About Christian Meditation

How to Meditate

Fr. John Main taught that meditation is as natural to the spirit as breathing is to the body. While meditation is common to many religious traditions around the world, the method of practice may differ. The discipline he taught, based on the teachings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, is approached for twenty to thirty minutes twice daily in the following way:

  • Choose a quiet place.
  • Sit down comfortably, with your back straight.
  • Close your eyes lightly.
  • Sit as still as possible.
  • Breathe deeply, staying both relaxed and alert.
  • Slowly and interiorly, begin to say your mantra or prayer word. Listen to the word as you say it.
    • There is no magic to the choice of prayer word(s).  Brief is best.  We recommend the word, "Maranatha," Aramaic for "Come Lord."  This ancient Christian prayer in the language Jesus spoke, is how St. Paul ends 1 Corinthians: 16-22.  To concentrate on it we express it slowly and interiorly, as 4 equal syllables, Ma-ra-na-tha.  
  • Continue repeating it faithfully for the whole time of the meditation.
  • Gently return to it as soon as you realize you have stopped saying it. 
  • Stay with the same word during the meditation and from day to day.  

Do not evaluate your meditation. Do not be discouraged by distractions. Rather, let them come and go, always keeping your attention on your word. In time, the fruits of your meditation will appear in your self, your life, and in all your relationships.  See answers to common questions people have about meditation in general and our practice in particular here .....

Meditation is not the time for words, however beautifully and sincerely phrased.  All our words are wholly ineffective when we come to enter into this deep and mysterious communion with God.  In order to come into this holy and mysterious communion with the word of God indwelling within us, we must first have the courage to become more and more silent.  In a deep, creative silence, we meet God in a way which transcends all our power of intellect and language.  We have to listen, to concentrate, to attend rather than to think.
~ Fr. John Main, "Word Into Silence"

Stillness takes us into the silence beyond the lopsideness of language.  It restores us to the inner equilibrium from which we can then use language more precisely and truthfully. But we are still so that God may find us in our finding of Him at the deepest level of our being. This is why faithfulness to the daily meditation and to our mantra during those meditation times is everything. We know that we must not think about God or imagine God during these all-important times, simply because He is present.  He is there, not just to be found, but to be loved.  Being in love we let thoughts fall away.

I am convinced that there is nothing in death or in life, in the realm of spirits or superhuman powers, in the world as it is or the world as it shall be, in the forces of the universe, in heights or depths - nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus Our Lord. 
Romans 8:38-39

What need then to be discouraged by our distractions?
~ Fr. John Main, "Word Made Flesh"