“5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer”

cprayer

One of my favorite book authors is Ray Yungen, who has been on our program several times. His A Time of Departing opened my eyes to how the New Age mystics have snuck into the back door of the Church, and I have read it over and over again.

I have a feeling Ray will need to come back with us soon to talk about his new booklet, 5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer. It is one of the new Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tracts offered as a concise primer on understanding contemplative prayer. The booklet is 16 pages long and sells for $1.50 for single copies. In fact, Lighthouse graciously provides a snippet of that booklet, which I’ve shared here:

5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer

By Ray Yungen

There is a practice that is becoming more and more popular within the evangelical church. It is called contemplative prayer or centering prayer. Youth organizations and seminaries are particularly drawn to this, thus impacting the Christian youth in this country. Furthermore, there is a snowballing effect wherein contemplative prayer is being accepted and endorsed by more and more evangelical leaders, often based not on their own experience and understanding but rather on the word of other respected leaders who in turn may not have fully researched this subject. In order to truly understand the nature of contemplative prayer, I believe there are four things you should know. After each point, I have given some quotes from various published works to back up my statement.

I. A Distinct Connection Between New Age, Eastern Religion, and the Occult, and Contemplative Prayer

First of all, New Agers, occultists, and those practicing Eastern religion regard contemplative prayer as part of their own movement. The following excerpts are all from New Age, Eastern thought, and occultic books and magazines:

“Those who have practiced Transcendental Meditation may be surprised to learn that Christianity has its own time-honored form of mantra meditation. The technique, called Centering Prayer, draws on the spiritual exercises of the Desert Fathers, the English devotional classic, The Cloud of Unknowing, and the famous Jesus Prayer.”1—from the book, As Above, So Below (a New Age treatise)

“Reliance on a mantric centering device has a long history in the mystical canon of Christianity.”2—As Above, So Below

An Omega Institute Mind, Body, Spirit book titled Contemplative Living endorses several of the authors we are concerned about: Father Thomas Keating, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Julian of Norwich, John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. Omega Institute is the nation’s largest holistic, New Age learning center.3

“The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics: it is no accident that both traditions use the same word for the highest reaches of their respective activities”—contemplation.4—from the book, The Mission of Mysticism

“Kundalini has long been known in Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist spirituality.”5 “Since this energy [Kundalini energy] is also at work today in numerous persons who are devoting themselves to contemplative prayer, this book is an important contribution to the renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition.”6 —Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality

II. Main Proponents of Contemplative Prayer Have Been Aligned With Eastern Religion
Secondly, major proponents of the contemplative prayer movement have been or are aligned with Eastern religion. Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, considered by many to be devout Christians, have intermingled their form of Christianity with Zen, Buddhism and Sufism. In Henry Nouwen’s own book, Pray to Live,7 he describes Merton as being heavily influenced by Hindu monks. Consider also the following quotes:

“(Thomas) Merton had encountered Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism and Vedanta many years prior to his Asian journey. Merton was able to uncover the stream where the wisdom of East and West merge and flow together, beyond dogma, in the depths of inner experience. . . . Merton embraced the spiritual philosophies of the East and integrated this wisdom into [his] own life through direct practice.” 8—from Yoga Journal magazine

“[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Muslim religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian and does not hesitate to bring that wisdom home.”9 —Henri Nouwen, in the foreword of a book on meditation.

“This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality . . . It is no accident that the most active frontier between Christian and Eastern religions today is between contemplative Christian monks and their Eastern equivalents. Some forms of Eastern meditation informally have been incorporated or adapted into the practice of many Christian monks, and increasingly by other Christians.”10—Tilden Edwards, founder of the Shalem Institute

III. Methods in Contemplative Prayer Are Same As In Eastern Religion

According to The New Age Movement and The Biblical Worldview, meditation, chanting mantras, body disciplines, guided imagery, religious mysticism, self-realization and at-one-ment are all part of New Age and Eastern practices.11

“The techniques [Herbert] Benson teaches–silence, appropriate body posture and above all, emptying the mind through repetition of prayer—have been the practices of mystics in all the great world religions. And they form the basis on which most modern spiritual directors guide those who want to draw closer to God.”12—Newsweek

“Silence is the language God speaks . . . says Thomas Keating who taught ‘centering prayer’ to more than 31,000 people in just one year. Keating suggests that those who pray repeat some ‘sacred word’, like God or Jesus.”13—Newsweek

“The twentieth century, which has seen so many revolutions, is now witnessing the rise of a new mysticism within Christianity. . . . For the new mysticism has learned much from the great religions of Asia. It has felt the impact of yoga and Zen and the monasticism of Tibet. It pays attention to posture and breathing; it knows about the music of the mantra and the silence of samadhi.”14—The Mystical Way

“Now what I say of Zen is true also of Christian mysticism. It also leads to an altered state of consciousness where all is one in God.”15 —The Mystical Way

“Do not reflect on the meaning of the word; thinking and reflecting must cease, as all mystical writers insist. 16—Contemplation: A Christian Path

“The repetition [of a word or phrase] can in fact be soothing and very freeing, helping us, as Nouwen says, ‘to empty out our crowded interior life and create the quiet space where we can dwell with God.’”17 —Jan Johnson, from her popular book for Christians, When the Soul Listens

IV. Authors in the Evangelical Church Have Latched Onto Contemplative Prayer
Some very popular authors in the evangelical church have latched on to contemplative prayer as a way to go deeper with God. Richard Foster and Brennan Manning have held countless workshops and speak in churches, seminaries, and youth gatherings all across the country.

“Christians . . . have developed two fundamental expressions of Unceasing Prayer. The first . . . is usually called aspiratory prayer or breath prayer. The most famous of the breath prayers is the Jesus Prayer. It is also possible to discover your own individual breath prayer. . . . Begin praying your breath prayer as often as possible.”18—Richard Foster, from his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home

In Richard Foster’s 1998 edition of Celebration Of Discipline, Foster makes several recommendations of books that are “helpful” to read. He heartily endorses Tilden Edward’s book, Spiritual Friend. Here are some quotes from Edwards’ book:

“This mystical stream [contemplative prayer and other monastic traditions] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality (and to that of Sufis Moslems …); This exchange, together with the more popular Eastern impact in the West through transcendental meditation, Hatha Yoga, the martial arts, and through many available courses on Eastern religions in universities, has aided a recent rediscovery of Christian apophatic mystical tradition.”19

“Thomas Merton in many ways helped pave the way for recent serious Christian investigation of these potential Eastern contributions.” 20

“The new ecumenism involved here is not between Christian and Christian but between Christians and the grace of other intuitively deep religious traditions.”21

