One form is meditating on the Gospels.
Our texts were partly written with the help of meditative reflection on bible texts. Consequently, apart from the information they contain, they are also written as suitable starting points for meditating on chapters of the gospels.
The next 37 chapters follow the various steps in the
Gospels and the Revelation. One can read single chapters or, better still, the
chapters in this sequence for more insight.
Bible Study, i.e. reading and working through the texts and their meanings, is only one method. During the study of the Gospels the chapters of the main text of "ways-of-christ.net" and, last but not least, God can contribute to a deeper understanding.
Anyone who is more closely interested in a holistic approach - including the neglected parts of our soul - can read and meditate on the chapter, e.g. of the Gospel of John and then study the chapter of the main text of "ways-of-christ.net".
The web page of the main text is a continuous text. Its chapters can also be accessed via the table of contents. In order to study it, it will be helpful to print the text*: (including most of the additional texts around 130 pages, e.g. pdf-file 740kB, or en.htm).
(John and his disciples mainly dealt with the deeper spiritual significance of
what happened.) For the purpose of meditation there are several
possibilities. First of all, there are the basic requirements necessary for
any kind of meditation. The attention should be free from distracting moods or
problems, by becoming conscious of them or by speaking to someone about them
etc.; to ensure sufficient mental openness. You should not be tired, hungry,
or under the acute effects of alcohol, tobacco, etc. There should also be no
telephone etc. which could disturb you during the meditation. You should
feel well at the chosen place, which should not be close to an electronic
appliance causing "electronic stress". Experienced people can even
concentrate at a market place, but these kinds of tips are usually
appropriate. Sometimes the Gospel Meditation was practized by speaking the
text of the bible slowly with closed eyes (e.g. the Rosicrucians**). The text
was learned by heart, so the attention was not on the words, but on the
content. There was also a variation with eurhythmic gestures. You can also
read the text and then let this have its effect with closed eyes. This means
without active thought, because the actual meditative consideration begins
after the thoughts have ceased. If thoughts continue to appear, they should
simply be "looked at", instead of actively continuing them. This is
also applicable when thoughts appear which have apparently or really no
relation to the meditation (if the thoughts are concerning plans, write them
down in order to effectively postpone them, so you are open for meditating.
Important occurrences during the meditation should be noted down afterwards,
in order to follow your own development better. The meditative consideration
can lead to "deeper" states of meditation and contemplation,
but not necessarily.
It can also be helpful to have a notepad nearby when awakening, for noting down keywords. This helps to remember dreams and to follow their development. If dream symbols are painted during the day, this helps you to be open for the levels of reality mirrored in the dreams. It then becomes clear that not all dreams are simply digestion of experiences of the day, but that there is something happening, which is as important as the day itself.
These are not occult rituals, but simply give the psyche enough time to become open for the contents or for God, instead of the contents only being available to the intellect - that is not bad, but not sufficient by itself for understanding spiritual things. Gradually, this can touch and transform all "layers" of our being, including the will and even the body. Only then when, e.g. new insights, or related symbolic images during the meditation or in dreams appear, or some other development in life, have the comprehensible contents "arrived" inwardly, at least by way of a hint. It may be necessary to live with a chapter e.g. for a week or even for a month. Then you can continue, especially if you feel that You want to. It is not necessary to completely translate the chapter into your daily life before going on. The "steps" are no longer completely separated from each other. God allows someone to have an experience when he (God) wants it. Meditation can only prepare us for an inner "great moment", but it cannot force it to happen. Nevertheless, no theology etc. can by itself replace such additional inner practice - which can lead to really doing as Christ did, instead of mere theory.
But apart from meditation there are as many methods as there are people, all leading to the same goal.
Further ways of meditating in the Christian context.
Churches still rarely offer specifically Christian ways of meditating as named above. They are more likely to offer simple forms of meditation in their seminars. People want to have spiritual experiences. That's a legitimate interest. But the churches have lost much of their spiritual - and therefore also meditative - traditions and so they seek to renew them. They began with taking Buddhist forms of meditation like "Zen" - a simple exercise in silence, without the Buddhist or Hindu context and with a Christian or neutral introduction. They also meditate on Christian images *, or read a brief excerpt of the bible or of a Christian mystic and then meditate on it. An old practice still living among the Greek Orthodox monks of Mount Athos is mentioned in the chapter "The silence in the desert" of our main text: they repeat the "kyrie eleison" (Lord have mercy) in the rhythm of breath. Songs and hymns can also have a meditative character. It would be possible too, to include the manifold pictures and symbols in old churches (buildings). The simplest way would sometimes be the most effective way for the churches, i.e. frequent periods of silence; before prayers, during a prayer, after the prayer - waiting for feeling some kind of "answer" - and during pastoral counselling. Beyond such methods of preparation for God, everything in life can have a meditative character - although this is difficult in our hectic times. In any case, it would be absurd and would show ignorance to call all types of meditation "non-Christian" (caused by the impression of the meditations of non-Christian groups, which are more widely known than the Christian ones.)
Even those, who - seeking inner experiences - took the useless and dangerous path of drugs, could instead of this find a fullfilling experience in meditation.
* By clicking for the chapters
of our main text concerning the Gospels - from its index - You find a version
There is an almost complete ebook version for download and print. Studying the printed text in a concentrated way helps to avoid those problems that independent researchers attribute to an overdose of internet and "multi-tasking" (i.e. the simultaneous performing of a multiple of tasks).
** For instance in the Christian Rosicrucian School"Universitas Esoterica"in Berlin (Wolfgang Wegener), which existed until 1984.
*** A (deeper) understanding of these pages requires noting its consistent conception - see the Introduction -; and of additional methods used (see above, methodical tips). Others look at such an attitude - during study of texts - as a general guideline for serious work, in philosophy too ("principle of charity", Donald Davidson, "On the Very Idea of having a Conceptual Scheme", in "Proceedings and Adresses of the American Philosophical Association", Vol.47, 1973-1974, S. 19).
topics and main text.