Meditation and Prayer

What is Meditation? What are the effects of meditation on me? Are there any side-effects I should know about? Why would/do you meditate/pray? Can we really become ‘enlightened’ through meditation or prayer?

Discussion 2/2: Meditation and Prayer

What is Meditation?

  1. A state of extreme relaxation and concentration, in which the body is generally at rest and the mind quieted of surface thoughts
  2. Discounting wandering thoughts and fantasies, and calming and focusing the mind
  3. Learning to live naturally and to be in contact and control over oneself.


  1. Several side-effects have been reported, among these we find uncomfortable kinaesthetic sensations, mild dissociation and psychosis-like symptoms. A clinical study of twenty-seven long term meditators reports adverse effects such as depression, relaxation-induced anxiety and panic, paradoxical increases in tension, impaired reality testing, confusion, disorientation and feeling ‘spaced out’. The tendency of meditation to disturb object-relations and release unconscious material implies that the beginning meditator should approach the practice with some moderation.

Certain religious practices can so stimulate the body’s calm system or its flight system that activity in the related brain circuit starts to ‘reverberate,’ while simultaneously shutting down ever more of the other system. Different parts of the brain are activated, perceived by the mind as a higher state of consciousness.

In states of very high activity around one circuit, there can be a ‘spillover,’ such that the dormant system activates and goes ‘on line’ simultaneously with the other. This dual state can lead to a sense of ‘tremendous release of energy’ that may feel like ‘oceanic bliss’ or absorption into the object of contemplation. And extreme cases of both systems being activated can induce brain activities perceived by the mind as the ‘Absolute Unity of Being,’ or AUB. A mystic in the AUB state will experience either a divine being, such as God, or the cosmic void of nirvana, depending on whether there has been a predominantly ergotropic or trophotropic involvement.’


An effort to communicate with a God, or to some deity or deities, either to offer praise to the deity, to make a request of the deity, or simply to express one’s thoughts and emotions to the deity

Why would/do you meditate/pray?

  1. To relax from a busy daily routine
  2. To gain insight into the nature of reality or of communing with one’s God
  3. To take oneself to another level of spiritual existence (enlightenment)
    Can we enter a level that is not already present within is (since we are only looking within)?
  4. Enlightenment: must alienate yourself from yourself to understand you self-consciousness (to know your existence, you cannot be within your existence)
  5. So what can we do to make ourselves more right minded. One way is to meditate. That allows us to cut off the conscious mind. Deprived of the sensory data that it thrives on the conscious gets bored and turns off. This allows us to enter the mind of our unconscious.

Over ten months, 393 patients admitted to the CCU were randomized. While hospitalized, the first group received IP by participating Christians praying outside the hospital; the control group did not. The IP group had a significantly lower severity score These data suggest that intercessory prayer to the Judeo-Christian God has a beneficial therapeutic effect in patients admitted to a CCU.

  1. Christian: Meditates on the Word of God (the Bible)
  2. Buddhist: Meditates on/about oneself
Prayer Meditation
To a deity Reflect on self
Dialog Monologue
Relationship Self-improvement/help

Biblical References:

  1. 8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. ~ Col. 2:8 (NIV)
  2. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ ~ Matt 6:9-13 (NIV)

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Jason Lund

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