“A simple method of contemplative prayer (often called centering prayer . . . ) has four steps . . . choose a single sacred word . . . repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, often.”22—Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus

“During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: ‘How can we best help people (not just Christians) to attain union with God?’ His answer was very clear. We must tell them that they are already united with God. Contemplative prayer is nothing other than coming into consciousness of what is already there.”23—Brennan Manning

In an interview, Brennan Manning recommends William O’ Shannon’s book, Silence on Fire and Thomas Keating’s book on centering prayer, Open Mind, Open Heart. In Silence on Fire, O’Shannon blasts the Christian, biblical God:24

This is a typical patriarchal notion of God. He is the God of Noah who sees people deep in sin, repents that He made them and resolves to destroy them. He is the God of the desert who sends snakes to bite His people because they murmured against Him. He is the God of David who practically decimates a people . . . He is the God who exacts the last drop of blood from His Son, so that His just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased. This God whose moods alternate between graciousness and fierce anger. This God does not exist.25

V. Finding the “God” Within vs. What the Bible Says About the Heart of Man
It is important to note here that the purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Christian proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born-again believers, should practice contemplative prayer. The belief is that in the heart of man we find God (i.e., that we are God).

“The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is the same as the one who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being.”26—Henri Nouwen from his book Here and Now

“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center.”27 —Thomas Kelly as quoted by Richard Foster in Streams of Living Waters

[Even people,]”who have yet to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ—can and should practice them [spiritual disciplines].”28—Richard Foster

“[I]f I find Christ, I will find my true self and if I find my true self, I will find Christ.”29—Brennan Manning in Abba’s Child

“[O]ccultism is defined as the science of mystical evolution; it is the employment of the hidden [i.e. occult] mystical faculties of man to discern the hidden reality of nature, i.e. to see God as the all in all.”30 —The Mission of Mysticism

The Bible reveals that in the heart (center) of man our true self is not “God” but rather sinful and wicked:

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart: and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. (Matthew 15: 18,19)

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7: 21,22, emphasis added)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

The Bible also clearly warns against repetitive prayer and also tells us we cannot find God unmediated (i.e., without Christ).

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

The following are the titles of several popular books and a list of people the authors make reference and recommendation to in those books:

Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning: Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Paul Tillich, Teilhard de Chardin, Carl Jung, M. Basil Pennington, Anthony De Mello

Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning: Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Carl Jung, Morton Kelsey, Rainer Maria Rilke, Blaise Pascal, Simon Tugwell, David Seamands, John Bradshaw, Meister Eckhart, Leo Tolstoy, Anthony De Mello, Scott Peck

Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster: Thomas Merton, Madam Guyon, Catherine de Haeck Doherty (Christian Spirituality of the East for Western Man), Sue Monk Kidd

Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster: Thomas Merton, Carl Jung, Leo Tolstoy, mystic Richard Rolle, Thomas Kelly, Morton Kelsey, Evelyn Underhill, Meister Eckhart, Blaise Pascal, Lao-tse of China, Tilden Edwards

The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen: Thomas Merton, Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu, Teilhard de Chardin, Willigis Jager

CONCLUSION:
It is ironic that in the last century more Christians have died for their faith in other countries than have died in past centuries combined. Many of these Christians have departed from Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism to meet their executioners. What would these martyrs of the faith say to us if they could speak of our current western practice of intermingling Christianity with Eastern religion and the occult? The Bible warns against such mixture:

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10: 21, 22)

Jesus never taught his disciples techniques to attain oneness with God, but rather spoke of Himself as the Way. In fact, the entire New Testament was written to dispute the idea that people can reach God through religious efforts and reveals that Jesus Christ is the only answer. In conclusion, the contemplative movement is founded on the following false premises*:

The heart of man is basically good and (it has a divine center). vs. The heart of man is wicked—A DENIAL OF THE SIN NATURE

Man can find God through his own efforts regardless of what religion he has embraced. vs. Jesus referred to Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.— A DENIAL OF THE ATONEMENT

God is delighted by chanting and similar methods of meditative prayer. vs. Jesus said that He isn’t.—A DENIAL OF GOD’S PERSONAL NATURE

With false premises as these, the conclusions can only be erroneous. The Bible creates the proper understanding and balance of 1) man as sinful, 2) needing a redeemer, 3) with whom he can have an abundant life.

* In philosophy, every “argument” must have a premise and a conclusion, but if your premises are false, it will inevitably lead you to a false conclusion.

To order copies of 5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer, click here.

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15 Responses to “5 Things You Should Know About Contemplative Prayer”

  1. michelle says:

    Excellent!

    Like

  2. Tony says:

    Those Hindus and Buddhists who did where fools whos and self-haters who had abandoned their own culture so that so could pretend to be white they would be shocked at how the white people are giving up their superior "whiteness" for the culture of the primitive eastern barbarians

    Like

  3. styeve says:

    "The Westerner's perverse religion confuses the hearts of men"

    Emperor Minh Mạng 1825 Edict against Christianity

    Like

  4. I wanted to say I enjoyed your article and to comment that you may want to rethink your negative approach here.

    I have reached the place, within, where you stand as the soul. In this place proof surrounds the soul as to his likeness to God, sin, etc. And I can tell you that your likeness to God is not your body, but pure consciousness or awareness. This previous statement alone should have you contemplating for a lifetime, your relationship to God.

    When I ask that you rethink your stance, I'm stating it as someone that has seen God's infiniteness. In fact, in order to see this place through the use of meditation or contemplative/ centering prayer, one must literally die to this world and all that is in it.

    As a result, the scene on the other side is that the soul realizes that it too is infinite and eternal. This means without sin (EVER) and yes the soul is 100% God.
    In fact, anyone reaching this place, can only come to understand, is that the God they thought they knew in this life, also vanishes when the world is cast aside. In other words, the soul doesn’t know that it is standing before God, as it is presented in the bible as something to be feared. The soul only sees a reflection of itself and is not afraid.

    This is the true dying unto one's self. When it happens the soul truly is in a place that it already knows but has forgotten. Dying to one’s self is the act of leaving everything behind. Therefore the soul stands before God without its analytical mind and the ability to think and decide for itself. When it is before God it is there as a witness to what is presented before it. The soul doesn’t even have the ability to stay or go if it chooses. All that takes place here is at the command of God.

    This is why Jesus was trying to make Nicodemus understand that being born again, must take place for a person's spiritual path to finally begin to grow with sincerity. This experience changes all that you thought you knew about religion. At best, all that religion becomes reduced to, is a finger pointing to where you need to go—within.

