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The New Age Movement As A Whole


BeachOfEden
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We have been talking here lately about how some people within the association of the TCPC network find beliefs of the New Age movement appealing and how they have come to embrace these and seeing them as complimenting their Progressive Christian views. Some here have also spoke how their are elements of New Age thought that they do not particularly care for. So I thought I start a thread dedicated to this topic. So I thought I'd share my thoughts and all are also welcomed to share theirs as well. I live near one of the biggest New Age mecas, Ojai Califoria. Here we have the famous Mediation Mountain as well as the main theosophy Center. I do pick up Whole Life Times from time to time when i shop the Natural food stores and this magazine is a free New Age mag. My view is I like the 'NATURAL' element of the New Age movement, that is i like the part about being Eco-Friendly and the tips on organic foods and naturapathic info on helpful herbs and their social justice articles....But..and please realize this is not a judgement call on my part..rather i am simply sharing my views here...i do NOT like the Supernatural part. I don;t care for the who spiritualism and mind altering states of meditations stuff...to me, oddly this is like the far left flipsdie to the far right chrasimatics or Pentacostalism. I don;t care for religion based on mystic or emotionalism over reason.

 

Infact, I wrote an article about a surprisingly frank and honest article WHOLE LIFE TIMES wrote about a women who nearly lost her mind from mind-altering mediations in the New Age movement and when New Age is taken to this mystic extreme how it nearly all but mirrors the Pentacostal's "Slain in the Spirit," type activities.

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I also like the eco-friendly aspects and the natural foods, etc.(I am a bit less enthused on things like veganism.) I think that things like Tai Chi, Yoga, massage, mediatation (sans the mind altering stuff), etc. have been found to be health-- good for the heart and stress reducing.

 

IMO, people who embrace the New Age movement are fellow seekers, perhaps turned off by organized religion. But what happens is they grab a little here and a little there. Native Americans are upset that NAs basically are stealing aspects of their culture without any deep understanding. They also grab onto bits of eastern thought without really delvign into it.

 

On the other hand, I think there is a basic rebellion against aspects of society that are materalistic, etc. It isn't the mystic element that bothers me, exactly. I also don't like the

some of the pseudospiritual aspects of it. The grab from here and there. There is after all, Christian mysticism that is really part of the Catholic tradition in some ways. But it is more deep and geniune, imo.

 

A few of the kindest, most thoughtful, fairest people I have ever met were NAs.

 

--des

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It's interesting that you associate the charismatic aspects of Christianity with the mystical aspects of New Age thought. I hadn't made that association but it makes sense. I assume that your critique of such endeavors also applies to Christian, Jewish, and Islamic mystic practices.

 

While I don't necessarily agree that Reason and Mysticism are mutually exclusive, I do agree that any practice dealing with mystical aspects of our nature have to be approached with sobriety and a solid footing. As I understand, traditional students of the Kabbalah, are required to be married, in part I believe to help them maintian a clear headed and well grounded approach to their esoteric practice.

 

Personally I feel that much of what Christ is purported to have done - the healing miracles and the raising of the Lazarus - would seem to fall outside the realm of reason, although I have also heard the notion that reason and mysticism ultimately lead to the same end.

 

But, while mysticism may be a wilder ride so to speak, it does appear that many participants do in fact "Lose Touch" on this path.

Edited by ckangell@earthlink.net
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It's important, as pointed out, not to confuse "mysticism" with new age.

 

Meister Eckhart, Terissa of Avilla, St John of the Cross, Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating and Matt Fox were/are all Christian mystics. They definitely were not "new age".

 

Mysticism isn't really the same thing as "esoteric" thought either. Estotericism is a subgroup, under mysticism. But I could argue that many that follow an esoteric ("secret") teaching haven't ever had a mystical experience. And I doubt that any of the above individuals were gnostics or followed any other "secret teaching".

