ‘Lawrence’ as I had originally written, but Laurence.

    Fr. Freeman’s talk is in a pdf (portable document file) format. As I am having several computer software problems with my copy of Windows, in that I cannot display any pdf files without my computer hanging as well as other constant software issues, I cannot give you the most direct internet address of Fr. Freeman’s talk. However, I can direct everybody to the preceding page from which it is simply a matter of clicking the right link in order to get there. If you were to go to http://www.christianmeditationaustralia.org/ and click on ‘Fr. Laurence’s Talk on Eucharist and Silence’, which is located immediately above the YouTube video interview with Laurence Freeman, you will go to the document st. joseph, Quentin, and I are discussing.

    Firstly, thank you for bringing this lecture by Fr. Freeman to my attention because I wasn’t aware of its existence, and I might add that it is excellent reading as well. Of course it is quite evident that Fr. Freeman has an enormous love for the Eucharist and the mass, and his appreciation of the directive of Pope John Paul II to incorporate liturgical and Eucharistic silences within the liturgy of the mass. This directive can be found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and can be read online on the Vatican website at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20030317_ordinamento-messale_en.html .

    I really like the point that children are naturally drawn to silence and meditation and ask for more of it. In a way it indirectly points to Christ’s exhortation that we must become like little children; we must all grow to be more simple, openminded, humble, faithful, loving, gentle, if we are to enter the kingdom of God. I also appreciate the point that people in general seek and have a right to expect to celebrate the Eucharist, together with the comtemplative dimension in mind, as central to Freeman’s concerns in this talk.

    ‘To listen deeply, to give oneself in the act of attention is in fact not to judge, or fix or condemn but to love. Seen this way there is indeed nothing so much like God as silence because God is love.’ It would be a blessing to the world if all christians were more like this. What Freeman goes on to call the gift of self. If periods of silence in meditation or during the liturgy are to mean anything, it should mean the disciplined giving of ourselves to God in our period of attentive silence, while God gives us constant divine attention to us without any expectation of any return. Why would God be so generous? Because God is love.

    ‘There is a loss of self and a sharing and rediscovery of selfhood in the Eucharist that releases us from the prison of our individual egos.’ It seems to be a natural side-effect of regular meditation that one grows to having less ego controling one’s life. I am fairly certain that this has been part of my experience with meditation over the last eighteen or so years.

    Don’t get me wrong. It is important to realise that meditation will not and cannot change one into a perfect person. Meditation is an enormous help to one’s growth in the spirit of Jesus, by gradually changing your life to one that mirrors prayer without words. However, meditation is not and never will be a magic wand. Outside the meditative state we all have to plan, think, work, struggle, perservere, and be as rational, good, and as mature as we can possibly be in our lives.

    The ‘rediscovery of selfhood’ is something that occurrs through time with the regular practise of meditation. You unconsciously reconnect with your true nature and personality. Of course your true personality or selfhood is subject to future development and evolution, but it remains always true to its essential core.

    ‘Ivan Illich said that the Incarnation which makes possible a surprising and entirely new flowering of love and knowledge also casts a shadow. It is the shadow of institutionalizing charity and regulating the spirit. We still have a lot of historical baggage to unload resulting from this shadow and from complicating the mystery of the Eucharist by a coldly legalistic approach that often insisted more upon the obligation to go to Mass rather than the grace and privilege of participating in it. When we think too much of the Eucharist as obligation its mystical essence is, practically speaking, obscured. Then it will be unlikely that the silences within the mass will be anything more than token pauses.’

    He also goes on to say…’Clearly it is in the seminary that the contemplative dimension of prayer needs to be nurtured if future celebrants are to have this feel for liturgical silence.’ You won’t get any argument from me for both of the preceding quotes. Christian Meditation should be a full and natural part of seminary training and the instruction of all children in prayer within their homes and schools must include the joyful discipline of meditation. As Freeman says,… ‘silence is work, the work of loving attention and its fruit is a heart filled with thanksgiving’.

    To answer your question about ‘the difference in the meditations between the three’, there is at core, essentially no difference between them. The three responses to the discipline of meditation or contemplation by Quentin, Freeman, and myself are differing descriptions of the same process, (the words meditation and contemplation are used interchangeably). You can be in an unconscious state of meditation if you were day-dreaming, looking at a glorious sunset, a magnificent painting or some other work of art that you enjoy, listening to gentle music, driving your car in the country side, travelling in a train or ship, undersea scuba diving, or any other general experience that takes you out of your self in quiet reverie, going from one pleasant thought to another.

    Quentin’s description of muscular relaxation is but another method of achieving a similar state of mind, only this time you are deliberately and consciously doing this for your own benefit. This is known as progressive relaxation because you go from one group of muscles to another until you have relaxed your whole body. Hypnotism is simply using the relaxed or meditative state of mind through any method, be it progressive relaxation or meditation, to make suggestions towards yourself for some constructive end.