    When Jesus says the way to the Father is through me, He means that he will teach you or guide you and always help you to stay on the right path to God. It doesn't mean you must worship Jesus if you want to get into heaven. Jesus’ way of talking like this is the same as we hear from Krishna and Buddha. These people were God on earth, so there way of talking is a combination of God speaking through the man. With that said, it should be easy to see how the general public can misunderstand the teachings coming from the human being or the God within.

    His proof that going within to see the kingdom of heaven is this: Even if an atheist, agnostic, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or some who never heard of God, were to use meditation or prayer, regardless of which method, he or she will reach this same place and see the same thing. The prayer isn't a way to reach God, like going to church each week. No, it is a way to drop this world completely, in order to see what is behind the veil– that being God, period.

    There is only one God! Unfortunately, it is the people that need to recognize that everyone is seeing the same God and that the difference we want to argue about is simply the way one culture or another does it’s best to explain it to their people. The way to God is not through Jesus Christ, as you believe. It is through His teachings of how to go within.

    Everyone, no matter what their sins are, will be united with God. This is because they were never separated from God, except in their own mind. This is what one learns when they go within, through these prayer methods.

    Eric Nielsen
    Author of: "Beyond God's Veil… A True Story of Piercing the Cloud of Unknowing"

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  5. Amy Spreeman says:

    Hello, Eric, thanks for sharing. Of course much of what you shared goes the opposite of biblical truth (such as saying that Jesus is not the only way). We believe that when Jesus said we must die to ourselves, He was not talking about transcendental meditation. But it is interesting that you believe Jesus' teachings were about how to go within. I don't see any of this in the Bible. Do you have scripture verses that back this up?

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    • Eric Nielsen says:

      Hi Amy,

      I know that where I'm coming from is very different than what you believe to be the truth, but I would ask you to read about the debates between Rome and the Orthodox Church in the 3rd century. You'll find that even though the church was as close to Jesus as they ever could be (as in being closer to the true teachings of Jesus), they couldn't seem to agree as to how to set up the church.

      The very fact that since those days Christians have branched off into hundreds, if not thousands of separate churches proves the point that theologians and scholars cannot grasp the spiritual with the analytical mind. They need the direct experience only offered by going within one's self and seeing it first-hand. Believe it or not, even science is closer to the truth than the church.

      The whole point during the early days of Christianity was whether to put the word of theologians and scholars before those with direct inner experience, which is where the Orthodox Church believed it should be. Of course Rome won out because the Pope was in Rome and had the final say.

      These same types of arguments are the same as we are having now, as we debate this article. The whole thing boils down to what the church burn people at the stake for. Someone has a direct experience of God by going within using some method to get there and the church authority, or in our case, you and the bible feel they have to first approve my experience before it can be taken as authentic.

      My comments on this article come from direct experience. And yes, I reached there by TM. When I learned TM, I was never told by the instructor that I was going to go within myself to see the kingdom of God. I didn’t even know it was possible possible. Since then I consider what had happened to me as a blessing from God, not a bragging point. This is why I share it with others. I want them to do everything possible to see what I have seen—nothing more.

      Note: The Silk Road, I'm sure, had people traveling between the Middle East and Asia for thousands of years before Christ and they more than likely were sharing more than silk and spices. I think their belief systems were truly a valued subject between people that looked very different from one another.

      Since then I've spent 40 years looking for others that have had the same experience and I tell you they belong to every faith, leading me to believe, without any doubt, everything that I've written in my comments. And that Christians, very respectfully, need to look beyond the bible, because again, the end goal of God is the same for everyone, regardless if they never even heard of Jesus Christ and the bible.

      This last line is a sticking point for most Christians, yet it is one of the main truths they just can’t put their heart around. People must understand that they don’t have to prove to God that they are worthy of His presents. No, they have to see that they already are His children and He wants us all to gain His wisdom. Thus one must learn from more than just the bible. It’s not a competition! Your soul is already sinless; you just have to see it for yourself.

      I say this with all due respect. And the very fact that you don't see it in the bible is evidence that there might be more to spiritual teachings than just the bible. There may even be a whole wealth of information on the subject of God that Christians are missing out on. Christians believe there is only one God and He is everywhere. Yet, Christians are missing the boat by insisting the bible is the end all on the subject of God. I've spent too many years proving it to myself when there wasn't anyone around to explain what had happened to me.

      Many people I talk to wonder if this type of experience is the end of a spiritual journey. I can only say it is the beginning of our spiritual journey, because God will show me a whole lot more if I remain faithful and continue to meditate and pray.
      The bible doesn't have any answers for those that have had direct experience of God. Christians would have me seat on my hands and wait until I die for myself to get the answers. Yet for those that have had this same direct experience, they rest easy knowing that they have just gone beyond the bible to the very place the soul is already very familiar with. Amy, it is the most, calm and peaceful place you will ever experience.

      I can't expect for you to understand, because you are book read. In closing I would suggest you try some sort of prayer or meditation that will get you to this same place. Until then I will bet you my life, that if you should succeed, you would write me and say "Oh, now I get it!"

      I'm not mocking you, so please don't misunderstand. I'm just stating that you're missing out on so much more if you take the belief of God seriously. Like a good teacher, there are those out there in the world, from other religions, that can teach you more about God that your head will spin with joy.

      Many won’t venture outside their religion to gain more knowledge of God because they feel they will go to hell or be betraying God in some way. This is primitive and non-sense built out of fear. God is everything and you are a part of it, so no one has anything to fear from doing so. Are you going to stop your search for God because you are afraid of what lies beyond the next turn? If that is the God you believe in—well I feel sorry for you.

      As to the bible verses… I'm specifically speaking about John 3, where Jesus is trying to make a point to Nicodemus. I'm sure you can disagree with my belief that Jesus was teaching something to Nicodemus, which I believe the bible has left parts out. My belief is one that believes he was trying to tell him how to go within one's self.

      Again, I simply voiced my opinion to your article because I feel it does a disservice to others, but I understand we all have our opinions and for now we will have to agree to disagree.

      As I wind this up, let me say that I hope you pay attention to the subject of centering and contemplative prayer, because more and more people are going to discover the kingdom of God as Jesus stated we would find if we went within ourselves. And like me, these people will be doing the same as I have, by suggesting that Christians everywhere, step outside the confines of their group and explore the vast amount of information they still have yet to discover. God has infinite ways to bring us all into His presents and our comments to one another are just one of His ways.

