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Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God
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Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Enter a Monastery Without Walls

Christian Meditation introduces an ancient practice to a contemporary audience. James Finley, a former monk and student of Thomas Merton, presents the fundamentals of both understanding and practicing Christian meditation. He provides simple, helpful instructions, as well as explaining the deeper connection with the divine that meditation can
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 2003)
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Oct 06, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book by James Finley. It's a great book for anyone that has begun or is interested in practicing contemplative prayer. He describes form and technique thoroughly and provides useful illustrations in his explanations. He describes in depth about the process of entering a nondual union with God and finding Him in the present moment. I got this book from the library but it is definitely one I like enough to buy when I get the chance. A great addition to anybody's library.
Sep 23, 2008 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: Heartpaths Dallas
While I appreciated some introduction to the process and experience of meditation, the first four chapters seemed out of place. I found myself wanting an explanation of the meaning and importance of meditation to set the foundation of the practice before discussing the process and experience of meditation. The first four chapters also contained regular comparisons of meditation to romantic love that might render some of the points Finley is trying to make inaccessible to persons struggling roman ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finley offers many insights into meditation and gave me quite a few new ideas to incorporate into my practice. I especially liked his suggestion for helpful mantras. Great book. Pretty heavy at times, but still understandable and meaningful.
Oct 29, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book on contmeplative prayer.
Feb 26, 2017 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is good for anyone who wished to understand meditation from a Christian point of view or anyone wishing to understand it's fundamentals.
Mar 12, 2014 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book after I became a student of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. James Finley is one of my teachers and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. When I chose this book it was because I was looking for something by him, though I have been practicing meditation for years and have read other books on meditation. I wasn't expecting anything to be new but was interested in his slant since he was a student of Thomas Merton's. Wrong. This book is not a "how to book" as ...more
Jessica Harwood
Dec 08, 2016 Jessica Harwood rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Christian meditation was a hard read for me. James Finley is ridiculously repetitive and I felt like he could have said what he used ten pages for in a single paragraph. Regardless, I plowed through all the way until the end.

In all honesty, my favorite parts where the references James gave from other mystics and not what he himself said. However, I gathered small bits of gold throughout the book--enough to form my own ideas of what meditation means to me. If you find yourself struggling like I
Nov 22, 2008 Hilary marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hilary by: Leslie Taber
This book has been on my "to read" list for a long time now-actually a really long time now!
Have you ever gone to the grocery store for some "real" food such as bread, rice, etc. and just didn't get there right away because you stopped in the candy, soda, danish section first? You were distracted by the glitz, the glam of sugar! This is true of books too. This book will be a wonderful book to read, I just know it! It will be the bread, the rice of reading. I've stayed too long in the candy secti
Amos Smith
May 12, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finley's book is exquisitely written. Many who write books on Centering Payer and Meditation are not writers. And their writing can be cumbersome. Not so with Finley. He draws you right in with well crafted sentences. I recommend Finley to people who are relatively new to Centering Prayer because the writing flows so nicely and draws people in. Finley was a monk at Gethsemane Abbey and he took spiritual direction from Thomas Merton. Then Finley went on to have a family with two daughters. This m ...more
Christopher Floss
Dec 09, 2014 Christopher Floss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Finley brings his unique background to the insights he offers about contemplative prayer. As a student of Merton's at the Abbey of Gethsemane, he undoubtedly learned how to cultivate the spiritual openness required to foster a contemplative prayer life. The explanations and illustrations Finley provides in this book are aids for anyone seeking to have a deeper relationship with God. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to develop their awareness of various to become more attune to ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
Kind of annoying, really. It basically told me that I shouldn't try to meditate until I have something to meditate on, so I should go read the Bible and other texts and then come back to this one. I might. It has a good cover.

Let's face it, I'm not going to finish this one. I'm happy not finishing it. I don't like the tone. Maybe someday I will go back to it - I like the idea of it. And I like the cover. But it's at the bottom of the stack right now, and I'm reading other things.
Feb 17, 2014 Winifred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
James Finley's book on Meditation was quite readable. He surely does have a way with words and there are times his ability to describe spiritual events and ideas take ones breath away. I read this with The Presence Group at church. We've been meditating for several years. This book had much to help us with. It would also be good reading for someone just starting out with meditation too.
Charles Wilson
Aug 09, 2015 Charles Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books, which I've read and re-read, the book that introduced me to Christian (rather than Eastern) ways of mysticism. Highly recommended for those who aren't aware of the Christian path to mysticism in practice. Simple and direct.
Sep 21, 2015 Aligd848 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like Finley who I have also heard speak. This is a rich, poetic, and deep book of insight and guidance. I read a library edition, but will obtain a copy for myself - though I wrote a bunch of it out in my journal as I went through it.
Drew Stiling
May 04, 2015 Drew Stiling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really profound book. Definitely enjoyed it.
Terrell D Lewis

The guy rephrases and repeats himself constantly in a seemingly endless quest to find a dozen ways to say the same thing.
Aug 09, 2011 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a life changing book for me, however, Mr. Finley is such an introspective individual that sometimes I had a hard time understanding what he was trying to say. Very good book!
Aug 30, 2013 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book on Christian meditation and mindfulness. Practical guidance blended with inspiration.
Kathy rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2013
Kimberly Mccullers
Kimberly Mccullers rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2015
Nola Sharp
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Nov 18, 2014
Susan rated it it was amazing
Mar 15, 2012
Staci Lee
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Apr 05, 2017
Mrs rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2014
Tammy rated it it was ok
Sep 17, 2011
Stephen Cronin
Stephen Cronin rated it liked it
May 14, 2012
Lily Revere
Lily Revere rated it did not like it
Oct 01, 2014
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“Spiritual reading, discursive meditation, and prayer prepare our hearts for contemplation. Contemplation is a state of realized oneness with God. When engaged in contemplation, we rest in God resting in us. We are at home in God at home in us. Our role in contemplation is essentially receptive, in that when we are engaged in contemplation we receive a gift of divine awareness. Contemplation, in its essentially receptive aspect, is sometimes referred to as mystical experience or mystical prayer. The word mystical, as used in the classical Christian texts, does not refer to having visions, hearing God’s voice, or experiencing any other similar, extraordinary events. Although these kinds of experiences can and do occur, they do not necessarily arise from God, and even when they do, they can become hindrances if we cling to them. The Christian mystics use the terms contemplation and mystical union with God to refer not to visions and other similar experiences, but rather to a life-transforming realization of oneness with God. In this mystical realization of oneness with God we are liberated from our tendencies to derive our security and identity from anything less than God. In specifically Christian terms, we enter the mind of Christ, who realized oneness with God to be the reality of himself and of everyone and everything around him.” 2 likes
“Compassion forms the essential bond between seeking God in meditation and all forms of social justice. For the more we are transformed in compassion, the more we are impelled to act with compassion toward others.” 0 likes
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