 

I think the reason new age has come to be seen as synonymous with mysticism is because new age thinking ENCOURAGES mystical experience whereas most other religions don't.

 

I think we need to be careful what we define as new age too.

 

Yoga is NOT new age. Meditation is NOT new age. But many who ARE new age do practice those things.

 

New age does have a tendency to pick and choose bits and pieces of various religions and use them. I find it ironic though, that that is what progressive Christians are being accused of doing by other Christian groups. They say we have a "Cafeteria Christianity".

 

Starhawk, a Jew and a Wiccan high priestess, is more of an activist and thinks more deeply about world problems than most Christians I've ever read or met. She spends most of her time in Israel and Palestine working with children from both sides to help them see the need for peace.

 

As a whole, the new age movement does focus more on individual growth, but as was mentioned, when the individual changes inside they have a tendency to want to make the world better on the outside too.

 

Actually, that is what new age is all about: ushering in a "new age" of peace to the earth. Many think this will be a spiritual transformation, but not to the exclusion of the need for ecological and economic savvy.

 

I think the term is overused and is applied to practices that aren't new age at all.

 

I also think mysticism is completely misunderstood, which is sad, because it keeps people from finding out what it really is.

 

Aletheia, getting off her soapbox :P

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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"I also like the eco-friendly aspects and the natural foods, etc.(I am a bit less enthused on things like veganism.)"

 

About the Vanganism...agreed. it's like I said before how I thought it was puzzling how many neo-hippies who embrace Vaganism so religiously that they refuse to eat eggs or milk, even though these things do NOT hurt animals because they believe so passionately that it's not healthy but then they have no issue smoking weed even though it has proven to expose them to throat cancer.

 

"I think that things like Tai Chi, Yoga, massage, mediatation (sans the mind altering stuff), etc. have been found to be health-- good for the heart and stress reducing."

 

I have found it is good too..but I feel it is only good if ya don;t get into the the type of meditations that call for you to "alter your mind".

 

"IMO, people who embrace the New Age movement are fellow seekers, perhaps turned off by organized religion. But what happens is they grab a little here and a little there. Native Americans are upset that NAs basically are stealing aspects of their culture without any deep understanding. They also grab onto bits of eastern thought without really delvign into it."

 

Yes, I learned of this when I took Social Anthropology 4 Study of North American Indians. They showed us some films of this. Many Native americans get p.o-ed towards the Native American SunBear cause they feel that so many New Agers have done their own mystic twist to Native American beliefs. But I think that part that p.o

s them the most is that fact that many white New Age Yuppies are steeling their belief concepts and charging redicious amounts of money to pratice these beliefs. I have seen this first hand at the Ojai Foundation country club.

 

"A few of the kindest, most thoughtful, fairest people I have ever met were NAs. "

 

Yeah, me too.

 

" It's interesting that you associate the charismatic aspects of Christianity with the mystical aspects of New Age thought. I hadn't made that association but it makes sense."

 

Well, I orginally had not before either...untill I read Leo Rosten's Religions of America and Timothy Miller's Alternative Religions of America."

 

"I assume that your critique of such endeavors also applies to Christian, Jewish, and Islamic mystic practices."

 

The mystic mid-latering states of conciousness parts, yes, but not the innerfaith tolerance parts.

 

"Personally I feel that much of what Christ is purported to have done - the healing miracles and the raising of the Lazarus - would seem to fall outside the realm of reason, although I have also heard the notion that reason and mysticism ultimately lead to the same end. "

 

I guess but I was talking about the altering states of consciousness rather than mircles...Although some Pentacostals try and do both.

 

"But, while mysticism may be a wilder ride so to speak, it does appear that many participants do in fact "Lose Touch" on this path."

 

That's kinda what i conslude from reading that on e article from WHOLE LIFE TIMES..about the women who nearly lost her mind.

 

"Yoga is NOT new age. Meditation is NOT new age. But many who ARE new age do practice those things."

