Meditation – Claims and Goals

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2004
Meditation claims to be a positive activity for people to engage in for a variety of self help reasons. But is meditation, in the new age sense, really harmless and helpful? The authors don’t think so.

Meditation – Goals and Claims

The goals of Eastern and occult meditation are to change a person’s view of “self” and the world. In the end, as far as the meditator is concerned, “It lastingly changes his consciousness, transforming his experience of himself and his universe.”[1] Dr. Roger Walsh authored several books on meditation, and he was an editor for the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Frances Vaughan is a past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and a psychology professor at the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. These two authors describe the impact of meditative practice:

The rewards of meditative practice tend to be subtle at first…. Old assumptions about oneself and the world are gradually surrendered and more finely tuned, comprehensive perspectives begin to emerge.
Such immediate benefits, however, are only tastes of what is potentially a profoundly transformative process, for when practiced intensely, meditation disciplines almost invariably lead into the transpersonal realm of experience…. A progressive sequence of altered states of consciousness can occur, which may ultimately result in the permanent, radical shift in consciousness known as enlightenment or liberation.[2]

Standard meditation texts claim that in our normal state of mind we misperceive and misun­derstand ourselves (our true nature) and our world (its true nature). The purpose of meditation is to correct these false perceptions and to replace them with a true perception of reality, which is mystically induced by the procedures involved. This is why almost all forms of meditation involve the deliberate cultivation of altered states of consciousness and the subsequent development of psychic powers.

These altered states of consciousness, however, are wrongly interpreted; that is, they are viewed as “higher” states of consciousness, presumably divine states, and the psychic powers developed are often seen as the awakening and developing “god-nature” of the individual.

For example, yoga meditation, which is typically Hindu, and “mindfulness” meditation, which is typically Buddhist, are powerful forms of meditation designed to radically alter the meditator’s state of consciousness. When practicing them, people have the religious teachings “confirmed” by the occult mental experiences they have. Meditators may become intellectually convinced they are one nature with God or with ultimate reality, with all that this implies. This change of perception can occur not only through cultivating altered states of consciousness but also by meditation-developed psychic abilities, or by meditation-induced spirit contact. And such experi­ences lead to conclusions that are hostile to biblical faith. To believe that we are one essence with God is to undermine the basic Christian doctrines of creation, the atonement, redemption, and personal salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

If people are already divine, and if they do not yet understand this, then the major issue is personal ignorance requiring the proper knowledge. This is at odds with what the Bible teaches, that the issue is one of personal sin requiring forgiveness through Jesus Christ. If people are divine, they have no need for a Savior from sin. Yet in the Bible we read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Eastern and occult meditation denies biblical teaching by assuming that we are one essence with God and have no need to seek a God outside ourselves.

Because Eastern and occult meditation confirms occult beliefs and denies biblical beliefs, we often suspect the presence of demonic involvement through meditation-induced altered states of consciousness. Most of our subsequent discussion will document this.

Notes

  1. Daniel Goleman, The Varieties of the Meditative Experience (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977), p. 118.
  2. Roger N. Walsh, Frances Vaughan, eds., Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions in Psychology (Los Angeles, CA: J. P. Tarcher, 1980), pp. 136-137.

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