Finding the god within
Although this practice is ancient, it cannot be traced to any one person. It is essential to the practice of the Hindu religion. As far as we know, its origin is found in Hinduism. There are many types of meditations. Meditation claims to work by quieting the mind; the meditator is supposedly able to perceive the "true" reality which lies within his or her own nature, thereby achieving spiritual "enlightenment." The ultimate level of the transcendental state is "pure awareness."
Basically it goes like this: you become quiet and turn off all outside influences such as sound and awareness except for one object, such as a picture, mandala or a sound, usually aum or one's mantra. Meditation is clearly a form of self-hypnosis as the participant repeats the phrases over and over again concentrating on the sound not the meaning. The breathing becomes very shallow, barely noticeable and the influences from the outside vanish.
When one becomes proficient enough they do not need any training and simply focus within. You slow down your breathing until absolute stillness occurs. One can meditate by concentrating on their breathing and become one with their breath. Usually yoga is practiced along with this exercise, if one is serious. Here is where one's experience begins, senses of oneness can occur as well revelations of the unity of all life and past lives. One can also travel into other realms, be engulfed in light and can meet spirit guides. The ultimate goal of meditation is to self realize your divinity, that you are God. Like its counterpart Yoga it is Hinduistic to its core. The ultimate goal of meditation and yoga is to realize you are God. "MEDITATE ON YOUR SELF" "WORSHIP YOUR SELF "YOUR GOD DWELLS WITHIN YOU AS YOU." Swami Muktananda (Siddha Yoga Dham Foundation) Muktananda's advice to his disciples was: "Kneel to your own self. Honor and worship your own being. God dwells within you as You." This is the essence of Hinduism of which all guru's promote through yoga and meditation.
Where did it all Begin? In the 60's the gurus came to America and preached against materialism. They could see how we lived. But they were no example as they relieved people of their material wealth and many enjoyed it themselves. The Maharishi claims that TM's roots can be traced back thousands of years to Krishna, and then to Buddha-though the Maharishi claims the Buddhists have distorted the teaching. The teaching was restored by a Hindu teacher in A. D. 800, although it was confined primarily to a few Hindus and Yogis living in Himalayan caves. This changed when Guru Dev came into the full knowledge of the teaching and passed it on to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which in turn passed it on to America. The Maharishi was a disciple of Shri Guru Dev, who eliminated certain elements of yoga that he deemed unessential. Then left India and brought with him a revised discipline to the Western world. He set up The International Meditation Society whose purpose was to train instructors to teach this technique throughout the Western world.
The Maharishi began to hold introductory lectures on college campuses throughout the United States, and he founded the Students' International Meditation Society (SIMS), a student organization. Within 6 years of its formation, SIMS claimed to have blossomed to more than 10,000 members in the United States alone.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi first introduced TM to the West as a Hindu religious practice. At the time it was openly taught that its purpose was to produce "a legendary substance called soma in the meditator's body so the gods of the Hindu pantheon could be fed and awakened." (Art Kunkin, "Transcendental Meditation on Trial, Part Two quoted in Occult Invasion) The Maharishi and his religion became publicly famous when he was introduced to the Beatle's. Photos of them with him generated an enormous interest. It also shaped the new sound of the Beatles music. (Remember the lyrics, relax and let your mind float downstream). In the 1960's the Maharishi was open about TM's religious heritage. He advised in his book Transcendental Meditation, that "It seems for the present that this transcendent, deep meditation should be made available to the peoples through the agencies of government ... health, education, social welfare and justice."
It was in Madison Square Garden that the Maharishi revealed his plan for permanent world peace. What the world really needed, he said, was one meditation center staffed by one teacher for every 100,000 people.
It was the Maharishi's intention and plan to teach TM to the entire world. The group incorporated as an educational organization, and the Maharishi Yogi outlined for the world seven goals he claimed could be reached by practicing TM: (1) Develop the full potential of the individual. (2) Improve governmental achievement. (3) Realize the highest ideal of education. (4) Solve the problems of crime and all behavior that brings unhappiness to the family of man. (5) Maximize the intelligent use of the environment. (6) Bring fulfillment to the economic aspirations of the individual. (7) Achieve the spiritual goals of mankind during this generation. By doing this he would convert all to Hinduism.
By 1975, the United States government had funded seventeen research grants for TM projects. People were joining the movement at the rate of 30,000 a month. Two books on TM had made the bestseller list.