 

That is true, There are different degrees of Yoga and mediations..it is only the ones that encourage a altered state of conciousness or an outter body experience that I personally am against.

 

"New age does have a tendency to pick and choose bits and pieces of various religions and use them. I find it ironic though, that that is what progressive Christians are being accused of doing by other Christian groups. They say we have a "Cafeteria Christianity"."

 

That is SO True, Atheia! JW's are always ragging on this and so is Greg Laurie's Calvary Chapel. Both Progressive christians and new agers are tolerant instead of fundamental...and becuase of this the far right fundamental are always attacking both and excusing them of only "picking and choosing" the lite fluff from different religions. But there ARE both Progressive Christians AND New Agers who do NOT do this..but then some others might...if reason does not balance out emotion.

 

"Starhawk, a Jew and a Wiccan high priestess, is more of an activist and thinks more deeply about world problems than most Christians I've ever read or met. She spends most of her time in Israel and Palestine working with children from both sides to help them see the need for peace."

That's why for the most part, it is far more easy for us to get along and actually like New Agers than even our own Fundamental cousins. Because, the New Agers, like us Progressives, teach tolerance and the fundamentals don't.

 

"As a whole, the new age movement does focus more on individual growth, but as was mentioned, when the individual changes inside they have a tendency to want to make the world better on the outside too."

 

'If' THEY 'choose' too..but then again the same could be said of Evangelical Lights.

 

"Actually, that is what new age is all about: ushering in a "new age" of peace to the earth. Many think this will be a spiritual transformation, but not to the exclusion of the need for ecological and economic savvy"

 

And it is this belief New Agers hold to, Ushering in a new age of peace on earth," That I DO relate to..It's just we may differ on how to visionalize this. Never the less, I still find way more incommon with New Sger's Millennialm than The Fundamental Born again Protestants.

 

"I think the term is overused and is applied to practices that aren't new age at all."

 

Especially byt the far right, as article of the Network for Religious Tolerance brings out in their articles.

 

"I also think mysticism is completely misunderstood, which is sad, because it keeps people from finding out what it really is."

 

I would like the differnt kinds explained.

 

"One of the problems that I see with the new age movement is that it tends to be very self centered. The emphasis is on the self rather than on the self as part of a community."

 

It can..indeed..but this can also be said of the Fundamental Born Agains.

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"Mysticism is meditation, prayer, or theology focused on the direct experience of union with God and the belief that such experience is a genuine and important source of knowledge." - online dictionary definition.

 

A good example of the mystical experience would be the way children experience God.

 

Children are naturally mystical in their experience of God. They feel God. They talk to God. They know God is everywhere and they are readily able to see Him in the world.

 

We've all heard the story about the little girl that approached her new born baby brother and asked him "Tell me about God, I'm starting to forget".

 

Jesus said we must become like little children to inherit God's Kingdom.

 

We need to feel God, to know God exists and to see that God is here, all around us.

 

Meditation helps some to quiet their mind enough to feel God's presence.

 

Prayer, especially a listening form of prayer like Centering Prayer, helps others.

 

For some, it's liturgy or ritual that helps them open to the experience of the sacred.

 

Personally, I have my deepest connection and see God most clearly when I'm camping. I am able to look at the trees and clouds and sun and sky and to see God in those things. I am able to listen to the sounds of the birds and the wind and to hear God in those sounds.

 

Like Marcus Borg said, in The Heart of Christianity, we need to find the "thin places" where God can shine through and touch us.

 

It's true that many think mysticism is an altered state of consciousness. I would agree that directly experiencing God in the way I've described can make the world look and feel a little different, but it's not an altered state of consciousness.

 

Meditation can bring on an altered state, but that altered state isn't mysticism.

 

It's perhaps easier to define what mysticism ISN'T than what it is. ;)

 

Mysticism is not dangerous. It's not the scarey experience that the woman you read of had. It's not something you have to prepare for. It's simply the natural state of feeling and knowing God that we forget as we grow up.

