How to meditate

Meditation is as natural to the spirit as breathing is to the body. Deeply rooted in the Christian tradition, it is an ancient spiritual discipline, a simple way into peace within oneself and union with the Spirit of Christ.

This is not to say that meditation is “the only way” to pray or the only way to wisdom. But meditation – silence, stillness and simplicity – does lead to the experience of wholeness that opens, in faith, to holiness. Holiness is the integration of wisdom and compassion applied to daily living. Because it is simple and yet calls for discipline this tradition advises the following simple practice:

Sit down. Sit still and upright. Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. Breathe calmly and regularly. Silently, interiorly begin to say a single word. We recommend the prayer-phrase “MA-RA-NA-THA”. Recite it as syllables of equal length. Listen to it as you say it, gently but continuously. Do not think or imagine anything – spiritual or otherwise. If thoughts and images come these are distractions at the time of meditation, so keep returning to simply saying the word as soon as you realize you have stopped saying it. Meditate each morning and evening for between 20 and 30 minutes. Stay with the same word during the meditation and from day to day.

Maranatha is a Christian meditation mantra that has been used for a very long time by the early monks. The word Maranatha is the final instruction of St. Paul’s teachings to the Corinthians, and is St. John’s final instruction in the Book of Revelations. Thus, the last word, the final teaching of the entire Christian Bible is “Maranatha,” which is Aramaic and means, “Come Lord.”

Depending on how the word Maranatha is broken into parts, its meaning differs:

As “mara-natha,” it means “Come Lord,” or “Lord Come.”

As “maran-atha,” it means “Lord is Here” or “Lord has Come.”

The Maranatha Mantra is pronounced with “a” as in “far” (Ma-Ra-Na-Tha). Allow it to arise rhythmically in the mind at whatever speed comes naturally, whether fast or slow. You may find that it slows down on its own.

You don’t have to evaluate your meditation. The fruits will appear in your self and in your life and in all your relationships. Don’t be discouraged or disappointed by finding how distracted you are. That’s why we meditate, to go through the distractions. So there is no need to try to repress or blank out your thoughts or images. Just let them come and go but keep your attention on the mantra – the prayer word or sacred word.