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The difference between Biblical Meditation and Eastern Meditation

Brother Kok Toh, a former Zen Meditator talks about the difference between True Biblical Meditation and Eastern Meditation.

Meditation—a practice embraced by cultures and religions around the world—has gained widespread popularity for its purported benefits in promoting relaxation, mindfulness, and spiritual growth. Yet, within the realm of meditation, there exist distinct approaches and philosophies, each rooted in its own cultural and religious context. Two prominent forms of meditation often contrasted are Biblical Meditation and Eastern Meditation. While both involve contemplative practices, they differ significantly in their underlying principles, goals, and methodologies. Let’s delve into the key differences between these two forms of meditation and explore their respective implications for spiritual life and growth.

Biblical Meditation

Biblical Meditation, as the name suggests, is rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition and finds its foundation in the Scriptures. Unlike some Eastern forms of meditation that focus on emptying the mind or attaining altered states of consciousness, Biblical Meditation emphasizes the intentional reflection and contemplation of God’s Word. It involves engaging with Scripture in a deliberate and focused manner, allowing its truths to penetrate the heart and transform the mind.

Key Characteristics of Biblical Meditation:

  1. Focus on Scripture: Biblical Meditation centers around the study, reflection, and internalization of passages from the Bible. It involves reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word, allowing its truths to shape one’s thoughts, attitudes, and actions.
  2. Purposeful Reflection: Rather than seeking to empty the mind or achieve a state of detachment, Biblical Meditation encourages purposeful reflection on the character of God, His promises, and His teachings. It involves pondering the meaning and relevance of Scripture to one’s life and faith journey.
  3. Communion with God: At its core, Biblical Meditation is a form of communion with God—a sacred dialogue between the believer and their Creator. It fosters intimacy, trust, and dependency on God, as individuals seek to align their hearts and minds with His will revealed in Scripture.
  4. Transformational Growth: The ultimate goal of Biblical Meditation is spiritual growth and transformation. By meditating on God’s Word, believers are nourished, renewed, and empowered to live lives that reflect His love, wisdom, and righteousness.

Eastern Meditation

In contrast, Eastern forms of meditation—such as mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, and Zen meditation—originate from various Eastern religious and philosophical traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. While the specific practices and techniques vary, Eastern Meditation generally involves quieting the mind, achieving a state of inner peace, and transcending the ego or sense of self.

Difference between biblical meditation and eastern meditation

Key Characteristics of Eastern Meditation:

  1. Emphasis on Mindfulness: Eastern Meditation often emphasizes mindfulness—the practice of nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. Practitioners are encouraged to observe their thoughts, sensations, and emotions without attachment or aversion, cultivating a sense of inner calm and equanimity.
  2. Focus on Breath or Mantra: Many forms of Eastern Meditation involve focusing attention on the breath or repeating a mantra—a sacred word or phrase—to quiet the mind and induce a state of relaxation and heightened awareness.
  3. Goal of Self-Realization: Unlike Biblical Meditation, which seeks communion with a personal God, Eastern Meditation often aims at self-realization or enlightenment—a transcendent experience of oneness with the universe or ultimate reality.
  4. Detachment from Desires: Eastern Meditation may involve practices aimed at detaching from desires, attachments, and egoic identification, leading to a sense of liberation from suffering and the illusion of separateness.


In summary, while both Biblical Meditation and Eastern Meditation involve contemplative practices aimed at fostering spiritual growth and inner peace, they differ significantly in their underlying philosophies, goals, and methodologies. Biblical Meditation centers around the intentional reflection and internalization of Scripture, leading to communion with God and transformational growth. Eastern Meditation, on the other hand, emphasizes mindfulness, detachment, and self-realization, often leading to a sense of inner peace and oneness with the universe.

As individuals explore meditation practices, it is important to discern the philosophical and theological foundations underlying each approach and to consider how they align with one’s own beliefs and values. While both forms of meditation offer potential benefits for spiritual and emotional well-being, understanding their differences can help individuals make informed choices and cultivate a practice that resonates with their unique spiritual journey.

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