Knock, Knock! Who’s There? That Is The Question In Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness and Contemplative Prayer.

Some Christians today, in their desire to have a closer walk with the Lord or for some health reason,  have turned to meditative practices rooted in eastern mysticism such as Yoga, Mindfulness, Meditation, Contemplative Prayer, etc. The goal being to reach a passive state of “silence” or “stillness” where all mental thoughts cease and the ‘Lord’ can be heard.  While it is noble to want a closer walk with the Lord Jesus, a person must be careful how he goes about seeking this intimacy, because a sincere motive is no protection from deception.

In Watchman Nee’s 1927 book, The Spiritual Man, he discusses how we can discern if the Lord Jesus or evil spirits are communicating with us. Following are some quotes from the section entitled, The Mind A Battlefield, where he compares the different mental conditions through which the Holy Spirit works versus the mental conditions through which evil spirits work.

At the end of his comments, we have quotes from Quaker Richard J. Foster, an advocate of these practices, and a former Yanamamo witchdoctor.

I hope you find the material enlightening.  Thank you for your time.

Carl

“God creates man with a mind to be used —“he who hears the word and understands it” (Matt. 13:23). God desires man to understand His Word  with the intellect, from whence the emotion, will and spirit are reached.”

“In their desire to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit many of the Lord’s people feel they do not need to measure, investigate, and judge by the light of the Bible all thoughts which seemingly come from God. “

“The passivity of the mind is due to a misconception of the meaning of consecration and obedience to the Holy Spirit. Many take for granted that the thoughts in their head hinder their walk. They do not perceive that it is a brain which ceases to function or which functions chaotically that hinders spiritual life, whereas, one which functions properly is not only profitable but also essential. Such a mind as this can alone cooperate with God.”

Let us pursue one step further this matter of passivity as a condition for the operation of evil spirits. We are aware of one class of people who especially relish communicating with these spirits. People usually do not hanker to be demon possessed, but this special class craves to be so possessed. These are the soothsayers, the augurs, the mediums, the necromancers. By accurately observing the cause of their possession we may come to understand the principle of demon possession. These people tell us that in order to be possessed by what they call gods (who actually are demons) their will must present no resistance whatsoever but be favorably disposed to accept whatever comes upon their bodies. To render their will completely passive their mind must first to be reduced to blankness. A blank brain produces a passive will. These two elements are the basic requisites for demon possession. Hence a necromancer who is waiting for his “god” to come to him lets down his hair and shakes his head for a continued period until it is dizzy and his mind completely out of action. As the latter is turning blank his will naturally becomes immobile. At this point his mouth begins to move unconsciously, his body gradually trembles, and before long his “god” descends upon him. This is one way of becoming possessed. Although there may be others, the principle for the spiritist is the same: to achieve passivity of will through a perfectly blank mind; for all spiritist agree that when spirits or demons alight upon them their heads can no longer think and their wills can no longer act. They are unpossessed until this state of an empty mind and an inert will is reached.

Today’s (1927) so-called scientific hypnotism and religious yogi, which enable people to possess the powers of telepathy, healing, and transforming, are in reality founded upon these two principles. Using the argument that certain methods can be beneficial to mankind, those of this class who perform such techniques as focusing one’s attention, sitting silently, contemplating and meditating, are actually employing these devices to reduce their mind to a blank condition and their will to passivity so as to invite supernatural spirits or demons to supply them with many wonderful experiences. Our purpose here is not to inquire whether or not these people realize they are inviting evil spirits to come; we merely wish to observe that they are fulfilling the requirements for demon possession. The consequence is grave; perhaps later they shall awaken to the fact that what they have welcomed are indeed evil spirits.

Our intention here is not a full treatment of this subject. We simply wish to acquaint the Lord’s children with the principles behind the practice of the black arts: which are a blank and passive mind and will. Evil spirits are overjoyed should these conditions be present, as they can immediately commence to do their dark work.

It is well for every Christian to always bear in mind the one basic and crucially important distinction between the working of evil spirits and that of the Holy Spirit: the Latter works when man fulfills His working conditions, while the former work when man fulfills their working conditions. If man, even though he may appear to be seeking the Holy Spirit, meets the requirements for evil spirits to operate, God’s Spirit will never operate. The wicked spirits wait tirelessly for the opportunity to act. Should anyone be incompetent to distinguish what is truly of God from what is a counterfeit, he need only ask himself one question: what kind of condition was he in when first he experienced such phenomena? If he had fulfilled the prerequisites for the Holy Spirit’s activity, it must have been from God; but had he met the necessary conditions for evil spirits to work, then what he encountered must have been the evil spirit. We do not reject every supernatural phenomenon; what we simply and earnestly desire to do is to separate what is of God from what is of Satan.

