Hello again, my name is Dave Miller, and I am a licensed associate professional counselor in the state of Georgia, lay pastor, and author of the book Christian Tantric Meditation Guide, available at Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback editions. Form more information visit ecumenicalwellness.org.
I’m going to start today by asking a question: What are our strengths, what are our gifts, and who is it that God made us to be?
Some of us may be self aware and living our potential, accepting and being who God made us to be. Many of us are not sure, but we have some ideas. Some of us don’t have a clue, but that’s OK, in fact that’s great, because people who admit that they don’t have a clue about who they are approach the question with an open mind, which is a great place to start any adventure.
Who are we, as human beings? For many people who participate in the Abrahamic traditions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, our first clue about who we are comes from our sacred scripture, which says that we are made in the Image of God. And also, from our sacred scriptures, we have some clues about who God is. We all believe that God is Merciful and Gracious, and we all believe that God is with us.
Lets unpack that a little bit, what does Gracious mean? Full of Grace. What does Grace mean? Grace means showing unmerited favor or having unconditional love. Unconditional means that whether we are sinners, or saints, or somewhere in between, God is with us and loves us.
So when we go back to our original question, which was what are our strengths and gifts, we have a few clues to start with. We are made in the image of God, we are loved unconditionally, and God is always with us.
These are powerful tools to start our adventure with, knowing God is with us and that we are loved unconditionally. From here the question naturally arises, what does it mean to be made in the image of God? Well for starters, we know that unconditional love is part of who we are, part of our DNA. We also know that being with others is part of our DNA, we are social beings.
The questions we have asked so far are about the nature of humanity, the remaining questions are a bit more specific, they apply to us as individuals. How do we ask God, who is with us always and loves us unconditionally? In the Abrahamic traditions we ask God in prayer.
If we pray to God asking specific questions, we may need to take time to listen for an answer. When we try to listen, a variety of things can happen. Sometimes our minds become so flooded with possibilities that it was hard to pick out an answer. Sometimes our minds are so filled with day to day life the answers are covered up. And sometimes they
This is where meditation comes in.
The Abrahamic cultures and faiths have volumes and volumes of wonderful stories, advice, and messages from God as told through prophets, there are other traditions in this wonderful planet we live on who have spent thousands of years developing and documenting techniques for listening through meditation. And those techniques include Yogic Hindu and Tantric Buddhist practices.
There are many many mystical teachings from within the Abrahamic traditions that focus on listening, and studying and using those writings and traditions is a wonderful thing to do. But within those traditions, mysticism, meditation, and listening have been outside of the mainstream. In Eastern traditions, meditation has been a central focus for thousands of years, leading to Tantric practice techniques.
Because of the focus on listening, Tantric practices are consistent with many of the Abrahamic religious teachings and traditions. For example, Tantric Self Emptying calls to mind fasting and atonement practices in all traditions. Guruyoga calls to mind practices used to bring people close to God. And Compassion based meditation is consistent with teachings related to loving our neighbors and treating others as we would be treated.
Some of the eastern meditation techniques are finding their way into counseling practices. Mindfulness and Compassion oriented meditation techniques have applications in addiction, anger management, codependency, and all other areas of mental health.
Christian Tantric Meditation consists of three stages – self emptying, Divine Communion, and Compassion. Self emptying allows us to release the desires, resentments and attachments, and fears and burdens that hinder our ability to listen to ourselves, others, and God. Divine Communion invites God to become a part of us, increasing our intimacy and ability to listen, and allowing us to accept the gifts of Hope, Love, and Faith that God has to offer. And finally, Compassion practices help us to accept and love unconditionally ourselves and others, for who we are here and now.
So, we’ve asked and answered some questions, about who we are, who God is, how we speak with God in prayer and how we can listen to God using meditation. We have talked about Tantric practice applications to human psychology and to Abrahamic cultures. We’ve also talked about how Christian Tantric meditation uses Tantric practices in a Christian context. What have we learned, what are our take aways?
God is with us, and we are all loved unconditionally. Knowledge of this is our foundation. We are all formed in the Image of God, and we all are given strengths and gifts. Meditative practices help us learn and grow into our strengths and gifts. Meditative practices increase our ability to listen, which helps us appreciate ourselves, God, and others more fully.
Christian Tantric Meditation provides a powerful collection of Meditation practices that can be learned through the book and / or workshops, so visit ecumenicalwellness.org for more information.
My final prayer is that we all learn to listen to ourselves, and God, and to one another, so that we may all encourage each other and grow into being the people whom we were created to be. Have a blessed day!