Four Spiritual Dangers In Eastern Meditation

By Brandon Clay / November 11, 2018

Exposing four spiritual dangers in Eastern meditation: its non-Christian roots, mind-emptying problems, the potential to invite demonic affliction, & its self-focus over God-focus.

Short Answer

The four spiritual dangers in Eastern meditation are its non-Christian roots, mind-emptying issues, the potential to invite demonic affliction, & its self-focus over God-focus.

Long Answer

The Western world has become enamored with Eastern meditation. From its supposed practical benefits, to its filling a vacuum in our secular society, meditation promises much to the “spiritual but not religious” crowd. Some Christians are even attracted to it. Despite its seemingly innocuous qualities, Eastern meditation is not harmless.

There are four spiritual dangers associated with meditation as many people practice it. Meditation is usually synonymous with Eastern meditation, so the following concerns are directed toward Eastern religious meditations like Zen meditation, transcendental meditation, yoga, Chinese meditation, Hindu meditation, or guided meditation.

In this post, I aim to expose four spiritual dangers in Eastern meditation: its non-Christian roots, mind-emptying problems, the potential to invite demonic affliction, and its self-focus over God-focus.

Note: This critique is NOT directed toward those who practice a genuine and thoroughly Christian meditation.

Spiritual Danger #1:
Meditation Has Non-Christian Roots

No matter how someone learns about Eastern meditation, its roots cannot be ignored: it was developed in Hindu, Buddhist, and other religious contexts, not within Christianity. Though many will object because they personally do not practice meditation in a religious manner, it doesn’t change the source of the practice: Eastern religions.

The problem with following Eastern religious practices is God forbids it. Just before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses forbade the people from doing any native religious practices. Moses wrote…

“Take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:30-31).

This command was an Old Testament directive, but it’s closely aligned with forbidding idolatry, something the New Testament also forbids (1 John 5:21). God wants his people to worship him alone and not borrow any formalities from other religions. God is jealous for our affections (Exodus 20:5).

“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Spiritual Danger #2:
Mind-Emptying Meditation Is NOT Biblical

One of the core tenets of most Eastern meditation is mind-emptying. In other words, meditation aims to remove your conscious thoughts so your mind is at rest or empty. This may not seem problematic, but there is a major issue with it.

It’s not a Christian idea.

According to Donald Whitney, a professor of Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary…

“The idea of emptying the mind is not biblically based. There can be a danger. Some of the yoga stuff, where you’re given a mantra, that is rooted in false religions.”

As Whitney points out, the approach of emptying your mind is not a Biblical idea. In fact God praises an opposite practice: meditating on his Word. For instance, Psalm 1 commends the person who “meditates day and night” on God’s law (Psalm 1:2). The Apostle Paul instructs us, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

The Bible’s approach to meditation is very different from Eastern meditation. Instead of filling your mind with nothingness, Biblical meditation is filling your mind with God, his word, his ways, and his works. For instance, the Bible speaks of meditating on…

  • God (Isaiah 28:3)
  • God’s Law (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2)
  • God’s ways (Psalm 119:15)
  • God’s works (Psalm 143:5)
  • What is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)

“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” (Psalm 119:15,16)

Spiritual Danger #3:
Meditation Can Lead To Demonic Affliction

The third problem is meditation may lead to demon affliction. The Gospel narratives (Jesus’ biographies) are filled with demonic activity (Matthew 9:32,33, Mark 9:29, etc.) Jesus encountered many people plagued by demons or evil spiritual beings. Somehow those demons got a foothold in those people and they wreaked havoc in a person’s life until Jesus cast them out.

It’s common knowledge in the exorcist community that demons afflict people due to non-Christian religious practices. Jesus alluded to something like this when he described how demons look for their hosts.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

In this passage, Jesus describes how homeless spirits wander looking for cleaned-up “houses” to inhabit. Mind-emptying meditation is basically a “cleaned house.” It’s a ripe location for new or renewed demonic activity.

