[Tehillim (Psalms) 46:10]
“Be still; and know that I am Elohim.”

There are many different kinds of meditation, and meditation can be many things. However, whichever kind of meditation one practices, meditation generally helps to calm and soothe the mind.

The reason that one wants to have a calm and a still mind is that a still mind has a much easier time of beholding, and hearing, Elohim.

Meditate Twice as Much:

While most believers pray, few take the time for meditation. This is because they do not understand its place, or its power.

Many people wonder if meditation is even Scriptural; but the Patriarchs made time for meditation:

[Breisheet (Genesis) 24:63]
63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked…and there! The camels were coming.

King David sung the praises of meditative practices:

[Tehillim (Psalms) 63:6-7]
6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.

Finally, the Apostle Shaul advised Timothy to meditate:

[Tima Theus Aleph (1st Timothy) 4:15]
15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.

We can infer from Shaul’s letter to Timothy that meditation assists one’s spiritual practice. We can also infer that Shaul wanted Timothy to meditate often.

Meditate Often:

Elohim gave us only one mouth, but two ears. It is sometimes said that this is because He intends for us to listen twice as much as we speak.

If prayer is when we speak to Elohim, meditation is when we listen. Yet since we have two ears (but only one mouth), should we then not also listen for the sound of His Voice twice as much as we pray (speak) to Him?

Is it not true that Elohim wants us to listen to Him, more than we speak? Or does He not sometimes answer our prayers and we do not even know it, simply because we have not been focusing, and paying attention?

[Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 5:1-3]
1 Walk prudently when you go to the House of Elohim, and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
2 Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before Elohim, for Elohim is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few,
3 For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool's voice is known by his many words.

Word Study: Meditation

In Hebrew, the word for meditation is Suwach (שוח), with the vowel point on the Shin to the left, so that the Shin sounds like an ‘s’:

Strongs’ OT:7742 suwach (soo'-akh); a primitive root; to muse pensively:
KJV - meditate.

When one vowel-points the Shin (ש) to the right, the Shin gives a “sh” sound; and the resultant Hebrew word, ‘shuwach,’ is related:

Strongs’ OT:7743 shuwach (shoo'-akh); a primitive root; to sink, literally or figuratively:
KJV - bow down, incline, humble.

Realizing that Suwach and Shuwach are related, we can infer that In Hebrew, to meditate is to sink figuratively in our own eyes, and to bow ourselves down in our own sight.

As we humble ourselves in our own sight, we become all the less important to ourselves, so that we might esteem Him all the more:

[Yochanan (John) 3:29-30]
“Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
30 He must increase; but I must decrease.”

Yet, paradoxically, while we might become ever less important in our own sight, as we become humbler and humbler, others tend to esteem us all the more (as does Elohim):

Shemuel Bet (2nd Samuel) 6:21-22
21 So David said to Michal, "It was before YHWH, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of YHWH, over Israel.
“Therefore I will play music before YHWH, 22 and I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight.
“But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor."

Understand: Meditation has nothing to do with castigating ourselves, or tearing ourselves down. It has to do with esteeming others more than we esteem ourselves:

Philippians 2:3-4
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

Meditation is the process by which we learn not to esteem ourselves, or to spend a whole lot of time thinking about ourselves.

But if meditation is a practice by which we might learn not to be concerned with our own worldly cares, then how do we go about it?

Guided and Open Meditation:

There are many different forms of meditation, but all of these forms boil down to just two basic styles:

1. Guided (or focused) meditation; and
2. Open (or ‘empty’) meditation.

There are times and purposes for each of the two.

Guided Meditation:

Guided meditation is oftentimes thought of as a more advanced type of meditation. This is not always the case, but the reason people usually say this is because it typically takes more concentration and focus, to maintain it for any extended length of time.

Joshua commanded us to practice a type of guided meditation, in which we are to maintain a constant focus on the Torah:

[Yehoshua (Joshua) 1:8]
8 This Book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.

