John Main saw meditation as a way of self-knowledge: “The mystery to which meditation leads us is a personal mystery, the mystery of our own personhood, which finds its completion in the person of Christ.” (Word into Silence, p10-11).
“In meditation we discover both who we are and why we are.” (Word of Silence, p16).
In her meditation research in two primary schools in England, Polly McLean found that regular meditation increased self-awareness in most children. (cf. Pastoral Care, March 2001: 31-35).
Separate research in 2004 at the Natake Talibah School House of Detroit showed that meditating twice a day helped children develop a happier self-image. (cf. Business Week, 29 March 2004:111).
How does this process of developing a happier self-image take place? Meditation makes us more aware that God is within us, not just outside us.
In meditation, we experience the reality of the words of Scripture. Each of us is made in the image of God (cf. Gen1:27). “Do you not realise that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor 13:5) “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you." (1 Cor 6:19).
Meditation leads us to experience God’s unconditional love for us. As John Main said, “The mantra leads us to that point of unity where we become simple enough to see, to receive, and to know the infinite gift of God’s personal love.” (Word into Silence, p59).
Through meditation we experience God’s love for us, and sense that our lives are charged with meaning, not because of our accomplishments or successes in life, but simply because we exist.
Gradually, meditation teaches us to accept ourselves in a healthy way. We do not become self-important, egotistical, or selfish. Instead, we realise that “God is not a reflection of our consciousness but we are his reflection, his image, by our incorporation with Jesus, his Son, our Brother.” (Word into Silence, p89).
Children can experience this connection with God and its resulting feeling of self-acceptance. Educator Joy Duckett Cain explains:
“This connection increases self-confidence, gives a sense of security and well-being and instills a belief in the goodness of others. Most of all, by having this link and knowing that they are not alone, children will be better able to handle the disappointments and hard knocks that will surely come their way.”
Essence, December 1971
Furthermore, self-acceptance that derives from connection to God leads to fullness of life, more zest for living. As Jesus said, “I come so that they might have life and have it to the full.”(Jn 10:10).
St Irenaeus echoed this same idea by saying “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.”
Once we find our true centre, our roots, our anchor, we become more alive and energised. In John Main’s words, we have
“fullness of life - harmony, oneness and energy, a divine energy that we find in our own heart, in our own spirit. That energy is the energy of all creation. As Jesus tells us, it is the energy that is love.”
Moment of Christ, p115