 

Aletheia

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Yeah, I think understand what you are saying. You mean a 'mystic' experince like how Natual deism, how one can feel the peaceful presense of Holy Spirit when you are in the beauty of nature like at Yosemite? Yeah, I relate to this type of mysticsm 100%. I guess the other kind, where it is mind-altering would be like Metaphysics?

 

"Personally, I have my deepest connection and see God most clearly when I'm camping. I am able to look at the trees and clouds and sun and sky and to see God in those things. I am able to listen to the sounds of the birds and the wind and to hear God in those sounds."

 

You just discribed my own spirituality perfect!:) The beauty of nature is far more imspiring than any church.

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Thanks, BeachOfEden for this topic. I've enjoyed reading it.

 

There is after all, Christian mysticism that is really part of the Catholic tradition in some ways. But it is more deep and geniune, imo.  ~ Des

 

I think there is definitely something to grounding oneself in a well-developed, time-tested tradition. Unfortunately, Martin Luther did a good job of removing mysticism from much of Christian practice with his reformation. I envy the Catholic traditions. So where do we look in protestantism for a traditional form of mysticism? I don't know, I don't really care all that much. We (humans) are creators. We will find our way to God inside or outside a traditional structure.

 

I also think that the mystical is not to be entered into lightly. You need to be prepared to explore mysticism. ~ ComradeinChrist

 

I think that it is more of a spiritual orientation. It is not the only way, it is just the way that some folks experience God. Exploring it will either reveal that orientation or not (nothing dangerous about it). I do recognize a Truth in your statement though: Do not enter into any kind of relationship with the Almighty unless you are prepared to be radically changed forever.

 

*********************************************************

 

I think there are some potential pitfalls that I've seen and fallen into with "New Age" communities. Any community has a jargin or lingo and expected behavior. New Agers sometimes have a very distinctive way of talking, relating, and behaving. You see, since one of the goals of any path to enlightenment is to achieve a constant awareness of or connection with God, people who practice sometimes think they need act a certain way: Blissed Out. The thing is, unless you are called to be a monk or renunciate of some sort, you've got to land sometimes. Also, being aware of God doesn't mean you have to talk like a passage of ancient scripture 24/7....What is was...what was will be...what will be will surely come to pass....

 

It's about getting clear, not getting cloudy!

 

One of the problems that I see with the new age movement is that it tends to be very self centered. The emphasis is on the self rather than on the self as part of a community. ~ComradeInChrist

 

I think I understand what you are saying, but I think you may also have a misunderstanding. Yes, New Age and Mysticism practice a lot of personal spiritual practices (not as corporate). But it is usually about transcending the ego-self, not indulging it as you seem to be suggesting. It's about reconciliation with God and the Universe (which includes the community).

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The following was something I previously stated on another thread:

--------

One of my main peeves about New Age thought is it's hyper-individualism. Its focus is upon "personal fulfillment" and "self-actualization" which is hardly what Christianity is primarily about. Such perspectives miss the important social and corporate nature of salvation and God's kingdom.

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I didn't mean to imply that New Age was meditation or Yoga (or actually even eco-friendly, etc.). I think that the NAers tend to grasp at all sorts of random things, so I am not even sure there is anything like a coherent new age belief system (even to the extent of the 8 points).

 

I'm familar with Starhawk. I believe she is Wiccan (and didn't she cause Matt Fox no end of trouble :-)). I wouldn't strictly speaking say that Wiccan is NA. Although from what I have read the Wiccan beliefs are attempts to recreate older Celtic and perhaps lost forms of worship.

 

I tend to agree that NAs are trying to reach those mystic states/connections whether thru crystals, or Native American worship, or bits and pieces of eastern thought. So I feel the desire is worthy.

