Posts Tagged ‘Ray Yungen’
First published in 1978, Celebration of Discipline has had a massive influence on today’s Christianity. Unfortunately, the influence has helped to saturate the church with mystical contemplative prayer and the New Age. Most likely, your pastor has a copy of this book sitting on his library shelves. He may even have it sitting on his desk for easy reach and reference. Richard Foster, a Quaker and the founder of an organization called Renovare (meaning renewal), wrote the book and even he may have had no idea the impact this book would have. But 38 years later, it is still being read, and in fact, Christian leaders and organizations continue promoting the book.
Foster said in the book, that we “should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer” (p. 13, 1978 ed.). In other books and writings of Foster’s, he makes it very clear that this “contemplative prayer” is the eastern style mantra meditation to which mystic monk Thomas Merton adhered. In fact, Richard Foster once told Ray Yungen (author of A Time of Departing) that “Thomas Merton tried to awaken God’s people” (at a conference in Salem, OR).
Thomas Merton, who said he was “impregnated with Sufism” (Merton and Sufism, p. 69) and wanted to “become as good a Buddhist” as he could be (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West”), believed that “God’s people” lacked one thing . . . mysticism and this is to what they needed “awakening.” Of Merton, Foster says: “Thomas Merton has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood.” (Spiritual Classics, p. 17) And yet, Thomas Merton once told New Age Episcopal priest Matthew Fox that he felt sorry for the hippies in the 60s who were dropping LSD because all they had to do was practice the mystical (contemplative) stream to achieve the same results. (Interview) We couldn’t agree with him more. Both altered states are the same, and neither lead to God.
Listed under “excellent books on spirituality,” in some editions of Celebration of Discipline, Foster says of Tilden Edwards’ book, Spiritual Friend that it helps “clear away the confusion and invites us to see that we do not have to live the spiritual life in isolation.” And yet, Tilden Edwards, founder of the Christian/Buddhist Shalem Institute in Washington, DC, said that contemplative spirituality was the “Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality”(Spiritual Friend, p. 18). On the Shalem Institute website you can find numerous quotes, references, articles, and recommendations to panentheism, universalism, interspirituality, New Age, and Eastern thought.
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster tells us “we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation” (COD, p.13.) He goes on to say that the “masters of meditation beckon us.” Just prior to that remark, he quotes Carl Jung and Thomas Merton.
Celebration of Discipline has helped to pave the way for Thomas Merton’s panentheistic belief system. It has opened the door for other Christian authors, speakers, and pastors to bring contemplative spirituality into the lives of millions of people. The late Henri Nouwen, a popular contemplative who also followed the teachings of Thomas Merton, made a telling statement towards the end of his life:
I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God (emphasis added – Sabbatical Journey, p. 51).
Today, countless ministers and ministries are promoting and endorsing Celebration of Discipline. If they really knew what Foster’s “celebration” was all about, we think many of them would race away from the teachings of Thomas Merton and Richard Foster and back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Note: If your pastor or someone you know has a copy of Celebration of Discipline or quotes Richard Foster, be sure and give him a copy of Ray Yungen’s new booklet A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer. Also, want to know what Spiritual Formation is (and its dangers), read this: Is Your Church Doing Spiritual Formation? (Important Reasons Why They Shouldn’t
In recent years, a type of meditation known as mindfulness has made a surprising showing. Based on current trends, it has the potential to eclipse even Yoga in popularity. You will now find it everywhere that people are seeking therapeutic approaches to ailments or disorders. True to its Buddhist roots, mindfulness involves focusing on the breath to stop the normal flow of thought. In effect, it acts the same way as a mantra; and as with Yoga, it is presented as something to cure society’s ills.—Ray Yungen
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
Thank you for your weekly newsletters. Today I was reading through your March 15th newsletter articles about meditation and about Christian colleges. . . . Messiah College [is now ] promoting “mindfulness.”
From the latest Messiah College Newsletter for employees:
Please celebrate the March publication of a new article on the use of a mindfulness group to help counseling students in Counselor Education and Supervision by Graduate Counseling Program Senior Lecturer, Lynn Bohecker. This article was the result of a study using grounded theory methodology and can be located by using the following citation: Bohecker, L, Vereen, L.G., Wells, P. C., Wathen, C. C. (2016). A Mindfulness Experiential Small Group to Help Students Tolerate Ambiguity. Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision, 55(1), 16-30.
Lynn Bohecker is a Senior Lecturer in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling at Messiah College.
Also, in our local public school district are examples of the same thing:
“Mindfulness” is being promoted in both secular and “Christian” education.
Take care, ____________
Messiah College, in Pennsylvania, was founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. It is one of the Christian colleges listed on the Lighthouse Trails Contemplative Colleges list (a growing list of Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities that are incorporating Spiritual Formation into the lives of students). Here are a few examples (in addition to the one above) to show how Messiah College is a major proponent of contemplative spirituality:
- A resource list that has a who’s who of contemplative authors and New Age sympathizers: http://www.messiah.edu/documents/college_ministries/Contemplative%20Description%20and%20Resources.pdf
- A resource list for “Activists”: http://www.messiah.edu/documents/college_ministries/Activist%20Description%20and%20Resources.pdf
- An off-campus program promoted by Messiah from 2014:http://www.messiah.edu/documents/off-campus-programs/OECourseCatalog2014.pdf
The New Age effort to transform business is very real and becoming more successful all the time.—Ray Yungen
By Jen Wieczner
In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industry raked in nearly $1 billion, according to research by IBISWorld, which breaks out the category from the alternative health care sector. But even that doesn’t count the revenue from the nearly 1000 mindfulness apps now available, according to Sensor Tower (top app Headspace recently raised $30 million and has been downloaded 6 million times), or the burgeoning category of wearable gadgets designed to help people Zen out (the popular Muse connected headband measures brain activity during meditation for $299).
This year 22% of employers will offer mindfulness training—typically priced between $500 and $10,000 for large-group sessions—a percentage that could double in 2017, according to a forthcoming survey by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health. The non-profit Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, a mindfulness training program incubated at Google, grew revenue more than 50% last year by offering two-day workshops (up to $35,000 for 50 people) to dozens of other Fortune 500 companies, including Ford F -1.06% and American Express AXP -1.36% . Click here to continue reading.
A Related Article by Ray Yungen Showing the Implications of New Age in Business:
If there was one single group to whom the promise of creating one’s own reality would have specific appeal, it would be business people. The competition in the corporate world is so keen that anything, no matter how unusual, may be eagerly embraced if it offers results. As they say in the business world, the bottom line is success.
