In an article titled ‘There’s a Dark Side to Meditation That No One Talks About,’ author Lila MacLellan discusses possible negative outcomes from meditation that are not often discussed. Meditation is typically presented as a method of reflection which provides relief from stress and pain and can give the practitioner better focus. However, the author discusses unpleasant effects, or ‘warped perceptions’, that can arise during meditation. She writes, “Zen Buddhism has a word for the warped perceptions that can arise during meditation: makyo, which combines the Japanese words for “devil” and “objective world.””
I personally have no experience with this type of meditation. I was cautioned against meditation while still a teenager by my mother who believed that mindless, zen-like meditation could open one’s mind to strange thoughts and attacks by the devil. So the quote above caught my attention. It seems that my mother was not using a scare tactic to keep me away from something she didn’t understand. Rather, there is a lot of truth in her warning, and I am particularly glad to have heeded her words.
When we seek truth, the Bible should be our source. The Bible actually encourages meditation. However, the focus of this meditation is not on oneself but rather on the Lord and His commands. “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. ” Joshua 1:8
According to this verse, meditating on God’s word makes one prosperous and successful. That is a pretty powerful benefit. Meditating on God’s Word produces other benefits:
1) Blessings: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
2) Help from the Lord in times of trouble: “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint….I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77: 1 – 3, 12
3) Reminds us of God’s faithfulness: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” Psalm 145: 3 – 7
4) Wisdom: “Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.” Psalm 119: 98- 100
There is no downside to meditating on God’s Word. God reveals Himself to us and His plans for us, as we focus our attention on Him and meditate on His commands. I encourage you to meditate on the truth of God’s Word to find the peace, encouragement, and direction you are seeking.