 

As for Protestant worship being devoid of mysticism I woudl tend to agree. However, when there is an attempt at individual congregation level, it is often very good. The church I attended in Chicago had a powerful communion service, which succeeded as some degree of connectedness. There was no attempt to recreate the Catholic concept that we were literally eating the body of Jesus.

 

--des

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To all:

I found your posts helpful as I immerse myself in "A Course in Miracles"these days of discovery.However, the Course seems to differ considerably in certain respects from New Agism as you describe it.Where you speak of man dualistically as separated from God, the Course seems to see man, including Jesus, as constituting a community, a "Sonship" created by God in no way"separated" from God. The ego is found in those who wish to be greater than God and to attack Him, rather than confining their decision-making to a reality which cannot be threatened, but can be freely invented.

I find this intriguing because of the implications of "Heisenberg Uncertainty", a theory of quantum mechanics which seriously limits the objectivity of science in general and the objectivity of scientists in particular.As the Course puts it: Nothing real can be threatened,Nothing unreal can exist!

 

Jeep

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"Thanks, BeachOfEden for this topic. I've enjoyed reading it. "

 

I thougt it was a good topic cause it seemed that all of us related to and found some elements of New Age appealing and all seemed to find other parts to it unappealing.

 

 

"Unfortunately, Martin Luther did a good job of removing mysticism from much of Christian practice with his reformation."

 

Well, I feel that Martin Luthern removed all sense of a millennial belief...in a positive new age to come on earth. I realize that many liberals may dislike all forms of millennialism, maninly because of possible "Raptue" fundamental Protestant or JW backgrounds...But the New Age movememt as well as Native American spirituality are very good at showing us that NOT all

forms of Millennialism has to be fundamental nor dark in nature. Positve millennialism when mixed with social justice beliefs actually gives people hope for the earth and the future.

 

"I envy the Catholic traditions. So where do we look in protestantism for a traditional form of mysticism?"

Well as pointed out by someone else here. There's different kinds of 'mysticisms'.

The kind you are discribing, ritualistic can be found in Episcopalian and Luthern and a little of it in Disciples of Christ church. Then there is the nature=based kind that natural deist relate to which anyone can find in nature.

 

II also think that the mystical is not to be entered into lightly. You need to be prepared to explore mysticism. ~ ComradeinChrist

 

 

"I think that it is more of a spiritual orientation. It is not the only way, it is just the way that some folks experience God. Exploring it will either reveal that orientation or not (nothing dangerous about it). I do recognize a Truth in your statement though: Do not enter into any kind of relationship with the Almighty unless you are prepared to be radically changed forever."

 

I think there CAN be dangers to it, emotionally and mentality, as the account in that New Age mag Whole Life Times tells about. But I also think the same of fundamental religions or chrasimatic ones.

 

"It's about getting clear, not getting cloudy!"

 

that is precisley what i was thinking. To foucs our minds rather than dull them or alter them from reality.

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fatherman, I don't know very much about Catholicism except for what I have read by Thomas Merton. And I agree that some of the rituals must be somewhat mystical, yet sould enriching, not to mention very beautiful.

 

Protestants really blast those, don't they? But I wouldn't mind to have a certain time, place, and a heartfelt ritualist meeting with God! But I don't want to go thru any motions just for the sake of moving, either!

 

We don't hear alot about NA here, but I know that they are around. From what I read (who knows who actually writes all of this stuff, anyway?), it does seem to me that NAers are pretty self-focused. But, then again, if you cannot get yourself in order first, how can you be of service to others?

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Here is that article from that New Age mag, Whole Life Times that i was talking about.

 

 

Whole Life Times Magazine December 2001 Kundalini Psychosis The Perils of Spiritual Excess by Frances Scarpoli

 

 

The Dangerous In The Type Of Mediations That Empty Your Mind

 

 

The following is taken from the Whole Life Times article intitled, "The Perils of Spiritual Excess."