The way New Age thought has crept into corporations is simple to understand. Management trainers and human resource developers hold positions where they can incorporate metaphysics into business under titles such as Intuition Development, Right Brain Creativity, and Superlearning. The New Age nature of these seminars may be introduced by employers either intentionally or unwittingly. The New Age Journal states:
An unconventional new breed of consultant has surfaced on the corporate lecture circuit. They speak of meditation, energy flow and tapping into the unused potential of the mind. What’s more, they are spreading their Arcane curriculum not only among the alternative entrepreneurs who populate the capitalist fringe, but within the heart of corporate America as well. General Electric, IBM, Shell, Polaroid, and the Chase Manhattan Bank are sending their fast-trackers to crash courses in, strange as it may sound, intuition.1
Once, while attending a New Age convention, I was told by one of these new breeds that resistance to New Age concepts in business was being replaced by a new openness. “How you focus it is all important,” he began, and then added:
If you barge in with occult lingo it turns them off right away. You have to tell them how you can make their employees happier and get more productivity out of them—then they will listen. You are really teaching metaphysics, but you present it as human development.
The Quiet Revolution
This approach has tremendous appeal because companies naturally want to get the most out of their people. New Agers know this approach works to their advantage. One trainer defines her role the following way:
There is something new in the fact that businesses are taking an active interest in the potential of these techniques to bring about transformational change within large groups of people for organizational ends. You have to deal with the whole person—body, mind and spirit—if real change is to happen.2
In one interview, New Age writer Marilyn Ferguson echoes the same theme:
Business leaders have, by and large, exhausted materialistic values and are often open to spiritual values… What’s more, top-level business people are not afraid of the transformative process, and typically, after I speak to them, they say, “I didn’t know that such things were possible. I don’t understand everything you’re saying, but I’m going to find out about it.” Whereas most people who don’t understand new concepts automatically reject them, business people, who by nature are trained in risk taking, go after them.3
Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D., founder and director of the Learning for Health Clinic in Los Angeles, had this to say:
Many progressive companies are incorporating some of the inner-directed exercises I mentioned [in meditation and visualization] into their “manual of procedures” . . . These changes point to a quiet, inner-directed revolution that is reshaping many companies into being agents of self-realization. . . . Many social thinkers, such as Marilyn Ferguson, believe that because of its openness to change, business has the greatest potential for spiritualizing the world. (emphasis mine)4
A number of courses, books, and individuals are having a great impact on the business world. Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers have written a book titled Creativity in Business. The book is based on a Stanford University course that they claim has “revolutionized the art of success.”5 Two people who enthusiastically endorse this book are Spencer Johnson, MD., coauthor of The One Minute Manager, and Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence. Silicon Valley Bank Chairman, N.W. Medearis, says the book is “an experience which will leave one significantly changed.”6
Ray and Myers acknowledge that the book takes much of its inspiration from “Eastern philosophies, mysticism, and meditation techniques” and that “dozens of America’s brightest and most successful business practitioners and entrepreneurs have contributed to the course and to this book.”7
It is absolutely amazing how unabashed Creativity in Business is in recommending its source of creativity. In one section we find the heading, “Getting in Touch with Your Inner Guide.” It reads:
In this exercise you meet your wisdom-keeper or spirit guide—an inner person who can be with you in life, someone to whom you can turn for guidance.8
These beings are contacted either through meditative breathing exercises or with mantra meditation. If there is any doubt the book is talking about New Age meditation, it is resolved upon reading:
As meditation master Swami Muktananda says: “We do not meditate just to relax a little and experience some peace. We meditate to unfold our inner being.”9
Tarot cards are even presented as a source of creativity. As with other New Age categories, it begins with breathing exercises (or as the book says, go into silence). The person then picks the cards, which are supposed to give “some important insights.”10
A new generation of New Age business gurus is starting to emerge on the scene. One of the more prominent is T. Harv Eker, who leads “Millionaire Mind Seminars” through his company Peak Potentials Training. This is one of the fastest growing corporate training companies in the country today, with 250,000 trainees to date. What these eager folks learn is apparent by Eker’s statement that his “Mission is to educate and inspire people to live in their Higher Self.”11
This is a typical approach. You will recall an earlier quote, “businessmen eat this stuff up, the experience sells itself.” That is why it is making such headway, it works. If these methods work for people in business today the way they worked for Madame Blavatsky in finding the woman’s lost brooch related in chapter two, then it’s easy to see the implications of metaphysics in the business world.
Quite often I will hear people from a certain age group and social outlook dismiss what I am researching with terms such as “weirdo hippie religion.” When I hear this, I think of articles appearing in such well respected magazines as U.S. News & World Report which paint a far different picture. One article in particular dealt specifically with New Age spirituality in the corporate world. It was called “Shush. The Guy in the Cubicle is Meditating.” The article disclosed that such consultants had become “the darlings of business circles”12 and not just any business circles:
[W]hen 2,000 global powerbrokers gathered for the elite World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the agenda included confabs on “spiritual anchors for the new millennium” and “the future of meditation in a networked economy.” Indeed, 30 MBA programs now offer courses on the issue. It’s also the focus of the . . . Harvard Business School Bulletin. (emphasis mine)13
What this shows is that the dismissal of New Age spirituality as hippy/dippy is very much outdated and unsound. As one corporate trainer proudly proclaimed, “What’s new is that it’s just entered the mainstream.”
Creativity is not the only New Age avenue into the corporate scene. Health and fitness programs presented in the context of corporate wellness are becoming increasingly popular. Executives give a willing ear to ways of keeping productivity up and absenteeism down.
Many of these programs have metaphysical motives within them. One such wellness expert promoting total health explained how she was able to teach mantra meditation to a group of businessmen:
Just yesterday I met with a whole room of executives for breakfast—top executives in a huge multinational company. . . . Here were these executives closing their eyes and breathing deeply into their abdomens, and quieting their mind by repeating just one word—“relax, relax.”14
Earlier in the interview this woman related how she had “studied metaphysics” and “meditated three or four times a day for direction.”15
In her joy at being able to subtly introduce meditation to those who would have rejected it as being too “far out” otherwise, she commented: “Ten years ago in an American company I would have been thrown out in the street, I’m sure.”16
Business—The Most Logical Candidate
The New Age effort to transform business is very real and becoming more successful all the time. When asked in an interview about where he thought the vanguard of transformation was in the country today, New Ager James Fadiman replied:
What’s fascinating to me is that when I met recently with some of the old-timers in the movement, I discovered that all of us had expanded from working in growth centers to working in American business. What the business community needs, wants, and appreciates at this time are insights from the human potential movement. . . . I’m finding executives who, twenty years ago, considered the human potential movement a kind of joke and who are now recruiting specialists into the most conservative industries.17
Larry Wilson, coauthor of The One Minute Sales Person, clearly stated in an interview that metaphysics is the core of what is being taught:
The heart of our new management training represents a return to the ancient spiritual wisdom about the true identity and power of the individual. In our courses, we aim to empower people so they can get in touch with their creative Source and then apply the potential to every part of their lives, including their work life. (emphasis mine)18
Wilson also revealed in the interview that it is the higher self that is at the heart of this “ancient spiritual wisdom.” He explained:
Once a sufficient number of employees get in touch with their true potential, the organization changes . . . it helps to have top management in tune with it.19
In another interview, the late futurist and New Age leader Willis Harman acknowledged that:
Some of the most creative and successful people in business are really part of this new paradigm movement. You can find this sort of talk going on in business. In fact, a group of business executives and myself got together and created something we call the World Business Academy, which is a network of business executives who have already gone through their own personal transformations to a considerable extent and are asking: “What’s the new role of business? What’s the new corporation?”20
International Management magazine revealed that many of the major European corporations are also eagerly embracing New Age spirituality. Included in the list were the Bank of England and the UK’s Ministry of Defense and Cabinet Office.21
The previously mentioned individuals, and numerous others like them, are working diligently within the corporate world to bring about a paradigm shift of potentially staggering proportions. Larry Wilson acknowledged this by saying, “This new approach is changing the corporation, and that change will affect other institutions of our Society.”22
This is not an understatement. In the 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (a New Age think tank), it reveals:
Since 1994 more than 100,000 executives from 56 countries have taken the Self-Management and Leadership Course (SML). SML is a two-day residential retreat inspired by the principles of raja yoga, which advocates inner stillness through breathwork, movement, meditation, and self-inquiry as a path to wisdom and inner balance.23
New Agers know that if they can transform business, they will have transformed the world. The reason for this is that business and government feed into each other, so to speak. Many politicians are also business people, or lawyers with strong ties to business. Also, many politicians go back into the corporate world when they leave office. The two cultures are profoundly intertwined. If the corporate world goes New Age (as we see it doing) the world of government isn’t far behind. (For more information on how the New Age has come into our North American society, read For Many Shall Come in My Name by Ray Yungen.)
