Meditation can corrupt
The world has embraced various forms of meditation that focus either on the present, emptying our minds or repeating a mantra. This is very different from what the Bible teaches about meditation. Biblical meditation is a focused contemplation of God; where we pray to our Heavenly Father and receive spiritual encouragement and revelation through His Holy Spirit.
The Bible provides guidance on how to meditate and what to meditate on:
- God | Psalm 46:10 ESV “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
- His Word | Psalm 119:15-16 ESV I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
- His works | Psalm 143:5 ESV I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
- His glory | 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Non-biblical meditations are sometimes accompanied by silence, chimes and bells, prayer beads, humming and the sounds of nature. There is often a focus on controlling the breath or other body sensations. It is in essence, a form of auto-self hypnotism. Some popular forms of non-biblical meditations include:
- Kundalini yoga meditation (Hinduism)
- Transcendental Meditation (Hinduism)
- Qigong (Taoism)
- Zazen (Zen Buddhism)
- Mindfulness (Buddhism)
Non-biblical meditation is a corruption of God’s Word which says in Psalm 46:1 to, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted” by turning the “I” into the person of man, rather than the person of God. This is precisely what Jesus rebuked Satan for doing in Matthew 16:23.
Matthew 16:23 ESV …“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Meditation can corrupt our sense of who we are
1. Biblical evidence
Meditation is the intentional quieting of ourselves to focus our brains on something.
In biblical meditation, we focus our brains on God Almighty. What a joy! When we worry, we are in reality, meditating on our problems. It is impossible to worry and be anxious when we meditate on God. The Bible says that when we rejoice in the Lord and pray with thanksgiving, we will be given a peace that is beyond our human understanding. As we practice focusing on minds on God’s goodness and purposes, we cannot help but be transformed into joyful, hopeful and peaceful people. King David is a prime example of someone who meditated on God and remained hopeful and courageous, even when he was surrounded by many enemies and threats.
Philippians 4:4,6 ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2. Scientific evidence
Over the years, there has been a lot of research that proves that meditation can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and foster compassion, vitality and creativity. Brain scans show that meditation weakens the connection between the part of our brain that makes us self-aware and the parts that perceive body sensations and fear, according to Psychology Today.
Only in 2017 did researchers start to look into the negative effects of non-biblical meditation. The National Health Services (NHS) in the United Kingdom reviewed one such study at Brown University of 60 practitioners of Buddhist meditation and said, “… at a time when mindfulness and meditation has become more popular, that the effects of meditation are not always positive or harmless. Some people in the study reported feeling depressed or suicidal, and a few needed treatment in hospital as a result. Classical Buddhist literature discusses potential pitfalls of mindfulness and meditation, such as makyō (hallucinations) and “Zen sickness” – a sense of imbalance and loss of identity. So these warnings should not be glossed over by teachers of Buddhist inspired techniques.“
This is an example of what the Bible warns as the “death” that comes from focusing our minds on things of this world (the flesh), instead of on God. It is very likely we will experience a sense of spiritual imbalance or a loss of our God-given identity through non-biblical meditation.
Romans 8:6-7 ESV For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
3. Practical evidence
People have been known to become so fond of non-biblical meditation that they rely on it for inner peace and calmness, to escape from their day-to-day. Here is a first-hand account of someone who became addicted to meditation through yoga.
“My first encounter with non-biblical meditation was through yoga, where I was taught many ways to meditate. These included focusing on the light of a candle and any images I “saw”, my own breath, my chakras (centres of energy), the Om symbol, or the energy flows from my fingers and toes. As I got better at meditation, I would get body sensations faster and longer. I would either fall asleep instantly or start seeing images with my eyes closed. I found it fun and exciting, and looked forward to each session. Sometimes, I wished we could skip to the end of the yoga practice so we could all just meditate. I would say I loved it.
After I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord, I continued meditating until one day, I felt the Holy Spirit convict my heart that I needed to escape from it. I woke up in the middle of yoga class and felt only madness. I suddenly realised that the visions I saw in my meditations were evil and deceiving. I felt betrayed. But it wasn’t easy to let out of my addiction to yoga meditation initially. For me, it was almost like overcoming some sort of drug addiction. My mind was tempted to keep thinking about the evil yoga meditation. To overcome, I kept reminding myself that God is my strength and that such meditation is from the occult. It also helped that I was surrounded by godly believers who supported me“
1 Corinthians 14:20 ESV Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
Cutting off ungodly effects from worldly meditation
First, we must repent for turning to any form of non-biblical meditation, all of which ultimately glorify false beliefs and idols, such as New Age, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism etc.
2. Cut off ungodly ties and cast out any unclean spirits
It is also important that we cut ungodly spiritual ties with those who have influenced or taught us to meditate in non-biblical ways as well as the places of meditative “worship” that we have been in. As far as possible, we should no longer be associated with such teachers or places.
2 Timothy 4:3 ESV For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
Romans 16:17 ESV … watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
3. Learn to meditate on God’s Word instead
God calls His people to meditate on His word day and night so that we can live a life of obedience. Our every thought should be made obedient to Christ. Otherwise, Satan can hijack and “blind” our minds, and prevent us from experiencing the fullness of Jesus’s glory and light in our lives.
Joshua 1:8 ESV This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV We … take every thought captive to obey Christ,
2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
God wants us to meditate specifically on Him, not on the present moment or our bodily sensations. Let us always rejoice in His sovereignty and set our minds on things above, so that our meditations will be pleasing to our Father in heaven.
Colossians 3:2 ESV Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Psalm 104:1-2,34 ESV Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent…. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
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