Posts Tagged ‘higher self’

The First and Final Deception

Berit Kjos

By Berit Kjos
(Author of How to Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception)

Aleister Crowley was called “the most evil man in the world.” This founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn defined magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur at will.”1

Whose will?

Not God’s! The following occult statement describes one of the most devious traps set by the evil one since the beginning of time:

[U]nless you make yourself equal to God, you cannot understand God: for the like is not intelligible save to the like. . . . Believe that nothing is impossible for you. . . . Mount higher than the highest height; descend lower than the lowest depth. Draw into yourself all sensations of everything created, fire and water, dry and moist, imagining that you are everywhere, on earth, in the sea, in the sky.2

Remember what the serpent said to Eve in the garden after tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit:

Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:4-5)

It was a devious lie! Instead of making her like God, her sin banished her from His presence. By “knowing . . . evil” experientially, she became an unholy creature who could no longer walk in the presence of our holy God! Satan’s lofty promise was actually a deadly trap!

Yet it supports what children are taught in schools, youth organizations, and many churches. In this fantasy world, it makes sense for opposing sides—good and evil—to join hands in perfect harmony. Like the dialectic process that “frees” group members from biblical authority and values, Satan’s devious message promotes an arrogance that matches the Old Testament description of Lucifer who said in his heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . . I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

If we choose “other gods” and yield to Satan’s temptations, we will surely face consequences. Ponder these warnings:

[They] walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 7:24)

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15)

And as it was in the days of [Noah], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. (Luke 17:26)

And what was it like “in the days of Noah”?

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. . . . The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 6:5, 11)

A vivid memory that happened several years ago sticks in my mind like it was yesterday—I was walking down a sidewalk when suddenly I was standing in front of an assortment of Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Supernaturals—an exotic collection of action figures and accessories lay scattered on the ground outside a Boston apartment. Four-year-old Jimmy, their proud owner, smiled a welcome as I stopped to watch him play.

“Which do you like best?” I asked.

“Rock-N-Roll Michaelangelo,” he answered, pointing to one of the black-belted Ninja Turtles.

As we discussed Michaelangelo and the two snakes he carried as weapons, I noticed an interesting book cover.

“May I see your book?”

“Sure. It’s Nanny Noony and the Magic Spell.”

I opened it and read a few paragraphs. “It looks like Nanny Noony put a hex on the farm,” I said.

“But she didn’t really do it,” protested Jimmy. “She’s a good witch. She just makes potions to undo bad hexes.”

Jimmy’s mother, who had been listening, asked me a few questions. When she learned that I was writing about the New Age, she announced that she was a Christian. But she liked spirit-guide Seth’s messages better than the Bible.

She went inside and returned with three paperbacks. “Here’s what I believe,” she said, handing them to me. Penned by the late trance-channeler Jane Roberts, they were filled with messages from the prolific Seth, who first “spoke” to his human medium through a Ouija Board.

Soon I was sitting in her living room surrounded by New Age literature: Seth material, a magazine called Mothering, two books about Edgar Cayce’s channeled revelations, and The Aquarian Gospel of the Christ. The last of these, written like a Bible but presenting distortions of God’s truth, fills Jesus’ “missing years” with New Age “insights”—at the feet of “higher Masters” in India, Persia, and Egypt.

What messages do these and other spirit guides like Ramtha (who has about 35,000 followers), Lazaris, Carl Jung’s Philemon, and thousands of Higher Selves bring? You can be God! Just believe in your divinity, create your own reality, and build a new world of light and love.

Jimmy’s home is tragically representative of the growing number of households, including the homes of many professing Christians, who have opened their doors to counterfeit gods. While millions have studied Seth’s teachings, thousands of amateur spiritists have learned to channel their own spirit guides. The reports of terrifying encounters with evil spirits fade in the optimism of infinite possibilities.

Unfortunately, what we are experiencing today is a synthesis of the “I am God” ideology and accelerating occult activity. In fact, the two are inextricably linked together in that they have the same source—the demonic realm. Aleister Crowley, who promoted the ancient occult maxim “as above, so below” (i.e., man and creation are equal to God and the heavenly realms), also mobilized the youth of the hippie era with his own maxim, “Do what thou wilt” as being the whole of the law.

This maxim was then propagated to the mass youth of the sixties with the expression, “Do your own thing.” Today, we have a similar onslaught from Hell that is destined to be even more devastating to children and teens as they attempt to incorporate their notion of divinity within by practicing “divine powers,” all the while being caught in the web of self, pride, deceit, and occult manifestations.