1. E. Armstrong, “Bottom-Line Intuition” (New Age Journal, December 1985), p. 32.
2. “What’s New in the New Age?” (Training Magazine, September 1987), p. 25.
3. Interview with Marilyn Ferguson (Science of Mind magazine, May 1983), pp. 11-12.
4. “From Burnout to Balance,” Interview with Dennis Jaffe, Ph.D., (Science of Mind magazine, June 1985), pp. 88-89.
5. Michael Ray and Rochelle Meyers, Creativity in Business (Garden City, New York, NY: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1986), front cover.
6. Ibid., back cover.
7. Ibid., back flap.
8. Ibid., pp. 36-37.
9. Ibid., p. 142.
10. Ibid., p. 154.
11. T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind; quote taken from Eker’s Peak Potentials Training website, http://www.peakpotentials.com/new, accessed 11/2011.
12. Marci McDonald, “Shush. The Guy in the Cubicle is Meditating: Spirituality is the latest corporate buzzword” (U.S. News & World Report, May 3, 1999), p. 46.
14. Kathy Juline, “Wellness Works: A New Lifestyle for a New World,” Interview with Elaine Willis, Ph.D. (Science of Mind magazine, June 1990), p. 25.
15. Ibid., pp. 19-20.
17. Interview with James Fadiman (Science of Mind magazine, June 1988), p. 77.
18. “Changing the Game in Business,” Interview with Larry Wilson (Science of Mind magazine, February 1987), p. 10.
19. Ibid., p. 14.
20. Willis Harman, “The New Age of Consciousness” (Guide to New Age Living, 1989), pp. 18, 20.
21. “Disciples of the New Age,” (International Management magazine, March, 1991), p. 45.
22. Larry Wilson interview, op. cit., p. 31.
23. 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming Journal (Petaluma, CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences, March-May 2007, No. 14, 2007), p. 55.
By Ray Yungen and the Editors at Lighthouse Trails
In an article released in January 2016 written by New Age leader Deepak Chopra titled, “Will Pope Francis Become a Holy Man for the World?,” Chopra states,
Pope Francis I is poised to be more than a very popular pontiff . . . He could rise to become a symbol of holiness beyond the Catholic Church. . . . for those of us who aren’t Catholic, there’s a universal message voiced personally by the Pope: “No one can be excluded from God’s mercy. The question, then, is how potent this mission will be.
Chopra says that “millions of non-Catholics feel a fresh wind blowing” because of the Pope’s actions and that Pope Francis has “become a spiritual exemplar.”
In the article, Chopra gives some advice to Pope Francis, that he not become another “theological” pope but rather one with a “higher consciousness” and like the “Jesus” who was not theological but rather “enlightened.” Chopra adds:
I hope in a corner of my heart that Francis I can open himself to a kind of Super-ecumenical position, not only allowing that other faiths have validity, but seeing that the Eastern tradition of higher consciousness is in fact universal. . . . we must be realistic. Spiritual experiences occur in consciousness. . . . There is no reason to reject meditation as “not Christian” when the point is that meditation, among other contemplative practices, alters brain function. In so doing, specific regions of the brain are trained to register subtle perceptions. The deeper your perceptions, the more subtle the levels of reality you are comfortable with. At the deepest level, we encounter the entire history of spiritual awakening, which is the opening of the self to the self through expanded awareness. . . . If we are in fact witnessing the career of the most conscious pope in modern times, let him tell us more about consciousness and the spiritual fulfillment it contains.
Pope Francis is well on his way to doing just that. As a Jesuit contemplative priest, he is very much drawn to this mystical higher consciousness. That is why he named Thomas Merton as one of four most meaningful people when he was in the United States last year. As we have often pointed out, Merton found Buddhist enlightenment in contemplative prayer. Merton’s view that God is in every person is summed up in this statement:
During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: “We must tell them that they are already united with God. Contemplative prayer is nothing other than “coming into consciousness” of what is already there. ( Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996, Revised Edition), p. 211.)
Deepak Chopra and many other are hoping that Pope Francis will be that one who will bring the entire world into “superconsciousness” (the realization that man is divine). Remember the Parliament of World Religions this past fall that Lighthouse Trails reported on (see links below). It was a New Age/New Spirituality gathering of emerging church leaders, New Age leaders, Eastern religious leaders, and others who were looking for a “Coming Messiah” as Alice Bailey “prophesied” who could save the world. And who was the figure everyone was talking about at the Parliament with enthusiasm and hope? None other than Pope Francis.
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church by Maria Kneas and John Lanagan is our newest Lighthouse Trails 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. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. Be sure to scroll past the endnotes to read Part 2 and view a chart. To order copies of Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church, click here.
Goddess Worship in America and How It’s Affecting the Church
The worship of pagan goddesses is most obvious with Wiccans. However, it is also common in universities and nursing schools. It is promoted by the media and is a component of New Age feminism. What’s more, it has infiltrated mainline denominational churches and its influence can be felt throughout our society.
This movement is impacting our culture and especially the younger generation. One troubling aspect of it is that, according to some of its proponents, facts and logic are “patriarchal,” and therefore they are irrelevant. As you will see, some so-called scholars openly say it is all right to make things up and present them as if they were historical facts.
Philip G. Davis is a professor of religious studies at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. He wrote the book Goddess Unmasked because he saw that goddess worship was being taken seriously in religious institutions and that myths about the goddess were being taught as factual history on campus. Much of the footnoted documentation in the first section of this booklet comes from his book.
