Many years ago I posted a link to an article from Hinduism Today, titled “An Open Letter to Evangelicals”, written in 1991. This evangelical transformation is now almost complete. The Sonima Foundation, which spearheaded introducing Hindu based yoga into the Encinitas, California public schools, has now backed out of funding the program. Now the newly formed yoga disciples in the public schools are demanding the funding for the program at the cost of a mere $800K next year. As reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune, parents were not given options other than to fund yoga program but were offered no alternatives in PE, music or the arts.
Interestingly, the Sonima Foundation doesn’t appear to be interested in long-term funding of these programs but just forcing them into school districts around the country and have them fund the programs and, when necessary, defend them in court all under the banner of “wellness.”
Encinitas schools propose $800K for yoga classes. San Diego Union-Tribune
What Makes the Encinitas School Yoga Program Religious? Huffington Post
The potential negative effects of Eastern types of meditation have been known for decades, if not hundreds of years. I applaud psychologists Drs. Farias and Wikholm for taking an objective, balanced view and going against the spin of the “mindfulness” movement. They both have done extensive research and have deep knowledge of the field. Although they take a more secular, spiritually sanitized, approach toward yoga and meditation, I highly recommend their book “The Buddha Pill.” They do an excellent job of summarizing the often poorly controlled research into the effects of mediation as well as sharing several anecdotal cases of some of its disastrous outcomes.
I am very heartened that the authors have chosen to go against the grain as the mindfulness movement picks up steam as a therapeutic alternative to other forms of therapy. One of the most important subtleties that the authors raise is whether this Buddhist approach of “mindfulness” meditation is short-circuiting a deeper, more thorough approach toward healing.
Dealing with memories and thoughts in Buddhist approaches often involves taking a non-judgmental stance toward often emotionally charged thoughts and memories by accepting them nominally as just “mental events.” The issue is that this approach just seeks to decondition the emotional charge of the thought or memory and does not deal with the holistic reality of why the memory still maintains an emotional charge or irrational belief.
Since “mindfulness” is often about neutralizing beliefs about the moral nature or importance of past actions held in memories, it is indeed entering the spiritual realm and is not spiritually neutral. Given its spiritual nature, it would be beneficial to measure the effectiveness “mindfulness” compared to Christian approaches to healing prayer. Christian prayer ministry approaches such as “Theophostic Prayer” seek to have God by His Holy Spirit bring truth to the memories and seek to dismantle the lies or irrational beliefs that the person holds about the memory or thought.
Since much of Dr. Farias and Wikholm’s research was directed to the efficacy of using “mindfulness” meditation and yoga to potentially address inherently spiritual issues in prison populations, other spiritually rooted interventions should be compared as well. However, given the secular bias towards Eastern interventions that can supposedly be more easily separated from spiritual beliefs, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. What we see happening in the “mindfulness” movement is just a replay of Transcendental Meditation movement trying to market TM as a purely physiological process in the 1970’s.
From Bob Larson’s Blog post: Yoga Takes Over
Scenes from San Francisco Airport concourse.
A week ago, on my way home, passing through San Francisco Airport (SFO), I was exhausted with a little time on my hands. Thinking I might find a quiet chapel, which almost all airports used to have, I was instead confronted by signs directing me instead to a yoga room. I peeked inside, and sure enough, there, in pretzeled positions, were travelers in various stages of yogic enlightenment. Most folks, especially liberal, New Aged Californians, wouldn’t think much about this. To me, it was more than an acquiescence to multiculturalism; it was a vivid sign of the times. When people today want peace, rest, and tranquility, they don’t pray to a transcendent deity. They evoke the yogic god within, align their chakras, and awaken the Kundalini power at the base of the spine. And they get demons.
Spare me. I’ve heard all the idiot arguments of so-called Holy Yoga, Yoga for the Soul, and Praise Moves, and Yahweh Yoga (all claiming incongruously to be “Christian”). It’s hard for me to charitable and gracious to these deceptions which are the result of abject, willing ignorance. My book Larson’s Book of World Religions
(To order CLICK HERE
.) has 35 pages of references to yoga, all heavily documented from original Hindu sources. Those who really want the truth can read the book. No need to repeat all its contentions here; but it’s obvious I’m not talking off the top of my head through some religiously, legalistic mindset.
Briefly consider these few points I extract from the book:
- One of the supreme texts of yoga declares, “The aim of all yoga is realization of the Absolute Brahman” [Hindu demon-god]. The aim is to unite with a demon, one that I’ve cast out many times from advocates of yoga.
- Famed Hindu mystic Swami Vishnudevananda, who helped to bring yoga to the west, wrote, “The aim of all yoga practice is to achieve truth wherein the individual soul identifies itself with the supreme soul of god.” But what god???
- My book states: “The postures are designed to condition the mind to experience altered states of consciousness. Each pose is presumed to be tuning the body, glands, and psychic nervous system to a level of spiritual susceptibility and altered awareness.”
There isn’t enough space here to address the fallacy that Yoga (which in Hindi means “union or yoked with god”) can be casually dissociated from its pagan origins simply because some willingly deceived Christian yoga instructor redefines its intent. Almost every week, I pick up the spiritual collateral damage of those who got sucked in to this lie of “Christian” yoga and became demonized. I know of no legitimate exorcist or deliverance minister who approves of such nonsense. Get my book. Read all I have to say. Enroll in our International School of Exorcism® (CLICK HERE to enroll.) and get educated to the real battlefront of spiritual warfare. And tell everyone you know that yoga is a direct pathway to spiritual oppression that is not easily removed.
Reprinted with permission
Chapter titled “The Dark Side of Meditation” from a new book by Dr. Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm, “The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?,” is available in edited form at the UK Independent here.