You may remember December 14th, 2012 when a horrific event took place in America. A young tormented demonized man walked into an elementary school in Connecticut and shot and killed twenty children, six adults, then himself. It shocked and shook the nation. Less than twenty-four hours after the event, then President Barak Obama, and others in government, raised the gun control issue, believing that if there is enough gun control, such atrocities wouldn’t happen. Tragically, what most do not realize is that we have turned this country into an esoteric New Age society, and the “fruit” of it is rearing its ugly grotesque face more now than ever. And these violent crimes committed by young people are only going to increase, especially if most people don’t realize what the true source of such incredible violence is.

What should Christian families do? Should we hide ourselves and our loved ones from the world’s charms and ills, or should we shine our light, work while it is day, and speak the truth in love and in boldness?

Of course, even if we wanted to, we really couldn’t hide. And though we heed God’s call to pray, study His Word, love one another in Christ, and reach out to the lost, we still can’t stop today’s rapid spread of evil. Yet Christian families can make a huge difference in the lives of untold numbers of seekers, if we let God use us to spread His light in a world growing darker by the minute.

We need to show our children how to be in the world but not of the world. We can be God’s ambassadors in an increasingly corrupt land, but we cannot allow its darkness to quench His light in us. We can demonstrate God’s concern for the poor, but we can’t compromise with a counterfeit social gospel and New Age solutions.

Let us pray that He fill us with His wisdom, compassion, patience, and love. And may God bless you as you work to accomplish His will at home with your own children and grandchildren.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, and a Sufi Master

“Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth is hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality with millions of copies sold since its original publication in 1978.”—Publisher description

LTRP Note: Keep in mind three things as you read this article: 1) a strong link exists between Thomas Merton and the evangelical church, and that link is Richard Foster (author of Celebration of Discipline); 2) Richard Foster once said Thomas Merton “stands as one of the greatest twentieth-century embodiments of spiritual life as a journey”(1); 3) the current “Spiritual Formation” movement within Christianity was spawned by Richard Foster and Dallas Willard, and both men were ignited by Thomas Merton.

As you read this account of Thomas Merton, know that this same spiritual outlook that is described below has entered the church in no small way. Maybe it’s time you ask your pastor, “What do you think about Richard Foster and Celebration of Discipline?”

By Ray Yungen

What Martin Luther King was to the civil rights movement and what Henry Ford was to the automobile, Thomas Merton is to contemplative prayer. Although this prayer movement existed centuries before he came along, Merton, a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, took it out of its monastic setting and made it available to, and popular with, the masses. I personally have been researching Thomas Merton and the contemplative prayer movement for over 20 years, and for me, hands down, Thomas Merton has influenced the Christian mystical movement more than any person of recent decades.

Merton penned one of the most classic descriptions of contemplative spirituality I have ever come across. He explained:

It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race . . . now I realize what we all are. . . . If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are . . . I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other. . . . At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth. . . . This little point . . . is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. 2 (emphasis mine)

This panentheistic (i.e., God in everyone) view is similar to the occultic definition of the higher self.

In order to understand Merton’s connection to mystical occultism, we need first to understand a sect of the Muslim world—the Sufis, who are the mystics of Islam. They chant the name of Allah as a mantra, go into meditative trances, and experience God in everything. A prominent Catholic audiotape company promotes a series of cassettes Merton did on Sufism. It explains:

Merton loved and shared a deep spiritual kinship with the Sufis, the spiritual teachers and mystics of Islam. Here he shares their profound spirituality.3

To further show Merton’s “spiritual kinship” with Sufism, in a letter to a Sufi Master, Merton disclosed, “My prayer tends very much to what you call fana.”4 So what is fana? The Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult defines it as “the act of merging with the Divine Oneness”5 (meaning all is one and all is God).

Merton saw the Sufi concept of fana as being a catalyst for Muslim unity with Christianity despite the obvious doctrinal differences. In a dialogue with a Sufi leader, Merton asked about the Muslim concept of salvation. The master wrote back stating:

Islam inculcates individual responsibility for one’s actions and does not subscribe to the doctrine of atonement or the theory of redemption.6 (emphasis added)

To Merton, of course, this meant little because he believed that fana and contemplation were the same thing. He responded:

Personally, in matters where dogmatic beliefs [the atonement]differ, I think that controversy is of little value because it takes us away from the spiritual realities into the realm of words and ideas . . . in words there are apt to be infinite complexities and subtleties which are beyond resolution. . . . But much more important is the sharing of the experience of divine light . . . It is here that the area of fruitful dialogue exists between Christianity and Islam.7 (emphasis mine)

Merton himself underlined that point when he told a group of contemplative women:

I’m deeply impregnated with Sufism.8

And he elaborated elsewhere:

Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these. I would be less a monk.9 (emphasis mine)

When we evaluate Merton’s mystical worldview, it clearly resonates with what technically would be considered traditional New Age thought. This is an inescapable fact!