Creating a Goddess-Friendly Culture
The “Age of Enlightenment” gave birth to rationalist materialism. In reaction against this denial of the importance of emotions, a generation of Romantic poets, novelists, artists, musicians and philosophers developed. Many of them were involved with drugs, the occult, Rosicrucianism, or Freemasonry.
Following Darwin’s theory of evolution, they speculated wildly about the evolution of society. Nationalism became a romantic search for pagan roots, as seen in Wagner’s operas and the fairy tales researched by the Brothers Grimm. Womanhood was idealized. The myth of a past utopian matriarchy was developed. Psychologist Carl Jung idealized the concept of the “anima,” the feminine side of man.1
Romanticism even invaded history and archaeology. Bachoven developed a theory of matriarchy openly based on imagination and not on searching for hard facts. Feminist scholars followed Bachoven’s lead. A historic myth was developed in which an ideal, matriarchal, goddess-worshiping society was destroyed by patriarchal invaders who brought with them all the ills of modern society.2
The scholarship involved in these studies of history and archaeology is so faulty that Philip Davis says:
An important lesson of this book is the ease with which patent falsehoods may clothe themselves in the garb of scholarship and masquerade as truth.3
Feminist scholars and other academic radicals say objective facts and historical accuracy are not even a valid goal:
A feminist scholar told her audience that it is indeed “ethical” for an historian to ignore historical evidence in order to construct a narrative . . . while still presenting it as history.4
In addition to “constructing narratives” (i.e., making up stories and presenting it as history), many academic radicals “explicitly reject the quest for objective truth; they claim that objectivity is not only impossible to achieve in pure form, but actually illegitimate in the first place because it expresses a patriarchal, oppressive mentality.”5
Before full-blown goddess worship developed in the 1950s, American art showed popular imagination being prepared for it. For example, the Statue of Liberty looks like a Greek goddess and is over three hundred feet high. The inscription presents the statue as speaking, and she calls herself “Mother of Exiles.”6 A 1915 poster for the Red Cross shows an American nurse with a billowing, hooded cape that makes her look like a cross between a nurse and a Greek goddess. She carries a placard which says:
I am the Red Cross of Peace. I heal the wounds of war. I am a refuge from fire, flood and pestilence. The love of little children is mine.7
The National Academy of Sciences has a Great Hall done in Byzantine architecture designed to look like a “temple of science.” The dome of that hall looks like it belongs in a cathedral, except it has figures that look like Greek goddesses. Science is personified as a goddess, with an inscription that says:
To science, pilot of industry, conqueror of disease, multiplier of the harvest, explorer of the universe, revealer of nature’s laws, eternal guide to truth.8
The Wiccan Goddess
Wicca was developed in England by Gerald B. Gardner, the first fully public witch of modern times. He was a spiritualist, a Freemason, and a Rosicrucian, with an extensive background in the occult.
Gardner was a member of the Golden Dawn. Aleister Crowley (a satanist) initiated Gardner into the fourth degree of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). Gardner was acquainted with a witch named “old Dorothy Fordham” and claimed to have been initiated into a coven. He used various occult texts in developing his rituals, including texts that were written by Aleister Crowley.9
Aiden Kelley, a Wiccan trained in biblical criticism, applied his critical skills to Gardner’s archive. Based on Kelley’s findings, Philip Davis concludes that:
First, [Kelly’s] identification of Gardner’s literary sources leaves little doubt that Gardner’s own witchcraft texts were his personal creation and not something handed on to him from an ancient tradition.10
Therefore, it is difficult to know how much Gardner’s Wicca resembles ancient witchcraft.
Doreen Valiente was Gardner’s High Priestess. She was informed enough to spot the passages from Crowley in the rituals, and she rewrote them so that Crowley’s name would not discourage potential inquirers.
Initially, the male, horned god and the High Priest were preeminent. By the mid-1960s, the goddess was the supreme deity in Wicca, and ritual authority was vested in the High Priestess.11
Through Wicca, goddess worship has infiltrated our American culture:
The appearance of the Goddess in other radical feminist circles, and then in churches and universities, did not occur until after the establishment of modern witchcraft as a viable new religion.12
Goddess spirituality seems well on the way to becoming the most successful of all these neopagan manifestations in the English-speaking world.13
Wicca presents itself as a wholesome worship of a gentle, benevolent goddess. It’s motto is, “An ye do none harm do what ye will.” However, in real life the results of Wicca are not wholesome at all.
The Goddess and Mainline Churches
In November 1993, a Re-imagining Conference was held in Minneapolis. Most of the 2,000 participants were women.14
This was an ecumenical church conference attended by Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, and members of almost a dozen other denominations. They invoked Sophia, the goddess of Wisdom, calling her their Creator. Prayers and liturgies were addressed to this goddess. Communion consisted of milk and honey instead of bread and wine.
They openly rejected the doctrines of the Incarnation and the Atonement. “Christian” lesbians were applauded for coming out of the closet. They encouraged “sex among friends” as a norm.
This conference was initiated by, sponsored by, and attended by representatives of the major American churches.15
Re-imagining was an unprecedented event: an interdenominational assembly of Christians openly bent on destroying the historic Christian religion root and branch, and steering the churches into wholesale neopaganism.16
Neopagan and Wiccan themes are amazingly prominent within older religious establishments. One reason for this is the quest for “inclusive” language and the attempt to apply more female imagery to God. Liturgy reform and revised hymnals have featured feminine imagery and metaphors for God the Mother.17
The Unitarian-Universalist church developed a ten-session workshop on feminism, which encourages goddess worship and even endorses witchcraft. This workshop is called Cakes for the Queen of Heaven. It has been circulated through the major denominations and adopted for use in many mainstream churches.18 The following quotation from Jeremiah gives God’s perspective about this:
Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. (Jeremiah 7:16-18, emphasis added)
A Canadian television station ran a five-part series titled Return of the Goddess, which introduced many people to goddess worship. The National Film Board of Canada produced Goddess Remembered, which became one of their most popular productions ever, being featured by public broadcasting TV stations in the United States as well as in Canada. Cakes for the Queen of Heaven and Goddess Remembered have both become staples for study groups in some major denominations.19
The Goddess and the University
The credibility of goddess worship has been increased by its acceptance by university professors and its incorporation into textbooks.20
[T]he doctrines of a new religion are being packaged and promoted as factual material for use in publicly funded and accredited institutions of higher education.21
The broader plans of gender feminism seem to have been most fully articulated, promoted, and implemented among academics. Some feminists have even demanded that the goddess be given parity with the God of the Bible in university religion programs. This will impact our entire society because universities and colleges are training most of our future leaders, including government, health care, and the clergy.22
[R]adical professors are . . . using the classroom for recruitment, turning students into political activists. The campus, therefore, is a natural place to look for signs of the radical feminist New Age as it emerges.23
The Goddess and Health Care
Goddess worship has become strong in the field of health care, particularly nursing. Health care professionals are actively promoting New Age practices. For example, the occultic “therapeutic touch” (passing one’s hands above a patient’s body in order to manipulate auras and energy fields) has reportedly been taught to thousands of nurses in eighty North American nursing programs..24
Goddess worship has been overtly promoted, as can be seen from the following quotation from the National League for Nursing, which is an accrediting agency for nursing schools:
Women’s wisdom is ageless and timeless, and passes from generation to generation primarily by oral tradition. . . . These origins are grounded in women’s experiences, female symbolism, and the spiritual roots of the Triple Goddess.25
In Ray Yungen’s book, A Time of Departing, he discusses Sue Monk Kidd, who was once a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher. She began practicing contemplative prayer (a “Christian” mystical prayer practice similar to eastern meditation) and eventually turned away from the God of the Bible to worship the “goddess Sophia.”26 And while what has happened to her is very obvious, many Christians still read her books!
