NEW BOOKLET: Drugs, Meditation, & “A Fully Developed Spirituality” by David Dombrowski is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are available. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. If you know someone who is involved in any kind of “meditation” (e.g., Yoga, mindfulness, centering prayer, lectio divina), please consider giving them a copy of this booklet. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Drugs, Meditation, & “A Fully Developed Spirituality,” click here.
Drugs, Meditation, & “A Fully Developed Spirituality”
Lessons From A Former Shaman For Today’s Church
By David Dombrowski
It is interesting how God orchestrates things in life which demonstrate His great love and ongoing mercy to ordinary people like myself. But, more specifically, I am thinking right now about how years ago I happened to come across a copy of a nearly forgotten book at the university library while working on a project. I still find it amazing that this secular humanistic library even had a copy of Stories From Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires—a book written by a missionary to the Canadian Native peoples of the 1800s sharing not only his life among them but the incredible stories they would tell him as they would warm themselves before a fire. This book is a treasure of the long-forgotten heritage of the Cree and Saulteaux tribes and how their lives were wonderfully transformed through the proclamation of the Gospel.
Though I first read that book over thirty years ago as a young university student, in 2010 God put it on our hearts at Lighthouse Trails to publish this book; then, when we were preparing to release it for publication, Nanci Des Gerlaise, a Christian Canadian Cree, contacted us about a book she had written titled Muddy Waters. The great surprise was that Nanci, to whom we then sent a review copy of the Wigwam manuscript, recognized in it the name Mask-e-pe-toon as being the name of the best friend of her great, great grandfather. Nanci then agreed to write the foreword to our edition of the Wigwam book. We also agreed to publish Muddy Waters.
“The Foolishness of God”
Sometime after publishing the Wigwam book and Muddy Waters, we added a DVD film titled I’ll Never Go Back!: The Testimony of Chief Shoefoot (which can also be seen freely on YouTube). In this documentary, Chief Shoefoot shares his own story of what life has been like for him both before and after he received the Gospel—hence his words “I’ll never go back.” Chief Shoefoot is a member of the native people known as the Yanomamo. The Yanomamo reside in a northern region of South America bordering Venezuela and Brazil. Hearing that Chief Shoefoot is part of a Yanomamo tribe especially caught my interest because I remembered studying these people in an anthropology class at the university.
Anthropologists have been studying the Yanomamo for many years now, and the typical reaction by many secular anthropologists to missionary outreaches to these people is that the Yanomamo people would have been better off if they had been left alone. Granted various missionary efforts were probably not conducted as they should have been, the fact remains that Jesus commissioned the Gospel to be shared with the whole world. What makes this video unique is that it is the testimony of an actual member of the Yanomamo tribe sharing his viewpoint and his side of the story; and his conclusion is an emphatic yes to having received the Gospel. Contrary to what these anthropologists are saying, Chief Shoefoot makes it clear that his life has been forever changed for the better.
In today’s current “progressive” emergent atmosphere, much of the Christian mission field has been marred by the mentality that we should be less intrusive about sharing the Gospel (as Roger Oakland defines in his booklet, New Missiology: Doing Missions Without the Gospel). Now don’t get me wrong; it’s true that there may be many non-spiritual aspects of a culture that don’t need to be changed, but the Gospel is very intrusive in calling all people everywhere to repent (change direction, acknowledging one’s sinful condition), to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (His sacrifice on the Cross and His resurrection), and to put their trust solely in Him for salvation. Jesus came as Savior to the whole world, and all people from all tribes and nations are offered one way to God. But today numerous mission organizations have been taking a more “politically correct” approach in assuming that every culture already has within its religious traditions an acceptable pathway to God, and our only duty is to encourage the people of these other cultures in what they already believe and are already doing with little more than perhaps an occasional reference to the Jesus Christ of the Bible.1 The sad truth and reality is that, although many peoples and cultures may believe in some type of supreme being and do have a sense of right and wrong (instilled into man through our God-given conscience), the Gospel is unique in that it is God’s revealed Word and offer of salvation based on grace through faith alone as opposed to a gospel of good works based on a belief in the innate goodness of mankind and God’s willingness to accept any and all man-made plans of salvation.
