Some when they think of silence and contemplation think of Buddhism, Yoga and other eastern religions and New Age practices. My own city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada is the world headquarters for Shambhala Buddhism, and we have several other branches of Buddhism represented as well. So I have been able to observe Buddhism up close and personal.
I believe the Buddhists have come to Halifax because, at some level, they recognize that there is an Open Heaven in this place that is best accessed through the spiritual disciplines of silence, solitude, simplicity, and stillness. But sadly, being a non-theistic (they don’t believe in a god) movement the Buddhists cannot go beyond the emotional and inner practices, nor do they claim to. They do not profess to be seeking God. The Dalai Lama, world leader of Tibetan Buddhism said, “Buddhism does not accept a theory of God, or a creator. According to Buddhism, one's own actions are the creator, ultimately.” Instead they are “developing their spirituality” (a phrase of which I am not very fond, and one not appropriate for use by Christians.) Not believing in God and not attempting to fellowship with Him they exclude the use of the Scriptures and the Sacraments. At best their meditative practices may avail them of a measure of inner quietness; at worse their self-emptying makes space for the demonic. Physics tells us that nature abhors a vacuum. Thankfully God often honors spiritual hunger with a revelation of Jesus and brings people into the Truth.
The Blood of Jesus Christ
As Christians we want inner quietness
in order to commune with Almighty God.
We want to enter into the silence
where God dwells.
As Christians our desire is for far more than inner quietness. We want inner quietness in order to commune with Almighty God. We want to enter into the silence where God dwells. And it takes more than simply quieting oneself before God to become one with Him. It takes the Blood of Jesus Christ for between Him and us there is a blood barrier. No blood, no God. But thanks be to God the Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross, His blood was shed, it is effective to both take away our sins and bring us into the Presence of our Heavenly Father.
Nor are we attempting to "develop our spirituality". Those words and that concept are foreign to the Word of God and Christianity. We are sinners saved by the Grace of God through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Outside of Him we are dead in our trespasses and sins and we have no "spirituality". Having been cleansed by His Blood we receive His Life which makes our spirit come alive. As people Born Again of the water and the spirit we seek His face and walk with Him each day.
Only Christian Contemplation is Real
When a Christian sits in silence before God we are not practicing the self emptying of Buddhism, nor the "spirituality" of Yoga, nor are we practicing “mindfulness meditation”, and we are not trying, as in some New Age practices, to find or realize the god within. In the silence we focus our mind, heart, emotions and will on the Lord Jesus Christ. In so doing not only do we experience the benefit of inner quiet, we can also enter the Presence of Almighty God where there is so very much more. This is the aspect of Christianity for which those who turn to the east are looking, and longing. Practicing eastern mysticism, “spirituality” and religion is absolutely forbidden for Christians. Christianity and Buddhism are mutually exclusive. We cannot tolerate or practice any synergistic combining of the two.
The futile Buddhist aim is "no self". The fulfilling Christian aim is "true self." That and intimacy with the Almighty.