What Can We Do?
This booklet is just an introduction to goddess worship in America. I could give many more examples of how this has affected our society and the church. We need to be informed so we can help people we know who have become confused by these things. God may show us practical things we can do. Above all, we need to take the following Scripture seriously,and apply it to our daily lives.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5) (See Part 2 Below)
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1. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality (Dallas, TX: Spence Publishing Company, 1999), chapters 2 through 12.
2. Ibid., chapters 2, 11 and 12.
3. Ibid., p. ix.
4. Ibid., p. 360.
6. Information obtained by phone from the Public Information Office of the Statue of Liberty.
7. This poster is in the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. A picture of it appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 29, 1998, p. D-1.
8. The National Academy of Sciences—The Main Foyer and the Great Hall: This says that the architect wanted to create a “temple of science,” www.nasonline.org/about-nas/visiting/nas/nas-building/the-main-foyer-and-the-great.html; The Great Hall: This shows pictures of some of the goddesses. You can see that the ceiling looks like a cathedral rather than a science building, www.nasonline.org/about-nas/visiting-nas/nas-building/the-great-hall.html.
9. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality, op. cit., p. 334.
11. Ibid., pp. 336-337.
12. Ibid., p. 341.
13. Ibid., p. 343.
15. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality, op. cit., pp. 3-4, 28-29.
16. Ibid., p. 29.
17. Ibid., pp. 24-25, 27.
18. Ibid., pp. 24-25.
19. Ibid., pp. 25-27.
20. Ibid., pp. 29-31.
21. Ibid., p. 31.
22. Ibid., pp. 361, 363.
23. Ibid., p. 361.
24. Ibid., pp. 31-33.
25. Charlene E. Wheeler and Peggy L. Chinn, Peace and Power: A Handbook of Feminist Process (New York, NY: National League for Nursing, 3rd edition), pp. xi-xii. Quoted in Goddess Unmasked, p. 32.
26. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd edition, 2006), pp. 135-136.
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PART 2: The Shack—Father-Goddess Rising
By John Lanagan
Many Christians have credited the New York Times best-seller The Shack, (the novel by William P. Young) with revolutionizing their faith. With themes of overcoming loss, working through anger, and restored relationship between man and God, Young’s novel has excited many within the Body of Christ.
The Shack was on the New York Times best-seller list for 52 weeks at #1 (over 170 weeks all together), and has sold over twenty million copies in 40 languages. It continues to sell briskly to a mostly Christian readership. Yet, in the midst of such enthusiasm, does The Shack, glorify Jesus Christ—or does it contradict the Bible with a false image of the Lord our God?
The novel’s main character, Mack Phillips, has lost his daughter. She has been murdered, her bloodied dress found in an isolated shack. Four years later Mack receives an invitation from God to spend time with the Trinity in the very shack where the dress was found.
Even though there is nowhere in the Bible where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit simultaneously assume physical forms on earth, The Shack portrays Jesus as a carpenter, the Holy Spirit as an Asian woman, and God the Father as a large black woman named Papa.
The Shack’s “God” comes to Mack in a form he is willing to accept. While the novel’s feminization of the Lord is as trendy as it is Babylonian, the reader rapidly becomes used to descriptions of God as “she” and “her.” At one point, the book’s version of Jesus praises the fictional Father-goddess, exclaiming, “Isn’t she great?”1
Malachi 3:6 states, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” God is Spirit. In the entire Bible, there is not one single reference to Father, Son, or Holy Spirit—or to any of His angels—as female. Is it wise then to go beyond what has been presented in Scripture?
Unfortunately, this seems a frequent occurrence in The Shack. The Father-goddess character tells Mack she appears in female form “to help you keep from falling back so easily into your religious conditioning.”2 The author and his publishing team apparently assume Christians believe the Lord is an old white man with a beard and have produced the book in part to help straighten out the church’s perception of God.
There is an apparent dismissal of the importance of Scripture, which is reflected in slippery theology found throughout the novel. Young writes, “Nobody wanted God in a box, just in a book. Especially an expensive one bound in leather with gilt edges, or was that guilt edges?”3 Guilt edges? A not-so-subtle suggestion that we should not feel guilty or convicted about our sins.
The Father-goddess of The Shack, it seems, is never about guilt or punishment. She benignly informs Mack, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring people from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.”4
That sounds wonderful. And, yes, sin enslaves. However, the The Shack’s “God” contradicts the Bible. Jesus “shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
Although most sermons these days skirt the issue, Christians do receive punishment (i.e., disciplining) during our time on earth:
[T]he Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Hebrews 12:6-7)
But, this is not the message of the Father-goddess, simply because this is not the God of Scripture. Young, a gifted writer, plays to emotion and touches on legitimate hurts and concerns, excelling at imbuing his “God” with attributes of love, forgiveness, and mercy, and this is what many people have responded to.
Increasingly in novels and movies, the Lord is blithely used as one of the characters and given words from the mouth of man. In this sense, the author of The Shack, is simply following the culture.
But something else is going on here—
Universal Reconciliation (UR) is the belief that Jesus’ sacrifice allows Christians and non-Christians to spend eternity with God. In other words, in UR theology, everybody goes to heaven, not just followers of Jesus. Some in this camp even believe this includes the devil and his demons. And as one New Ager pointed out (Neale Donald Walsch) in his highly popular book Conversations with God, even Hitler will go to Heaven!5
Co-author of The Shack,Wayne Jacobsen, acknowledges that UR was included in earlier versions of The Shack. Jacobsen explains:
While some of that was in earlier versions because of the author’s partiality at the time to some aspects of what people call UR, I made it clear at the outset that I didn’t embrace UR and didn’t want to be part of a project that promoted it.6
So why did Jacobsen proceed to join forces with Young? He writes:
To me that was the beauty of the collaboration . . . the author would say that some of that dialogue significantly affected his views. . . . Holding him to the conclusions he may have embraced years earlier would be unfair to the ongoing process of God in his life and theology.7
Perhaps, but this allegedly former theology even now seems to explain some of the content of the book.
The Bible clearly teaches the only way to God the Father is through Jesus Christ, who loved us enough to die for us. Early in The Shack, Mack’s daughter asks if the Great Spirit, the Native American god, is another name for the Father of Jesus. Mack tells her . . . yes. He may as well have told her that Allah (or any other false patriarchal god) is also the Father of Jesus.