    He then goes on to mention the use of various mantras. This is were it is getting close to the method taught by the late Fr. John Main OSB, and his successor in Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB. This is the method that I have been following for eighteen years.

    Anybody can meditate once they know how to. If you can breath air, you can meditate. Briefly, you sit in a comfortable position close your eyes and begin to say silently without attending to its meaning maranatha. This is said silently in whatever method is comfortable to you. The point of doing this is to distract the minds infinite capacity to run and jump from one idea to another. Whenever you become aware that you have stopped saying your mantra or word, gently and simply return to saying it in silence. I find saying maranatha, which is my mantra, while breathing in with my nose and saying and thinking nothing while I am breathing out of my nose. This is something you have to try for yourself to see what is easiest for you in tems of what works best for you. The essential attitude during the entire meditation is to be as mentally and physically passive as possible. This absolutely essential in doing meditation without which you would be near to a waking state of mind.

    If, as I mentioned in a previous post, you find that you fidget or cannot keep your legs or arms still for any appreciable period of time, don’t worry. Simply start with a small meditation period of a few minutes and progressively build the time you can meditate without this natural restlessness interrupting you. This is a new practice and you have to get used to a still body and mind in a meditative period.

    If at any time you experience itchiness, or you cough or sneeze, attend to them as best you can and simply and quietly return to your word or mantra. If you cannot settle down mentally for whatever reason, or you are persistently fidgety and cannot sit still, are sleepy and you tend to fall off instead of being attentive to your word, it is probably better that you miss this period of meditation and return to its practise at another time.

    What meditation does for you is it gradually reduces your ego, increases you contendedness in life, improves your physical and mental health, and makes your life a silent prayer without words. Meditation is not a magic wand but it does generally help you with your life and its constant set of problems and challenges. If you have any other questions about christian meditation, please feel free to ask them. You can always go to the World Community for Christian Meditation at http://www.wccm.org/home.asp?pagestyle=home and find out more about this recovered treasure of the church. Sincerely yours, John Candido.

  8. A number of interesting and valuable points have been made in this correspondence. They do show that everyone chooses the methods they find the most helpful. I noticed, in Fr Laurence Freeman’s piece – to which st joseph referred us, the use of the word “attention”. It is what we pay to God analogically to the way we pay attention to our friends by listening to what they want to say. And this seems to answer eclaire’s fear that one might become too self regarding. But the implicit point that deep relaxation is a tool which can be used well or badly is taken.

    One correspondent who wrote to me directly enclosed the following. I found it helpful.

    Excerpts from ‘Fire of Love’
    (writings on the Holy Spirit by Abbot Marmion, compiled by Fr Charles Dollen)

    The Holy Spirit is inviting you to silent prayer and you must not extinguish the Spirit by misplaced activity. Nothing is more glorious to God, nor more advantageous for us, than to give God a free hand in our souls once He indicates His desire to have it. Blosius says that a soul which abandons itself to God’s action without reserve, allowing Him to operate as He wishes, does more for His glory and for souls in an hour than others do in years.

    Once you feel the attraction to remain in the silence of adoration in God’s presence, you must give yourself entirely to the Holy Spirit and remain there in pure faith. If God gives you no feeling, no sentiment, no distinct thought, just be there before Him in silent love. During such moments He operates insensibly in the soul and does more for her perfection than she could in a lifetime by her own thoughts, etc.

    If at any time you feel attracted to petition or other acts, follow this attraction. It is not necessary to pronounce words, or to form distinct thoughts. Just present yourself and your petition in silent prayer before God’s face. He sees all that your heart is saying: God hears the desires of the poor.

    When you feel invited to remain in silence at Our Lord’s feet, like Magdalene, just look at Him with your heart, without saying anything; don’t cast about for any thoughts or reasonings, but just remain in loving adoration. Follow the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. If He invites you to beg, beg; if to be silent, remain silent; if to show your misery to God, just do so. Let Him play on the fibres of your heart like a harpist, and draw forth the melody He wishes for the Divine Spouse.

    The distractions are only on the surface of your soul. They are a cross, but you must learn to despise them. Your prayer goes on in the hidden depths of your soul, which is, as it were, lying on God’s bosom, His essence, and drinking in vast draughts of love and light.

    If God ever speaks interior words, be sure to submit them to your director before acting on them.

    Consecration to the Holy Trinity

    O Eternal Father, prostrate in humble adoration at Your feet, we consecrate our whole being to the glory of Your Son, Jesus, the Word Incarnate. You have established Him as king of our souls; submit to Him our souls, our hearts, our bodies; let nothing in us move except by His orders, except by His inspiration.

    United with Him may we be borne into Your bosom and consummated in the unity of Your love. O Jesus, unite us to You in Your life of perfect sanctity, wholly consecrated to Your Father and to souls. Be unto us our wisdom, our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, our all. Sanctify us in truth.