The truth is that God has declared in his Word that all are sinners and in need of a Savior. So while it may be true that God has not called us to impose European or Western customs on the indigenous peoples of the world, the Gospel is God’s “culture” for all mankind in that it calls all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. All I can say is that I personally am so glad that God “imposed” Himself on me when I received Christ as my Savior; and in both Muddy Waters and in I’ll Never Go Back lies the powerful and convincing testimony of two people—a medicine man’s daughter (in the book) and a former shaman or witchdoctor (in the film). Their stories are evidence that knowing Jesus Christ as Savior is more precious than anything the world has to offer and does beseech us to forsake those things displeasing to Him.
Albeit, God has given all people everywhere a conscience—a sense of right and wrong—it remains that the spirituality of all tribes and nations must give way to the truth of the Gospel rather than trying to reshape the Gospel to make it more palatable to any particular culture. After all, what part of the Gospel would we change? The fact is, the “preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Thus, it remains that the Gospel will always be offensive and politically incorrect to the unbeliever regardless of cultural setting. The Gospel is offensive not because it is the “white man’s religion” (which it never was) but because it is the way God chose to redeem mankind—which appears foolish to the carnal mind. But as Scripture declares, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
A Fully Developed “Spirituality”
In I’ll Never Go Back, Chief Shoefoot shares about how he became a shaman (i.e., witchdoctor) and the spirituality that ensued. In watching his testimony, I was amazed by the realization that as he was describing his spirituality as a shaman, he was describing the spirituality being promoted in the church today as “cutting-edge Christianity.” In fact, Chief Shoefoot’s spirituality was far ahead of the current contemplative prayer movement and the New Age of today. Furthermore, his people were already incorporating spiritual disciplines into their meditative practices. When I realized this, I listened to Chief Shoefoot very attentively and with much interest because I understood then that they had been practicing “contemplative spirituality”* and the “spiritual disciplines” probably for many centuries—perhaps even longer than the Desert Fathers** (after all, the meditation the Desert Fathers practiced didn’t originate with them but rather was most likely “borrowed” from the east.2) In listening to Chief Shoefoot describe his spirituality as a shaman, I also realized that he was, at the same time, describing where the spirituality of contemplative prayer, the New Age, and the spiritual disciplines will be in the future.
So, while the meditative practices and disciplines of the Desert Fathers phased out to near extinction after the Middle Ages then was later resurrected by Catholic monks such as Thomas Merton and Basil Pennington, the Yanomamo have preserved and developed these practices and brought them to full fruition. In other words, as the church and the New Age movement are in unison developing these practices, they will in time become like the Yanomamo. Let me explain.
In the film, Chief Shoefoot describes how he was introduced to shamanism at an early age because he was far advanced for his age in spiritual acuteness, he was told. Like contemplative prayer and New Age meditation, connection with “God” is accomplished by going into an altered state of consciousness (i.e., the silence). In the case of the Yanomamo, a drug is used for this purpose along with chanting (mantra), rhythm, and dancing. Spiritual disciplines (to include the withholding of food (i.e., fasting) and sleep) are also used to make the spiritual senses more acute. As I listened to Chief Shoefoot describe his story, I could see he was much more advanced than the mystics and contemplative prayer leaders of today. He literally saw into the spirit world and beheld various spirits for which the Yanomamo even had names.
The Yanomamo shaman recognizes the spirit world as a reality, not a superstition. According to Chief Shoefoot, spirits of various sorts are seen as desirable and are invited to “get inside your chest” while others are avoided as being evil. I am reminded how contemplative pioneer Richard Foster warns his students to beware of dangerous spirits when they practice contemplative prayer. In Faith Undone, Roger Oakland talks about this:
Proponents of contemplative prayer say the purpose of contemplative prayer is to tune in with God and hear His voice. However, Richard Foster claims that practitioners must use caution. He admits that in contemplative prayer “we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm” and that sometimes it is not the realm of God even though it is “supernatural.” He admits there are spiritual beings and that a prayer of protection should be said beforehand something to the effect of “All dark and evil spirits must now leave.”3
What Chief Shoefoot realized too late is that none of these spirits are good, and those considered to be evil cannot be avoided either. He learned that once a person enters into the occultic or contemplative realm, he becomes subject to the spirits that inhabit that realm. Christian mystics who engage in contemplative prayer think they are encountering the Holy Spirit, but Chief Shoefoot literally saw that this realm is inhabited by nothing more than demons who in time also made their habitation in him (and in other members of the tribe).