Of course, if everybody is going to heaven because of UR, what does it matter? God, Great Spirit, Allah, what’s the difference?
His daughter asks the question because Mack tells the story of an Indian princess who willingly died so her people could be delivered of an illness. According to an Indian prophecy, it could be ended only through her sacrifice. The author states, “After praying and giving herself to the Great Spirit, she fulfilled the prophecy by jumping without hesitation to her death on the rocks below.”8
When his daughter calls the Great Spirit “mean” for making both Jesus and the princess die, Mack never clarifies that Jesus’ Father is not the Great Spirit or that God the Father has nothing to do with this pagan legend.
Some may ask if Young still has UR leanings? In his article, “The Beauty of Ambiguity,” it is not his character Mack but Young himself who speaks to the Father-goddess. He denies being a universalist and proclaims “faith in Jesus is the only way into your embrace.”9
In the article, Young is having a conversation with Father-goddess, who asks, “I take it that it wouldn’t bother you if I decided to save every human being that ever lived?”
“Nope. I actually hope you’ve figured a way to do just that,” he replies.10
Young’s goddess Father will save everyone through Young’s belief in Universal Reconciliation. This directly contradicts Jesus Christ:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Although Young then proceeds to voice acceptance of the reality of hell, he complains to his fictional Father-goddess:
[W]hy couldn’t you have made things clear? People go to the Bible and find all these ways to disagree with each other . . . Everybody seems to want to acquire their little piece of doctrinal territory . . . Some find support for Universal Reconciliation; some find proofs for eternal torment in hell.11
Young continues with his list. Issues run the gamut from Calvinism to eschatology and, having inserted Universal Reconciliation into the mix, his fictional Father-goddess never corrects him. No surprise there. Is this perhaps an attempt to at least infer valid consideration of UR by including it amongst a hodge-podge of doctrinal concerns?
Incredibly, Young’s Father-goddess clarifies (?) that she made much of the Bible ambiguous on purpose! I find it chilling that the author, or any person, would dare present doctrinal confusion as the intended plan of God—and via a fictional character at that. But, that’s the way it is these days.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3)
It’s going to get worse. Goddess worship, false christs, and many other heresies will continue to rise. Movies, novels, and TV will become increasingly blasphemous.
Readers of this novel would do well to examine biblical teaching about the Trinity, sin, repentance, communication with the dead, and much else.
Many in the Body of Christ have run to get a copy of The Shack. Far better, brothers and sisters, to just run.
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1. William Paul Young, The Shack (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-9647292-3-0, printing: 50 49 48 47), p. 90.
2. Ibid., p. 95
3. Ibid., p. 68.
4. Ibid., p. 122.
5. Warren B. Smith, “If Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations with God) and the New Agers are Right, Then Hitler Will Be in Heaven!” (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6090).
6. Wayne Jacobsen, “Is the Shack Heresy?” (Windblown Media, http://web.archive.org/web/20080714200042/http://www.windblownmedia.com/shackresponse.html).
8. William Paul Young, The Shack, op. cit., p. 30.
9. William P. Young, “The Beauty of Ambiguity” (The Clarion Journal, http://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2008/03/the-beauty-of-a.html).
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A Chart on Goddess Worship
by Berit Kjos (www.crossroad.to)
Praying to God Affirming the goddess
Our Father in heaven Our Mother, the Earth
Holy is Your Name Sacred and perfect am I
Your Kingdom Come My vision come
Your will be done My will be done
Give us . . . daily bread Don’t give . . . I own . . .
Forgive us . . . as we forgive I choose to forgive—or curse
Lead us not into temptation Temptation? I form my own values
Deliver us from evil There is no sin or evil
For Yours is the . . . power Mine is the power
. . . forever! Nothing is permanent or absolute
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LTRP Note: Please see our links below this letter for some excellent resources on Reiki.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I won’t bore you with details of my life and why I am writing, but want you to know I am a Bible-believing Christian. My mom is into the New Age movement and has had Reiki done on her for years; recently she started practicing Reiki. She does it on friends and family members (I am the only Christian in the family). I live with back pain, and she has wanted to do it on me. I have always said no, but after researching Reiki I finally decided to tell her that my beliefs conflict with Reiki and that the “energy” is actually demonic (that was a difficult conversation). FYI, she told me she can’t do it on anyone without their permission. Also she regularly meditates and talks to “her angel,” whom she credits with anything good happening. She is getting deeper into this.
My mother says she prays to “Jesus” before doing Reiki. When she said that, I knew I couldn’t keep ignoring it and decided I needed to really look into Reiki and share my faith (she knows I’m a Christian—thus telling me Reiki is OK for me because she prays to Jesus; but I don’t think she saw much distinction in our beliefs and said her Reiki teacher used to be a female minister). She does not believe in the Bible or most of it anyway, nor Jesus’ deity, but rather He came to point the way to God. To me, of course, this just doesn’t make any logical sense for so many reasons (I told her those reasons), but she is so deceived she can’t see reason. This “Jesus” seems to be a big part of her life, but I think her angel(s) more so. She states she only “prays” to God but “talks” to her angel(s) and asks them for help. I see the contradiction because she “prays” to Jesus before Reiki but doesn’t believe He’s God yet only prays to God. But she doesn’t see it. Obviously this is a false Jesus (and are not holy angels). We are very close, but it turns my stomach to hear her talk about her angels (one of whom is “like a best friend” and has a name).
I’ve been trying to research any author or speaker before I listen/read them because I know how subtle wrong teaching can come in. It takes a lot of discernment; your website will help me a lot. So many people are being mislead by a lot of different things. It’s heartbreaking! I don’t think my Christian friends truly understand what this stuff is so its hard for them to understand how upset I am.
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you are telling the truth. I felt impotent in my search for answers until I stumbled upon the podcasts and then the website.
NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult? by Ray Yungen is our newest Lighthouse Trails 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. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?, click here.
Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?
In the West, mysticism always used to be restricted to a tiny fraction of the population (i.e., shamans, esoteric brotherhoods, and small spiritually elite groups). Never before has there been a widespread teaching of these methods to the general population. Now, mysticism pervades the Western world. How did this happen?
The first such book to reach a broad audience was Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. This book could rightfully be called a practical mystic’s “Bible.” Many people can trace their first involvement with metaphysics to this book. Since its publication in 1978, it has sold millions of copies and has influenced the fields of psychology, health, business, and athletics.
This book became so popular because it addresses such topics as creativity, career goals, relationships, better health, and simple relaxation and peacefulness. Who wouldn’t want to have all this, especially if all it takes is engaging in a simple practice?
Gawain spells out very clearly what that practice entails. She teaches her readers:
Almost any form of meditation will eventually take you to an experience of yourself as source, or your higher self . . . Eventually you will start experiencing certain moments during your meditation when there is a sort of “click” in your consciousness and you feel like things are really working; you may even experience a lot of energy flowing through you or a warm radiant glow in your body. These are signs that you are beginning to channel the energy of your higher self.1
There were books like hers before, but those appealed to people already in the New Age subculture. This wasn’t true of Creative Visualization. This book had just the right secular slant on something inherently spiritual. Gawain believed that one could stay a Jew, Catholic, or Protestant and still practice the teachings of the book. All you needed to do was develop yourself, not change your religion.
