Beware of New Age Meditation
By Yoseph Viel
Why Meditation is a Chill-out Narcotic
Meditation is a recruiting tool used by many occult organizations that too often goes unchallenged by believers. It is far more dangerous than most people think. There's a wide range of relaxation techniques becoming popular around the globe, and many schools are even trying to introduce these techniques to children. Whether its yoga, TM or the guided-fantasy tour, the goal is the same; to artificially induce a sense of relaxation through some physical means. It is a problem that many in the world have been convinced is a cure.
Stress is a mental problem, not a physical one. And the God who said that all punishments must be an eye for an eye did not design life so that a mental problem would have a physical solution. The solution must be in the mental realm, and the way to relieve stress is to learn to deal with life, not find a guru. The idea that stress can be conquered through physical activities, regardless of what it is called or how it is packaged is wrong; dead wrong! God did not design life so that our inability to cope with life can be solved that easily. In fact, a physically induced sense of relaxation will actually ADD stress to your life. WHY?
God designed your body to do what your mind tells it to (See 1 Cor 9:27 and Rom 8:1-13). Something wrong with one can harm the other. Being sick can depress you and being depressed can make you tired. But an improvement in the body beyond its normal state cannot cause the mind to improve. Stress is a mental state that can manifest itself in physical ways, but it is not physical in nature. There is a physical reaction to a person's mental state, but it is not physical in nature. Your body temperature can heat up when you get mad, but that doesn't mean you get mad when your body temperature rises. Using meditation to cure stress is like turning on the air conditioner to cure anger. That doesn't get at the root cause. Mental states can produce physical effects, but you have to fix the root cause to trying solve the problem, and the root cause is the mental state, not something physical. Meditation may treat the symptoms of stress, but they do not treat the root cause of stress. The deal with the effects of stress, but they don't deal with the root problem. The short-term gains create long-term counter losses by treating the symptom, but making the root problem worse.
Your body feels relaxed when your mind is relaxed. While it is possible for the mind to feel an artificially induced sense of relaxation that is physically induced, when this happens, the mind wants more, but it can't achieve relaxation on its own, because the person is too busy being stressed out about their problem. So the only way to feel relaxed is to do the physical activity again. The mind learns what it is like to be relaxed from the activity, but the mind is not at ease most of the time, since he only spends a few minutes a day doing these relaxation exercises and has to mentally deal with his problems face-to-face the rest of the day.
So his final is is to be stressed out over the fact that he is not as relaxed as he should be. Had he not engaged in the activity to relax him, he would not have realized what he is missing and would only be stressed out about his problems. If he knows what he is missing, he is both stressed out about his problems as well as being stressed out about the fact that he is not as relaxed as he could be. The real solution to stress is to learn to deal with life, not try to artificially induce a snese of relaxation that the mind did not earn.
So what does a person who has learned how stressed out he is through relaxation techniques do? He does MORE physical activities to try and cure his stress, which leads to a greater degree of being stressed out about the inability to relax, which leads to more relaxation techniques....which raises the level of being stressed out about not being relaxed....which leads to more relaxation techniques.....etc. You get the picture. That's why I describe this as a "chill-out narcotic". The person who does drugs to get high depends on drugs to feel good. The guy who does TM or fantasy tours becomes dependent on these activities to feel relaxed. He's mentally and physically addicted.
If he simply learned to deal with his problems, he could feel relaxed without doing any relaxation activities. But carnally-minded people think if there's something wrong with their mind, it is either someone else's fault, or the fault of their physical condition.
But attached to life is a sense of responsibility and problems don't go away with the help of a guided fantasy tour. They are still there when people finish their chill-out narcotic and you've just wasted time you could have spent learning to deal with life and the problems that are causing you stress. We all have to face the fact that we are responsible for what goes on in our mind and not blame it on our physical condition.
If you really want to do a physical activity that will improve your mind, try jogging or lifting weights or fasting; things your body doesn't want to do unless the mind forces it. This will cause your body to respond to the mind. Chill-out narcotics are aimed at training your mind to respond to your body - quite the opposite of what Romans 8 teaches us to do. Exercise and fasting won't cause your mind to feel better as a result of your body feeling better; it will cause your mind to feel better as a result of the fact that your mind is no longer a slave to what the body desires. This is how God designed us to be.
Anyone who claims to feel better mentally as a result of feeling better physically is testifying that he is carnally minded; a state of mind that results in a lack of discipline and far more physical problems than their physical state of affairs.
