Meditation has become a life hack to the gospel of self-optimization. Akin to an eerie scene from a Black Mirror episode, we’re powered up from meditation and optimized as human capital to increase our net productivity. Meditation apps are just one more tool in our toolbox to help raise a generation of lean, mean, production machines. But it’s having the opposite effect. By forcing even nature’s spacious, awe-inspiring beauty into the claustrophobic confines of personal productivity, we further reinforce the notion that the world revolves around us and our optimized utility. That is a heavy burden indeed, and it’s not making us happier.
Meditation should not be about you.
One of the earliest forms of mindfulness in the Bible was practiced by Israel’s King David more than 3,000 years ago. When he considered creation around him, unmediated by technology, he contemplated its wonder. David didn’t know then what NASA tells us now about our tiny place in a vast cosmos: We are one of 7.7 billion people who inhabit Earth. The earth and sun are part of the solar system. Our sun is one of at least one 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. The Milky Way galaxy is just one of a hundred billion galaxies in the universe.
A meditation focused on finding one’s better self inside and centering oneself is always going to come up wanting. Why? Because there is no better self inside us. Our best is still like filthy rags. Our hearts are deceitful above all else. Our flesh literally wants that which is against God.
Biblical meditation focuses on God and our relationship with Him. Less of me and more of God. And so, modern meditation is not godly. It is innately selfish and will not produce fruit. It is not compatible with the Bible in any way.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them? Human beings that you care for them?
We are small. Insignificant to the galaxy. A grain of sand on a beach. But:
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Our purpose is not found in us. Our meaning is not found in us. Betterment is not found in us. Peace is not found in us. Contentment is not found in us. These things and more are found in the Creator of all things.