The introductory lectures claimed that TM was simply a scientific technique that anybody could learn. The practice could help transform society. Maharishi's modified meditation technique had the practitioner meditating twice each day for 20 minutes using a personal mantra. The mantra was supposed to be a meaningless sound (instead it was a name of a god) that meditators repeat to themselves to allow thoughts to flow freely or not at all. This would help them achieve a deep state of rest, and tranquility.
Several parents along with the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, Inc. (based in Berkeley, California) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State asked the U.S. District Court of New Jersey to abandon this experiment. The plaintiffs argued that TM was a religion and that the teaching of TM in public schools and the government funding were both an "Establishment of Religion" in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. The TM representatives argued that TM is a secular science, not a religion. The residing Federal Judge J. Curtis Meanor didn't see it their way and ruled that TM is a religion.
The judges looked to the religious nature of Maharishi's SCI textbook, which was being taught, and the religious nature of his Puja initiation ceremony that TM'ers must go through individually to receive their secret meditation mantra. Without that mantra it is impossible to practice TM.
At the compulsory Puja ceremony, which was held outside the school building, each student brought some fruit, flowers and a clean white handkerchief, which were taken and laid on a table in a closed room. The student's teacher would bow and make offerings several times to an 8" by 12" color photograph of Guru Dev, who is Maharishi's teacher, and had died in the 1950s. Each student's teacher also sang a chant in Sankskrit and the student received "his own personal mantra which is never to be revealed to any other person." Or so they thought (592 F.2d at 198.)
TM witnesses swore that the chant was a purely secular expression of gratitude to teachers. However, Judge Meanor read an English translation prepared by TM and found not one word of thanks in it. Rather, the chant described a deified Guru Dev as "the Lord" among number of other divine labels.
Here's what Judge Meanor found. "The Unbounded, like the endless canopy of the sky, the omnipresent in all creation .... to Him, to Shri Guru Dev, I bow down. The Eternal, the Pure, the Immovable .... to Shri Guru Dev, I bow down."
One can experience laughter, crying, immense sadness to depression, even fatigue, which is the opposite of what it is supposed to do. Many studies (the movement has tried to suppress) have found, that approximately 40% of the people who practice TM develop adverse effects. Most TM' practitioners get advanced techniques of TM about every 18 months. Here's an example of one mantra that supposedly is not religious. 6th Shri Aing Namah Namah (The mantra is thought in the heart area of the body). Interpretation. Shri = oh most beautiful Aing = Hindu goddess saraswati Namah = I bow down.
The cost for pursuing your enlightenment doesn't come cheap either; it starts at $600 and can go as high as $4000. How different from what Christ offers which is for free. And while Christ doesn't offer enlightenment, he alone can give forgiveness of our sins, which is a quantum leap into the real problem we have and the reality we live in. When TM was excluded from public schools and government funding as a religious practice, Maharishi changed his explanation from religion to science. He began a campaign presenting TM as pure science. A deliberate deception which doesn't say too much on the integrity of a guru who is supposed to be united as God, or God himself. This is what the Beatles discovered as they said they found him to be only a man. In 1974 [he] . . . completely renamed all the corporations... [under] a new set of Articles of Incorporation, deleting everything that said "spiritual" and "religious" to legitimize the teaching of Hinduism.
For example, Maharishi . . . began calling God "the vacuum state." He instructed [TMers] in the deception. (cited in Occult Invasion) This state of consciousness promised to bring complete rest while one is still awake. This transcendental state would bring one beyond waking, sleeping, or dreaming, reaching a level of relaxation while being completely alert.
According to Kropinski, Maharishi told those on the inside: The Influence of Eastern Mysticism …It doesn't matter if you lie teaching people . . . [because] TM is the ultimate, absolute spiritual authority on the face of this Earth. [TMers] are the only teachers arid upholders of genuine spiritual tradition .... They're running the universe. They are controlling the gods through the soma sacrifice ( ibid p.225). Much was expected from TM. John Hagelin a quantum physicist who believes in transcendental meditation, took 4,000 yogic flyers to Washington to reduce violent crimes through meditation. Afterwards the murder rate soured. Recently The Maharishi announced an even bigger project. His plans are to get 40,000 yogis in India to "hop" while they simultaneously assume the lotus position. According to the Newsday report "this will create a force field that can repel hatred and spread happiness in the world's collective consciousness" ("Peace could be just a hop away" Newsday Oct.1, 2001 p.A19)
In 1975, William Johnston warned in his Silent Music: The Science of Meditation: Anyone with the slightest experience of meditation knows about the uprising of the unconscious and the possible resultant turmoil, to say nothing of the increased psychic power that meditation brings. All this could have the greatest social consequences if meditation becomes widespread. Well it has and unknown to many they are practicing Hinduism and entering into the world of the occult. Many who enter into altered states through practicing occult meditation have been confronted by non- human entities both good and bad. Former TM instructor, R.D. Scott, tells of numerous "spirit manifestations" among meditators. These included "visions of floating green eyes . . . creatures of light floating above the Puja table [TM initiation-ceremony altar]. " Ghoulish creatures materialized periodically to stare with terrifying expressions at participants." Refuting the claim that these experiences were merely hallucinations, Scott points out that often more than one person saw "the same procession of spirit creatures simultaneously and without any advance warning" (cited in Occult Invasion p.224).
