Compassion Meditation for Christianity and Buddhism

An excerpt from Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic Between Buddhism and Christianity by Jean-Yves Leloup : “In Christianity as well as Buddhism and Sufism the goal of meditation is to purify our hearts and minds so that we become receptacles or spotless mirrors for pure light. When human beings are able to welcome this clear light, which is the radiance and the presences of uncreated Being, it instills in them a state of peace which is independent of circumstances, a state of peace that is not merely of the psyche but spiritual or ontological as well. It is the experience of this reality that early Christians called hesychia, the origin of Hesychasm.”

A few important steps:

1. Posture. To meditate is to have a good posture.

2. Orientation, both external and internal, with a straight spine. To meditate is to be properly oriented.

3. Breathing. To go the very end of the exhalation, to allow the inhalation to come of itself. To meditate is to breathe deeply, and “en pneumatic.”

4. Invocation: the Name of Yeshua or a short invocation that calms the mind and gathers our dispersed thoughts. Meditation is the invocation of the name, which brings peace.

5.
To discover our center. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, this is the heart, the meeting place of the mental (which needs to descend) and the vital (which needs to ascend). A life without a center is a life without meaning. To see and act from the heart. To meditate is to be centered.

6. To be unafraid of silence and solitude-not in order to live apart from others, but to join them inwardly by the bond, which unites all that lives and exists (Logos) and communicates peace to all (Hesychia). To meditate is to be capable of silence and solitude.

7. Patience and repetition. These are necessary if we are to become simple and naturally open by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for meditation is a practice that requires strong motivation, great patience, and perseverance. To meditate is to be patient and to persevere.

8.
The experiences, which accompany meditation, are not to be sought for themselves. Beyond all the psychic effects, which may accompany an assiduous practice (heat, light, tears, surges of joy and pain, and so forth), the spiritual effects are far more important: transfiguration, understanding the meaning of scriptures, Hesychia, peace, a plenitude independence of circumstances, humility and love of our enemies. This humility and love of our enemies are the realization of the “lineage” in us. In the Spirit that unites Father and Son, we become alter christus, another Christ (as St. Gregory said of those he baptized). Thus we become “a further incarnation,” inasmuch as our own feelings become those of Christ, and we participate through compassion in the salvation and well-being of all that lives. Meditation is for the salvation and well-being of all that lives.

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