The basic distinction between the operating requirements of the Holy Spirit and the wicked spirits can be summarized as follows:

  1. All supernatural revelations, visions or other strange occurrences which require the total cessation of the function of the mind, or are obtained only after it has ceased working, are not of God.
  2. All visions which arise from the Holy Spirit are conferred when the believer’s mind is fully active. It necessitates the active engagement of the various functions of the mind to apprehend these visions. The endeavors of evil spirits follow exactly the opposite course.
  3. All which flows from God agrees with God’s nature and the Bible.”

The Spiritual Man – Watchman Nee  ( Part Eight – The Mind A Battlefield – selections from pages 21-27.  Emphasis- mine.)

In addition to what Nee said the dangers of a blank mind and passive will, the Quaker Richard J. Foster, an advocate of “Christian” contemplation, expresses his concerns about who is speaking in the “silence” when he says

“I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance…there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way!  (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home)

In other words, there are other dangerous spirits in this “silence” that can do you harm. Shame on Foster for encouraging innocent people to expose themselves to such danger. In the, Be Still, DVD he offers advice about how to discern who might be communicating in the “silence” or “stillness”:

“Learning to distinguish the voice of God….from just human voices within us…comes in much the same way that we learn any other voice. Satan pushes and condemns. God draws and encourages. And we know the difference.”

He admits to a chorus of voices that might speak in the “solitude” and “silence”: God, satan, or even other human voices. To show how naïve Foster is, in telling people how to discern God’s voice from satan’s, listen to what the former witchdoctor has to say about what he experienced while in the “silence” and focusing.

Chief Shoefoot, a Yanamamo shaman or witchdoctor, in the DVD, I’ll Never Go Back – A Shaman’s Story, describes the multitude of spiritual beings (demons) that are in this “deep spiritual realm” that Foster encourages people to go into, with blank minds and passive wills.   The Chief begins by relating his initiation into shamanism. How he, after having drugs blown up his nose, was told by the head witchdoctor to sit in “silence” and “focus” only on him (the witchdoctor). Then the “good” and “bad” spirits materialized, a vast mass swirling around the teacher, beautifully attired in tropical bird feathers,  and certain “good” ones entered his chest where, he said,  they built their houses and invited other “good” spirts.  There were other “bad” spirits that were not to be accepted since they caused jealously, murder, etc.

These evil “good” spirits brought bondage,  eventually causing him to think  he was losing his mind. He said the spirits were “deceivers and loved to deceive.” It was at this point that he met a missionary who helped him understand why God sent his Son to earth. He was born again and delivered from all of the evil spirits.  To the anthropologist’s argument that these primitive tribes should be left alone, Chief Shoefoot says he never wants to go back to living a life dominated by the forces of darkness.

In conclusion, Watchman Nee shares that a blank mind and passive will are a welcome mat for evil spirits to enter a person, that the voice one hears in this “silent” state, which is the goal of all eastern mysticism meditation, is NOT God’s but deceiving, evil spirits.  Even the advocates of these practices, like Richard J. Foster, admit that a person is exposing themselves to deception by these evil beings when in this state.  Finally, the  error of Foster’s advice on how to discern God’s voice  from satan is revealed by Chief Shoefoot’s testimony.  From this once professional witchdoctor we see that there are “good” spirits that do good things and “bad” spirits that  do evil things.  So in this meditative state you can have a wide range of feelings, from being “drawn and encouraged” to being “pushed and condemned” depending on the evil spirit.  Feelings are a dangerous yardstick for WHO you are hearing in this mentally blank and passive state.

He said these spirits were beautiful in appearance but that they all deceive and love to deceive.

If you are a Christian or a non-Christian who is involved or considering trying these eastern meditation methods, I strongly suggest you stop these practices or never get started. God never asked you to seek Him in such a way that exposes you to demonic possession. Use your mind to meditate on His Word found in the Bible and let the truths therein bring practical righteousness to your daily walk and overflowing joy into your life.

The Lord Jesus said He came so that you could have abundant life.  Don’t settle for a counterfeit.