With this in mind, it is understandable that much of the activity of the tribe was marked by immorality and violence. Even anthropologists who are unsympathetic to the Christianizing of these tribes recognize a problem in their social and domestic interactions. Consider, for example, the following quote from an anthropological source regarding the role and treatment of wives in Yanomamo culture:
It is interesting to watch the behavior of women when their husbands return from a hunting trip or a visit. The men march slowly across the village and retire silently into their hammocks. The woman, no matter what she is doing, hurries home and quietly but rapidly prepares a meal for her husband. Should the wife be slow at doing this, the husband is within his rights to beat her. Most reprimands meted out by irate husbands take the form of blows with the hand or with a piece of firewood, but a good many husbands are even more severe. Some of them chop their wives with the sharp edge of a machete or ax, or shoot them with a barbed arrow in some nonvital area, such as in the buttocks or leg. Many men are given to punishing their wives by holding the hot end of a glowing stick against them, resulting in serious burns. . . . It is not uncommon for a man to injure his errant wife seriously; and some men have even killed wives. Women expect this kind of treatment. Those who are not too severely treated might even measure their husband’s concern in terms of the frequency of minor beatings they sustain. I overheard two young women discussing each other’s scalp scars. One of them commented that the other’s husband must really care for her since he has beaten her on the head so frequently! . . . Some men . . . seem to think that it is reasonable to beat their wife once in a while “just to keep them on their toes.”4
For lack of space, let me just say that the interactions of men with each other both within and between tribes is often not peaceable either. But, in any case, Native Spirituality*** plays a highly significant role in the happenings of these tribes.
Now, I imagine my statement made earlier—that those who practice “Christian” contemplative prayer or New Age mysticism will eventually become like the Yanomamo—must sound too extreme or at least a tongue-in-cheek statement. Actually, given the popularity today of mystical meditative practices, it would bring me much comfort if I were to know I am completely wrong in this assertion. But I am deeply concerned about people, many of whom are Christians, who are delving into contemplative prayer, eastern meditative practices, Yoga, Reiki, and New Age mysticism thinking they will better themselves (and come into a more enlightened consciousness) by doing so. All of these are occult practices that will tie the user in with the demonic realm though he may think he is connecting with “good” spirits, spirit guides, or the Holy Spirit.
Seeing that mystical meditation has become such common place, I realize a very great number of people would also see the statement I just made as fanatical or as a conspiracy theory. But the fact is, a conspiracy is already underway, instigated by Satan himself and performed by his vast number of demons. As Ray Yungen suggests in his book A Time of Departing, mysticism will have much to do with the great delusion that is already sweeping throughout the world. He points out that a mystical sector or element inhabits the various religions of the world, so it would only make sense that if the religions of the world are to unite, mysticism will play a major role.
It is not unusual for people to join the New Age movement or engage in Yoga or meditative practices like contemplative prayer in order to reap health benefits, to include higher levels of relaxation, or to live a more victorious life, but all the while, they are being introduced to something demonic both in origin and operation. The Bible makes a clear statement about occult or mystical practices in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 by sounding the alarm that these practices are “an abomination unto the LORD.” Then, too, Jesus warned against praying as the heathen do by using “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7), which is a clear indictment against chanting or the mantra-like words and phrases used in contemplative or meditative prayer.
The only real difference between the mysticism or Native Spirituality of the Yanomamo and the “Christian mystic” of today is that the Yanomamo have a fully developed spirituality and are far ahead of the mystical leaders and contemplative prayer proponents of the present. An example of this is that the Yanomamo have developed a broader variety of techniques that enable them to enter “the silence” more quickly. For instance, a drug is used that quickly brings the participant into an altered state of consciousness.
A Deadly Direction
Now, because the Yanomamo have been practicing mysticism and the spiritual disciplines for a very long time, it stands to reason that what they have brought to fruition will, in time, be the outcome of these practices that are sweeping through our churches today. So, without attempting or pretending to be prophetic, we can forecast the outcome of these practices based on where they have brought the Yanomamo and other peoples who practice Native Spirituality. The reason why I can say these things is because when the Yanomamo shaman engages in mysticism, he enters the same mystical realm that Christians do when they engage in contemplative prayer. In both cases, they enter into an occultic realm and put themselves at the mercy of the demons who inhabit those realms. Unfortunately, the demons are not merciful but rather pose as angels of light or the Holy Spirit and lead the practitioner away from the simple truth of the Gospel. While promising much, they deliver what is ultimately harmful to the practitioner. Currently, contemplative or mystical prayer is sweeping the church with the sales pitch that it enhances physical, mental, and spiritual well being to include relaxation and a direct connection to hearing from God. But as we have been attempting to demonstrate over the past two decades with our research materials, contemplative prayer and mysticism do indeed connect one with a spiritual realm, but that realm is not God, and it is not good.
