On May 24th, on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Julia Roberts joined Oprah to promote the upcoming film, Eat, Pray, Love, based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s New York Times Best Selling book with the same name. The movie will be released this summer and will most likely be a box office hit with Roberts starring in the film and Brad Pitt producing. Sadly, the message in Gilbert’s book is a New Age one that encourages eastern meditation as a way to find peace and fulfillment in life.
(See film official trailer.)
The following is our past coverage on Eat, Pray, Love:
January 28, 2010: This August a new film, starring one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses, Julia Roberts, will be released. The movie, Eat, Pray, Love, is based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoirs of the same name. Gilbert’s book hit the New York Times Best Seller list after becoming well known through Oprah’s ardent promotion, in which Oprah calls the book, the modern woman’s Bible. Oprah says that Gilbert is everybody’s guru. The book follows Gilbert in her spiritual journey, which takes her to an Indian Ashram and to a life of meditation. No doubt, with Julia Roberts playing Gilbert, actor Brad Pitt producing the film, and Oprah most certainly promoting the movie, tens of millions of viewers could be drawn toward Eastern religious outlook. Eat, Pray, Love is one of a number of films over the last few years that have had a strong eastern mystical content.
May 3, 2008: According to Time magazine, the following people are among the 2008 100 most influential people in the world. The ones we have listed all have some connection to promoting the New Age movement:
#1 – Dalai Lama
#3 – Barack Obama
#4 – Hilary Clinton
#22 – Oprah Winfrey
#67 – Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)#81 – Rupert Murdoch
October 3, 2007:
October 5, 2007 – Today, on the Oprah show, Oprah’s guest will be the author of the best-selling book, Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book is the story of how she left her husband and her life behind and found what she came to call “the only true religion”: the silence (i.e., meditation). Her journey took her around the world, where she learned to meditate in an India ashram.
Oprah, who openly resonates with the New Age and meditation, said she is very excited to have Ms. Gilbert on her show. Calling it a “phenomenon” and “a life-changer,” Oprah expresses her excitment for the book and the author.
Gilbert explains that the first step in her journey was to go on an eating binge in Italy. “I would not have been able to physically do the yoga, the meditation, the hard rigor of spiritual work. So I went to Italy first and I ate my guts out for four months.”
From Italy, Gilbert traveled to India where she learned to meditate: “There was something about that yoga path that really appealed to me–and you do that through silence and the discipline of meditation–and I really wanted to go pursue that full out.” “None of this works without stillness,” Liz says. “One of the great teachings that I learned in India is that silence is the only true religion.”
During her time at the ashram, Gilbert had a meditative experience where she says “the scales fell from my eyes and the openings of the universe were shown to me.”
Oprah’s promotion of Gilbert and her book will likely cause millions of women (and many men too) to go out and buy the book. And once again Oprah, who has become a prophet and a voice for the New Age message, will help lead so many over the cliff of spiritual lostness through meditation and the silence.
Is it any wonder why ministries like Lighthouse Trails show such concern when Christian leaders tell followers, “You can’t really know God without the silence.”
Different than finding a quiet place away from noise and distractions, the silence is referring to a stillness of the mind.
Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing, says it is like putting the mind in neutral. Contemplatives say it is like tuning into another frequency. New Agers call it different things like a thin place, sacred space, ecstasy; whatever it is called, both New Agers and Christian leaders are telling us we must practice silence and stillness if we really want to know God. Here is a sampling:
“What you need is stillness and silence so that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear.” – Ruth Haley Barton, “Beyond Words”
“The basic method promoted in The Cloud [of Unknowing] is to move beyond thinking into a place of utter stillness with the Lord … the believer must first achieve a state of silence and contemplation, and then God works in the believer’s heart.” – Tony Jones, The Sacred Way, pp. 71-72
“Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence…. It is this recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer. – Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 155
“It is through silence that you find your inner being.” – Vijay Eswaran, In the Sphere of Silence
“This book [In the Sphere of Silence] is a wonderful guide on how to enter the realm of silence and draw closer to God.” – New Age sympathizer, Ken Blanchard, from In the Sphere of Silence website – see above
“[G]o into the silence for guidance” – New Ager, Wayne Dyer, A Time of Departing, p. 18
“While we are all equally precious in the eyes of God, we are not all equally ready to listen to God’s speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all embracing silence.”- Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 156
“When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness … the profound mystical silence … an absence of thought.” – Thomas Merton, cited in biographer, William Johnston’s book, Letters to Contemplatives, p. 13
“In the silence is a dynamic presence. And that’s God, and we become attuned to that.” – Interspiritualist, Wayne Teasdale, ATOD, p. 55, from a KQED (San Francisco) radio program with Teasdale, 2000
“I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person [intimate with God] without stillness and silence. -Charles Swindoll, So You Want to Be Like Christ: Eight Essential Disciplines to Get You There, p. 12
“The most important human activity in the life of any believer is spending time with God in meditation,” referring to his 3 part series, Meditation: The Power of Silence. – Dr. Charles Stanley, 4/11/06 radio broadcast, Be Still DVD supporter (see credits at end of DVD)
“But how do you get these “enlightened eyes”? They develop as a natural result of your time with the Lord –through your solitude, silence, and surrender.” from Charles Stanley’s website and “You have to have silence and solitude to be renewed and refreshed.” also from Stanley’s site
“One of the great things silence does, it gives us a new concept of God.” – Calvin Miller, Be Still DVD participant
“[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.” – Beth Moore, from the Be Still DVD (see “Beth Moore Gives Thumbs Up to Contemplative Spirituality”)
Interestingly, Elizabeth Gilbert relates a story how a new found meditator/friend experienced “colors,” “sounds,” “whirling,” and “twirling” during his meditation times. This is a description of the kundalini effect (or serpent power). In “Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality,” Ray Yungen explains exactly what Gilbert’s friend experienced and the spiritual ramifications of going into the silence. Such an experience led mystic and Catholic priest Philip St. Romain to hear the voices of other beings or what he called his “inner adviser.”
While it is understandable that Oprah would promote the silence because of her spiritual blindness, it is beyond comprehension how Christian leaders are promoting the silence rather than issuing stern warnings against it.
For related information:
“Oprah Winfrey’s Spirituality” by Ray Yungen
“Should we wait in silence?” by Larry DeBruyn