      God Bless

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  6. Amy Spreeman says:

    Eric, I appreciate the kind and thoughtful tone. Thank you for pointing me to scripture to make your case. I do have to take issue though with the Nicodemus passage. You said you thought that Jesus was teaching him meditative methods, but that this must surely have been left out of the Bible. Question: How are you so sure? The Bible does not say anything in those passages about meditation.

    Speaking of spiritual, one of my favorite verses about the Spirit is <a class="lbsBibleRef" href="http://biblia.com/bible/esv/2%20Timothy%203.16%E2%80%9317&quot; target="_blank" rel="nofollow">2 Timothy 3:16–17. Here's what it says:

    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

    A friend of mine wrote an article about this passage titled, "How to hear God's Voice 100% of the Time." In it, he writes this:

    1. This passage says ALL scripture is God breathed. That means that God, The Holy-Spirit, personally inspired every one of the Biblical authors. In other words, you can know with certainty that every word of scripture contains God's thoughts and when you're reading the Bible you're hearing God's voice 100% of the time.

    2. This passage says that the man of God would be COMPLETE through the reading, learning, knowing and applying of scripture. Notice that this verse doesn't say that the man of God would be incomplete through his reading of scripture and that he'd need to augment the scriptures through whispers, subjective feelings, internal voices, direct revelation, dreams or visions. NO! It literally says that the man of God would be COMPLETE. The Greek word that is used here is ἄρτιος and it means "complete and/or fully qualified". There is nothing else needed for the man of God. The scriptures are totally sufficient.

    3. If point two wasn't clear enough, <a class="lbsBibleRef" href="http://biblia.com/bible/esv/2%20Timothy%203.17&quot; target="_blank" rel="nofollow">2 Timothy 3:17 drives the point home by stating that through the written word of God the man of God is equipped for EVERY good work. There are no good works that God would have you do that would require you to rely on anything other than His word to make you complete and fully equipped for the task.

    The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work.

    You don't need whispers.

    You don't need dreams.

    You don't need visions.

    You don't need trances.

    You don't need a glory cloud.

    You don't need to figure out how to 'experience God'.

    You don't need contemplative mysticism.

    All you need is the written word of God. The Bible is sufficient to make you complete and fully equipped for every good work and because every word of scripture is God breathed, you can know with confidence that you're hearing the voice of God.

    You may be asking yourself if it could truly be that simple. Yes, it really is that simple.

    Thoughts?

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    • Eric Nielsen says:

      The trouble you’re having with the Nicodemus passage is that you are taking the words written there and not putting yourself in Nicodemus’ place. For example: If you were having the conversation with Jesus you are not going to be asking Him questions? The first question that comes to my mind if I am in that position is this: “How can I be born again? By what method are you able to be born again?” What is it like to be born again? And finally, “show me how I can do as you suggest?”

      You’re right it isn’t in there. But as I am pointing out, it is obvious that more should go into this conversation. Now, either the bible scribes left it out on purpose, or forgot or lost the additional parts of the conversation, or my guess; it was left out because the scholars writing the bible didn’t understand the concept of going within. If they wanted the information, they should have talked to the Desert Fathers as they meditated or prayed in their desert caves. Simply put, more is to be desired from Jesus’ conversation here. Therefore it’s not okay that things are missing if Jesus was this great teacher of men. By the way, I blame the church. The church was the political might at the time and for centuries.

      As for the rest of your comments from Timothy, I don’t dispute that all of us are equipped with all that we need to be good children of God. You make the claim that we don’t need whispers, visions, etc. And again you are correct. But it doesn’t say not to do all you can to seek out God personally.

      There’s a big difference in our approach to God. You come from the view point of a person living in the physical world, not knowing the spiritual world personally. This side of life is all about duality. By that I mean you are not able to see the unity of God from a non-dual point of view. To do so would mean stepping across into the spiritual world—where the only choice is visiting the kingdom of God, because the kingdom of heaven during a near death experience for example, is more like living on earth than what we typically think heaven to be.

      If you say you do understand… then you are the one living with the whispers and visions. This would make you correct again, when you say these things are dangerous. I hope you get my point. The illusion is what we made life out to be, therefore when Jesus makes the point somewhere in the bible, that some people will get their reward during their lifetime by being seen in public as worshippers of God and that others are better off locking themselves away in a closet to be close to God in quiet—this is the point. After all, the desert Fathers basically did the same. They denounced the world and removed themselves from public life to stay always close to God in a quiet cave.

      Let me explain things this way. Seeing the non-dual side of life through the use of meditation, a person comes back to the world reborn. He’s not like the child that is born into life and forgets the spiritual side from where he came. No, he is an adult that has just died to the world as though he was going to go through being reborn. This way he doesn’t forget the experience as a child would.

      In that process he vanishes into communion or spiritual marriage with God and literally comes out through the process of how we entered life when first created. By that I mean: we are created once when the universe was created and we are reincarnated over and over again when our body dies each time. This is how John the Baptist knew Jesus already. In previous lives they knew each other as Elijah and Elisha.

      For you to understand what I’m saying here let me say that those who haven’t gone within identify themselves with the body and only know the birth and death of the body. When one goes through this process they are reconnected with their soul and the creator, making it so that when they return to the physical world again they know who they truly are and a lot more about what’s going on in life as it pertains to spiritual growth. This is not the end but the beginning of a serious, most direct path toward God.

      Man’s likeness to God is his consciousness. I don’t mean the analytical mind we use day to day. I mean the pure awareness that sits behind this analytical mind. The body is temporary, so no matter how many lifetimes one lives a person will never be reborn as it is meant in Christianity.

      Our likeness to God can’t be infinite if we make the connection to our bodies. This concept makes a personal God and the Trinity, not a three being, personification of God. No, pure awareness/ pure consciousness, and energy is what our likeness is to God. When seen, you understand the eternal and the infinite likeness to God that we all are. Being infinite and almighty can’t be associated with God if understanding is to take place.

      The same is true (temporary) throughout the complete creation. Everything is temporary, including our way to describe God. Science, however, is finding God before Christians. They are discovering that energy at the sub-atomic level may be conscious of itself. This is the substance that is God. It is what Jesus used to raise the dead. Even a yogi can preserve his body in death for a time so that it shows no decay. Click over to: http://oaks.nvg.org/soy22.html and read one account and comment of what this means by the church, as well as a Los Angeles Coroner’s Report.

      In short, the process of going within is to do the one thing that reincarnation doesn’t do. That is, you have died to your analytical mind, which is something a person doesn’t do over the millions of lifetimes he has existed. This is dying to the world in order to enter the kingdom of God. It is the act of putting a death to desire.