“Now to Him is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,

To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen     (Jude 24 -25)

Carl

YOGA: Is It Exercise or Religion – Does It Matter

(Pastor John Lindell of the 10,000 member James River Church in Ozark, Missouri recently preached a sermon on New Age practices including yoga.  I applaud Pastor Lindell for having the conviction to address New Age or New Spirituality practices that are deceiving Christians and our fellow Americans.  Following is a booklet entitled YOGA: Is It Exercise or Religion – Does It Matter by Ray Yungen from Lighthouse Trials.  I pray the article answers questions some are having about this seemingly innocent practice. God Bless.  Carl)

“It is a moment that troubles me even now. Once, when I was giving a presentation at a Christian college about New Age spirituality, I noticed a student roll her eyes when I mentioned the term, Yoga. It was a small gesture, yet it spoke volumes—as if to say, “Give me a break! It’s just exercises!” I surmised from her response that she was a Yoga practitioner or had at least been exposed to the subject and believed that participation in Yoga had no negative impact on one’s spiritual life. After all, the young lady was attending a Christian college, so she likely presumed she was discerning enough to know whether a practice was pagan or not. But she gave no biblical evaluation of Yoga, and rather wordlessly defended it. Unfortunately, this trend to accept Yoga and other New Age practices has only continued to accelerate within Christian colleges, ministries, and even churches.

Just Exercise?

Currently, an estimated 24 million people in the United States are regularly involved with some form of Yoga.1 In the town where I live, the high majority of health clubs, including the YMCA, YWCA, and the local community college, offer Yoga classes. According to a new survey by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease and Prevention, nearly ten percent of U.S. adults and three percent of children participated in yoga in 2012.”2 Most of these adults may be vaguely aware of the Hindu component of Yoga but see that as being irrelevant to taking Yoga classes. Many people doing the asanas, or postures, seem to feel that these exercises are devoid of any religious connotation.”

To read the compete articles click here.

Meditation and Yoga

Recently, on a morning news show, the host interviewed a company whose sole purpose evidently is to promote meditation. Their website’s homepage simply states “Meditation made simple.” The interview revolved around the fact that the company will be applying for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for their meditation app. With this approval, a medical doctor could prescribe meditation according to their app. If I understood correctly, this would be a first-of-its-kind government approval. Though it was not revealed on the show, my research revealed that one of the company founders is a former Buddhist monk. Their website just states he is a former monk.

I find it very interesting that in the future, if the company is successful in their attempt to gain FDA approval for their app, your doctor may be able to prescribe meditation for its alleged benefits, based on this app.

With this in mind, I want to share a quote from The Kingdom of the Occult by Walter Martin.

“The New Age movement today must be recognized for what it is: the ancient world of the occult presented in new terminology. ”

(Note: the term “New Age” is also expressed by the terms “spiritual” or “spirituality” in today’s culture.)

” The New Age movement has mushroomed throughout the world, particularly in the United States. Cloaked in acceptable and seemingly harmless terms, such as the widespread exercises of yoga and meditation, is the hidden agenda of the occult. When one meditates or practices yoga, the mind is said to be emptied to allow the person to become one with the universe, but this is where the person opens the mind and heart to false spirits that await every opportunity to invade a soul that is normally guarded.”

“Noted German authority on the occult Dr. Kurt Koch states the following about the occultic side of yoga: “This technique of relaxation and these ’emptying exercises,’ so highly spoken of by the yogis lead to the inflowing of another spirit—other spirits. The students of yoga did not notice it.” Similarly, Dr. Koch, who has compiled volumes of case studies on people involved in the occult, wrote the following about meditation: “My counseling work in East and West has given me insight into the nature and practice of meditation…I am totally opposed to meditation in the Far Eastern pattern… We cannot empty ourselves by means of techniques and postures—-then other powers flood in.”

“It is difficult to find any New Ager who does not practice either meditation or yoga, but Dr. Koch’s warning is clear: if one empties the mind, it becomes an open vessel for other spirits.”

“It is important to note what Jesus said concerning spirits, particularly demonic spirits that invade human bodies: ‘When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43-45).”

“From Jesus we learn, then, that demonic spirits can inhabit human beings. Rather than experiment with the occult and New Age practices, where the person unwittingly opens the soul to demons, it is much better to close the door and refuse participation.”

As you can see, the practice of yoga and Far Eastern meditation, can open a person up to demonic spirits. And Dr. Koch said the participants never noticed the demonic spirits entering them.

Think about that for a moment.

Jesus spent time in His earthly ministry casting demonic spirits out of people. The number of evil spirits in people varied. One boy had one demon. When Jesus confronted a demonic mad man, He asked him “What is your name?” . The demon said ” ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him”, i.e. the man. (Luke 8: 26-33) A “legion” of Roman soldiers consisted of 5000 soldiers. Scripture does not say it was that number of demons but understanding that fact adds weight to “many”.