    O Holy Spirit, love of the Father and the Son, establish Yourself as a furnace of love in the centre of our hearts, and bear constantly upwards, like eager flames, our thoughts, our affections, and our actions even to the bosom of the Father. May our entire life become a Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

    O Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of fair love, do You form us according to the heart of Your Son.

    (This act of consecration, the climax of a period of generous fidelity, became the point
    of departure for new and great spiritual progress. It is dated Christmas 1908.)

  9. st.joseph says:

    Thank you Quentin, and to the correspondent who sent that to you.
    I have not heard of that before and t fills my soul with the presence of God in the Blessed Trinity.

    The reference to Our Blessed Mother is also extremely helpful,as I know She is very close to Her Son Jesus Christ especially when we adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
    Thank you again.

  10. John Candido says:

    To answer st.joseph’s two question in a previous post; the Fr. Laurence Freeman that I referred to in my first post is the same Freeman OSB that gave a lecture on silence within the mass in the Archdiocese of Melbourne in 2005.

    Secondly, st.joseph wanted to know if there is any difference between the progressive relaxation that Mr. de la Bedoyere referred to in his introductory post, the appropriateness of orchestrated silences during the mass, as lectured by Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB, and my description of the method of Christian Meditation. There is no essential differences between all three. All three have the same goal, which is being in a relaxed, silent, still and loving presence before God. It is like taking different routes to the same city. They might have a different way of becoming relaxed and silent, but the endpoint is stillness of body & mind through an explicitly passive attidtude.

  11. st.joseph says:

    Thank you John. I understand what you are saying.

    I didn’t really ask if there was any difference in the ‘progressive method’ in relaxation.

    What I believe -and that is meditation is a form of prayer like contemplation.
    Father Laurence Freeman was using his talk on silence in the Mass. I believe that prayer either in meditation or contemplative or vocal is a raising up of our mind and heart ,and soul to God, particularly in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, being the highest form of Worship to God through His Son Jesus Christ.Who we are all ‘duty’ bound to worship.,giving Glory and thanks to our Creator for renewing the Covenant for us.I am not disagreeing with your way of Christian mediation,I can do that oddly enough on my bike going through the country, seeing the beauty of nature that God has made for us.Being quite passive and relaxed.
    On the goal being the same in the end,well one is Eucharistic and Sacramental ,and the other is in a spiritual sense, and not in the ‘Real Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle’ although the sense of exercise in all three are valuable to mind and body.
    But I wouldn’t prefer to go for a bike ride instead of Holy Mass.
    I believe that in your meditation you will be in the Presence of the Holy Spirit-but then we are all the time, He is in our soul from our Baptism and Confirmation, when we meditate we are being aware of Him ,but He is living in us, and it is Grace we receive through Him that takes us closer to God as we progress on our journey- we dont put Him aside when we get out of our meditative state of mind. The silence is always in our hearts even if we are walking down the street in a busy city.

    Thank you for your reply.

  12. eclaire says:

    I’d like to add my thanks to Quentin for what he wrote above; I found it helpful and interesting, and to St. Joseph who, once again, hit the nail on the head.

  13. Daisy says:

    just to say – I have found all this very helpful. i seem to have a long way to go, but I think it will repay the effort.

  14. st.joseph says:

    I have tried to get into the site http://www.christianmeditation that John Candido said in his post ,to read Father Freemans ‘The Eucharist and Silence ‘and find it is no longer available-so for those who wish to read it one will have to type in ‘The Eucharist and Silence Lecture’ at the School of Prayer Archdiocese of Melbourne 20th April 2005-for the ‘full talk.’

    John gave quite an account of Fr Freemans talk but I would like to add a little more which I find revelant too.

    I was interested to read him- where he says ‘There are those who once upon a time felt the mystery and mysticism of the Eucharist but lost touch with it.Perhaps as their spirituality matured they went in search of the interiority it expresses-the inward grace of which it is an outward sign-and felt they could not find it in the church.For such people discovering a contemplative way of prayer can reconnect them to their lost sacramental sensibility and bring them back to church. He also says there are those who despite all individual and ecclesial imperfections have the grace of seeing the mysterious and mystical efficacy of the Eucharist wherever and however it is celebrated.

    That is something to be taken on board by those who feel that Holy Mother Church has let them down from all the scandals we are experiencing now.

  15. John Candido says:

    Thank you all for your interest in discussing various issues within the Science of Meditation. It has been a great joy for me to participate in this discussion. I really hope that whatever method of relaxation or meditation anyone has come to adopt and make their own, will be a constant benefit and joy to them. God Bless.

  16. eclaire says:

    Thank you, John.

  17. wardrobes says:

    These are really wonderful ideas in regarding blogging.

    You have touched some nice things here. Any way keep up wrinting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s