The advanced practice of TM has them meditate for hours at a time. That can stimulate delusions and hallucinations changing ones perception of reality. It can make one oversensitive or dull their senses depending on the person's psyche. In Yoga Journal, Ken Wilber (practicing mystic and yoga enthusiast, often called today's "Einstein of consciousness") warns that any form of Eastern meditation, even done "correctly," involves "a whole series of deaths and rebirths; extraordinary conflicts and stresses . . . some very rough and frightening times." (Catherine Ingram, "Ken Wilber: The Pundit of Transpersonal Psychology," in Yoga Journal, September/October 1987, p. 43.cited in Occult Invasion)
In an interview in Yoga Journal, Ken Wilber (practicing mystic and yoga enthusiast, often called today's "Einstein of consciousness") warns that any form of Eastern meditation, even done "correctly," involves "a whole series of deaths and rebirths; extraordinary conflicts and stresses . . . some very rough and frightening times." (cited in Occult Invasion by Dave Hunt).
Former TMers have filed lawsuits asking millions of dollars in damages because of the trauma they suffered through TM. Kropinski (who won such a lawsuit) relates that people experienced violent shaking, hallucinations, murderous impulses, and suicidal thoughts "as a result of the TM practice." At teacher training sessions distraught TMers would complain of flying into uncontrollable rages in the midst of meditation, smashing furniture, assaulting their roommates, and trying to commit suicide. Some have committed suicide and others have gone insane. (Occult Invasion p.225)
In Hollywood, the musical stars eventually turned their focus away from Maharishi Yogi to something new. Unfortunately it has never left. Today Meditation is mainstreamed into our culture and has become widespread regardless of its religious undertones. It is offered in the local YMCA, the 'United Nations, churches, sports clinics, and some hospitals. Transcendental Meditation (TM) is now in virtually every major city in this country. TM is taught in well over 200 centers across America. About 6,000 doctors practice TM or recommend it to their patients. Currently almost 3 million people have been initiated into Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's occult system of transcendental meditation and 1million people in the United States practice TM regularly. Other types of Meditations are practiced by literally ten to twenty million people in this country.
As author Dave Hunt points out "The very title Transcendental is a fraud. TM is pantheistic and thus denies a transcendent God. It leads one deep within to find the "true self." Our society has become obsessed with self, a self which it is determined to elevate to godhood."(Occult Invasion, A Dark and a Light Side p.105)
Mystical, occult religions in America practice their own brand of meditation, such as Druidism, Kabbalism, and mediumism. Hundreds of new and old religions and cults also have meditation: the Association for Research and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce), the Church Universal and Triumphant (Elizabeth Claire Prophet), Eckankar, the Gurdjieff Foundation, the Rosicrucians, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Astara, such as Sufism, Sikhism, Taoism, Tantrism, and others all stress the importance of their meditation procedures.
Dozens of Hindu and Buddhist gurus or groups all require meditation practice in conjunction with their religious practices: Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, Swami Kriyananda, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, SYDA Foundation (Muktananda), Sai Baba, Yogi Bhajan, Swami Rama, Maharaj Ji, Kirpal Singh, Sri Chinmoy, Self Realization Fellowship (Paramahansa Yogananda), ISKCON, Da Free John, and many others all emphasize the importance of meditation. Rajneesh's "chaotic (dynamic?) meditation" is probably the most potent-and dangerous for the naïve participants. Where he has them jumping and constantly moving up and down screaming for hours at a time. He then brings them to an immediate standstill in silence, from this ensues a state of what the participant perceives as bliss and calmness.
The "Kalachakra" is a several day Buddhist event. Containing "Earth Rituals" with prayer presentations, ceremonies, student initiations, Buddhist teachings, ritual offering dances, and times of meditation for healing and harmony. Kalachakra is supposed to add to the "universal" life energy of "peace" and "world love." It is this method of mediation that is promoted by the Dalai Lama.
