When I lived in Norway, I engaged in the Christ meditation and heart prayer daily, along with sitting meditation, and appreciated it very much. The effects were powerful and blissful, and gave a passion and zest to my life.
Since then, I have focused mostly on sitting practice, and over the last few years have felt the passion fade. Today, I engaged in the Christian meditation and prayer again, and the passion returned almost immediately and is brought into the rest of my life.
Both practices are wonderful, simple and powerful.
The Christ mediation consists of sitting in meditation posture or on a chair, with the hands at the heart – holding the heart, in Christian or Buddhist prayer position, or with the heels of the hands at the heart and opening up as if receiving something poured down. I then visualize Christ – in the form of light – in my heart, and five feet in front of me, behind me, at either side of me, below me, and above me. Music such as Arvo Part’s Passio (or other compositions) and Rachmaninov’s Vesper is a great help in coming to a prayerful/receptive atmosphere.
The Hear Meditation is similarly simple, and can be done any time. It follows the heart beats and the breath. On the inbreath and with the heart beats, say (loud or within you) Lord (1) Jesus (2) Christ (3), and on the outbreath and with the heart beats Have (1) mercy (2) with me (3). Pause for a few heart beats, then repeat. This practice is described in “The Way of the Pilgrim”. My experience in Norway was that after a relatively short while, this prayer becomes continuous – day and night. A part of the mind recites it with the breath and heart beats – continuously.
With both practices, I experience a golden/clear light throughout awareness and in/around the body, especially centered in the heart and the crown. There is a passionate, fiery and joyful energy, and a deep humility and gratitude, that is quite different from what I experience in regular sitting meditation. Today, possibly because it is so long since I engaged in either practices, I experienced a shot of golden light coming down from the point above me during the Christ meditation. It shot down through the crown and into the heart, followed by a rain of golden light. My crown area has been very active since then.
For me, sitting practice is very good for resting in the part of me that is not this body/personality, for spaciousness, clarity, insights in the nature of mind, and for equanimity (from allowing experiences to unfold within spacious awareness).
Christ meditation and prayer brings something else in. It has the same effect of allowing me to rest in that part of me which is not the body/personality, but adds passion, joy, love and fire. It seems more directional and engaged. There is a stronger sense of passionate fullness and richness.
The combination is wonderful.