What kind of meditation will help us develop a deeper relationship with God? Should a Christian use transcendental meditation?
How we use our minds is certainly important in learning God's will and following it (Romans 12:1-2).
Meditation can be a helpful tool in spiritual overcoming and growth. It involves concentrating one's thoughts on the Word of God (Psalm 119:99). A person might focus on a biblical principle or doctrine for the sake of seeking understanding. Or, to overcome sinful behavior or a weakness, meditating on how pertinent biblical guidelines apply to the specific need helps draw upon and direct God's Spirit. Picturing oneself making the right choices and taking the proper actions is also reinforcing. Through this directed thinking, a Christian learns new information or renews his knowledge and focus on spiritual truths.
The apostle Paul gives additional advice about things to focus our minds on, encouraging us to meditate on things that are true, pure and positive (Philippians 4:8).
Achieving relaxation through meditation itself has no religious overtones and is a principle of good health. All one needs to do is concentrate his thinking on a pleasant scene or a pleasant memory, shutting out all distractions.
We should not confuse the meditation spoken of in the Bible with so-called transcendental meditation (such as yoga). The latter is a relaxation technique based on ancient customs of the Hindu religion and usually involves the chanting of a mantra. Because of that connection, we caution a Christian against engaging in it. Putting oneself into a trancelike state in order to achieve a goal or to overcome a problem is not the way the Bible reveals a Christian should approach these matters.
The way that God would have us overcome is by learning good judgment from His Word, making wise choices and then consistently acting on those choices—not trying to overcome through the quasi-hypnosis achieved through chanting a mantra.
For more information, please read our booklet Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion .