Eastern Meditation Sneaks into the Church
There is a widespread resurgence of Eastern meditation among nominal Christians in the West. In many churches and other Christian circles, prayer is increasingly replaced by meditation, which is also described as contemplation, centering prayers, or quiet prayers. Meditation is often accompanied by Yoga relaxation exercises and relaxed breathing in order to promote a mental shift from the rational left brain to the intuitive right brain.
Meditation has an inner focus. You are not searching for a God who is outside of you, but learn to overcome the barrier of domination by human thoughts to discover God deep within yourself. This is an Eastern practice aimed at self-deification.
The New Age author, Dick Sutphen (Finding your answers within, p. 45-47) refers to good and evil spirits that can influence a person during meditation. The humanistic psychologist and mystic, Marilee Zdenek ("The right-brain experience," p. 20) says that, in their intuitive consciousness, people may be guided by goddesses of fortune or they may be afflicted by dragons. She warns against the latter but strongly recommends the former. However, both categories of spiritual beings are unacceptable to Christians. A goddesses of fortune, or a spirit guide, is nothing else than a demon who camouflages himself as a messenger from God (2 Cor:11:14).
In his foreword to Ray Yungen’s book, "A Time of Departing," Ron Comer says: "By using Eastern mystical techniques such as the repetition of words (mantras) and the emptying of the mind, professing Christians are testifying to powerful experiences in the spiritual realms. In Christian circles these techniques are being called: the silence, breath prayer, centring prayer, or contemplative prayer. Through these mystical prayer practices the church today has opened its door to a subtle abandonment of the gospel... Like two rivers merging together, Eastern and Western religious thought are joining together, thus gaining momentum towards a one world religion in which all paths lead to God."
The Roman Catholic Church officially endorses contemplative prayer. Ray Yungen says: “The new catechism [of the Catholic Church] firmly states: “Contemplative prayer is hearing the word of God... contemplative prayer is silence.”
Evidence has also been found that people who have mystical religious experiences eventually develop a pantheistic concept of God. That is not the belief in a personal God in heaven, but in an impersonal god who is everywhere and in all things. According to this view there is an element of divinity in every person, and this "god from within" must be discovered and developed through meditation. . . .Biblical prayers are spiritual thoughts, desires and petitions that are clearly expressed in words. The supplicant’s rational mind must not be in a passive state, as true prayer requires a sober and active level of consciousness in which carefully considered words are spoken to God. It does not take the form of a vain repetition of words (mantras) or mystical thoughts that are foreign to the Bible. The Lord Jesus says: “But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do ” (Matt:6:7).
Meditating on the Word. The Bible does not equate prayer with mystical meditation, but explains meditation quite differently as the sober and conscious contemplation of God’s Word (Ps:1:2). Quiet times of meditation are therefore not prayers without words but the contemplation of God’s Word.
Why would believers want to revert to the mystical practices of the Dark Ages when they can worship God in an alert, sober, biblical way while honouring and observing His Word in their hearts that they might not sin against Him? (Ps:119:11). (Bible Guidance Weekly, Prof. Johan Malan, University of Limpopo, South Africa, 3/20/05).