I was listening to a program on the ABC radio recently about meditation. The research showed that meditation can be beneficial, some kinds more than others and for some people not so much. Particularly was it less than useful when it meant a further immersion in the introspected self and morose self that one already struggled with.
Thinking about what was being said I came to the opinion that the benefit in peace and joy that one might receive depended on the focus of one’s mediation. Such as whether this was God, something less than God, a lying spirit or a distortion of God derived from personal myth and bad theology. Some days later, reading in The God Shaped Brain by Timothy Jennings MD, I found this enlightening passage.
‘A university of Pennsylvania has documented that all forms of contemplative meditation were associated with positive brain changes-but the greatest
improvements occurred when participants meditated specifically on a God of love. Such meditation was associated with growth in the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain right behind our forehead where we reason, make judgments and experience Godlike love) and subsequent increased capacity for empathy, sympathy, compassion and altruism. But here's the most astonishing part. Not only does other-centered love increase when we worship [such] a God but sharp thinking and memory improve as well. In other words, worshiping a God of love actually stimulates the brain to heal and grow.’
This God of love, life and joy is the God who is revealed in Jesus Christ. Grace is His name and grace is His nature. He is the God who bids us leave behind the clouds of misapprehension of old covenant Adam and Moses and live in the radical new and living way of Jesus. This is the way of the living life and the living word that is sharper than a two edged sword. It is the sword that separates Adam from Jesus and religion from the Kingdom of life. When we know God as He is in Christ we grow in sharp thinking. We become sharp.
Jesus is wholly and truly God. Holy Spirit reveals the Father and the Son to us as they are in spirit and in truth. The new covenant is Christ in you. It is you emerging as sons and daughters of God with the mind of Christ as the beneficiary of wisdom and revelation.
It is the last sentence from the quote above, the sentence about ‘sharp and accurate thinking’ that is particularly cogent and life-giving: The astonishing part that you gain in overall intelligence and spiritual intelligence according to your concept of God.
Jennings highlights an important fact. Love, life, light and discernment are one. They are the property of persons and the essence of the One in whom we live, move and have our being: Jesus the Christ of God. The power of comprehension, kingdom discernment and the ability to distinguish religion from life and spirit comes from the light of the world, the better covenant and an authentic view of who God is. Those who walk in the Christ of the new covenant never walk in darkness. But those who wander in the lesser christ of the law and old covenant do walk in misapprehension and confusion. They are not the sharpest knives in the spiritual drawer. Sharp spiritual discernment is never associated with the law, old covenant mind-sets or the project of gaining self-worth through our work. Sincere as such folk may be they exhibit dullness towards the Kingdom and continually inhibit the advance of the new creation. They walk in more iniquity than life - iniquity not as in immorality but in perpetuating death instead of life. When Christ Himself is our life we have life without limit.