Merton’s mystical experiences ultimately made him a kindred spirit and co-mystic with those in Eastern religions because his insights were identical to their insights. At an interfaith conference in Thailand, he stated:

I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian [mystical] traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own Christian traditions.10

Please understand that contemplative prayer alone was the catalyst for such theological views. One of Merton’s biographers made this very clear when he explained:

If one wants to understand Merton’s going to the East it is important to understand that it was his rootedness in his own faith tradition [Catholicism] that gave him the spiritual equipment [contemplative prayer] he needed to grasp the way of wisdom that is proper to the East.11

This was the ripe fruit of the Desert Fathers, the ancient monks who borrowed mystical methods from Eastern religion, which altered their understanding of God. This is what one gets from contemplative prayer. There is no other way to put it. It does not take being a scholar to see the logic in this.

(This is an excerpt from Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing.)

Endnotes:

1. Richard Foster, Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion (InterVarsity Press, 2009), p. 84.
2. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Publishers, 1989), pp. 157-158.
3. Credence Cassettes magazine, Winter/Lent, 1998, p. 24.
4. M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Merton, My Brother (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1996), p. 115, citing from The Hidden Ground of Love), pp. 63-64.
5. Nevill Drury, The Dictionary of Mysticism and the Occult (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1985), p. 85.
6. Rob Baker and Gray Henry, Editors, Merton and Sufism (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae, 1999), p. 109.
7. Ibid., p. 110.
8. Ibid., p. 69.
9. Ibid., p. 41.
10. William Shannon, Silent Lamp, The Thomas Merton Story (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992), p. 276.
11. Ibid., p. 281.

Biblical Christianity – The Biggest Obstacle to the New Age

By Ray Yungen 

The New Age and Christianity definitely clash on the answer to the question of human imperfection. The former—the New Age—espouses the doctrine of becoming self-realized and united with the universe, which New Agers see as God but in reality is the realm of familiar spirits. On the other hand, the Gospel that Christians embrace offers salvation to humanity through grace (unmerited favor). Romans 3:24 boldly states: “. . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In Romans 6:23, we read: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This gift is not earned or given as a reward for earnest or good intentions as Scripture clearly states:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This Scripture that tackles the issue of pride sharply distinguishes all of man’s religions from Christianity. Religion persuades us that man is innately good and, therefore, can earn his way to heaven through human perfectibility or, better yet, through the realization of his own divinity. Christianity emphatically states the opposite view that man needs to humbly recognize his own sinfulness and fallibility, and consequently needs salvation through grace.

The Holy Spirit, through the Scripture, convicts the sinner of his sinful and lost condition and then presents to the despairing and repentant man God’s solution–salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Cross: “. . . in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7) and then:

[I]f thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation is entirely a gift of grace bestowed on whoever believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross as both God and man. Consequently, we must receive Him as Lord and Savior, understanding that it is by grace and grace alone that we are made acceptable in Christ before a holy God. Justification is God’s gift to the believer. This saving faith, also a demonstration of God’s grace, is more than an intellectual belief in Jesus’ death on the Cross but involves committing and entrusting one’s life to Jesus as both Lord and Savior–Christ’s going to the Cross was a finished work, and we as believers are now complete in Him. Nothing else can be added to this. How totally opposite from New Age thinking is God’s plan of salvation!

It all comes down to the preaching of the higher self versus the preaching of the Cross. New Agers may say God is synonymous with a person’s higher self, and the experience of God can only be discovered by way of meditation. However, the Christian admits his or her sinfulness before a Holy God and remembers he is saved only by the grace and mercy of God through the sacrificial shedding of Christ’s blood for his sins.

The message of Jesus Christ reaches out to the lost human race with the love of God who sacrificed His only begotten Son for the Swami Muktanandas of the world. The Bible teaches that man has an inherently rebellious and ungodly nature (which is evident), and his ways are naturally self-centered and evil in the sight of God. The Bible teaches that God is not indifferent to us. The sacrifice of Christ for the ungodly to reconcile us to God reveals the Lord’s love toward Man.

This explains why Christianity must be steadfast on these issues. If a belief system does not teach the preaching of the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, “then Christ is dead in vain,” rendering His shed blood unnecessary and immaterial (Galatians 2:21).

Because of this conflict, we can safely say that Christianity is the most formidable obstacle to the New Age, standing like a bulwark against this tidal wave of meditation teachers and practical mystics. But, incredibly, many of the most successful practical mystics are appearing from within Christianity itself. Ironically, instead of stemming the momentum of New Age spirituality, it is our own churches that may very well be the decisive catalysts to propel this movement into prominence. Certain spiritual practices have become entrenched in our churches that, like an iceberg, seem beautiful and impressive on the surface but in reality will cause severe damage and compromise of truth. (from A Time of Departing, pp.24-26)

What is God’s Desire for Mankind?