And while the New Age movement promises an Age of Aquarius (or enlightenment) as an age of peace and oneness if we all engage in mystical prayer, the Bible indicates that the last days will be marked by unrest and war. And if we look at the Yanomamo, who have been practicing spirituality for centuries, we can see that the lives of these tribesmen and women are marked not by peace but by unrest and violence. If all that the mystics are saying were true, you would think that when the anthropologists discovered the Yanomamo peoples they would have discovered utopian bliss and celestial innocence; but rather, violence and unrest were discovered. The Yanomamo have tried and proven that spirituality is not what sustains a people, but as Chief Shoefoot points out after his conversion, our hope is in Jesus Christ alone. It is tragically ironic that while a Yanomamo chief, like Chief Shoefoot, has time tested and proven that mysticism does not work and has now turned to Jesus, countless Christians are now turning to mysticism (the very thing that Chief Shoefoot renounced) to find answers.
Interestingly enough, the Book of Revelation makes reference to the re-emergence in the last days of “that great city Babylon” (Revelation 18:21) which was in ancient times a center of idolatry and mysticism but in the end times will be the mercantile hub of false religion. Revelation 18 describes Babylon as “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Revelation 18:2). But how can it be that a city that practices contemplative prayer and mysticism can be frowned upon by God to such a degree? Is it not because the mystical or occultic realm is the habitation of devils? Chief Shoefoot says that it is so. Of further significance is verse 23 that states, “for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). If we consult Strong’s Concordance, we find that the Greek word used for “sorceries” is pharmakeia (pharmacy) signifying medication and derived from the word pharmakon signifying drugs (i.e., spell-giving potions). It seems very possible, therefore, that the mystics of the last days will incorporate drug use into their mystical practices, and as indicated in verse 23 above, this may become a great merchandising endeavor where people all over the world will be using mind-altering drugs.
The Catholic mystic Thomas Merton, who helped to pave the way for contemplative prayer to enter our generation, said he felt sorry for the hippies of the ’60s who used LSD because, as he pointed out, they could have achieved the same result by practicing contemplative prayer.5 But the mystic of the end times may actually feel sorry for Thomas Merton because drug use could make the mystical state much more readily attainable by anyone. Contemplative prayer takes some effort by incorporating a mantra-like word or phrase to create a hypnotic state whereas, in the future, the same result could be achieved by popping a pill or inhaling the smoke of a drug (such as marijuana****)—hence “instant” spirituality! Yet, all the while God’s statement about such practices will be, “for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” Apparently, whatever happens will be a massive global effort, and by it, people all over the world will be living in great delusion.
Sweeping the World
Perhaps “Babylon the great” spoken of in Revelation 18 refers to the re-emergence of a literal city of mystical practice and idolatry in the last days, but, at the very least, it must refer to a state of affairs that will sweep the world. Mysticism will be practiced on a global scale. And, all the while, the masses will be thinking they are pleasing God by practicing mysticism, oftentimes with the aid of drugs.
Then, this chapter in Revelation brings out one final point where it says, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 18:24). May I point out once again that mysticism (or occultism) connects one with a spirit world inhabited by demons posing to be angels of light. The occultist Alice Bailey, under the influence of her spirit guides, predicted that while New Age-style meditation will be promoted and propelled by the apostate Christian church, Christians who will not forsake the fundamentals of the faith will be seen as being in the way of bringing in this Age of enlightenment—an age of peace where everyone sees his or her own divinity and oneness with all things (which is, incidentally, the “fruit” of contemplative prayer). New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard suggests that these resisters of the new world/new reformation will be like a cancer that needs to be excised out of the Earth. She calls this elimination the “Selection Process.”6 Now I ask, what can be more hypocritical and diabolical than to think that the annihilation of godly people will bring about peace?