King David commanded us to practice a guided meditation, in which we learn to let go of anger, and forgive:

[Tehillim (Psalms) 4:4]
4 Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

The other type of meditation is open (or ‘empty’) meditation.

We will talk more about open (or ‘empty’) meditation, in a moment.

How to Meditate (Stylistic Factors):

In addition to the two basic classifications of meditation (guided and empty), there are also some stylistic questions. The more advanced stylistic questions are outside the scope of this basic introductory article; but there are two issues we will deal with here.

For beginners, the first basic stylistic question deals with whether the practitioner will meditate in stillness, or in motion.

The second basic stylistic question for beginners is whether the practitioner chooses to meditate sitting, standing, lying down, or in whatever other position.

Stillness and Repose

Meditation in motion is a much more useful technique than meditation while in stillness (and it is therefore often thought to be somewhat more advanced), for one cannot sit still in a chair (or on a cushion) all day.

However, even after one becomes fairly advanced in meditative techniques, there are still times when one desires just to sit still, and do nothing but meditate:

[Breisheet (Genesis) 24:63]
63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked…and there! The camels were coming.

But if one wants to learn how to meditate, then how should the beginner begin?

One Beginning Meditation:

Beginners are usually well advised to try what is called an open (or ‘empty’) meditation. While the technique is fundamental, it is also foundational; and therefore, all the more powerful. Even the most advanced of practitioners practice it.

To practice an open (or ‘empty’) meditation, set aside a short period of time for oneself, perhaps fifteen minutes, or a half an hour, and then sit down comfortably.

One can sit on a chair, on a pad on the floor, in a field, or what-have-you. Many people get hung up on the position, but the position is not important. One can even lie down, if it helps one to focus. The main thing is be comfortable.

Once comfortable, one good technique for beginners is just to begin by focusing on one’s breath:

[Breisheet (Genesis) 2:7]
7 And YHWH Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

The importance of breath is drastically under-appreciated in Western society. Westerners tend to ‘get ahead of their breath’ just as they ‘get ahead of themselves;’ and they get caught up in the snares of material desire.

Just Focus on the Breath

In this most basic of all meditations, the goal is simply to sit still, and to notice the breath of life. Feel it come in, and feel it go out. Notice how good the breath of life feels. Keep the mind clear, and just feel it.

When thoughts come, simply take notice what your thoughts are. Do not allow yourself to indulge these thoughts. Do not follow after them. Simply take note of them.

When the thoughts come, gently notice what category your thoughts fit into. Are they thoughts of sex, and/or physical pleasure? Are they thoughts of money, or the things that money can buy? Are they desires for power?

What material fixations do you have that are preventing you from moving forward in your spiritual walk?

Earthly Cares and Anxieties

In an open or ‘empty’ meditation, simply notice what thoughts come.

Are you worried and anxious?

Over what are you worried, or anxious?

What problems do you have, that affect your spiritual salvation?

Simply take note of what your worries and anxieties are, and then gently return your thoughts to the gift of your breath.

Do you seek after something?

After what do you seek?

Of what eternal value is the thing you are seeking?

What Not To Do:

Sometimes beginners make the mistake of listening to their thoughts, rather than the Spirit; and they believe they are hearing the Spirit. This is a very common pitfall.

If you find you are ‘hearing a voice’ that urges you to go contrary to the Torah or the Good News, or if your life begins to go downhill after you begin your meditative practice, then you may want to temporarily stop your meditation, and seek out assistance.

If you are hearing the Spirit, rather than your own voice, you will never go contrary to Scripture, since the Spirit is the author of all Scripture:

Isaiah 8:20
20 To the Torah and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

It is essential to test any inner voice you may hear against the written Word. If you find you are having trouble, then it may just be best simply to stop, and seek out assistance.

There is nothing wrong with seeking help.

Closing Your Meditation:

After you feel you are done, then it can be helpful to end your meditation with a closing prayer.

One good closing prayer is the Master’s Prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

One advanced meditation is simply to recite this prayer slowly, over and over, and to focus on this prayer, and to reflect on its relevance to one’s day-to-day spiritual walk.

May it serve His people,

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