Meditation and Christianity: Calming the Mental Storm

Here’s the story of Jesus calming a storm, and my insights about it:

On that evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they left the crowd. The disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already in, and departed. There were also other boats with them. Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping, with his head on a pillow. The disciples, who were very agitated and afraid, woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown? Don’t you care that we are about to die?” Jesus got up and commanded the wind, “Be quiet!” and he said to the waves, “Be still!” Then the wind died down, the waves disappeared, and there was a great calm. He, then, asked his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were in awe, and began to say to one another, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” ~ Mark 4:35-41

Although I don’t have a problem accepting Jesus’s miracle of calming the wind and the waves in this physical realm, I have been inspired to see another meaning in this story. For me, this passage has less to do with actual weather storms, and more to do with the storms of unruly thoughts that take place inside our own heads.

Although Jesus could be sleeping while waves were breaking over the boat — what seems highly improbable — what I envision is that Jesus was meditating while everyone else around him was running around agitated and full of fear. I sense that his command, “Be quiet! Be still!” was directed not at the wind and waves, but, first, at himself and the thoughts inside his head, and, second, at his friends and the thoughts inside their heads. “Be quiet! Be still!” His was a simple command to go to a place of quiet and stillness, and experience peace.

I like to think that Jesus was telling himself, his disciples, and all of us, to meditate.

After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus spent forty days and nights in the desert. It looks like a long silent retreat for me… silence, solitude, and seclusion.

Many titles have been given to Jesus. I particularly like Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, but now I am giving him a new title: Jesus, the Master Meditator.

Now, going back to those tempests, here, there, and everywhere…

In a boat full of fearful and agitated people, one sane, calm, and steady-minded person can find his way through the fog and storms, and take the boat safely to a harbor.

Be that person. Practice mindfulness. The world desperately needs more steady-minded individuals.


 

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Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the official Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.

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