Some Christians have supposed that they can employ techniques of yoga without jeopardizing their faith.
If we mean by this that we can practice the physical exercises of yoga without the meditative elements, then, yes, we can. But at that point, it is not so much yoga as it is stretching.
A Christian cannot employ the meditative elements of yoga — or any other system — and remain true to the Christian faith. The reason is that yoga requires the “emptying” of the mind, whereas Christianity requires its filling, and transforming. And other systems, if the adherent meditates on anything, he meditates upon those things that are contrary to God’s revelation of Himself in nature and in Scripture.
But most of us don’t need to worry about improper meditation, because we can’t be still long enough with our own thoughts to call it meditation. Our error, instead of meditating wrongly, is that we don’t meditate at all.
One reason is that it seems to be hard work.
But when we consider our behavior in other areas, maybe it is not so hard as we think. For instance, consider the behavior that prompts someone to say that you are “dwelling” on some thing, or “obsessing” with some person. When we think that we have been wronged, it is not difficult at all for us to “meditate” on the event: the precise order of events surrounding the personal insult; who else, other than the offender, knew about the act, helped plan it, secretly enjoyed it, talked about it behind our back; how we might react to save face, show strength, get revenge, protect our own. We meditate, after all, on those things that we value.
Thomas Watson defines meditation as a “holy exercise of the mind whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance, and do seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves.” To help with the subject, or object, of meditation, Watson suggests several things:
- meditate seriously upon the corruption of your nature
- meditate seriously upon the death and passion of Christ
- meditate upon your evidence for heaven.
- meditate upon the uncertainty of all earthly comforts.
- meditate on God’s severity against sin.
- meditate upon eternal life.
So, while we don’t sit in the Lotus position pleasantly — but mindlessly — repeating ohmmm, Christians should meditate, upon the reality of God’s character, our nature, His redemption, and our future state in glory.