MEDITATION: Biblical vs. New Age / Eastern Mysticism
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Jos. 1:8)
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)
(A) BIBLICAL MEDITATION
- Christian meditation is to be solely on the Word of God and what it reveals about Him. David found this to be so, and he describes the man who is “blessed” as one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on the His law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:2)
- True Christian meditation is an active thought process whereby we give ourselves to the study of the Word, praying over it and asking God to give us understanding by the Spirit, who has promised to lead us “into all truth” (John 16:13).
- Then we put this truth into practice, committing ourselves to the Scriptures as the rule for life and practice as we go about our daily activities. This causes spiritual growth and maturing in the things of God as we are taught by His Holy Spirit.
(B) NEW AGE / EASTERN RELIGIONS MEDITATION
- New Age meditation involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to still the mind by putting it in equivalent of pause or neutral.
- New Age meditation works as a holding mechanism until the mind becomes thoughtless, empty and silent.
- Two most common methods used to induce this thoughtless state are:
(1) BREATHING exercises – attention is focused on the breath.
(2) MANTRA – a word or phrase is repeated.
- The basic process is to focus and maintain concentration without thinking about what you are focusing on. Repetition on the focused object is what triggers the blank mind.
- Definition of MANTRA. The translation from Sanskrit => man = to think; tra = to be liberated from. Thus, the word literally means to escape from thought.
- By repeating the mantra, either out loud or silently, the word or phrase begins to lose any meaning it once had. The conscious thinking process is gradually tuned out until an altered state of consciousness is achieved. But, this silence is not the final objective; its attainment is only a means to an end. The end being a close personal contact with a powerful Presence.
- Renowned occultist, Dion Fortune, acknowledged: ‘Shifting the consciousness is the key to all occult training.‘ That is to say, meditation is the gateway to the ‘light‘ that occultists experience.
- HIGHER SELF = the ultimate objective of the meditation, the part of the individual linked to the divine essence of the Universe, the God part of man. The goal is to become attuned with the higher self, thus facilitating the higher self’s emergence into the physical realm bringing the practitioner under the guidance and direction of God. This connection is referred to in New Age circles as: awakening, transformation, enlightenment, self-realization, cosmic consciousness and superconsciousness. This is also why an interchangeable term for New Age is metaphysics.
- METAPHYSICS = that which is beyond the physical realm (the unseen realm) and being intimately connected to those powers not perceived by the normal five senses.
=> Authors/teachers who use/promote these New Age techniques to varying degrees include:
- RICHARD FOSTER
- BRIAN MCLAREN
- TONY CAMPOLO
- RUTH HALEY BARTON
- BRENNAN MANNING
- DALLAS WILLARD
- THOMAS MERTON
- HENRI NOUWEN
- EARLY CHURCH MYSTICS
(C) J. I. Packer writes in his classic Knowing God:
“How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is demanding, but simple. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.”
He adds, “Meditation is a lost art today, and Christian people suffer grievously from their ignorance of the practice. Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us—‘comfort’ us in the old, strong Bible sense of the word—as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”