Friday, July 13, 2018

Could Abraham have spread Meditation to the world? Uncovering the lost art of Biblical Meditation

I love meditation! Unfortunately however, in the west - and in particular western churches - Meditation as a science, as a method, even as prayer has been completely stripped of its power and now means a simple intellectual exercise that is essentially 'thinking about' something. Our kinsfolk in the East would have a thing or two to say about that! They seem to have developed meditation for millennia. For them, it's not about the chanting or sitting in symmetrically marvelous ways - it's about stillness, union with God, self-awareness, tapping into the stillness ether of the Universe. As I look at how the ancient Eastern folk developed meditation, I see in it a grasp of the Lord, a hunger and thirst for the Eternal One. What I truly see is a realization that we are created in the image of God.

Let's get back to the Bible now and let me start that by throwing out a wild suggestion - I think Abraham was a master of meditation. I think he did it very regularly. He displayed uncharacteristic cool-headedness. And look at the things God said to Abraham and look how he reacted. It never shows him going crazy or being considered crazy. God appears and tells him all this stuff and it's like he just must his friend at the supermarket and they discussed the weather. There was no religious mumbo jumbo, just a still sense of awe and humble obedience. Abraham was a man of prayer, of meditation, not just rambling words about requests, but utter contemplation and connection. 

Now the only instance where the word 'meditation' is used in the OT is when it describes Isaac, Abraham's heir and son. 
 He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. (Gen 24:63)
The word in Hebrew is Suwakh or Sukh. In the predecessor scripts of Hebrew (proto-Sinaitic and later, ancient Hebrew/Phoenician scripts) we see a pictograph representing speaking/singing (like they chant), rooted and nailed to something (as they sit) and then a wall, divided in half (a picture of sitting symmetrically).

First line is proto-Sinaitic, second ancient Hebrew/Phoenician and the third is late and modern Hebrew.
(Btw, it reads from right to left)

In other words, in the ancient Hebrew script the word Suwakh is literally a picture of chanting while seated in perfect symmetry - just as the picture of meditation you see today if you google it.

What makes all this even more fascinating is that in Hindi, Sukh means, happiness. :) 

But let me continue on with Isaac - the meditating one as I've called him. Isaac was a very powerful, but quiet fellow and I've written about how Meditation was his secret to success here and in a few other places (click here and here). But one thing I've haven't realized till just yesterday, is that here is the Bible's first mention and closest thing to Eastern style meditation; and right after it is mention, here comes the desire of Isaac... the camels! Camels??? No, not the camels... but rather the princess who was riding the camels, Rebekah; and apparently it was love at first sight too. (Yes, Genesis 24:63+ go read it, it's beautiful).

So let me boldly venture from this story; prayerful meditation brings about the desire of our hearts.

Greedy people may salivate at this but don't let that hinder you from this amazing spiritual heritage you have in the Scriptures, from your Heavenly Father Himself - remember, the sun rises on the 'good and evil' and it rains on both as well.

Many have alluded to the similarities of ancient Hindi religion (the Brahmins) and Abraham (this link might be interesting). And I wonder at how Abraham sent away the sons of Keturah, his second wife after Sarah died to the east. Keturah means incense and she is said (in the Talmud) to be a descendant of Japheth (third son of Noah and ancestor of the Indo-Europeans, Asians).

Here's this mysterious connection in the Bible: Keturah's sons, were given gifts by Abraham and sent to the East! In Hebrew, the land he sent the lads to was to "Kedem al eretz-Kedem" - kedem means east, eretz means land. Literally, not just the east, but east of the east, to the east!

What's amazing is the word for gifts in Hebrew - mattanah - appears here for the first time (and that's always important)! Abraham gave gifts to his sons borne of Keturah and sent them in the direction of India and Tibet and the Far East - I am sure that these gifts were spiritual too and included the knowledge of God and his ways, meditation and Abraham's own personal journey with God.

So are you ready to learn more about Spirit-led, Biblical, Christ-Centered Meditation as it's really supposed to be?

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