Personally, I've never tried meditation (or drugs), but I've seen these chain of events happen in the lives of several people who have. I've seen it mess some people up more than others, but the end result can be rather nasty no matter what the degree is.
Chill-out narcotics are a problem that pose itself as a cure. They claim to cure stress, but in the long-term, they cause stress. It may feel like stress-reduction for 15 minutes, but the long term effect is dependency on these activities and more stress when the activity is not being performed. It's like a drug, smoking, caffeine, or even voting liberal. Most ministers will tell you that chill-out narcs are wrong, but there's a morally neutral reason to avoid them; they are mentally intoxicating. So the next time someone offers you a chill-out narc to relieve stress, take Nancy Reagans advice for drug addicts; just say NO!
Meditation: Undesireable Side Effects
Because meditation encourages the mind to be subject to the body, rather than the other way around as God intended it, it can produce numerous side effects that are both biological and psychological. In The Spiritual Seeker's Guidebook (1986, by Richard Kieninger), it records cases of people who experienced both hormonal and adrenaline imbalances due to meditation. John White documented insomnia as a problem for some people in Some Possibilities for Further Kundilini Research. These side effects are not just something that opponents of meditation have noticed, because even those who promote meditation warn of its dangers. Yoga practioner Gopi Krishnah claims that yoga can cause damage to the central nervious system in his article The True Aim of Yoga (published in Physic magazine, Jan-Feb 1973). Sri Krishna Prem warns of mental problems and neurotic disorders that some people experience from yoga meditation.
Mental side effects are also a problem. Yoga proponent Gopi Krishnah warns of how some people have experience schizophrenia in The Awakening of Kundalini, 1975. I'll talk more about why this is a problem in the next section. But when even the proponents of meditation warn us that it can produce such horrible side effects, why try it as a way of achieving "inner peace"? Why not just learn to deal with life? That has no side effects at all.
Multiple Personality Disorders (or Disassociative Identity Disorder) & Meditation
Multiple Personality Disorders (MPDs) can be produced from several sources [ MPD is more commonly called "Disassociative Identity Disorder" (DID) by modern Psychologists / Psychiatrists , but since this confuses many of you, I will stick with the older term for the purpose of this discussion since it is not aimed at professional Psychiatrists.] Some people think that all MPDs are a result of demonic possession/oppression. Indeed, some times that is the case. MPDs can be a result of both spiritual causes (demonic activity) as well as psychological sources. Among the more common sources of psychological MPDs are...
- Alterior Ego: Many people, begining in childhood, do not like who they are, so they try to pretend they are someoen else. Often these leads to fantasy role playing so extreme that people develop more than one personality. This usually begins in childhood and continues in adults and rarely develop in adults. Many of these people are drawn to the theater, where they can act out other roles beyond being themselves.
- Promiscuity: When you become "one flesh" with someone, their personality becomes atached to yours in some fashion, perhaps as a passive part of your own personality. When someone becomes "one flesh" with a high number of people, it can lead to the development of alternate personalities. I once saw a study done that documented a high rate of shizophrenia among prostitutes, though the study could not explain why. Spiritually, there is an answer.
- Trauma: Extremely shocking events in a person's life can also produce an alternative personality. The list of such events can have a rather wide range.
Meditation may produce MPDs for multiple reasons. One is that people begin to live in a fantasy world. They meditate and enter a world that is not real. They have experiences in that world that do not translate into real life. As a result, their personality develops in that realm in ways that do not translate into real life. This happens in a way that is very similar to alternate personalities that develop as a result of childhood fantasy playing, but it happens with adults, and it seems more realistic to them.
But also, meditation often produces contact with the dark side of the spiritual world. The contact with "spirit guides" that many of these people go through often leads to demonic activity in their life that begins to influence their mind in ways that allow demonic activity to develop alternate personalities within that person. Thus, meditation can produce both spiritual as well as psychological MPDs in those who engage in meditation.
Meditation: the Occultic Substitution for Prayer
Prayer is the spiritual answer for stress. God's answer for stress is for you to pray and let Him deal with your problems. If your life is in His hands, you have nothing to worry about. But meditation is a substitute for prayer in more ways than one.
