An article, “A proven enlightened counter-measure,” written by Dr. David Leffler, an eight-year US Air Force veteran, now the Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS), appeared in The Aljazzera Magazine, an “independent media organisation established in 1992 in London” reporting on world events that affect the Middle East.
In the article, Leffler discusses US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Gates’ recent speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Gates said that “[e]nlightened counter-measures … will bolster the internal strength of vulnerable states so they will not harbor violent networks seeking to launch the next attack.” Leffler suggests that in the DoD’s “struggle to eliminate violent extremism,” eastern-style meditation techniques should be used:
Extensive scientific research indicates that the best way to reduce collective societal stress, eliminate extremism and thereby snuff out war and terrorism, is to adopt an ancient strategy. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has revived the ancient Vedic technology of Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) in a non-religious manner. It has been quietly and successfully used by members of many faiths to eliminate conflict in the past.
According to research, special units would be trained using Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi programs.
Leffler’s article states that for this “Maharishi Effect” (ME) to take place, a certain percentage of the population would have to practice this joint-efforted meditation: “Extensive research shows that the group size needed to reduce social stress depends on population size. It needs to be at least the square root of 1% of the population.” Leffler says that based on research, crime drops and quality of life goes up when the ME takes place. He gave a 1993 example where an ME intervention was studied in the U.S. capital – crime was said to have dropped by 23%.
The article says that “the U.S. is close to achieving the requisite number of IDT experts through the Invincible America Assembly in Fairfield, IA,” but that economic conditions in Iowa are keeping the meditation group from full success. Countries like Holland, Bolivia, Colombia, Trinidad, and Peru are said to have enough practitioners of the TM-Sidhi program to create the Maharishi Effect in their countries.
Leffler states that the ME could take place around the world if each country’s military would establish what he calls Prevention Wings of the Military. This group would make up for the percentage supposedly needed to meditate for world peace. As for the US military, Leffler says, “Ultimately, it is the DoD’s duty to build a Prevention Wing of the Military.”
According to New Age teachings, Leffler’s proposition that a certain percentage of meditators will rid the world of terrorism, crime, and even poverty could work. New Agers say that a “critical mass” of meditators is needed to bring the ME about. While critical mass is a scientific term, it is used here to refer to “an explosion in global consciousness capable of ‘touching’ or transforming all of humankind.” The idea is that when a certain critical number of people all share the same awareness, then change can come to all people’s thinking because of the critical mass. This critical mass would bring about a global paradigm shift.
As Lighthouse Trails has documented for several years now, the number of people practicing eastern meditation is quickly increasing. From babies being taught to meditate to a huge infiltration of meditation in all sectors of society, and finally through the contemplative (i.e., spiritual formation) movement in the evangelical church, meditation practice is overwhelmingly accepted and embraced in the world today. Leaders of meditation believe that it is through meditation that the world will finally experience true peace and unity.
While the Bible says that the world will at some point reach a momentary, false global peace (through occultic practices, we believe), it will be short lived and demonically inspired. Ray Yungen discusses the false sense of unity and oneness that is achieved through meditation and why it is spiritually dangerous:
Dr. Rodney R. Romney, former Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Seattle, is a person frequently quoted as an example of a New Age Christian. He very candidly revealed what was conveyed to him in his contemplative prayer periods. The ‘source of wisdom’ he was in contact with told him the following:
I want you to preach this oneness, to hold it up before the world as my call to unity and togetherness. In the end this witness to the oneness of all people will undermine any barriers that presently exist.
Could this be a familiar spirit speaking here? Jesus Christ did not teach that all people are one. There are the saved and the unsaved. And Jesus Christ is the catalyst for this distinction.
We have established in previous articles and reports that contemplative spirituality is a New Age belief system with which meditation is implemented and altered states of consciousness are reached. We have also shown how New Agers believe that the one common factor that unites all religious traditions is the metaphysical (i.e., mystical meditation). Listen again to Ray Yungen:
But the spirit who spoke to Dr. Romney also revealed something else of vital importance. It declared, “Silence is that place, that environment where I work.” Please pay attention to this! God does not work in the silence — but familiar spirits do. Moreover, what makes it so dangerous is that they are very clever. One well-known New Ager revealed what his guiding (familiar) spirit candidly disclosed: “We work with all who are vibrationally [meditationally] sympathetic; simple and sincere people who feel our spirit moving, but for the most part, only within the context of their current belief system.”