 

"In 1986, Frances Scarpoli was so obsessed with becoming God-Realized [ another word for the Eastern form of medaition called TM] that she spent nearly every waking hour in mediation. Scarpoli had no idea that her imbalanced lifestyle was edging her dangerously close to psychosis." She tells her story.

 

Frances would like candles and chant the different names of God over and over again. Afterwards she would feel a since of thrill and bliss. Everyday her ritual would last two hours, followed by yoga. She was inchanted with both Christian and Eastern saints, to whom she often prayed to. When she would go into her trace-like deep mediational state and then if the phone were to ring she would be suddenly awoken from her state, dazzed for a moment that she had rudely been yanked from her spiritual world and thrown back for the moment, in the real world, which disturbed her. After talking on the phone,ending the conversation and hangingu up the phone, she would feel glad to get who-ever had disturbed her mediational state out of her hair.

 

One time her perents came to visit her and they took her out to dinner. They had a very enjoyable time, but later after dinner her father approuched her in private and told her that her over-the-top devotion to her religious way of life was weird and made him feel uncomfortable to be around her even though she was a kind person. Frances became mifted at this, thinking, "Who the hell is my father to tell me that to be interested in God so much was weird? This coming from a man who worships money and material things as his religion?" Frances realized that he only meant well and that he truely loved her and was concerned. But she figured this was all becuase he lacked appreciation for spiritual matters. Life went on for some time very blissfully and peacefully for Frances...untill one day...

 

Frances was reading the life of a saint when she drifted off into one of her trance-like mediational states. But his time...it was different. She felt a compelling and overwelming feeling of merging with the Divine. When she opened her eyes everything looked weird and unreal. When she looked at the crowds of people they all looked like they were made of plastic like dolls or made of stone or wood with painted on faces like religious images had come to life!

 

This experienced completely freaked her out. She ran to her mother crying and telling her experience but her mother thought she was merely letting her imagination run wild. "I think you are just overly tired..but if this really bothers you, here is the name and number of a thearapist I know, why don't you give her a call."

 

Frances feared she might have turned schizoid so when she met the thearapist she asked her of this. The thearapist replied, "No, you are not schiizophrenic, but you are very close to a psychotic break." The thearapist explained this happened because of her mediation practice and that she had worked on this problem with a number of individuals and that Frances' mind had this experince because her mind began to block out reality. The thearapists told her that she was lucky that her form was temporary but warned her that it would take 6 months to a whole year to cure. Frances was told to cease all these mediations.

 

When Frances arrived back at her apartment to pack up her things and move back with her family while in recovery, she feared that the whole neighborhood would be asking her questions. But instead she was relieved that hardly anyone questioned her. One of her neighbors, a pastor came out to say goodbye to her, when he noticed a mediational card. "So, you are into TM?", he asked. "ahhh..yeah, she replied with uncertainity, you know of it?"..."yeah, my brother was all into..untill he had a psychotic breakdown. It put him out of it for nearly a year. But he's recovered now." Frances heart leaped and she broke down to confied in him. She told him that was precisely the reason why she was going away, to recover from her psychotic break. so the pastor then invited to join his family out to dinner to which she accepted and greatly appreciated. Later the pastor told her he would pray for her, of which she was greatful. Frances also asked her friends to pray for her."

 

Then finally the day came when Frances thearapist told her the words she wanted to hear. "Frances, she said, you have now passed the danger." Frances began eating three regular size meals a day and going on 3 mile walks everyday. This helped focus her mind instead of trying to altered her consciousness. Frances did recall hearing of a women a log time ago who suffered a experience much like her own. But she remebers that in the other women's story, she did not end up so well. She followed some bad advice from a guru, who when she told him of her weird experiences while mediating told her to agnore the feelings and continue mediating more and they would pass. this women ended up in a mental hospital. Eventurally frances recovered fully from her experience and she said: Higher states of consciousness had seemed so beautiful that i never thought any harm could come from pursuing them."