Ray Yungen

Ray Yungen

By Ray Yungen

Just what exactly is God’s desire for mankind? Does He want to send people to Hell? Does He want anyone to live eternally without Him? Scripture is very clear about this when it says:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

God makes a strong plea to all people, giving them every opportunity to receive Him. It is God’s desire that none should perish eternally. That’s why he offered His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ—the only perfect sacrifice for mankind’s sin:

Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Romans 5:18)

What it comes down to is the preaching of the higher self versus the preaching of the Cross. The New Age is saying that God is the higher self in man—that God is just a meditation away.

Many people are turned off when they think Christian teaching says we are bad and worthless. But this is not so. It may teach that man is bad (which is evident) but certainly not worthless. The fact that Christ died for the “ungodly” to “reconcile” them to God shows God’s love toward man. In contrast to karma, the Gospel of grace is better in that if you accept its provision, you are complete (perfect) in Christ Jesus.

This is why Christianity is so steadfast on these issues. If a belief system is not preaching the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, then Christ died in vain, His blood shed unnecessarily.

It is very true that God loves mankind, so much so He sent His Son to save all who receive Him by faith. The Lord is very patient with man, and as “the day of the Lord” draws nearer and nearer, He continues beckoning humanity to Himself.

However, while God’s love, mercy, and patience are very enduring, His warnings about a great judgment coming upon the earth are to be taken very seriously. Those who refuse to bow their knee to Jesus Christ will suffer severe and eternal consequences—make no mistake, that day will come:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (II Peter 3:7)

Jesus said, in referring to His return “of that day and hour knoweth no man” (Matthew 24:36). But He also said that while we will not know the exact hour and day of His return, we should be watching for the signs of the coming tribulation period. Throughout the centuries, Christians generally thought they were living in a time when Christ’s return was imminent based on natural disasters, wars, upheaval, and prominent military leaders (e.g., Napoleon). But never in the history of humanity has occultism and mysticism been unleashed as it has now. The apostle Paul, in making reference to this time period, said:

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (I Thessalonians 5:2-6)

Many think that the New Age movement is only a recent manifestation. But I believe that the words of the prophet Isaiah reveal that New Age spirituality was even around back then, although not called that. And he links this Ancient Wisdom in with the end of the age period. Isaiah issues a stern and fearsome warning:

Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth, if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. (Isaiah 47:12-13)

The next verse describes the judgment that these will be subjected to:

Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame. (Isaiah 47:14)

And in Revelation 9:20-21, it discloses:

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries.

The Book of Revelation explains that there are those who in the latter times “blasphemed the name of God” and “repented not to give him [God] glory” (Revelation 16:9) and again, “repented not of their deeds” (vs. 11).

These verses that speak of sorceries portray the “mystery of iniquity” (II Thessalonians 2:7) that is being judged during the tribulation period because its adherents are claiming to be God, and they refuse to give Him the glory but rather take it upon themselves. This will be the ultimate test revealing who the real God is.

This word “sorceries” used in Revelation comes from the greek word pharmakaia. The word is translated into four meanings:

1) the use or the administering of drugs
2) poisoning
3) sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it
4) metaphorically the deceptions and seductions of idolatry

I want you to realize the significance of this. The Bible is clear that sorcery will be a pervasive practice, to the point of being epidemic during “the day of the Lord.” And this is what is now called the Ancient Wisdom by its proponents! Alice Bailey said that the Ancient Wisdom would be at the very root of her new vital world religion, which she proudly proclaimed would be universal.

Scripture is very clear that sorceries are practices that will be judged by God. And I have shown in this book, sorcery traditionally throughout the centuries has been practiced by a very small number of persons (i.e., occult or kept secret). But now we have a virtual explosion of sorcery through the various practices and pronouncements as you have now read. What I am talking about is a whole world like the psychic slave girl in Acts. From Genesis to Revelation, the pages are filled with God’s warning to mankind when he refuses to acknowledge that the Lord is God and man is not. And throughout these pages are stories of those who mocked and scorned the warnings brought by God’s messengers. The apostle Peter referred to this scenario:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (II Peter 3: 3-4)

Many people today believe that it is wrong to talk about and warn of an endtime, apocolyptic time period. Rather, they say, we should spend time meditating and employing our higher powers to reach happiness and enlightenment in life. We each have a choice to make. Do we seek after this consciousness, or do we humbly call upon the living God and accept His free gift of salvation and eternal life?

If you don’t already, I pray you will come to know the true Christ (Jesus Christ) before it is too late. I cannot emphasize enough the vital importance of understanding and believing the following verse:

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

By saying this, Jesus made clear that it was by Him and not a mystical consciousness that we are saved.  Compare these four views below. I pray you will see the difference as I did so many years ago!