      So it goes like this. Spiritual marriage or disappearing into the oneness of God > Exiting God to have the influence of the Holy Spirit to energize you into being as the soul > At that point you stand before a formless version of God, because He is Infinite, thus there is no way to express the infinite > This place is the exact spot that Jesus knew that He and the Father are One (And as with people of other religions, the same experience is interpreted as: I am That, Thou Art That, or various other ways to say the same > The message that the soul receives is that it too is eternal and infinite > then the soul is sent away to begin the process of entering life > This is the place of the symbolic Tree of Knowledge > Here the soul obtains the five senses (yes, the five senses are given before you have a body or even know there is such a thing as the body > This causes a terrible burning desire in the soul (Baptism by Fire) > This desire brings on the first impression within the soul, causing it to have the first sense of itself as something separate from God (Before this point the soul was identical to God or one with Him and has no sense of time because there is only the Now) > As desire builds, the ego comes into existence and time begins and the self begins to move forward toward the world it will enter > It is important at this point to point out that the self is not Mary, Amy, Eric, It is just our primordial self and the desire that burns within is like fuel launching the self forward without any object of that desire (this makes it pure desire like you’ve never felt before) > Next, for me, the blackness before me opened up to a view of a row of trees below. As my senses were bombarded with its very first sight of anything, the self wanted to get through there to satisfy the desire for that stimulus. Please understand the power of this desire—If hell opened up to the self rather than the world I’m describing, I would have jumped through before I would have known what it was that I had done > But because of my wanting to go through there, this was the very reason it was closed back off, voiding my entry into there. (Lesson learned: Thou Shall Not Want) > Next, I was again in my chair coming out of my meditation.

      The process is more detailed than this, but the main lesson to take away is that our five senses are our connection to this world of duality. The senses match perfectly to every single thing in the universe and as you know, there is an infinite amount of stimulus to keep the attention of the self away from God.

      Thus we become lost as we build an identity to match our human bodies, thereby becoming attached to them when we die, causing an endless cycle of rebirths. The place of the symbolic Tree of Knowledge is the separation between the kingdom of God and His kingdoms of Heavens. And yes He has many mansions prepared for us, of which is the one you are now in.

      The purpose of going within is to recall all this so you can begin the real, more direct path to God. And yes, being reborn as it is meant to be done. Baptism is not suppose to be a sprinkling of water over your head as a ceremony for joining the church and Jesus. No, it is the baptism of going within. In fact, the practice of baptism, where a person is completely dunked under the water is the symbolism for disappearing from the world, the way it is done when one prayers or meditates properly in order to leave this world for the kingdom of God.
      Once you know that desire is the thing that keeps us separated from God, the person can now use that same knowledge about desire/ Baptism of Fire, as the Baptism of Wisdom that keeps us connected to God without failing.

      This is where I differ with you and all I’m trying to say is that Jesus’ religious teachings that come from His knowledge of within outweigh anything the bible can offer, except to point to prayer as a way to get within. This is why Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, that we aren’t privy to the rest of, is so important.

      Again let me say that I didn’t have a clue that it was even possible to meditate and enter God’s Kingdom. If you had told me it was possible I wouldn’t have believed it. But somehow, God led me to someone that taught me how and within three months I saw it.

      What I owe to everyone I tell my story to; those practicing centering prayer or meditation, is that they will have a harder time of it than I did, even if they do it properly. You are correct, that a person can be led away from God by thinking the visions they see or things they experience are God talking to them, when in fact it may be the ego that is playing tricks in order to keep the practitioner connected to the physical world. This is due to the ignorance of not knowing the power of the mind while doing prayer and meditation. For those that do, they will have their greatest fight trying to defeat desire in order to break free of the physical world to connect with God. Believe it!

      Many of the early saints would tell their story of how they would eat the scabs off of lepers and how sweet the scabs would taste. Or they would repeat some of these centering prayers thousands of times a day, until one day they would have the experience of God. This is why you are correct in your judgment of prayer or meditation. The way it is taught by Christians without direct experience, allows the person to settle into a quiet place thinking they are conversing with God when they are actually just talking to themselves.

      If you have studied this stuff, you would find warnings for those practitioners, not to dwell in this quietness, but to continue the mantra, prayer word or phrase, without concern, until you break through. Then all is self-explanatory and God takes over with the persons soul to give them all the knowledge they need to continue their path to God.

      With that said, there is a way to know you have reached the proper place. What I described above is the real deal when you understand what it is like when you are before God as your soul. And may I say this is verified by people throughout the world and their description is always the same.

      As the soul all things vanish. The world is not forgotten—it never existed. Your analytical mind never existed, therefore you can’t sit before God in His kingdom and say I want to stay or go, or I like it here or don’t. No, all the soul does is witness the events before it. A person sees this place with the single eye. (I believe you are familiar with this term from the bible. Some like to describe it as a cave where there is only dark and light. For me it was a black ocean that went off into infinity, where on the surface there was ripples of light. The night sky was like a dome without any stars or a moon. This made the ability of seeing to be caused by the light emitted from the ocean itself. Thus seeing, by making your eyes single through prayer or meditation)

      Let me offer you a drawing that shows what I saw. The artist that drew it for me doesn’t do the real thing justice but it is the best I can do. http://www.TheMysticPost.com/formless. Also there are plenty of examples of what people can do as a result of their love for God–in other words, abilities or gifts, showing the power of prayer. If you have a moment Google “Therese Neumann” and you’ll see what I mean.

      You tell me if what she was able to do was done any other way than by the grace of God. By that I mean live for years by only eating one communion wafer per day, without water. Then on top of that, loose eight pounds in one day as each Friday she would go through the stigmata and then within several hours regain that weight only to have the next week go by and have to do it all over again.

      There is something going on there when a saint from India can do the same thing (that is live on no food or water for years) her name if you want to check her out is Giri Bala. With both these saints please read their story, then believe that these people are put on this earth as witness to God’s infinite power. These aren’t evil people or someone possessed by demons. They are people, who like the bible, point to God in the way God sees fit (i.e. without restrictions)

      All I’m sharing here is that we are infinite, the universe is infinite, so explore God’s creation and discover all you can. Meditation/ prayer, who cares? Just use the tools that people are proving work, to do wonderful things, like bringing us closer to God.

      How about a book that explains the evolution of God-consciousness as it expresses itself from nothingness to when we finally arrive at human consciousness, where we are now able to receive God finally and begin our journey home. The book is: God Speaks, by Meher Baba a Sufi Master of what lies beyond God’s veil. It’s complicated but a great book to study and learn from.

