March 2018 – In today’s culture, meditation is often associated with Eastern religions. But people of diverse religious beliefs say they meditate at least once a week. However, opinions as to what constitutes meditation vary from one belief system to another.
Many Christians, including 49% of Protestants, 40% of Catholics, and 55% of members of the historically black Protestant tradition say they meditate once a week or more, according to the Religious Landscape Study.
In Christian tradition, the discipline of meditation – otherwise known as silent contemplation – dates back to early Christian mystics who sought God in the quiet and solitude of the wilderness during the first centuries after the death of Jesus. Even before that, there are many examples in the Old Testament of godly people secluding themselves for a time of dedication to God.
However, it is helpful to note that Christian meditation and other forms of meditation are quite different. Today, Christians of various traditions hold to meditation as a means to draw closer to God and fill their minds with Him. In contrast to this, Eastern-style meditation generally involves clearing the mind.