Occultic religions don't want to promote prayer, because anything that would encourage prayer will encourage you to see a need for a relationship with God, and that will encourage you to seek God out. Some cults promote ritualistic prayers where one mouths the same words without giving any thought to what is being said. But Satan realizes that he cannot create a false religious system without having something that is a substitute for prayer. In the New Age movement, and many eastern religions, that substitute is meditation, and it is why most false religions world-wide use it. In fact, most cults use it as a recruiting tool.
Prayer should cause your mind to feel at peace as you give your problems for the day to the hands of the Almighty. In cultic practices, meditiation takes this place. Prayer should cause your mind to feel at peace as you commune with God and have an emotional exchange with Him. Meditiation is a substitute for this, as you commune with "nature" or yourself or worse yet, some sort of "spirit guide".
Many false religions will encourage people who are in the midst of meditation to choose 2 "spirit guides" for themselves. God is the only guide you should have in the spiritual realm and you don't need to "meditate" to have Him as a guide. This is not the type of thing that believers should be involved in, and one can rest assured that the only type of "guide" this will produce will be a demon posing as an angel of light.
Meditation and the Bible
Some people have claimed that the Bible promotes Meditation. This is based on verses that say the following...
In English, the word "Meditate" means
- To reflect on; contemplate.
- To plan in the mind; intend: meditated a visit to her daughter.
(American Heritage Dictionary)
When we talk about "meditating" / reflecting on / contemplating on God's commands, love, or works, this of course does not necessarily refer to the same thing as what New Agers mean by "Meditation". Had New Agers called it "Reflection" or "Contemplation", it would not destroy the general meaning of the English word, despite the fact that the way they are applying the word is not the way the Scriptures are using it. The basic word "meditate" simply refers to focusing the mind's energy on something. "Meditation", as the term is used by New Agers, refers to a specific way of doing this that focuses the mind on either nothingness or on a fantasy world that the person meditating controls.
When people use these verses to try and say that the Bible is telling us to sit in the lotus position, perform breathing exercises, say a "ommm", and enter a fantasy world where they consult their "spirit guides", is just a mis-use of language. A look into the original Hebrew provides more insight
"meditate (tygh) on it day and night" (Josh 1:8)
TWOT provides an explanation of root to this word by saying it refers to uttering, saying, or singing something in order to cause someone to reflect upon it. You can do this walking down the road, picking cotton, etc. No need to tune out the world around you and enter some fantasy sphere to accomplish this.
Let's examine the next one:
Now if we accept the idea that the use of the word "Meditation" in Scripture justifies what New Agers are doing, then we can only support it using the NIV! Imagine that - a psychological practice that can only be supported by one translation of hte Bible? Not exactly the stuff a foundation for doctrine can be laid upon, huh? One can see as much from the range in English translations as he can from anything else that this word may not necessarily be refering to what New Agers call "meditation".
The Hebrew word here is dimmeenu (wnymd), which means to imagine or bring to mind. Once again, you can do this while you are working! You can do this while painting your house, washing dishes, etc. No reason to conclude that this has to refer to the same thing New agers talk about when they try to empty people's minds and get them to pursue "spirit guides".
The root word here is Zachar, when means to remember. In a nutshell, we might see the word "meditate" used a number of places in the English translation of Scriptures, but it comes from a variety of Hebrew words, and none seem to discuss something that cannot be done while performing ordinary household chores.
The simply fact is that "Meditation", as the word is used by New Agers, is a practice that is not mentioned in the Bible! If it is such an important part of life, why didn't God describe how to do it? Largely because His solution to reducing stress is to pray and let God take care of your problems.
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter/Kefah 5:7)
This is the Scriptural answer to stress reduction. Believe that God will take care of your problems. Faith is the Scriptural solution to stress elimination. when someone feels a need to do anything other than pray as a solution to stress reduction, there is something wrong. The use of meditation, stress balls, drugs, or even exercise (which you should do anyway) as a means of stress reduction is a sign that faith is not working in your life. Because if you believe God will fix all your problems, you have no need to worry. That's simple faith in action. And the need to reduce stress isn't there because stress isn't there.
Even the Gurus don't claim meditation eliminates stress. They only claim it reduces stress, and many Gurus even warn that it can cause harm. But faith does work, it eliminates stress completely, and it never fails, and leaves you with no need to worry and has no side effects.
If you are interested in learning more about the many documented problems with Meditation, see Encyclopedia of the New Age, by Ankerberg and Weldon, available at most Christian book stores, from which some of the references I used in this article came.