      How about the “Second Coming of Christ—The Resurrection of the Christ Within You” by Paramahansa Yogananda. Believe it or not, but there are different levels of awareness in people, as they work their way closer to God. This is why you see people that can heal, talk to the dead, people living off of the energy they get right out of the universe, etc. The only way you can make a serious decision as to what really is correct as it pertains to the spiritual is to explore the world. Clinging to only the bible, is good, but it is like never venturing beyond your city limits and claiming you know everything that God has to offer.

      Direct experience of God in comparison to the bible, leaves the bible, like the parables it contains, solely for the use of those that need God, but are afraid to come to Him. I have a friend who I asked a question of. She goes to bible study three or more times a week. One day I asked her why don’t you take Jesus at His word and venture to use prayer to go within and see the kingdom of God He states you can discover? Her answer: “I’m afraid of what I might find.” This is the failure of the bible organizers/ church, who would have people live in fear of God, rather than take Him at His word of Love. People have nothing to fear God in death or in life. It’s all part of making your way back to him. You can go slow or you can do the extra work to speed the learning process along.

      I know that this seems rude, but I’m trying to drive my point home. You are afraid of evil. I’m not, because I know something due to my meditative experience that you don’t. There isn’t a devil and evil is simply the result of how the burning desire within us all, combined with our analytical mind keeps us separated from God, as we choose chasing fulfillment of those sensual desires, because we again chose to think more about (me, myself, and I) than God. We are all fearful people in this vast universe when we don’t have to be. Death truly is a shedding of bodily clothes for a new set and nothing to fear.

      This is why Jesus died for our sins. The only sin is that He saw, was that we haven’t awaken to the bigger picture. So, Amy, think about desire and how it affects your life, in all that you do and see if what I’ve said is not correct. Contemplation is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t contemplating the bible so you can debate someone as to who is right and who is wrong. For that the only reward you will receive is what you receive in life. It doesn’t move you closer to God. For that you must go within.

      If the religions of the world came together the knowledge would be so vast that people would become self-realized at such a fast rate all our heads would spin. It’s called spiritual evolution. Every religion is preaching the same knowledge about God. We’re just still ignorant of the fact that the other guy’s God is the same one that we love and cherish. The ignorance that has kept all of us apart is our selfishness due to the same desire to please the (me, myself, and I) we put ahead of God.

      Why not visit a person on line that is probably more religious than the both of us. Her name is Marilynn Hughes. Google her. She is on her last lifetime and if it was not for her already having committed to starting a family in this lifetime, she would have already been taken by God in union forever. Her website will give you much more knowledge of what people are able to do in the spirit body (i.e. astral travel in God’s kingdom of heaven) Did you know that when you die and go to heaven, that it may only be a lower heaven, that when your good soul wears out its welcome it will return to this earth plane (which in itself is one of God’s many mansions) to work more thoroughly on reaching God the way he has it set up.

      I know this stuff may make you feel uneasy, but how can you make your spiritual journey a truly strong effort on your part if you haven’t explored all that God is willing to show you?

      In closing I hope you will give what I spent a lot of time writing, good long thought, rather than being so quick to send off another bible verse to me. I really would like your opinion on the websites I offered you to look at. And please don’t take my words the wrong way, it’s just that I hear this same story all the time, from those claiming that they can carry God around and a book and that’s all they need.

      Again, if that was all we needed to understand God’s infiniteness, the original church would not have divided itself some many times over the last two thousand years, all of them claiming to have the real answers about God. All this proves is that we have a lot to learn. Once we realize this fact we will venture off like kids on a playground, trying out all the fun experiences.

      Amy, you can’t argue the fact that Christians are in fear of God? This, to me, is a ridiculous fact that flies straight into the face of God Himself—especially when we call Him Father.

      There are seven heavens which one must travel through to finally commune with God or make that final union back home. A person has to understand the difference between when they are with God and when they are only in one of His heavens and how to conduct themselves there.

      I explained the kingdom of God, but did you know that in heaven or should I say the first four or five heavens, you still have to deal with desire? So, even though you are in a heaven, the fight to be as humble as Jesus is still on. For it isn’t until you become as humble as He that you can reach your place next to God.

      Also, did you know there are four bodies that belong to you? Many Christians, near death experience people, and those that travel nightly out of body, don’t realize this and think they have all the answers already, when the fact is that we never stop gaining God’s wisdom as we progress toward Him.

      First there is your physical body. Then you have that spirit body which looks like you only finer when compared to the gross physical body you see now. Next there is the body which can’t be seen, but operates like the other three, powered by desire, Finally, you have the soul, which operates without desire. Not even a desire for God, because the two are the same.

      Christians often talk about the spirit but they truly don’t understand. This is why in death you choose to miss your still living loved ones, over God. The reason why is because of the false notion that what is real is the body. So, in death man again chooses selfishly to satisfy the (me, myself, and I) in exchange for God. In death you will fear giving up the body and therefore remain focused on its survival, when you are the soul and not this body.

      So how is it that you, Amy, plan to know the difference between the soul and the body, or what is permanent and what is temporary or what is real verses false—IF YOU DON”T GO WITHIN TO SEE IT FIRST HAND?

      Again this is why prayer and meditation are so important and I wish your group would stop preaching such things. First you must believe that God has it covered and doesn’t need human help. If you believe that God can create a world that is perfect, then you can believe that He has a plan to reunite us all with Him again. At His time table not ours. One final question for you: Do you believe we live in a perfect world or do you not believe it to be so? Answer carefully, because your true belief in the God you worship hangs in the balance.

      Anyway, I hope you will do more than give what I have written a quick scan. I have no axe to grind or anything to prove, because you’ll discover it eventually on your own–Maybe not in this life time but one of them in the future. Again, is it a perfect world or not?

      It’s been a fun challenge for me to have the opportunity to hone my ability to organize my thoughts and I thank you for that. I hope you get something from this.

      God Bless,
      Eric

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  7. Texmom says:

    Eric, much of what you are saying sounds like "A Course in Miracles". Using discernment, I would look at where that came from and the actions of those involved and have much hesitation.

    You also suggest that you are right about Nicodemus, but they probably just didn't put that part in the Bible. Sure, that is remotely possible, but it seems a very weak argument. Couldn't you say that about anything? Couldn't you say that Jesus did, indeed, endorse this or that but Rome just left it out?

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    • Eric says:

      Sorry, but I never read anything from a course in miracles.
      And yes, everything is questionable as everything in life is a maybe.
      I would ask you to re read the Nicodemus stuff I suggested and see what questions it brings to your mind.
      It is my belief that when ever most people reach this part questions do get raised that lead to one thing. "Was Jesus teaching people a method to go within, what was it and where is the rest of it?