 

Indeed when can empty our minds of bad thoughts and EMEDIENTLY REEPLACE THEM With GOOD THOUGHTS. But NOT to simply "empty our minds of 'ALL' thought!" - (Mat 12:43-45)

 

When a demon-possessed person has been exorcised, what happens to him? Where does the demon go? It would seem that they require/need/desire a "host" in which to live. The spirit is out "loose" looking for someplace to "rest." (vs43) Recall, when "legion" was cast out of the man "in the mountains and tombs" (Mr5:5) they desired for Jesus not to send them "out of the country."(vs10) But the whole group of demons requested to be able to enter the herd of pigs. (vs11)

 

." (Job1:7)

 

 

I would advise people to be leary of ANY spiritual movememt..whether it we Eastern or Christian that tells people to "empty there minds" of all thought.

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I'm sure there can be an excess of anything (that includes water, which actually one *can* have in excess). But there are many traditions that call for emptying, including some in the Christian tradition. Many Buddhists practice emptying meditation for years without any ill effects. You are not literally emptying of everything but of random thoughts, associations. Some of the Christian mystics talk of "sinking into God".

 

I think what actually happened to the woman is a. something of excess to the exclusion of other things, so that she may have lost touch with reality, however briefly. I don't believe mystics in whatever tradition would advocate doing ANYTHING to that extent. b. That meditation will actually change your brain waves. Some people lose their feelign of control with high amts. of alpha waves in wake. Actually I know this as this happened to me, not to any extremes. But meditation on something doesn't do this as it doesn't change your brain waves the same way- in most cases.

 

I don't take the whole demon possession thing seriously, I mean as factual. Prescientific peoples had to have a way of explaining the inexplicable. Things like epilepsy were thought to be demonic possession because they had no terms that would explain something like this.

Letting "demons" go into a bunch of pigs would have been an acceptable explanation of events for Jews around Jesus' day, pigs being unclean creatures.

 

 

Anyway at the end of the story, which I have no doubt could be true the woman leads a more balanced life with walking and eating 3 meals, etc. The idea I get is that she is too obsessed to do any of these before. Even monks, both of Christian and Buddhist backgrounds, that lead contemplative existences dont' meditate and pray all day, they usually have some type of physical work and sometimes what is considered meditation in work where you focus all your energies and thoughts into work.

 

 

--des

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Beach,

 

I'm glad you started the thread too. Thank you.

 

Well as pointed out by someone else here. There's different kinds of 'mysticisms'. The kind you are discribing, ritualistic can be found in Episcopalian

 

I didn't mean to imply with my previous post that there are many KINDS of mysticism but there are many different ways to get to that "location". Liturgy, like Catholics and Episcopalians use, are one way to "get there".

 

You mean a 'mystic' experince like how Natual deism

 

Kinda. Deists don't believe in revealed scripture (like the Bible). They believe God reveals herself through nature instead. I believe that very much, but it's not quite what I was saying. But, like you and deists, I do feel closer God in the woods than I do in a church.

 

I think there CAN be dangers to it, emotionally and mentality, as the account in that New Age mag Whole Life Times tells about.

 

I think that the woman in the article dove into meditation too quickly and too deeply and suffered a type of psychotic break. I've had similar experiences. I don't think what she experienced was "mystical" but rather an deeply altered state. Mysticism and altered states are not necessarily the same.

 

Yeah, I relate to this type of mysticsm 100%. I guess the other kind, where it is mind-altering would be like Metaphysics?

 

Metaphysics? No. I would sat the "other kind" would be called "altered states" which can be cool (and scarey!), but is not the same as mysticism.

 

I have found it is good too..but I feel it is only good if ya don;t get into the the type of meditations that call for you to "alter your mind".

 

Well technically, ALL meditation is mind altering by nature, or it wouldn't BE meditation. The depth of mind altering, however, varies.

 

JW's really preach on the evils of meditation, which is too bad, because they could really use some stress reduction. :P

 

When a demon-possessed person has been exorcised, what happens to him? Where does the demon go?

