New Age Meditation Exercises
The general definition of the word meditate means to engage in devotional contemplation. New Age and secular meditation is a practice “To train, calm, or empty the mind, often by achieving an altered state, as by focusing on a single object, especially as a form of religious practice in Buddhism or Hinduism.” Meditation techniques have assumed a leading role in large numbers of physical, spiritual, and health therapies where relaxation is the main goal.
The New Age Meditation is associated with Eastern or occult practices that aims at the transformation of the consciousness. This altered state of consciousness leads to a supposed “self realization” or spiritual “enlightenment,” resulting in termination of the individual personality. Meditation is one of the common tools for becoming possessed by spirits (demons).
One of the most widely practiced meditation techniques is Transcendental Meditation (TM). It allegedly claims to be a way for releasing the soul from the physical body and projecting it into the astral realms. While a person is out in the astral [plane], his soul may acquire knowledge from [dead] ancient masters. In that state, he may be instructed in the mystical secrets of the cosmos. When the practitioner enters that unknown fourth dimensional world of spirit, he can tap unlimited powers and reach mystical realms where the supposedly immortals live. Trance states have been linked with the occult world and other forms of spirit contact, such as mediumism, yogic disciplines, shamanism, neo-paganism, witchcraft, magic ritual, and Satanism.
Meditation or clearing the mind exercises are also associated with yoga. The word yoga means “union,” and the goal is to unite one’s transitory (temporary) self with the infinite Brahman, the Hindu concept of “God.” Brahman is an impersonal spiritual substance that is one with nature and the cosmos. This view is called “pantheism,” the belief that everything is God. Because everything is God, the yoga philosophy makes no distinction between man and God.
Spiritual formation (also called spiritual disciplines and spiritual techniques) are “practices that assist in one’s spiritual growth.” The Spiritual Formation movement has been unfortunately adopted by the Catholic Church and some evangelical churches.
The concept of being formed spiritually is not wrong in itself, but many spiritual disciplines that accompany the movement are not from God. Often, mystic rituals that are used in this movement lead to dangerous spiritualism and demon possession. Unfortunately, many earnest Christians are entering into a spiritualistic lifestyle without even realizing it. Their desire to draw near to God is leading them to mystic and even occult rituals hidden among godly practices. Some of such forms of meditation are:
1-The Meditative or Contemplative Prayer. This type of prayer according to Richard Foster, author on spiritual disciplines, has four stages: visualization, physical sensations, listening, and spiritual ecstasy. In this type of prayer the stress is on the final altered state of consciousness.
2-The Lectio Divina method regarding the Scripture. This method can sometimes go beyond hearing or studying the Bible, and instead it focuses on a change of consciousness. According to former New Age medium Brian Flynn, some aspects of Lectio Divina are occult based: “By taking passages of Scripture, which have an intended meaning, and breaking them down into smaller, separate segments, often for the purpose of chanting over and over, the true meaning of the passages are lost. Rather a form of occult mysticism is practiced—with the hope and intention of gaining a mystical experience that God never intended when He gave the inspired words to His servants.”
3-The Labyrinth Walking. This is not a Christian practice, but a ritual practiced by many world religions. According to President of the World Systems Research Group Carl Teichrib, “labyrinth walks and ‘prayer journeys’ are being promoted by Rosicrucian groups, at New Age festivals and celebrations, and throughout the neo-pagan world.”
The focus point in such deceptive practices is that people need to “hear God’s voice,” in the mind but not through the scriptures. Therefore, when one “clears his mind,” he is actually opening himself up to the influence of demonic spirits and not to the Holy Spirit. It is dangerous to enter a passive mental state for a period of time, because in that present moment the mind has no protection against evil.
What is Biblical Meditation?
Is meditation a sin? The Bible never gives us a prescription to free our minds as taught in Yoga and New Age meditation practices. The prescription that the Bible gives is to meditate on God’s Word and the Book of the Law. The Bible says:
- Psalm 1:1-3: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water. Which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
- Psalm 63:6: “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.”
- Psalm 119:15: “I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways.”
- Psalm 119:23: “Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.”
- Psalm 119:27: “Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders.”
- Psalm 119:48: “And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes.”
- Psalm 119:97: “Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
- Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
The Bible calls the believers for a Christ-centered mediation. David prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Christian meditation is a daily connection with God where individuals focus on God, which is the Word, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who promises to lead them “into all truth” (John 16:13).
The peace experienced in Christian meditation is not reached by clearing the mind. Rather, it comes by studying God’s word and His unfailing love. When a believer prayerfully dwells on the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will begin to change his life and produce a godly sanctified life (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In His service,