As far as alleged benefits, the Dalai Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist, said if we would start teaching meditation to every 8 year old, in one generation we would have a peaceful world. Researchers in New Zealand, The Netherlands and the UK found out that meditation does not change how adults behave toward others. To find the whole article, search for “Meditation DOESN’T make you a calmer person – The Berean Call”.

We encourage you to keep away from any occult practices and keep the door to your mind and soul closed to all except Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. And never participate in any practice that requires you to empty your mind. Biblical meditation does not require an emptying of the mind.

Thank you for your time and may God richly bless you in wisdom and understanding.

Carl

To Yoga or Not To Yoga

Following is a question and an answer about yoga from The Berean Call. I hope you will find it informative.  Remember, Lord Jesus said the mark of the end times would be great deception.  God bless you and yours.  Carl

Question: Recently I joined a yoga class for fitness and relaxation. During the class, mantras are used. The teacher explained the meanings such as “all is truth.” Is it wrong to participate in these mantras? Can I just substitute Christian words such as “Jesus”? Or should I not participate in the class at all? Everyone I have asked seems to think there is no problem with this but I feel uncomfortable and do not know why.

Response: I am glad that you feel uncomfortable about being involved in yoga. Drop the class immediately! Yoga is the very heart of Hinduism. It is sold in the West as science but in fact is religion. It is promoted in the West as beneficial to health, but in the East it is a technique for dying. The goal is to reach moksha, allegedly escaping the world of illusion (maya) of time and sense into liberation from the endless cycle of birth and death and rebirth through reincarnation.

The latter is another of Satan’s appealing lies that offers endless chances by denying God’s declaration that it is “appointed unto man once to die” (Heb:9:27). Many Roman Catholic priests and nuns practice yoga, and some who have become deeply involved in Eastern mysticism of various kinds, such as Thomas Merton, are highly honored among Catholics.

Yoga is a sanskrit word that means “yoking” and refers to union with Brahman, the ultimate god in Hinduism. The goal of yoga is “self-realization,” to realize that atman, the individual soul, is identical with Brahman, the universal soul, i.e., that you and god are one; indeed, that you are god but just don’t know it and need, through yoga, to discover this great “truth.”

Your yoga teacher will probably deny all of this, but he (or she) cannot deny that this practice comes from Hinduism. It was not invented in the West. Yoga was introduced by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita as the sure way to the Hindu heaven. Shiva, one of the most feared Hindu deities, known as The Destroyer, is addressed as Yogeshwara, which means “Lord of Yoga.”

Hatha yoga, known as physical yoga, is alleged to be devoid of the mysticism in other forms. Not so. One of the most authoritative hatha yoga texts, the fifteenth-century Hathayoga-Pradipika, declares that Lord Shiva was the first hatha yoga teacher. As for the mantras, if one of them means “all is truth,” that should give you the pantheistic Hindu connection. You know that all is not truth; indeed, this very idea is a satanic lie!

Substitute “Jesus” as your “Christian mantra”? No! Any mantra (like the Catholic rosary) violates Christ’s command to “use not vain repetitions as the heathen” (Mt 6:7). I don’t know what mantras you have been taught, but the fact is that true yoga mantras are all the names of Hindu gods. Furthermore, the greatest yoga teachers all declare that the repetition of a mantra is a call to that god (i.e., the demon it represents) to come and possess the meditator. I have interviewed people who became demon possessed through yoga. The great yogis all warn of the grave dangers involved, even though at the same time they promote the alleged benefits.
Yes, you could benefit physically from stretching your muscles, etc. However, the spiritual price you pay is not worth it. If you are interested in physical fitness, then practice exercises designed for that, not those designed specifically for achieving union with Brahman!

One of the most popular forms of yoga in the West is Transcendental Meditation (TM). Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at first introduced TM to the West as a Hindu religious practice. He openly taught that its purpose was to produce in the meditators’ bodies “soma,” a legendary substance that would allegedly feed and awaken the pantheon of Hindu gods. But when TM was excluded from public schools and government funding, Maharishi quickly and dishonestly deleted all reference to religion and began presenting TM as pure science. Such deliberate deceit says much about Maharishi’s integrity. Nothing was changed except the labels.

Former TMers have filed lawsuits asking millions of dollars in damages because of the traumas they suffered through the practice of TM. More recently, TM has practically taken over the town of Fairfield, Iowa, where Maharishi University of Management is located.

The latest push in the promotion of TM comes from television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz. This protégé of Oprah Winfrey is a national spokesman for Transcendental Meditation, as well as being a medical advisor/teacher in Rick Warren’s “Daniel Plan,” an alleged biblical health and fitness program begun at Saddleback Church. The curriculum features occult meditation advocated by Oz and two other medical consultants.

The Berean Call – T.A. McMahon