“The Regeneration of the Churches”
Yet, more and more Christians are joining in contemplative or mystical prayer, thinking it will make them stronger spiritually when the opposite is the case. In fact, what Christians are being drawn into is very antichrist in nature. Our research shows that those who engage in contemplative prayer in time see less and less relevance to the Cross (the atonement) to where it becomes unnecessary. The reason for this is quite simple: contemplative prayer makes a person feel one with and a part of God to where a sacrifice for sin no longer makes any sense. As one New Age mystic said, “The era of the Single Savior is over.”7
Shamanism, contemplative prayer, and New Age meditation are one and the same thing. As one adherent of mysticism explains, “The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics.”8 Thomas Merton identified with Buddhism (saying he “intend[ed] to become as good a Buddhist as [he] can”)9 because he realized that the prayer of the Buddhist monks was the same as his. Alice Bailey, whom I consider the “mother” of the New Age movement, predicted that New Age (or occultic) spirituality would not enter the world by going around the Christian church but rather through it. She called it “the regeneration of the churches.”10 In explaining this, Ray Yungen says:
[I]nstead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness!11
In other words, occultic prayer all over the world is coming to a head and bringing about the great falling away that the Bible predicts will happen. Modern-day proponents refer to it as quantum spirituality; and through borrowing terms used in physics, they tell us that if enough people meditate at the same time, we will achieve a critical mass, and we will then witness the dawning of the age of Aquarius where peace will guide our planet. However, Alice Bailey and New Age leaders who adhere to the same beliefs see Christians who do not practice New Age-style meditation as in the way because they are not being “vibrationally sympathetic.”12 Such people, they maintain, will have to be eliminated!
In His Will or Abandoning Truth?
What will be the end of this resurrected city of Babylon? Revelation says:
Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (Revelation 18:8)
And again it says, “for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:10). Apparently, the judgment to come will be speedy and severe.
So, while we can only speculate on the details of what will happen, we can be sure that a massive delusion will encompass the world and that severe judgment will also take place. Just knowing this, let us, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, cling all the more dearly to the Word of God and the Gospel message. Jesus died on the Cross to save sinners and rose from the dead to conquer death; our hope is in Him and nowhere or no one else. And while it is scary to think of persecution of the believers, it is more frightening to think of God’s judgment on those who abandon God’s Word for a lie. May we remember that no matter what we might suffer as Christians, the safest place to be is in God’s will. Knowing this, let us encourage one another with the comfort and hope that is in the Lord.
At Lighthouse Trails, we have a sense of urgency to call all Christians to return to their true roots. Our loyalty needs to be with our Savior and not with the traditions of men.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:13-14)
To order copies of Drugs, Meditation, & “A Fully Developed Spirituality,” click here.
- Nanci Des Gerlaise addresses this issue of cultures in Muddy Waters and also in her booklet Can Cultures Be Redeemed? Both available through Lighthouse Trails and on Amazon.
- Roger Oakland, Faith Undone (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing), p. 98.
- Ibid., p. 99; citing Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (Harper: San Francisco, 1992, First Edition), p. 157.
- Napolean A. Chagnon, Yanomamo: The Fierce People (New York, NY: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 3rd edition), pp.112-113.
- A statement by Matthew Fox who was quoting Thomas Merton from a statement Merton told him in 1967; http://web.archive.org/web/20060425035122/nineoclockservice.tripod.com/mattiefx.htm.
- Read Warren Smith’s book False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? (chapter 2) or his online article at https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15611) discussing the “Selection Process.”
- Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2002), p. 157.
- Richard Kirby, The Mission of Mysticism (London, UK: SPCK, 1979), p. 7. as cited in A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 32.
- David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969).
- Alice Bailey, Problems of Humanity (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing, 1993), p. 152.
- Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2nd edition), p. 124.
- Yungen states: “The term ‘vibrationally sympathetic’ here means those who suspend thought through word repetition or breath focus—inward mental silence. That is what attracts them. That is their opening. That is why New Ager Tilden Edwards called this the ‘bridge to far Eastern spirituality,’ and this is what is being injected into the evangelical church!” (A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 88). According to quantum spirituality, desirable changes can occur when a sufficient number of people are meditating, thereby achieving “critical mass.” Those who refuse to meditate will be seen as impeding this progress by not being “vibrationally sympathetic.”
*Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all). Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others.
**The Desert Fathers were Catholic monks and hermits in the early Middle Ages who lived in the wilderness and practiced various mystical rituals.
***To understand the structure and complexities of Native Spirituality, read Muddy Waters.
****Read Richard and Linda Nathan’s booklet The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, regarding marijuana, a drug which is fast becoming legalized for recreational use throughout the U.S.
To order copies of Drugs, Meditation, & “A Fully Developed Spirituality,” click here.