learning from the east

Upfront let me say that I am not advocating Buddhism. Interestingly Thomas Merton, as well as the Roman Catholic Church at large seems to have a friendly relationship with Buddhism, or more precisely certain Buddhist practices. Good Christians disagree on this, but a number of committed Christians practice Yoga.

Recently I found an interesting program from Krista Tippet’s “on Being” which showed how the brains of Buddhist monks develop in ways much more amiable to good feelings. Areas of the brain having to do with such emotions enlarged, and synaptic circuitry was enhanced exponentially.

While a follower of Jesus, I would not repudiate all they do, deep breathing, one thing, which is good physiologically for us. Indeed neuroscience has been discovering benefits of their meditation.

The mind matters in scripture, but so do emotions. We read about God’s peace which transcends, or goes beyond our understanding, overcoming our troubled minds.

Although I think I’ve come a long way over the years, I still struggle with emotions, and I think the enemy uses that to try to pull me down. So after finding the program link, given what I’ve already surmised from others, I wanted to begin to change my own brain in regard to emotions. There is intelligent quotient, and there is also emotional quotient. Again,  emotionally I have struggled over the years.

So I set myself on a path to change, beginning with passages like Philippians 4:6-7, as well as Isaiah 26:1-4. Especially meditating on these passages when I am submerged in worry, or something else which distracts me from the life of God in Jesus.

I have been impressed so far with the difference this is making. When hit up against what I would have struggled with before, I simply choose to meditate on God’s promises in Jesus found in scripture. That itself involves effort, I have to work at it, and keep doing so. Just to know that to live in God’s love, peace and joy is part of God’s will for us in Jesus, helps.

In the past I have overcome much simply by the mind, the renewing of the mind, which actually has been practiced in some measure by my daily blogging, as well as listening to The Bible Experience (hearing scripture in dramatic, cinematic form)- usually every morning. But this latest practice has been so helpful.

Jesus told his followers more than once to not let their hearts be troubled. That they were to have faith in God, faith in him. That is the beginning point of this Christian version of changing ourselves in accord with God’s will, so that we can live more and more in conformity to Jesus, in community in Jesus and in the mission of God in Jesus to the world.