Warren Smith, in his book Reinventing Jesus Christ talks about the critical mass. Here he quotes New Ager Marianne Williamson:
So it is that a new politics centers around the arousal of that power, using prayer and meditation to create a forcefield of transformation.
It is a mystical revolution that will usher in a mystical age.
As a loving critical mass coalesces, as hearts around the world continue to yearn and work for peace, then new forms will emerge to actualize our new planetary vision.
Williamson is not some obscure New Age guru. Today, she works diligently in Washington, DC, rallying for the support of Congressmen and others to start a U.S. Department of Peace. Every year, she and other influential individuals and groups grow that much closer to the DOP becoming a reality. 1
Some may think our headline for this story, suggesting that the US Department of Defense would turn to meditation techniques, is absurd. Perhaps the DOD would never consider taking Leffler’s advice to use eastern mystical practices. But consider this: In October 2008, the Department of Defense awarded a $411,000 grant to the Center for Mind-Body Medicine to study the effectiveness of a non-drug approach for brain-injured soldiers who are suffering from depression. 2 The Center for Mind-Body Medicine uses various forms of eastern-style practices including guided imagery, meditation, and has an advisory board that includes New Age sympathizer Dean Ornish. Out of India discusses Ornish:
In the 1970s, Ornish met Sri Swami Satchidananda (who was teaching Ornish’s sister meditation techniques at the time) and told the guru he wanted to learn from him too. Today, he credits Satchidananda for inspiring his heart disease program. His book, Program for Reversing Heart Disease, became a New York Times best-seller and is a product of the swami’s advice. Ornish says:
Swami Satchidananda began teaching me in 1972 the meditation and Yoga techniques that evolved into the stress management program described [in this book]. Since then, he has remained my teacher and close friend.
Ornish devotes two chapters in his book to Yoga and other meditative techniques, explaining that “Yoga is a system of powerful tools for achieving union . . . with a higher force,” and through meditation, the higher self can be experienced. Quoting Swami Vivekananda, he states:
In one word, this ideal is that you are divine . . . All the powers in the universe are already ours.
Ornish was appointed to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy by former President Clinton and also served as a physician consultant to Clinton and several bipartisan members of the U.S. Congress. (from Out of India, pp. 165-166)
It is Swami Vivekananda’s spirituality to which the Department of Defense is giving nearly 1/2 million dollars. So Leffler’s hope that the DOD will incorporate meditation will most likely become a reality.
It is tragic to watch the futile efforts of the world seeking so desperately after peace in all the wrong places. The world has rejected Jesus Christ as the only Prince of Peace and has turned to the prince of this world (Satan) and his methods instead. Those methods convince humanity that it has the capability within itself to mend, heal, and save. Those methods, in particular meditation, convince man that he is divine and he needs no savior because salvation comes not from one person but from humanity itself.
What is even more tragic is that those calling themselves Christian leaders have turned to these methods as well, and now instead of being the salt of the earth and a light shining on the hill (always pointing to Jesus Christ), they have joined forces with the world to bring about peace through meditation. The fact that Henri Nouwen believed in “reconciliation” and peace through meditation and is touted by countless Christian ministries, organizations, schools, and churches is astounding.
Contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation) is of the same spirit as the Maharishi Effect. That silent sacred space that Christian contemplatives promote is the same silent space that is promoted by Hindu yogis and New Age leaders. It is interspiritual, interfaith and recognizes no single savior.
We beseech Christian figures and ministries to turn away from contemplative spirituality and return to the pure, simple and saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, offering that to the world of lost humanity. Many of these Christians leaders talk about Jesus through one side of their mouths while declaring the spirituality of Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, and Richard Foster out of the other side. It cannot work. It never will. The very nature of contemplative rejects man’s sinful nature and his need for a savior.
The peace that Jesus Christ offers is to individual men, women, and children, one soul at a time. This is why the preaching of the Gospel is so vital. It is indeed a Gospel of peace but not the peace the world gives, yet it is the only eternal peace there is. Jesus Himself explained this:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him … And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter … Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. (from John 14)
The apostle Paul, who was martyred for his faith, understood this as well:
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus … Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you (4:7,9)
The true peace of God can never be reached through meditative practices but comes only to the repentant heart who accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Peace plans, peace coalitions, three-legged stools, mystical reformations, man-induced awakenings, enlightened counter-measures will never accomplish what only Christ can do.
A list of Christian ministries currently promoting Spiritual Formation
What is Contemplative Spirituality and Why is it so Dangerous? by John Caddock