      Eric

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      • SL says:

        Eric, like all those who deny the necessity of Jesus, the Son of God come in the flesh and dying for us, runs into a conundrum: Jesus, whom he claims to understand, is presented in the Bible. However, this same Bible – including the words Jesus says in the Bible – totally contradicts the arguments he makes. If you throw out the Bible's authority, as Eric does, then you also throw out its evidence of the teachings and works, the very existence, of Jesus. And then you can say whatever you want about God, as Eric does. But when it comes to Jesus, whom he claims to understand, he has undercut his own argument and shows that he does not know what he is talking about.

        There's nothing new in the "God in all of us" religion of which Eric writes. It's as much a lie today as it ever has been. People have always been able to choose between right and wrong, light and dark. Jesus said (John 3) that the judgment He brought was that those who loved darkness would avoid the light – the truth of who God (including Jesus, the Son of God) is and what He wants for, and from, us. And so it is today – will we choose light, or will we choose darkness? Will we choose Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Life, through whom, and only through whom, we must come to the Father – the Door to the sheepfold that if someone tries to come in another way, he is a thief and a robber – or will we choose another way?

        The same choice that lay before Adam and Eve lies before us: whose words will we believe? Eve chose to believe that the simple words of God weren't sufficient, that she could add to and improve on what He told her. She chose to believe that there was more to God and her relationship with Him than what He had said there was, that just maybe He was hiding something from her. She chose to mistrust Him and to trust the words of another. And that produced death. The same kind of choice lies before us, every day.

        In my experience, the best test of the truth of a teaching about God is, Does it reproduce Christ in a believer? Not just a nice person, or a peaceful-seeming person, or a wise person, or even a miracle-worker – does it reproduce Christ, as He is in the Bible, in us? (e.g., Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me…"). One who is in right standing with his or her heavenly Father, one who loves and forgives and lays down his life for others, one who is born of heaven (as Christians are) – born of the Spirit and the Word of God – and lives in the Word of God through the power of the Holy Spirit?

        The problem with all the "God lives in all of us" religions is that they cannot remove sin. They can try to work it away, they can try to ignore it, they can try to dance around it, but they cannot remove it. Only God, through the blood of Jesus, shed for us as one of us, can remove sin. That blood, and faith in that blood, is what is needed to experience the reality of "Christ in you" as children of God. If there was any other way to be made right with God – through meditation, "special wisdom", good works, you name it – then Jesus, the Son of God, died in vain (Galatians 2:21). I for one think God knew what He was doing when He sent His Son to pay for us. Since the core of these "human religions" that teach that somehow we can make ourselves right with God (or realize that we already are right with him, same thing) is fundamentally wrong, they are flawed throughout. They are lies built upon lies.

        No matter how many words Eric writes, that truth won't go away. The good news is, Jesus paid the price for us in full, and He gives His victory – as one of us – over sin and death to all who trust in Him. We can live as new creations in the power of that resurrection. Jesus said, "Learn of me; my yoke is easy, my burden is light…" What's not to like?

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      • Eric says:

        Very nicely put SL, however, this is about the merits of centering prayer, contemplative prayer, or Christian meditation.

        Until people stop to realize that there isn't a single thing throughout this entire universe that is permanent, they will never understand the purpose of these methods.

        The sole purpose of these methods is to discover what is permanent. Sure you have the promise of Jesus that God is real and His relationship to you is this or that. All I'm saying is that through these methods it is a very real fact that you can go within yourself and experience the permanence of your own soul, as it is stripped away from your physical being, by these same methods, leaving everyone who has or ever will experience it, left with exactly what Jesus claims is our heritage.

        The only difference is you don't believe it is possible for you to do the same and see it first-hand. Trust me, if you would give any of these methods a try and commit to doing them until you succeed; you would give thanks for the bible, in that it pointed directly to the truth that millions of people still don't understand and therefore must rely on taking the bible's words on faith.

        The difference is like night and day. The bible is the advertisement for a great event that awaits us, in the future. Centering prayer or meditation is the transportation that helps you arrive faster. Everyone will get to the same place at one time or another, as Jesus promised, but the proof is that you can take a quicker path with God's approval. You just have to give it a try and put in the time that God requires.

        Note: Even those that practice these methods don't realize the task that they have taken on. One doesn't simply practice these methods and get there. No, it may take them many lifetimes, before they see success, but practicing also will help those to remember in the next life that they (underlined) chose to seek God. Can you guarantee that you will have an interest in seeking God in your next life? Probably, as you are seeking Him now, just in a different way–the bible.

        I know that everyone is looking out for my best interest and I appreciate everyone's comments with only great love. However, there is more to Jesus' teachings than you now know. It's up to you to prove it to yourself. I already know it.

        From John 10

        17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
        18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

        In conclusion, I give you this final sentence above. Jesus received it and you can too through prayer and meditation. That's right, you can do the same. "Lay down your life and pick it up again."

        Going within is the process of being born again, as Jesus meant it to be. The ritual we practice in church (that of baptism), is just that–a replication of the real baptism that is the very experience of going within. I can be critised by the world and I won't care. Throughout the world there are people from every cultural belief that would agree with what I am telling you.

        I understand that you don't believe it now, but one day you will. No man can take it from you as your soul is the only thing that is permanent–period.

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      • SL says:

        This business of multiple lifetimes, multiple heavens… what a tiresome philosophy. All it does is replace peoples' internal struggle against sin with an external spiritual universe that is still focused on sin – people always striving to be better but never being quite good enough. This "sin consciousness" ultimately focuses on the self, and on self-righteousness; it's a formula for failure. My observations of self-righteous religions, what I call "human religion" – Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, and whatnot – is that they miss God and produce spiritual failure in their adherents. Sure, they may teach forms of morality, and they offer a form of stability in peoples' lives (so do hobbies), but that's not what we're talking about here – we looking at experiencing the presence of God through right relationship with Him. That's the crux of the 'centered prayer' business, no? These human religions teach a form of godliness, but lack – and even deny – the power of God.

        God's plan, carried out through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us, is that we be "God conscious." We have righteousness – right relationship and right living – through trust in Him…right now. In Christ, we have a new identity – right here and right now. No slogging through endless reincarnations, no messing around with different heavens – no: one life to live, one heaven – that's all there is and all God needs to enact His plan for humanity. Through faith in Him, we are already in His presence, we experience the presence of God around us and in us – His peace and joy and love are overwhelming and genuine. His supernatural power works in and through Christians – I've seen it over and over and it's based on truth rather than peoples' amazing capacity for self-deception. You want real peace? Real love-power? Come to the source – Jesus.

