UNHOLY ALLIANCE: The Dangers of Mixing Pop Psychology with Christian Truth

Example

MEDITATION TECHNIQUE

It may be news to some of us: Spirit guides love to teach meditation. They sometimes give detailed instructions. One of them is Lazaris. He teaches three different meditation techniques: Opening the Gate, The Doorway Home, and Love¡¦s Theme: The Touch.[i]

Channeled Teachings

In the ¡§Opening the Gate¡¨ method, Lazaris teaches us to first find a comfortable position, and then relax and count down from seven to one. After that, he instructs us to visualize ourselves in a forest and to notice the trees, the forest floor, the twigs and the leaves. Lazaris reminds us ¡§the more vivid you will allow your imagination to be, the more elegantly you will find success with meditation.¡¨ Then Lazaris instructs us to visualize ourselves walking in the forest, following a path that leads to a gate. There are four gift packages in a clearing in front of the gate. He asks us to open the packages, examine and feel the gifts carefully. After we open all the gifts, Lazaris instructs us to open the gate and start on the ¡§sacred journey¡¨ beyond the gate. Finally, he says, ¡§When you are ready, gently bring yourself out of meditation.¡¨[ii]

After this first exercise, Lazaris teaches the two following meditation schemes, which are basically visualization just like ¡§Opening the Gate,¡¨ but with different scenery.

Secular Psychology

Secular psychologists teach strikingly similar techniques. Carl Happich  studied meditation systematically. His work did not arouse the interest of people immediately. Nevertheless, today¡¦s transpersonal psychologists are very much interested. His method is taught in a book edited by the famous transpersonal psychologist Charles Tart. 

Happich placed great value in breathing as a graduated measure of the affective states which alters itself in the permissiveness of meditation¡K After some experience with physiological reactions to breathing exercises has been gained, the first psychological exercise, the so-called ¡§Meadow Meditation,¡¨ can be attempted. The meditator must repeat to himself the words of his meditation-master and imagine that he (the meditator) leaves the room, goes through the city, over the fields, to a meadow covered with fresh grass and flowers and looks upon the meadow with pleasure. Then, he psychically returns the same way to the room, opens his eyes, and relates what he has experienced¡K it is followed by the ¡§Mountain Meditation.¡¨ The meditator, as in the first meditation, goes into the country and then slowly climbs a mountain. He passes through a forest, and finally reaches a peak from which he can view a wide expanse. In the third step, the ¡§Chapel Meditation¡¨ is explored. In it, the meditator passes through a grove and reaches a chapel which he enters and where he remains for a long time. Lastly, Happich has the meditator imagine himself sitting on a bench by an old fountain listening to the murmur of the water.[iii] 

Christian Psychology

Unfortunately, meditation techniques offered by Christian psychologists are not much different. Dr. Cecil Osborne is a Baptist minister, a primal therapist, and director of the Burlingame Center in California.

Osborne teaches a meditation/relaxation technique: He emphasizes the importance of relaxation. First find yourself a comfortable position, then breathe; take a deep breath. Continue to relax various part of the body, such as eyes, muscles, shoulders, etc. until the whole body can let go. He explains that when you remain in relaxation, you can ask God to give you peace, harmony, and holiness. Then Osborne teaches a meditation technique very close to the Meadow Meditation: visualize yourself lying down on the soft grass, and visualize the trees, butterflies, murmuring stream and the singing birds. He says to feel everything. There is nothing to do, nothing to worry about. If you remember mundane business, just give it to the Lord. Then he says to relax more and to go deeper and deeper to ¡§the real inner self where the God within resides.¡¨ [iv]

Do you see much differences between the above three examples? I don¡¦t.



[i] Lazaris, The Sacred Journey: You and Your Higher Self  (Palm Beach, Fl: NPN Publishing Inc., 1988), p. 178-205.

[ii] Ibid., 178-85.

[iii] Kretschmer, ¡§Meditative Techniques in Psychotherapy,¡¨ in Altered States of Consciousness, ed. Charles Tart (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1969), p. 220-21.

[iv] Cecil Osborne, Meditation/Relaxation: The Secret of Inner Peace (Waco, Texas: Word, 1974), cassette tape side one.

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 ©Copyright 2006. All rights Reserved. Lois Chan