Meditation and Praying
Across different religions, the concept of meditation and prayer are the same—it is the act or process of spending time in quiet thought and communicating with God. There might be different variations of meditation, but the goal remains constant: to still the mind and to take out all the clutter or unnecessary thoughts from our brains. There may also be different names for the gods of each religion, but the concept of praying is still the same: communication with God.
In some forms of meditation, you induce a mode of consciousness or sense of awareness. You zone out all the unnecessary noise, thoughts and worries and zero in on one thing. For some, it’s a mantra; for others, it’s their goal in life.
There is another type of meditation called mindfulness meditation. In mindfulness meditation, there is nonjudgmental awareness of thoughts or emotions. You don’t try to achieve a state of blankness like other forms of meditation. Here, you acknowledge the existence of your thoughts and try to examine it.
According to Karen Wegela PhD, professor at Napora University, mindfulness meditation “is unique in that it is not directed toward getting us to be different from how we already are. Instead, it helps us become aware of what is already true, moment by moment. We could say that it teaches us how to be unconditionally present; that is, it helps us be present with whatever is happening, no matter what it is.” (Wegela, K. 2010)
Mindful meditation is similar to looking at your life as if you’re watching it on television with 3D glasses. You acknowledge what is happening; you can also feel what is happening; you can pinpoint what is wrong in the picture; and you understand what needs to be done to change it.
“The sitting practice of mindfulness meditation gives us exactly this opportunity to become more present with ourselves just as we are. This, in turn, shows us glimpses of our inherent wisdom and teaches us how to stop perpetuating the unnecessary suffering that results from trying to escape the discomfort, and even pain,” writes Karen Wegela. Inherent wisdom will help you discover the reasons for your unnecessary suffering; and that constantly thinking about “escaping the discomfort and pain” causes you to attract more of it in your life.
This works well in developing your mental faculties. In a state of mindfulness meditation, you can use your reason, perception, will, memory, imagination, and intuition in evaluating your present life and in deciding what to do next. This places you in a state of higher awareness, where you can look at your life with developed, improved, refined, and enhanced attention. You feel you have complete control over your mental faculties and empowered to change the course of your life.
The Difference Between Prayer and Meditation
Is this any different from prayer? Prayer and mindfulness meditation are the same in a number of aspects. When you pray, most of the time, you set a quiet time and select a quiet venue. You sit, breathe in and breathe out, and you place your mind in a calm state.
You let your mind run over things you are grateful for, then things you would like to achieve. This is the same for mindfulness meditation. Instead of telling God all your worries (as with how most people pray), in mindfulness meditation, you simply notice what you are thinking and you ask discernment and wisdom from God to evaluate your thoughts.
When you notice that you thought of something related to your goal, press the pause button in your head and examine the thought. Reflect. Use your mental faculties. How do you feel about that thought? Also, ask yourself if letting this thought sit in your subconscious will help you achieve your goals. If not, imagine pressing the delete button or imagine replacing the thought with something else that can help you.
I have never heard of prayers though that wish for harm towards others. Such prayers were never answered. There are evil thoughts, yes, and the subconscious brings them forth too. But there are other natural universal laws that operate as well. While evil thoughts also bring about results, the other universal laws see to it that you will reap what you have sown. You might reap the harm you have caused others, because your thoughts will go back to you.
Meditation and Communication with God
Use mindfulness meditation and communication with God through prayer as means to place yourself on a higher sense of awareness. Both means can guide you in correcting or removing unnecessary thoughts and in keeping your emotional state positive. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)