According to Robert Muller the former UN Assistant Secretary General, a young American college student helped him to understand meditation by giving him a catalogue from Maharishi International University. Muller shares, "I kept the volume and read it in the airplane. I was fascinated by it. I learned how meditation functioned and what it did for the fulfillment of the human person. I discovered that I had been meditating for years without knowing it" (Robert Muller, Most of All, They Taught Me Happiness, p. 81,1985).
Meditation promoters also claim the practice has numerous health benefits. While making someone calm by removing thoughts that can bring stress. This can be beneficial, but one does not have to resort to meditation to do so.
Many of the promoters have graced the covers of Time and Newsweek, They and their followers have been promoted on Oprah, Geraldo and other talk shows. Who are they? The Hindu Evangelist Deepok Chopra, and his guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They are the new pioneers telling us how to deal with stress.
Today Meditation is gaining wider and wider acceptance in the medical field under the innocent sounding title "MIND-BODY Medicine." Therapist Lynne D. Finney explained this proposition very concisely in her book, Reach for the Rainbow. "Meditation is no longer for mystics. Western society has discovered that the old gurus really had something, that the ancient eastern wisdom works, and that meditation is not only applicable to our modern society but may be its savior" (page 240).
Now it is for kids as the once popular Teen-Age Mutant Ninja Turtles, promote special powers through Eastern meditation learned from their guru, Splinter the Rat. Dr. Harold Bloomfield, a promoter of transcendental meditation, while addressing the 1978 Holistic Health Conference in San Diego, stated, "In your essential nature you are divine and that's a major focus of our holistic health movement." (Occult Shock and Psychic Forces, Wilson and Weldon, p. 155).
The Readers Digest Society had published a book entitled Reader's Digest's Family Guide to Natural Medicine. In it they picture H. B. Blavatsky and Annie Besant, two of the founding Figures of modern occultism. On the opposite page is the leader of TM, the Maharishi Mehesh Yogi. The accompanying text explains (that meditation leads to "spiritual rewards" and "oneness with the universe."
Djwal Kul states" It is impossible to progress along the spiritual path except through the practice of [Eastern] meditation. (Djwal Kul, ancient Tibetan Master) This westernized form of Hinduism is hidden from the public. As they are not told what the gurus actually teach. True meditation leads to a self discovery of unprecedented proportions, You are God!
"MAN IS DIVINE. THE INNER MAN IS FULLY DIVINE. Vedanta teaches no other dogma...." ( Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Hindu leader of Transcendental Meditation. "Transcendental Meditation," P.58) "BE STILL.. AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOD ... when you know that YOU ARE GOD, YOU WILL BEGIN TO LIVE GODHOOD..." (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi "Meditations of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi," p.178) Many Gurus quote Ps.46:10 "be still and know I Am God" to support their meditations goal. But it really means to stop striving and struggling and rest in him confident of his watchful care over your life. It does not mean to discover you are God.
God says he alone is God, the creator, and the Gods who have not made the heavens and the earth will perish. Can any guru or mediator claim they created the universe? Isaiah 47:10 "For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, 'No one sees me'; your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; and you have said in your heart, 'I am', and there is no one else besides me." There is only one God and there is one thing we can be sure of-- we are not Him!
Gurus tell us the problem with mankind is that man thinks he is a separate individual, we need to see the interconnectiveness of all life, all is part of God. This is called pantheism. By meditating, our life and our reality will respond to our changed thinking. Today we have similar techniques applied in the church, its called positive confession. Which is like its Occultic counterpart decreeing.
Acceptance in Christianity Unfortunately, Eastern forms of meditation are practiced by Christians in many churches. Which has sparked a new openness by Catholics, Protestants, or Eastern Orthodox appreciation of meditation as Thousands of priests and nuns practice TM and Zen. The goal of Zen is to inhibit the intellect, which gives way to insight, and you begin to understand your true nature. You attain "Satori" experiencing a synthesis with the universal mind, and you walk in total awareness. Robert Schuller of the Hour of Power endorsed meditation as valid: A variety of approaches to meditation . . . is employed by many different religions as well as by various nonreligious mind-control systems. In all forms . . . TM, Zen Buddhism, or Yoga . . . the meditator endeavors to overcome the conscious mind ... It is important to remember that meditation in any form is the harnessing, by human means, of God's divine laws ... Transcendental Meditation or TM . . . is not a religion nor is it necessarily anti-Christian. (Robert Schuller, Peace of Mind Through Possibility Thinking 1977, pp. 131-32). Meditation techniques are called various names to offer the practice to those who are naïve of Hinduism. One is called centering in prayer or in other ways which visualization can be used. Fr. Thomas Keating teaches on centering prayer who tells us contemplative prayer is a way of tuning into a fuller level of reality that is always present…"(Open mind, open heart p.37). He explains "My acquaintance with eastern methods of meditation has convinced me that there is…there are ways of calming the mind in the spiritual disciplines of both the east and the west…many serious seekers of truth study the eastern religions…" What he is promoting is the concept of God permeating the air as prana. There is a new trend in worship music which has people speaking of God as the air we breathe as his presence and even the ground we live on. watch out for pantheistic concepts creeping into the church.