I AM GOD! This is THE most basic tenant of metaphysical spiritual understanding.3
—A metaphysical teacher

You are God in a physical body.. . .You are all power.. . . You are all intelligence.. . . You are the creator.4—The Secret

[T]here is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:21-22)

He that hath the Son [not higher consciousness] hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (I John 5:12)

 

Lighthouse Trails Booklet- Understanding the New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self

Understanding the New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self written by Ray Yungen is one of our new Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The booklet tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Understanding the New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self, click here.

The New Age, Meditation and the Higher SelfUnderstanding the New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self

By Ray Yungen 

What Is New Age?
My first exposure to what I later came to know as the New Age movement was in 1974 when I moved to Berkeley, California to attend a film institute. From the first day I arrived, I found “Berserkeley” (as it was nicknamed) to be a fascinating and exotic town, a place unlike any I had ever seen. The town surged with a rebellious, wacky vitality. It has been said of Berkeley that the strange and the odd are ordinary and the conventional out of place.

Berkeley had a notorious reputation as a hotbed of student protest dating from the Free Speech movement in 1964. I lived only a few blocks away from the vacant lot called “People’s Park,” which was the scene of bloody clashes between police, street people, and students in 1969. Militant Leftist rhetoric and literature were in evidence everywhere. Telephone poles displayed various manifestos and communiques from groups with formidable sounding names such as “the People’s Revolutionary Underground Red Guerrilla Commune.” Pictures of Chairman Mao and Karl Marx decorated the walls of several co-op health food stores.

There was also a very open and prevalent drug culture. Smoking pot in public was so common that it was taken for granted. I was familiar with the drug culture and radical politics through personal exposure and the media, but it soon became apparent that there was something else happening in Berkeley that I had not encountered before.

Many unfamiliar terms began to catch my attention. I met people who talked about such things as “karma” and “exploring inner space.” I frequently heard the words aquarius and aquarian, and it was commonplace to ask about a person’s “sign.”

I noticed that many of those who were using these terms were not burned-out street people but rather the articulate and well-educated. Their unusual spiritual outlook intrigued me, but I passed it off as the eccentricity associated with Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay area. Had someone told me this “aquarian consciousness” would someday spread through every facet of Western society, I would have thought them as crazy as the wildlooking street people hanging around the periphery of the University of California.

While living in the Berkeley Film House I became friends with Brian, a young man from the East Coast. Brian was personable, intelligent, and witty. With both of us being avid film buffs we enjoyed many good times together discussing the cinema,and even made plans to collaborate on a film someday.

After I had completed my film courses, Brian offered to drive me home to Oregon in his rattletrap Volkswagen bug so he could check out the beauty of the Northwest. Eventually, he settled in a city near my hometown enabling us to keep in touch.
During our visits, Brian often talked about subjects he termed spiritual or holistic. Often he spoke about Christ or “Christ consciousness” and the world peace and brotherhood which would eventually be achieved though this. It all sounded very positive.

After each of his sermons, I wondered just what it was he was trying to convey. The words he used were familiar, but the meanings he attached to them were peculiar and out of place. The exchanges I had with Brian were very frustrating at times.

Whenever I tried to present a more traditional Christian viewpoint on spiritual matters, he would become highly irritated and respond with, “The Bible is nothing but metaphor to show deeper spiritual truths,” or “The churches have completely missed the real meaning of Jesus’ teachings and have substituted rigid rules and dogma to control people instead.” Brian was adamant on this belief.

What perplexed me was how Brian had developed these spiritual ideas, which he had tried so hard to make me understand. He didn’t belong to a cult or anything of that sort, so I wondered where these ideas came from. I would ask him, “Brian, what is this?” He would shoot back, “You can’t label truth.” Although I didn’t see it clearly at the time, Brian’s spiritual outlook was a mixture of what he referred to as, “all the world’s great spiritual traditions and paths.” He talked about Jesus and often quoted from the Bible, yet he had a little shrine in his apartment to the Hindu mystic and saint Sri Ramakrishna. He genuinely felt there was no difference between the teachings of Jesus and Ramakrishna. “The great masters all taught the same thing—the kingdom of God is within,” he would declare with great conviction.

A curious spiritual movement has increasingly made itself known in the Western world. It is collectively referred to, both by its adherents and its foes, as the New Age movement. There is no question that this spirituality has the potential to impact the lives of the majority of the population today regardless of class or ethnic background.

An accurate definition of the New Age movement would be: Individuals who, in the context of historical occultism, are in mystical contact with unseen sources and dimensions, who receive guidance and direction from these dimensions, and who promote this state-of-being to the rest of humanity.

