Little Wave and Old Swell (released by Beyond Words Publishing) is packaged as a children’s picture book, one that moms and dads will sit and read to their young ones at bedtime. The story is woven within the pages of colorful abstract paintings of the ocean and the sky. It begins with a conversation between Little Wave and Old Swell:
“What is it, Old Swell?” Little Wave asked his teacher. Little Wave was gazing out at the place where the sky and sea meet. He had seen other things rising out there–clouds and ships and whales. But never had he seen anything like the long, dark line that lay across the horizon. Old Swell knew that Little Wave had never seen land and that he would not understand. So he answered like the sage he was, “That,” said Old Swell, “is Destiny.”
And so goes the story of the journey of Little Wave and his dialogue with Old Swell.
At first, the story could seem harmless enough, but the cover inscription will cause discerning Christians to grab another bedtime tale. It reads: “Inspired by Hindu swami Paramahansa Yogananada” The book is written by New Age proponent Jim Ballard, so it would naturally make sense that he would be inspired by the Hindu guru (a whole page and a painting of the guru is devoted to him in the back of the book). What will throw many off, and no doubt cause some Christians to question their concerns about the book, is another inscription on the front cover. This one reads: “Foreword by Ken Blanchard”
Blanchard, known by most for being a business leadership figure and for his One Minute Manager books, professes to have become a Christian in the mid 80s (see his biography, We are the Beloved). However, for over twenty-five years, he has been writing the forewords and endorsements to books that teach and/or promote Buddhist and eastern-style meditation. His foreword to the book What Would Buddha do at Work? came out in 2001.
Some may say, so what if Blanchard endorses these books – what does it really matter? If Blanchard was not a professing Christian and very well accepted by many evangelical Christians (he has spoken at Saddleback at least a few times), his endorsing of eastern religious writers and teachers might not be so serious. But when a man or woman represents Christianity, the Bible is clear that he or she is responsible (especially one who is in leadership) for their words and actions. Readers grabbing a hold of Little Wave and Old Swell may find Blanchard’s outstanding endorsement of the book license to read it and embrace the spirituality behind it.
We have titled the name of this article “A Course in Miracles for Children” because the message in both books is essentially the same – and that is, that all is God, and therefore man is God, and he can come to this realization through mystical meditation.
Ballard is no stranger to New Age philosophy. In his book, Mind Like Water (also endorsed by Blanchard), Ballard says:
I signed up for the yoga meditation lessons … founded by Paramahansa Yogananda….I had evidently reached a level of consciousness beyond the usual … I continue to consider meditation far and away the most important thing I do. (p. 77,78)
In this book, Ballard teaches breath prayer, visualization, mantra meditation, and a number of other practices to enter the altered state of consciousness.
In Little Wave and Old Swell, Old Swell (representing the higher consciousness) tries to teach Little Wave “deep listening.”: “As he pondered this mystery, Little Wave felt a strange, deep contentment. Perhaps this was what Old Swell meant by being still.” Old Swell responds to Little Wave’s questions, “You thought that you were separate, but no. You can never be apart from your Source. Know that you and I and all of our brother and sister waves are One with the Great Deep. We have always been One. We shall always be One.” Later in the book, after a period of storm, Little Wave asks his teacher “teach me about Don’t hurry; don’t stop”:
He didn’t know how, but he was certain it had something to do with Deep Listening … As he concentrated, he began to feel great peace. Then came a trickling of Joy … He listened. The gentle hum grew louder … Finally he was hearing the Sound. Little Wave listened more carefully. He had never heard a sound like this before. And yet somehow he felt he had always heard it, there behind every other sound. Ommm-m-m-m… Ommm-m-m-m-m…”
Here we find the classic Hindu mantra om as the catalyst for Little Wave’s spiritual transformation.
As Little Wave listened, he realized the Sound was coming from inside him, all around him, everywhere. It was the Voice of Everything.
The book finishes with this prayer: “Help me to feel my connection with the vast Ocean of Life, the Oneness within all things.” Keep in mind that this is the classic Hindu concept of God–God is in all, and all is God. And this is especially evident by the fact that this story was inspired by a famous Hindu guru. This is what one will get from any and every Hindu spiritual teacher.
Like Jim Ballard, Ken Blanchard has looked to Paramahansa Yogananda for guidance. In the foreword to What Would Buddha do at Work, Blanchard states:
I look for inspirational messages from a variety of sources besides Jesus. Our folks get to hear words of wisdom from great prophets and spiritual leaders like Buddha, Mohammed … Yogananda and the Dalai Lama.
Finding Yogananda a “great” spiritual leader would explain why Blanchard wrote the foreword to Little Wave and Old Swell. In the foreword, Blanchard says “Yogananda loved Jesus, and Jesus would have loved Yogananda.” He adds: “Little Wave and Old Swell is a book for the innocent seeker in each of us … It’s a tale to tell children. And it can be a gift of hope to someone in bereavement … Enjoy this story. Read it many times. Let it speak to your heart.”
It is important to point out that this is not just a book for adults but for young people and children as well. Blanchard recognizes the spiritual component within its pages and endorses this component. This is what Ken Blanchard really believes. In addition, the fact that Blanchard says that Jesus would like Paramahansa Yogananda indicates he has accepted the classic New Age view that Jesus is just another New Age guru wherein they all honor each other. In reality, Jesus would have told Yogananda he must be born again, not achieve higher consciousness. If there is one thing that Christian Scripture teaches, it is that all is not one, and that God is a separate entity from man. In Hinduism, God is not a being, but Being itself.
The message in A Course in Miracles, as has been articulated in False Christ Coming, is that all is One. Unfortunately, Little Wave and Old Swell carries the same message. And when a Christian figure as popular as Ken Blanchard tells readers, including children, to “let it speak to your heart,” this is an indescribable tragedy within our Christian culture, not just that Blanchard said it but that Christian leaders seem unaware of its implications.
Quotes from the “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles
There is no separation of God and His creation.
God is All in all in a very literal sense. All being is in Him Who is all Being. You are therefore in Him since your being is His.
When God created you He made you part of Him.
Everyone God created is part of you and shares His Glory with you.
The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the “devil.”
(These quotes from False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?)