Saturday, November 30, 2013

Does Yoga Help Meditation?

The truth is that yoga is a system of Hindu philosophy which includes strict spiritual discipline, body harmony and the releasing of self-healing, energies to gain control over the forces of one's own being to attain union with the deity or the universal spirit. Mind-emptying techniques are not Christian prayer. This  type of prayer makes no sense in Christianity. There are also dangers involved in going into altered levels of consciousness.

The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in other religions.She has sincere respect for their rules and teachings. However, she proclaims and must ever proclaim Christ, 'the way, the truth,and the life', in whom God has revealed himself, and in whom men find the fullness of religious life.

As Christians, we are not to practice non- Christian religions or mix in with ours (syncretism). When we practice syncretism, the line between truth and error becomes blurred. the pleasant experiences that result from these techniques can gradually start to replace the sacraments, and a person can loose sight of God as creator and Savior. The Lord loves people of all faiths. However, he wants us, as Christians, to look for opportunities to bring them to the True Faith.

The Vatican has released a document: "Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water and Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age." which specifically identifies the following as New Age movements: Zen,Yoga, Enneagram, Wicca, the Higher Self, the True Self, ALC's, the "god within" and TM (Trascendental Meditation). Many of these beliefs or practices have made their way into personality development programs and workshops. Catholics attend these events trusting them to be good programs, However, the Vatican document states that these new age beliefs and  practices cannot be accepted by those who are faithful to Christ and his Church. They contain grave error, and their beliefs are contrary to the Catholic faith.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

(1) How is Christian meditation practiced? (2) How is it different from other kinds of meditation?

(1) Christian meditation which is integral to spiritual growth consists of a rational examination of God's truths, commands, mysteries or events from Holy Scriptures. Cristian meditation is intent upon God and his Word; not as means to an end, but as an end in itself. Always to be with God in one's thoughts, to be in a state of constant prayer (meditation) is the kind of prayer which the saints were perfect in. "Happy the man who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night" ( Psalm 1:1-2).

(2) Occult meditation is a relaxation of the mind and senses. Its goal is an opened and emptied mind which gazes at nothing and waits for what it doesn't know. It strives towards philosophical enquiry and realization of oneness with the universe and God. The one who actively practices such meditation claims to be above desires or attachments to possessions. The Christians, on the other hand, in his meditation is mentally active and thoughtful, yet, striving towards peace and intimacy with the triune God. The psalmist captures this perfectly: "I will meditate on your precepts, and consider your ways. Make me understand the ways of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds. I have more understanding than all my teachers when your decrees are my meditation" (Psalm 119:15,27,99). The Christian, through prayer and meditation can better handle anxieties, trials and temptation.