Evangelical author Richard Foster speaks on personal renewal by meditative prayer where one centers down becoming quiet and passive and then uses guided imagery and visualization of Christ. His book Celebration of Discipline was on the Christian bestseller list for many months. In his chapter on meditation he stresses discovering "the inner reality of the spiritual world [which] is available to all who are willing to search for it." While Foster does say one should distinguish between Eastern meditation and Christian forms, they are, "worlds apart" Foster also encourages "centering" exercises and concentrating on one's breath, also a common Eastern technique: unfortunately, his methods offered have similarities to new age or Eastern techniques that are used in meditation.
Foster has meditation aimed at centering oneself begins by concentrating on breathing. Inhale deeply, slowly tilting your head back as far as it will go. Then exhale, allowing your head slowly to come forward until your chin nearly rests on your chest. Do this for several moments, praying inwardly something like this: "Lord, I exhale my fear over my geometry exam, I inhale Your peace. I exhale my spiritual apathy, I inhale Your light and life. Then, as before, become silent outwardly and inwardly. Be attentive to the inward living Christ."
In goes the good stuff out goes the bad. This clearly is combining eastern ways with Christ and it has a Christian veneer but is decidedly unbiblical.
The bible tells us to keep our minds on guard and protected. To bring oneself into a passive mental state, this type of consciousness is a steppingstone to the occult. For when the mind is not protected anything can enter in. Emptying thoughts means falsehood can be sent in without any resistance. Our mind will go from being a battleground to a garbage dump unless we have protection.
2 Cor. 10:5 states " casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Under control means to be submitted to Christ. This is also by the word an objective thinking practice. Biblical meditation is having our minds actively engaged on contemplating God's word. James 4:7 says to submit to God resist the devil and he will flee from you. Resistance is key to staying sober in mind. To do this one must be aware of their surroundings, thinking.
Unlike New Age meditation, biblical meditation doesn't involve mysticism or emptying the mind. Rather, biblical meditation involves objective contemplation and deep reflection on God's Word (Joshua 1:8) as well as (Psalm 1:2; 119; 19:14; 48:9; 77:12; 143:5) works, not on images or dreams. (His Word His Person and faithfulness and works Josh.1:18;Ps.77:12, 104:34; 119:15,23,48,78, 97;148; 1 Tim.4:15).
Christian meditation calls us to look to God, not inward. The purpose is that our minds may be filled with godly wisdom and insight so that our hearts may be filled with comfort, happiness, and joy. To echo the opening words of the psalmist, "Blessed is the man ... [whose] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:1,2). We think and use our mind to grasp what is being expressed by his word and allow it to affect our heart.
We are told that meditation is natural, that when someone sleeps they go into a meditative state. When one meditates it is the same thing. No it is not! This is completely different from forcing and training yourself with some technique to stop the natural thinking process when you are awake. Sleeping is a natural occurrence and the mind and body shut down regularly to relax and replenish because they are exhausted. The other is being conscious and forcing the mind to slow down, relax while the body is energized and awake. If we really want to get rid of the stress in our lives and have peace the Bible gives many precepts to follow. We are told to have rest (Ps.37:1-11). For good health we are to exercise, eat food when hungry (Acts 27:34) being our strong in faith allows us to eat all things (Rom.14). Listening to God's word and being obedient gives us health to our flesh (Prov.4:20-22), he made us and knows what our needs are. Having a merry (cheerful) heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." A good attitude and being content which comes by trusting in the Lord (Prov.17:22). "A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones (Prov.14:30). Prov.3:8 "To fear the Lord and remove oneself from evil, It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones." For spiritual matters there is only one solution. We cannot find peace or truth by going within. Chanting or stilling the mind will not resolve the real issues of life. This may sound trite to some but it is the truth. We need to surrender to Jesus and have him become our savoir and remove the guilt, shame, and sin from our lives. Only then can we get on with finding our purpose and be fulfilled.