        All that mishmash about working your way to perfection ("Oh if only I could tap into that perfection, that God, that is within me…oh if only …there must be something more I need to do, some more knowledge I need to gain…well if not in this lifetime then in the next…"), Jesus already addressed. In context of the Pharisees trying to work their way to perfection, a tiresome burden, Jesus said (Matthew 11), "Come unto me all you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly, and I will give rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

        Eric, in Jesus Christ and through Him alone are all the things you say you desire, and it's the real deal. Your religion has no compelling answer to sin, no way to deal with it other than endless self-improvement. Ultimately that takes you spiritual death or to the cross of Jesus; the only way to triumph over sin is to be put to death…and be brought to life beyond the grave as a new creation. Jesus did that for all of humanity – through faith in Him, anyone can be buried with him in his death, and raised again to newness of life, being filled the Spirit of God – here and now. Why go through all the slog of human religion, especially since it never really gets you where it promises to take you?

        Did you have a bad experience in a church? Did you come up against a disconnect between Christian teaching and what you saw in life? Is that why you turned to this "God in all of us" religion?

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      • SL says:

        I overlooked addressing the 'discovering the permanence of one's soul' point that Eric made, the focus of the 'centering prayer' as I understand it. I think pretty much any Christian already knows his or her soul (we call it 'spirit') will exist forever into the future. That's old news. I know Christians believe that the physical universe will pass away – as Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away…"; the Psalms say the same thing. So what's to discover about permanence or the lack thereof? The important thing is that, since we are permanent beings, where do we want to spend eternity?

        God is pretty clear that where we spend eternity is in our hands, as it were. If we desire relationship with him, as shown by our belief and words and actions – that is, if we receive his Son whom He has sent (Jesus) and follow after Him in faith – then we get what we want for eternity. After our bodies pass away, we're with Him in heaven. If on the other hand, we choose not to receive Jesus, the Way to God, and go our own way, we in effect say we don't want relationship with God – or more to the point, we want the relationship on our terms. Just like Eve in the Garden. But God is the creator and the judge, and we don't get to make that call. And if we choose that way, we get what we want – eternity separated from Him. You are incorrect: we don't all end up with God in heaven forever. We end up with what we choose from our hearts, for eternity.

        That's the issue we should concern ourselves with, not the 'discovery of our permanence.'

        Like

      • Eric says:

        You stated: “This business of multiple lifetimes, multiple heavens… what a tiresome philosophy.”

        Not a theory when you can see them for yourself. I’ve seen three.

        You stated: “human religion” – Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism

        These are religions as valid as Christianity and two are older and some say have lent their share of knowledge to Christianity. Do you truly believe that someone else’s search for God is of lessor worth than your own?

        As you stated: Jesus said (Matthew 11), “Come unto me all you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly, and I will give rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

        Funny you should mention this verse because I was thinking the exact same verse since your last kind words. Let me educate you for a change, okay?

        Yoke (zugo in the original Greek of the Gospel) and yoga are etymologically related, all deriving from the Sanskrit root yuj, signifying union. Like yoke, yoga is actually a one syllable word where the a is silent… yog.

        Krishna stated the same Bhagavad Gita:

        “To thee, the uncarping one, I shall now reveal the sublime mystery (the immanent-transcendent nature of Spirit). Possessing intuitive realization of this wisdom, thou shalt escape from evil. This intuitive realization is the king of sciences, the royal secret, the peerless purifier, the essence of dharma (man’s righteous duty); it is the direct perception of truth—the imperishable enlightenment—attained through ways (of yoga) very easy to perform.” (God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita)

        I don’t believe in one over the other. I’m just pointing out that people everywhere are doing what they can do to reach God. Why? Because they can—you can. Whether through meditation or prayer—it doesn’t matter and it most certainly isn’t a challenge of who’s right or wrong within religious communities.

        You stated: “So what’s to discover about permanence or the lack thereof? The important thing is that, since we are permanent beings, where do we want to spend eternity?”

        Well, when you pass over into spirit, you will swear that the ethereal body that you see as yourself, will be that permanent soul, which you will take along with you forever. Unfortunately, that won’t be your soul.

        The importance of going within is to discover this very fact is: The experience of the soul is the experience of being without sin and identical to God as was Jesus. Why is the soul without sin? It is because the soul does not desire as does the body, with its soul inside, unnoticed. The soul is in the kingdom of God, perfectly content, like no human being will experience unless they do as Jesus stated and die to the world/ self to see what’s within.

        Have you ever felt the real primordial experience of that feeling? I would say—No you haven’t!

        You also brought up that you wanted an explanation of sin. Well, during this inner experience there is a moment when you are no longer in the kingdom of God as represented by the Garden of Eden scenario. This is the experience of receiving your very first sense of self (as being now separate from God or no longer in the kingdom of God).

        This happens as a direct result of obtaining your five senses, which brings along with it, your ego. This very event is the beginning of a human being’s desire. It is a desire without an object to stimulate that desire, making it pure desire. And you know what? It sets you on fire and rockets you into life. Experience that just once and you get the complete idea that Jesus had, for forgiving everyone regardless of what they did.
        Desire leads to grasping – grasping leads to obtaining and therefore, clinging – clinging leads to fear of lose – fear leads to the world you see around you with everyone thinking only of themselves.

        You said: “After our bodies pass away, we’re with Him in heaven.”

        Well, because you will be in spirit; you will discover that desire has adhered to the spirit making your stay in heaven a temporary visit, unless while you are there you continue to grow your humility.
        I believe this was your comment.

        “I know Christians believe that the physical universe will pass away – as Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away…” the Psalms say the same thing.

        You’re not understanding the YOKE or Union. As I said before, we have four bodies, but only one is permanent and holds our likeness to God when you become on in spirit with Him (it’s called spiritual marriage or gnosis- meaning knowledge of that union). That would be the soul, not the spirit, just after death. Therefore, while you are in heaven you risk wearing out your stay and returning to earth once again to get it right. Seven Heavens—not the first one. You never heard: “My father has prepared many mansions?”

        Please understand that dying to one’s self is not dying in body, but instead, you are killing off your egotistical mind, so you can reveal the soul to yourself. This is done by the use of a tool called prayer or meditation. And yes, the best way to do it is to concentrate by word repetition. Not to make the mind a blank, but to stop desire, because that is what living is made of. Even your desire for God must stop or you can’t break the hold this physical body has you, keeping the soul from setting itself free.

        Christian monks and nuns would repeat verses or words up to 16,000 times per day to do this very thing.

        I believe Jesus was as humble as a person could be. This is what prayer and meditation does for just an instant—setting the soul free to gain a tiny bit of God’s wisdom and discover who they are.

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