It is extremely difficult to understand this movement without first understanding the underlying belief systems and practices that accompany its agenda. Equally necessary is an understanding of where these beliefs and practices originated and how they have become pervasive.

The Age of Aquarius

The term “New Age” is based on astrology. Those who believe in astrology believe there are cosmic cycles called “Astrological Ages,” in which Earth passes through a cycle or time period when it is under the influence of a certain sign of the zodiac. These “Ages” last approximately 2,000 years, with a “cusp” or transitory period between each.

Those who embrace astrology say that for the last 2,000 years we have been in the sign of “Pisces,” the fish. Now they say we are moving into the sign of “Aquarius” or the “Age of Aquarius,” hence the “New Age.”

The Aquarian Age is supposed to signify that the human race is now entering a “Golden Age.” Many occultists have long heralded the Aquarian Age as an event that would be significant to humanity. That is why one New Age writer stated that “a basic knowledge of Astrological Ages is of enormous importance in occult work.”1

They believe that during these transitions certain cosmic influences begin to flow into the mass consciousness of mankind and cause changes to occur in accordance with the spiritual keynote or theme of that particular Age. This phenomenon is known as “planetary transformation”—an event they believe will bring “universal oneness” to all mankind. The view is that as more and more members of the human race “attune” themselves to “Aquarian energies,” the dynamics of the “old age” will begin to fade out.
Just what “energies” are we supposed to be attuning ourselves to? New Age thought teaches that everything that exists, seen or unseen, is made up of energy—tiny particles of vibrating energy, atoms, molecules, protons, etc. All is energy. That energy, they believe, is God, and therefore, all is God. They believe that since we are all part of this “God-energy,” then we, too, are God. God is not seen as a Being that dwells in heaven, but as the universe itself. According to one writer, “Simply put, God functions in you, through you, and as you.”2

The Age of Aquarius is when we are all supposed to come to the understanding that man is God. As one New Age writer put it, “A major theme of Aquarius is that God is within. The goal in the Age of Aquarius will be how to bring this idea into meaningful reality.”3

Metaphysics

To fully comprehend the above concept, one has to understand its essence which is built on a belief system commonly referred to as metaphysics. The word translates as meta—“above” or “beyond,” and physical—“the seen” or “material” world. So metaphysics relates to that which exists or is real, but is unseen. The Dictionary of Mysticism describes metaphysics as “a science dealing with intelligent forces or unknown powers.”

Although the word metaphysics is used in non-New Age connotations, it is used in reference to the occult arts so often that the two have become interchangeable. From now on, when I use the term metaphysics, I am referring to New Age metaphysics.

Metaphysics concerns itself with the spiritual evolution of the human soul. This is called the “law of rebirth,” more commonly known as reincarnation.

Metaphysics teaches that there is the seen world known as the physical or material plane and the unseen world with its many different planes. They teach the “astral” plane is where people go after death to await their next incarnation or bodily state.
Metaphysical thought holds the view that we are constantly caught up in a cycle of coming from the astral plane, being born, living, dying, and returning to the astral existence. They believe that the reason for repeating this cycle is to learn lessons that are necessary for our evolutionary training.

The Earth plane is supposed to be the ultimate school. If a person “flunks” one incarnation, he must make up for it in the next cycle. This is called “the law of karma.” Reincarnation and karma are always linked together as there cannot be one without the other. Ultimately there is no evil, only lessons to be learned. What is the main lesson? That you are God. This is the basic tenet of metaphysical thought. How does one go about “learning” this? How is this perception achieved?

The ultimate goal in metaphysics is attuning oneself to “higher consciousness” thereby gaining an awareness of these higher worlds or realms. It is taught that the most direct way to achieve this is through the practice of meditation. Meditation is the basic activity that underlies all metaphysics and is the primary source of spiritual direction for the New Age person. We need only observe the emphasis which is placed on meditation to see the importance of it in New Age thought:

Meditation is the doorway between worlds . . . the pathway between dimensions.4

Meditation is the key—the indispensable key—to the highest states of awareness.5

Meditation is a key ingredient to metaphysics, as it is the single most important act in a metaphysicians life.6

What is meditation?

What exactly is meditation? The meditation many of us are familiar with involves a deep, continuous thinking or pondering about something. But New Age meditation does just the opposite. It involves ridding oneself of all thoughts in order to “still” the mind by putting it in pause or neutral. An analogy would be turning a fast-moving stream into a still pond by damming the free flow of water. This is the purpose of New Age meditation. It holds back active thought and causes a shift in consciousness. The following explanation makes this process very clear:

One starts by silencing the mind—for many, this is not easy, but when the mind has become silent and still, it is then possible for the Divine Force to descend and enter into the receptive individual. First it trickles in, and later, in it comes in waves. It is both transforming and cleansing; and it is through this force that divine transformation will be achieved.7

This condition is not to be confused with daydreaming, where your mind dwells on a subject. The way New Age meditation works is that an object acts as a holding mechanism until the mind becomes thoughtless, empty—silent.