 

LOL! I felt like I was back in the Kingdom Hall for a second Beach! :D You've reconsidered the JW position on many things. Have you reconsidered this view?

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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"I didn't mean to imply with my previous post that there are many KINDS of mysticism but there are many different ways to get to that "location". Liturgy, like Catholics and Episcopalians use, are one way to "get there"."

 

I don;t know. I mean i don;t see the mysticism of Catholic or episcopalain as the same sort of thing an mind altering states...that is got to be something else it it's own catagory..the mind altering states thing.

 

 

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Beach to me: You mean a 'mystic' experince like how Natual deism

 

 

 

"Kinda. Deists don't believe in revealed scripture (like the Bible). They believe God reveals herself through nature instead. I believe that very much, but it's not quite what I was saying. But, like you and deists, I do feel closer God in the woods than I do in a church."

 

Yeah, same thing with me. I relate to what the natural deists are saying but not that you can't coonect the Bible to this.

 

 

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Beach to fatherman: I think there CAN be dangers to it, emotionally and mentality, as the account in that New Age mag Whole Life Times tells about.

 

 

 

"I think that the woman in the article dove into meditation too quickly and too deeply and suffered a type of psychotic break. I've had similar experiences. I don't think what she experienced was "mystical" but rather an deeply altered state. Mysticism and altered states are not necessarily the same."

 

I don;t think it's the same either. It's something intirely different.

 

"Meaphysics? No. I would sat the "other kind" would be called "altered states" which can be cool (and scarey!), but is not the same as mysticism."

 

I guess you are right.

 

"ell technically, ALL meditation is mind altering by nature, or it wouldn't BE meditation. The depth of mind altering, however, varies."

 

Well, you can focus your mind on calmness and tranquil thoughts..but it's totally different from just 'altering your mind' with drugs or emotional hystics.

 

"JW's really preach on the evils of meditation, which is too bad, because they could really use some stress reduction. "

 

They have their own idea of mediation but it's really just thinking about whatever the Watchtower tells them:/

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Des,

 

But meditation on something doesn't do this as it doesn't change your brain waves the same way- in most cases.

 

I agree. I like to do an "active listening" meditation, where I simply listen, non-judgementally, to all the noises around me. If my thoughts intrude, I gently quiet them, and go back to listening. I try not to name the sounds, like "bird" or "car". I just listen. I swear, you can hear the heartbeat of the universe in those sounds.

 

Even monks, both of Christian and Buddhist backgrounds, that lead contemplative existences dont' meditate and pray all day, they usually have some type of physical work and sometimes what is considered meditation in work where you focus all your energies and thoughts into work.

 

As per the instructions of Thich Nhat Han and others, I try to do this with certain activities. One of the most profound "meditative" experiences I've ever had was washing the dishes by hand. Warm water. Bubbles. Soft sponge. Round and round it goes. LOL! It really is cool.

 

Aletheia

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One of my main peeves about New Age thought is it's hyper-individualism. Its focus is upon "personal fulfillment" and "self-actualization" which is hardly what Christianity is primarily about. Such perspectives miss the important social and corporate nature of salvation and God's kingdom.

 

Yes, I think there is an important balance to be struck between corporate and individual focus. The primary reason I'm a church goer is to commune with the body of Christ. Corporate worship, prayer, and mission is essential, no doubt. But Jesus modeled and preached a pattern of corporate and private ( joining and retreating) in the scripture.

 

Christianity is "primarily" about bringing peace and love to a struggling world. How can we share love and peace with the world if we do not first have love and peace in our own hearts? That is what "self-actualization" in the spiritual sense is all about! Realizing one's full potential for love and peace.

 

1.) Realize or Actualize true self

2.) Realize God (God is already actualized)

3.) In doing this, you will realize your purpose in the world, then ....

4.) DO IT!

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