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Elliot Miller wrote:

Hi, guys —

Praise be the Lord Jesus Christ!

I was a Buddhist for the past two or so years and I would sincerely like to be a Catholic man.
I want to serve God and be a good Catholic, adhering to the Catholic faith.

  • Is it OK for me to continue to pay attention to my breath in meditation?
  • Is it OK for my to repeat the name of Jesus as my primary contemplative practice?

Thank you very much.

Elliot

  { Can a former Buddhist who wants to become Catholic continue his breathing meditations? }

Mike replied:

Hi Elliot,

Thanks for the questions.

You said:

  • Is it OK for me to continue to pay attention to my breath in meditation?
  • Is it OK for my to repeat the name of Jesus as my primary contemplative practice?

Yes and Yes. There's no reason at all why you can't continue any of your meditations as long as they are focused on Christ.

I use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore.

Seeing you may be preparing to take RCIA classes in the near future, I would encourage you to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as faithful Catholics.

Mike

Bob replied:

Hi, Elliot —

It is a perfectly acceptable form of meditation to use breathing techniques as you do. Likewise, using the name of Jesus as a focal point is also fine, even commendable.

Contemplatives have been using similar techniques for ages, and you may be interested in the Ignatian method as well. When your understanding of God is illuminated by:

  • the Church's teaching
  • the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and
  • fidelity to Christ

you are on the right track. Essentially, we must always marry our personal subjective experience to the objective truth that Christ brought us to insure we don't fall into error.

I personally think that your experience of meditation as a Buddhist will certainly enhance and equip you for an even richer prayerful contemplation; many of us in the western world have difficulty setting aside the time and business of life to retreat to a still, quiet place.

When you meet God there, He will indeed bring you into a deep relationship that many others miss out on. Our culture and lifestyle often don't provide the avenues or encouragement for it, which is why many flee to counterfeit spiritualities in the new age variety.

There is yearning in all of us for something deeper, and I am sure you will find it there in your meditation, for God awaits you there.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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