Over 74% of people have experienced stress and anxiety during the past two years . As such, with its proven mental and physical health benefits, meditation has been growing in popularity.
Understandably, as individuals from different faiths start exploring meditation, they might ask themselves “Is meditation a sin?”. The answer is an unequivocal “no”, meditation is not a sin, and in this article, we discuss passages from religious texts that encourage people from all faiths and all walks of life to engage in meditation.
Meditation is the process of training the mind to be still, focusing attention on one point, and gradually increasing awareness through simple breathing exercises. It can take on many forms, but generally includes some form of concentration practice.
Some see it as a Buddhist practice that brings people closer to God or Spirit. However, it was first seen by the Hindu sage Patanjali who called it “dhyana” which means meditation in Sanskrit .
Meditation can be practiced by people of all ages, genders, religions and faiths. It requires almost no equipment (although many of our community find using a meditation cushion makes their practice more comfortable, more profound and effective), and can be done anywhere.
The mental and physical health benefits of meditation are well documented in both eastern and western medicine and include:
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Improve mental focus, clarity and concentration
- Cultivating empathy, kindness, and compassion
- Allows one to better connect with themselves and know themselves better
It is not considered sinful by any theological or doctrinal standard to meditate. The Bible does not make any direct nor explicit mention of meditation, so there are no Biblical arguments against it either way.
The Bible does not take a clear stance against meditation. No verse in the Bible directly prohibits it, nor is there any form of punishment for this action.
According to Christianity Today, “Meditation has been widely used for centuries as a way to calm the mind and gain a sense of peace and clarity. Catholics employ meditation as a way to connect with God through prayer, visualization, and iconography.”
Monks from all over the world, have developed ancient meditation techniques, such as Tummo Meditation, that not only bring them closer to their God, but also perform amazing physical heats, such as increasing their own body temperatures.
Some people might think that meditation is a sin in Islam, but in fact, Allah (God) himself chose to guide the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and one of the things he chose to guide him in was meditation.
Islam’s holy Quran says: “Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham, and settled them in the earth; and Allah took walking between them among His slaves. And Allah guides by His permission whom He wills .
The Christian Bible also refers to the connection between the thoughts, the mind and the body, where Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. ”
Meditation can be positively life-changing and is greatly beneficial to anyone wanting to improve their health and well-being. However, like any other form of meditation, there is a risk that someone may take it too far. Meditation can be harmful if the proper precautions aren’t taken; this would include cautioning consumers about getting an education on meditation before using it.
Most experts agree that the benefits of meditation far out-weigh any potential harm it may cause, but one has to make sure that there is a link between meditation and mental health issues or problems in traumatic events.
One way in which meditation might be harmful is if used as a tool for manipulation and teaching by self-proclaimed gurus or in cults. Meditation practicioners always need to keep themselves aware of the influences they take into their lives and practice, but also remember that meditation is not a sin.
While meditation may benefit from quieting the mind, it can also bring up emotions or memories that have been buried for a long time. For example, there have been many accounts of soldiers returning from war suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They turn to meditation as a way to manage their emotions, but it causes flashbacks and opens the floodgates that keep them separated from their trauma.
Those who have experienced trauma or any negative life experiences should take caution when trying out new meditation techniques. Those with experience in this area often recommend a period of pre-meditation to meditate on positive things before trying out negative ones.
What this highlights is the importance of finding the right community of people to guide you through your journey as you embark on meditating. Meditating will help you face and deal with trauma, but only when done correctly.
Many people have used meditation to deal with stress. Using mindfulness, for example, can help a person “be present” of their thoughts and their surroundings. By doing so, a person learns how to deal with everyday life situations in a calm and simple manner.
However, some have noticed that some people become over-focused on the negative things that they have been exposed to during meditation. In this case, if a person continues to meditate on these thoughts and events, they may cause them more harm than good by allowing them to stay stuck in the headspace, causing them distress.
Even though there is no mention of meditation in the Bible, there are many historical references to it. It was originally used as a way to calm the mind and focus ones attention on God. Nowadays, people use meditation for all kinds of issues like stress management, insomnia, and self-improvement.
Even if it doesn’t come from a religiously inspired practice, it can still be beneficial to one’s well-being. While meditation can cause some harm by bringing up memories that were previously buried or ignored memories, the benefits are much more profound than any potentially harmful effects that may come from overdoing it or using it improperly.
So, no, meditation is certainly not a sin. In fact, meditation can help bring people from different faiths closer to their god and closer to one another through understanding, compassion, and empathy.
If you have any other questions you’d like us to answer, then please reach out with an email. We’d glady direct you towards our preferred meditation guides, and texts explaining how meditation is not a sin and the endless life-changing benefits it can have.
- Klaus (2015). Patanjali and neuroscientific research on meditation (Frontiers in Psychology)