English mystic Brother Mandus wrote of his adventure into these realms in his book This Wondrous Way of Life. He spoke of being “fused in Light” which he described as “the greatest experience of my life” which gave him “Ecstasy transcending anything I could understand or describe.”8

In order to grasp what this movement really entails the reader must understand what was happening to Brother Mandus. He wasn’t merely believing something on the intellectual level, he was undergoing a supernatural encounter. In truth, he had created a mental void through meditation and a spiritual force had filled it.

The two most common methods used to induce this “thoughtless” state are breathing exercises, where attention is focused on the breath, and a mantra, which is a repeated word or phrase. 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.

Just consider the word mantra. The translation from the Sanskrit is man, meaning to think, and ti-a, meaning to be liberated from. Thus, the word means to be freed from thought. By repeating the mantra, either out loud or silently, the word or phrase begins to lose any meaning it once had. The same is true with rhythmic breathing. One gradually tunes out his conscious thinking process until an altered state of consciousness comes over him.

I recall watching a martial arts class where the instructor clapped his hands once every three seconds as the students sat in meditation. The sound of the clap acted the same as the breath or a mantra would—something to focus their attention on to stop the active mind.

Other methods of meditation involve drumming, dancing, and chanting. This percussion-sound meditation is perhaps the most common form for producing trance states in the African, North/South American Indian, and Brazilian spiritist traditions. In the Islamic world, the Sufi Mystic Brotherhoods have gained a reputation for chanting and ritual dancing. These are known as the Whirling Dervishes. Indian Guru, Rajneesh, developed a form of active meditation called dynamic meditation which combines the percussion sound, jumping, and rhythmic breathing.

The Cross versus the Higher Self

The New Age and Christianity definitely clash on the answer to the question of human imperfection. The former—the New Age—espouses the doctrine of becoming self-realized and united with the universe, which they see as God but in reality is the realm of familiar spirits. On the other hand, the Gospel that Christians embrace offers salvation to humanity through grace (unmerited favor). Romans 3:24 boldly states: “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In Romans 6:23 we read:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This gift is not earned or given as a reward for earnest or good intentions as Scripture clearly states:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This Scripture that tackles the issue of pride sharply distinguishes all of man’s religions from Christianity. Religion persuades us that man is innately good and, therefore, can earn his way to heaven through human perfectibility or, better yet, through the realization of his own divinity. Christianity emphatically states the opposite view that man needs to humbly recognize his own sinfulness and fallibility, and consequently needs salvation through grace.

The Holy Spirit, through the Scripture, convicts the sinner of his sinful and lost condition and then presents to the despairing and repentant man God’s solution—salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Cross:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

And then:

[I]f you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation is entirely a gift of grace bestowed on whoever believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross as both God and man. Consequently, we must receive Him as Lord and Savior, understanding that it is by grace and grace alone that we are made acceptable in Christ before a holy God. Justification is God’s gift to the believer. This saving faith, also a demonstration of God’s grace, is more than an intellectual belief in Jesus’ death on the Cross but involves committing and entrusting one’s life to Jesus as both Lord and Savior—Christ’s going to the Cross was a finished work, and we as believers are now complete in Him. Nothing else can be added to this. How totally opposite from New Age thinking is God’s plan of salvation!

It all comes down to the preaching of the higher self versus the preaching of the Cross. New Agers may say God is synonymous with a person’s higher self, and the experience of God can only be discovered by way of meditation. However, the Christian admits his or her sinfulness before a Holy God and remembers he is saved only by the grace and mercy of God through the sacrificial shedding of Christ’s blood for his sins.

The message of Jesus Christ reaches out to the lost human race with the love of God who sacrificed His only begotten Son for the Swami Muktanandas of the world. The Bible teaches that man has an inherently rebellious and ungodly nature (which is evident), and his ways are naturally self-centered and evil in the sight of God. The Bible teaches that God is not indifferent to us. The sacrifice of Christ for the ungodly to reconcile us to God reveals the Lord’s love toward Man.

This explains why Christianity must be steadfast on these issues. If a belief system does not teach the preaching of the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, “then Christ died in vain,” rendering His shed blood unnecessary and immaterial (Galatians 2:21).

Because of this conflict, we can safely assume that Christianity is the most formidable obstacle to the New Age, standing like a bulwark against this tidal wave of meditation teachers and practical mystics. But, incredibly, many of the most successful practical mystics are appearing from within Christendom itself. Ironically, instead of stemming the momentum of New Age spirituality, it is our own churches that may very well be the decisive catalysts to propel this movement into prominence. Certain spiritual practices are becoming entrenched in our churches that, like an iceberg, seem beautiful and impressive on the surface but in reality will cause severe damage and compromise of truth.

