As we have seen therefore, the validity of our meditation is based on the belief of the indwelling Spirit. Added to this is the realization that it is not our prayer, but that we join the prayer of Jesus in the Spirit in the depth of our being, where our consciousness is joined to His consciousness.
John Main always stressed that we can verify our Christian belief through experience, the experience of deep, contemplative prayer, to which meditation leads. Therefore it becomes more than mere belief, it is based on faith, a trusting and loving relationship with the Divine, built up and deepened through the commitment of regular and faithful practice: “In meditation, our way forward to this growing awareness of the Spirit praying within us is simply in our deepening fidelity to the saying of the mantra. It is the faithful repetition of our word that integrates our whole being. It does so because it brings us to the silence, the concentration, the necessary level of consciousness that enables us to open our mind and heart to the work of the love of God in the depth of our being.”
Many mystics, in particular, St Augustine and Meister Eckhart, called this awareness ‘The Birth of Christ in the soul’. John Main uses exactly the same words: “That is all meditation is – a readying of our heart for the birth of Christ….we must let go of everything else, so that there is space for him in our hearts.”
It is our faithful commitment to meditation, to the saying of the mantra that allows us to let go of all thoughts and images of the surface level of our consciousness and enter this deeper level of consciousness. We do need ‘to let go of self’ to become aware that we are much more than we think we are. The ‘ego’ always attempts to place us at the centre of our attention and that of others, and in doing so builds up barriers that separate us from others, creation and Divine Reality. We can’t become aware that there are more levels of awareness in our being, unless we temporarily let go of all our conditioned thoughts and images. We can’t become aware of the love that dwells in our deep centre unless we take the focus of attention of ourselves. Once we have experienced this love, however fleetingly, it will change our attitude to everybody and everything around us. It is our faith that God is Love and our experience on the path of meditation teaches us that we can touch this Reality in the centre of our being.
We start with belief and commitment to the path of discovering our true self in Christ. We continue in hope and trust that the grace of experiencing this Reality will be given to us. This commitment and trust forms the essence of our faith.
Photo: Bonnevaux, summertime