Today, sales of this book and others like it have exploded in the Western world. This is not an understatement or scare-tactic conjecture. Take a look at book sales for some of the major New Age authors around today. Just the top two, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, have sold fifty million books between them. James Redfield, the author of The Celestine Prophecy can boast of a staggering twenty million books sold, and Neal Donald Walsch, the channeler of Conversations with God, a surprising seven million.
The basic message of these books and hundreds of others like them could be reduced to one simple word, a word that cries out a uniform consistent theme—meditate! That is to say, you’re not going to get anywhere in this life unless you get that “click” that Gawain spoke of earlier, and to do it, you must meditate.
If you think the New Age movement is a colorful assortment of strange cults dressed in orange and populated by free-spirited aging hippies and assorted oddballs who are being duped by money-hungry charlatans and egocentric frauds, then think again. We are not dealing with fringe religious groups or chanting flower-children anymore but with a broad-based concerted effort to influence and restructure our whole society.
Shakti Gawain says any form of meditation will work, but what she really means is that any form of a particular type of meditation will work. She is not talking about the kind of “meditation” in which one ponders on or considers a certain topic. The type she practices and promotes involves stopping the normal flow of human thought. You can’t get the “click” she speaks of unless you go all the way by emptying the mind versus simply just sitting and thinking. Merely pondering does not suffice. To meditate “successfully,” you must employ a specific method which produces a void referred to by many New Age practitioners as “the silence”—or “the voice of the silence.”
But how does one engage in the actual practice of New Age meditation? For starters, one begins by repeating a single world or short phrase for a minimum of twenty minutes (once a meditator is good at meditating, he can even shorten that time). But if for some reason, the meditator finds himself given to active thought again, he must revert back to repeating that same word or phrase. This word or phrase is what is referred to as “the mantra.” A similar method involves focusing on the breath for the same amount of time. Yet another method, commonly found in Shamanic cultures, incorporates the use of both chanting and drumming. Alongside of this, there exists an even more subtle “Christian” form of meditation, which employs the use of biblical phrases, a single word such as “Jesus,” and spiritual-sounding phrases such as “Maranatha,” “Abba Father,” “You are my Lord,” and “Here I Am.”
Meditation has always been the precursor to mysticism, and this especially applies to the underpinnings of far-eastern religions in particular (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism). We are all familiar with the stereotype of the Hindu guru or the Buddhist monk depicted in the lotus position, but this stereotype no longer is reflective of what meditation has come to mean in our post-modern or pseudo-modern society.
Meditation as we know it to be now has literally busted out from its foundational origins into a wide array of options and expressions. Undoubtedly, the most common way in which most encounter meditation is within the therapeutic realm. Many are incredulous when they discover meditation is not just for stress reduction but possesses a definite mystical component, irrespective of one’s intent. We will now examine in more depth the existing evidence which bears witness to this.
Stress is believed to be one of the leading causes of illness in America today. Millions of people suffer from disorders such as headaches, insomnia, nerves, and stomach problems because of excessive stress in their lives. In response to this situation, an army of practitioners have come forth to teach relaxation skills and stress reduction techniques to the afflicted millions. A newspaper article proclaims:
Once a practice that appealed mostly to mystics and occult followers, meditation now is reaching the USA’s mainstream. . . . The medical establishment now recognizes the value of meditation and other mind-over-body states in dealing with stress-related illnesses.2
Does all meditation lead to New Age mysticism? Can a person meditate without having a metaphysical motive? Can it be done just to relax and get rid of tension without any spiritual side effects? These are legitimate questions. Suppose a company brings in a stress specialist to give a seminar and all employees are required to attend. What if a doctor prescribes meditation to relieve migraine headaches? Say an aerobics instructor has participants of the class lie on their backs, close their eyes, and do breathing exercises. Is there such a thing as neutral meditation?
I once asked John Klimo (who wrote what has been called the definitive book on channeling) if the millions of people meditating for stress reduction could become transformed as a result. His response almost sent me through the ceiling! “Most certainly,” he replied with marked enthusiasm. Being a channeler himself, he viewed the possibility of this with great expectation.
His optimism was well-founded. When the meditation techniques used in stress reduction are compared to the meditation used in New Age spirituality, it is clear to see they are basically the same. Both use either the breathing or mantra method to still the mind. A blank state of mind is all that is necessary for contact to occur.
Some well-known channelers became so because meditation catapulted them into the world of spirit entities. Jach Pursel, who channels the immensely popular “Lazaris,” explains how this entity first came to him:
Early evening. Sitting on the bed, plumped up in pillows, I am preparing to meditate (ha!). I am going to seek insight (ha!) to help guide our lives. . . . Two hours later, Peny [his wife] didn’t hear my sheepish apology for having dozed off. She was excitedly tumbling over words trying to tell me that an entity had spoken through me. She thought I had fallen asleep again, too. This time, however, my head didn’t bob, so she waited. Some minutes passed, and then a deep, resonant voice began where mine had left off. The answers, however, were powerful, not of the caliber of mine. She listened. She wrote as fast as she could. . . .