To order copies of Understanding the New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self, click here.

Notes:
1. Marion Weinstein, Positive Magic: Occult Self-Help (Custer, WA: Phoenix Publishing, 1978), p. 19.
2. Anthony J. Fisichella, Metaphysics: The Science of Life (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1984), p. 28.
3. Weinstein, Positive Magic, op. cit., p. 25.
4. Celeste G. Graham, The Layman’s Guide to Enlightenment (Phoenix, AZ: Illumination Pub., 1980), p. 13.
5. Ananda’s Expanding Light, Program Guide (The Expanding Light retreat center, California, April-December 1991), p. 5.
6. The College of Metaphysical Studies website, “Frequently Asked Questions About Metaphysics, Spirituality and Shamanism” (http://www.cms.edu/faq.html).
7. “Yoga, Meditation, and Healing: A Talk with Joseph Martinez” (Holistic Health Magazine, Winter 1986), p. 9.
8. Brother Mandus, The Wondrous Way of Life (London, UK: L. N. Fowler & Co. LTD, 14th Edition, 1985), p. 28.
9. Marilyn Elias, “‘Mindfulness’ meditation being used in hospitals and schools” (U.S.A. Today, June 7, 2009, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-06-07-meditate_N.htm).

To order copies of Understanding the New Age, Meditation, and the Higher Self, click here.

The Cross versus the “Higher Self”

by Ray Yungen 

The New Age and Christianity definitely clash on the answer to the question of human imperfection. The former [the New Age] espouses the doctrine of becoming self-realized and united with the universe, which they see as God but in reality is the realm of familiar spirits. On the other hand, the Gospel that Christians embrace offers salvation to humanity through grace (unmerited favor). Romans 3:24 boldly states: “… being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In Romans 6:23 we read: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This gift is not earned or given as a reward for earnest or good intentions as Scripture clearly states:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

This Scripture that tackles the issue of pride sharply distinguishes all of man’s religions from Christianity. Religion persuades us that man is innately good and, therefore, can earn his way to heaven through human perfectibility or, better yet, through the realization of his own divinity. Christianity emphatically states the opposite view that man needs to humbly recognize his own sinfulness and fallibility, and consequently needs salvation through grace.

The Holy Spirit, through the Scripture, convicts the sinner of his sinful and lost condition and then presents to the despairing and repentant man God’s solution–salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Cross: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7) and then:

[I]f you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

Salvation is entirely a gift of grace bestowed on whoever believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross as both God and man. Consequently, we must receive Him as Lord and Savior, understanding that it is by grace and grace alone that we are made acceptable in Christ before a holy God. Justification is God’s gift to the believer. This saving faith, also a demonstration of God’s grace, is more than an intellectual belief in Jesus’ death on the Cross but involves committing and entrusting one’s life to Jesus as both Lord and Savior–Christ’s going to the Cross was a finished work, and we as believers are now complete in Him. Nothing else can be added to this. How totally opposite from New Age thinking is God’s plan of salvation!

It all comes down to the preaching of the higher self versus the preaching of the Cross. New Agers may say God is synonymous with a person’s higher self, and the experience of God can only be discovered by way of meditation. However, the Christian admits his or her sinfulness before a Holy God and remembers he is saved only by the grace and mercy of God through the sacrificial shedding of Christ’s blood for his sins.

The message of Jesus Christ reaches out to the lost human race with the love of God who sacrificed His only begotten Son for the Swami Muktanandas of the world. The Bible teaches that man has an inherently rebellious and ungodly nature (which is evident), and his ways are naturally self-centered and evil in the sight of God. The Bible teaches that God is not indifferent to us. The sacrifice of Christ for the ungodly to reconcile us to God reveals the Lord’s love toward Man.

This explains why Christianity must be steadfast on these issues. If a belief system does not teach the preaching of the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, “then Christ died in vain,” rendering His shed blood unnecessary and immaterial (Galatians 2:21).

Because of this conflict, we can safely assume that Christianity is the most formidable obstacle to the New Age, standing like a bulwark against this tidal wave of meditation teachers and practical mystics. But, incredibly, many of the most successful practical mystics are appearing from within Christendom itself. Ironically, instead of stemming the momentum of New Age spirituality, it is our own churches that may very well be the decisive catalysts to propel this movement into prominence. Certain spiritual practices are becoming entrenched in our churches that, like an iceberg, seem beautiful and impressive on the surface but in reality will cause severe damage and compromise of truth. (from A Time of Departing, pp.24-26)


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