The entity explained that he was Lazaris! . . . Lazaris requested two weeks of our time to finalize the necessary adjustments so he could “channel” through me. He provided Peny with a simple, but detailed, method I should use to enter trance more easily. He assured her that this experience would never be detrimental, that although he had neither a body nor time, he appreciated that we did, and he would never abuse either.3
Kevin Ryerson (featured in Shirley MacLaine’s book and television movie Out on a Limb) also got into channeling by accident. He joined a meditation group hoping he could tap into some inner reservoir of creativity just as many in the business world are now doing. He relates:
When I entered this group, I had no intention or expectation of becoming a trance medium. But after six months, in the course of one of our sessions, I entered into a “spontaneous channeling state,” as I refer to it now.4
John Randolph Price, founder of the Quartus Foundation and instigator of the World Healing Day Meditation, also became involved in metaphysics through this route. He reveals:
Back when I was in the business world, the American Management Association put out a little book on meditation, which indicated that meditation was a way to attain peace of mind and reduce stress in a corporate environment. So I decided I’d try it. . . . I learned that I could go into meditation as a human being, and within a matter of minutes, have transcended my sense of humanness. I discovered how to come into a new sphere of consciousness. Consciousness actually shifts, and you move into a realm you may not have even known existed.5
So, can meditation be done without potential spiritual side effects? For those who still say yes, give ear to the following:
In alpha [meditative state] the mind opens up to nonordinary forms of communication, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition . . . In alpha the rational filters that process ordinary reality are weakened or removed, and the mind is receptive to nonordinary realities. (emphasis mine)6
You must be willing to slow down, to stop and just be quiet. It is into this quiet space [meditation], not the noisy one, that Spirit enters. Make a sacred space for your Higher Self to enter by being silent and willing to listen, willing to simply BE. This attracts your superconscious essence like a magnet.7
First and foremost, almost all mediums agree on the significance and the importance of regular daily meditation. This single practice, above all others, is no doubt the very shaft that drives the wheel of development.8
Even though meditation can bring you seeming peace of mind and improved health, I believe it is evident, by the accounts just given, that those who engage in it may find themselves in similar circumstances. According to New Ager Betty Bethards, “Meditation can, and does, change your life because it changes you.”9 Ken Wilber, another New Age writer and expert in the field of higher consciousness, aptly puts it:
If you’re doing meditation correctly, you’re in for some very rough and frightening times. Meditation as a relaxation response is a joke.10
I understand the bizarre implications of what I am trying to convey and certainly can see where a skeptic might laugh at such accusations. But evidence to the contrary is abundant. In 1996, Time magazine actually did an article on just such a reality. The article called “Ambushed by Spirituality” was written by a Hollywood studio executive and producer who described himself as “the last guy you’d figure would go spiritual on you.”11 Marty Kaplin explained how he “stumbled” onto “meditation” to keep from grinding his teeth when he became stressed. The following account backs up my bold assertion:
I got more from mind-body medicine than I bargained for. I got religion. . . . The spirituality of it ambushed me. Unwittingly, I was engaging in a practice [meditation] that has been at the heart of religious mysticism for millenniums. . . . Now I know there is a consciousness that transcends science, a consciousness toward which our species is sputteringly evolving.12
Nathaniel Mead, another authority that was honest and open about the side effects of simple meditation practice, echoed what Ken Wilber warned about. In a natural health magazine, Mead states:
One source of meditation problems comes from the attempt to turn a powerful, psychological technique into a simple physical therapy. When a meditator is led to expect stress reduction and instead comes face to face with his true self, the result can be anything but relaxing.13
But in spite of the dangers and risks, meditation continues to be promoted by those in the alternative health profession. The prestigious and highly respected Mayo Clinic has put its stamp of approval on meditation as well in its book The Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine. The book gives the green light by stating:
Today many people use meditation for health and wellness purposes. In meditation, a person focuses attention on his or her breathing, or on repeating a word, phrase or sound in order to suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupies the conscious mind. . . . Meditation may be used to treat a number of problems, including anxiety, pain, depression, stress and insomnia.14
The book then devotes an entire page with step-by-step instructions on how to meditate. These instructions are the exact same type of meditation you have been reading about in this booklet (i.e., focus on the breath and repetition of words and phrases). The Mayo Clinic’s acceptance of Eastern-style meditation is an excellent barometer for how widespread meditation has become in respectable and mainstream society. And with the explosion of stress and anxiety in Western culture and the promotion of meditative techniques by such reputable institutions as the Mayo Clinic, this will neutralize any opposition people may have to meditation based on the perception of it being unorthodox. In essence, meditation is now for the masses!
Meditation has found its way to the masses through many routes—a primary one of which pertains to physical fitness in the form of Yoga. The very word “Yoga” means union with the god of Hinduism, namely Brahman. Meditation is the vehicle by which to accomplish this union. Vedic, which is Hindu literature, is filled with references to Yoga in this context. Although, in America, Yoga has erroneously been looked upon as just a series of simple stretching exercises, the mystical aspects are clearly evident if one takes the time to look into the matter more deeply. A considerably high percentage of those who are drawn to Yoga, roughly thirty percent, delve into the religious aspects of Yoga eventually. Yoga’s popularity is to spirituality, what a gateway drug is to harder drugs; and it has laid the groundwork for an acceptance of meditation that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
In recent years, a type of meditation known as mindfulness has made a surprising showing. Based on current trends, it has the potential to eclipse even Yoga in popularity. You will now find it everywhere that people are seeking therapeutic approaches to ailments or disorders. True to its Buddhist roots, mindfulness involves focusing on the breath to stop the normal flow of thought. In effect, it acts the same way as a mantra; and as with Yoga, it is presented as something to cure society’s ills.
You will recall my mention of Marty Caplan who said he was ambushed by spirituality. This means there was someone or something that did the ambushing. The apostle Paul identifies these ambushers when he writes:
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20)
These religions of which Paul speaks are the source of the modern meditation movement. It is not hard to find examples of this in various accounts of meditative experiences.
Lori Cabot, in her book Power of the Witch, actually backs up the apostle Paul’s assertion, but instead of calling them devils, she refers to them as “spirit helpers.” In her chapter on meditation (which she refers to as alpha—the brain waves level when one is in a meditative state), she makes the following recommendation:
Establish a reciprocal relationship with your spirit helpers from the start. Be aware of how you fit into their mission and purpose, and do your best to be a partner or companion to your spirit guides.15
In the Western world today, meditation has become a kind of cure-all for all manner of mental and physical problems, for both young and old alike. Most people in the modern world see meditation as more of a therapeutic practice than a spiritual one. But as I’ve illustrated in this booklet, intent is not the main factor in determining the outcome of meditation practice. Before you or a loved one accepts the premise that meditation is a pathway to wellness, please give the contents of this booklet your most serious consideration.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. (Proverbs 8:11)
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1. Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1983, 9th Printing, p. 57.
2. USA Weekend Sunday Supplement, July 24-26, 1987, p. 12
3. Jach Pursel, “Introduction from the Sacred Journey: You and Your Higher Self,” taken from Jach Pursel’s website, http://www.lazaris.com/publibrary/pubjach.cfm.
4. Mark Vaz, “The Many Faces of Keven Ryerson” (Yoga Journal, July/August 1986), p. 28.
5. “Two Billion People for Peace,” Interview with John Randolph Price (Science of Mind, Aug. 1989), p. 24.
6. Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch (New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, 1989), p. 173.
7. Kathleen Vande Kieft, Innersource: Channeling Your Unlimited Self (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, third printing, 1989), p. 114.
8. Zolar, Zolar’s Book of the Spirits (New York, NY: Prentice Hall Press, 1987), p. 227.
9. Betty Bethards, Way to Awareness: A Technique of Concentration and Meditation (Novato, CA: Inner Light Foundation, 1987), p. 23.
10. “The Pundit of Transpersonal Psychology” (Yoga Journal, September/October 1987), p. 43.
11. Marty Kaplan, “Ambushed by Spirituality” (Time magazine, June 24, 1996, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,984754,00.html).
13. Andrea Honebrick, “Meditation: Hazardous to your health?” (Utne Reader, March/April 1994), citing Nathaniel Mead (Natural Health, November/December 1993, taken from the Transcendental Meditation Ex-Members Support Group, TM-EX Newsletter at http://minet.org/news94sm.dtp.0.html).
14. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine (Time, Inc., Home Entertainment Books, 2007), p. 90.
15. Lori Cabot, Power of the Witch (New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday, 1989), p. 198.
To order copies of Meditation! Pathway to Wellness or Doorway to the Occult?, click here.