We live in a spiritual world. Whether we acknowledge the reality of demonic entities, they exist. Just as in Jesus’ day, demons afflict people and even possess some people. Eastern meditation seems to be one of the ways demons gain entrance and affect people. If you do not want demonic influence in your life, then avoid that type of meditation that seeks to empty your mind.

“And demons also came out of many, crying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.” (Luke 4:41)

Spiritual Danger #4:
Meditation is Self-Focused NOT God-Focused

God is clear. He wants to be first place in our affections (Mark 12:30). Eastern meditation is the opposite of that. The focus of meditation is more about yourself than God.

Rosalind Jukic has researched Eastern meditation from a Christian perspective. She also finds several problems associated with meditation. Jukic wrote…

“Eastern meditation focuses on self: centering yourself, your inner self, self actualization, your breathing, physical feelings and emotions. The enemy will do anything to get us to stop focusing on Christ…Eastern meditation practices rely on self as the agent to bring peace, tranquility and oneness with deity—the original lie: ‘You can become like God.’”

This is a scary assertion for any student of the Bible.

Jukic is referring to the serpent’s temptation to Eve in the Garden of Eden when he promised God-likeness to the woman (Genesis 3:5). If Jukic is right (and I think she is), Eastern meditation isn’t just an extracurricular activity of other religions. It comes straight from Satan himself. The underlying philosophy of Eastern meditation is not Christian – instead it’s Satanic.

“You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27:8)

In Meditation: God’s Way Is Always The Best Way

God wants his people to meditate. But he wants us to do it his way, not in a way that will be detrimental to our souls.

With so much information everywhere that encourages meditation the wrong way, it’s hard to do the right thing. But we must be vigilant to seek God’s direction in all of these sometimes-confusing areas. God wants what is our ultimate good – communion with him. And God’s way is always the best way.

Resources

Brandon Clay is a Christian (Reformed Baptist) and an apologist. He earned a BA in history from the University of Texas and an MA in theological studies from Southern Seminary. Brandon is married and has 4 children, one of whom (Knox) is now with the Lord.

29 responses to “Four Spiritual Dangers In Eastern Meditation”

  1. Dick Fitzwell says:

    Oh geez. This reminds me of the same nonsense those Peters Brothers would spread about rock n roll, making all those sheep burn their rock albums. It’s all turd polishing man.

    • Todd Clay says:

      Sorry, did you have an argument?

      • Kyle Anderson says:

        Great article. I just went through the new age phase myself. Just recently thought I was going crazy, etc. I think I let some bad spirits in, but I now have Faith in Jesus. So maybe that was the plan along. Thinking about going back to college for biblical studies/counseling. I think a large part of getting into new age was I was going to therapy for anxiety/depression and it was all about meditation etc.

        • Thanks for dropping by, Kyle. Meditation is not something to play around with. We live in a spiritual world and the enemy is out to harm us. Thankfully you’re in a better place – keep seeking him!

    • Carlene Wilson says:

      Sorry you are being held captive by a demon who has supplanted your thought life with scorn at this information. Just know you’ve been informed.

  2. Kevin says:

    I strongly believe that Eastern meditation is very dangerous!

  3. Aungelique Wynn says:

    This Hinduism new aged stuff is showing up everywhere. I’m well versed in this area , since my family has been practicing meditation snd such since I was a child. I know It’s occultism and yet still I go to watch a psalms guided meditation youtube video to fall alseep to and wham I have a nightmare paired with sleep paralysis. I am so sensitive to anything demonic or satanic so I woke up at 4am and just checked the comments of the video. I saw a few other comments saying that something about the video wasn’t right. We have to stay prayed up and filled with the holy spirit!!! They are mingling these practices in everything!

    • Todd Clay says:

      That is interesting about the Psalms, Aungelique. I would recommend NOT using any meditation video that is NOT pure Scripture. I think you will be safe with just the Bible.

      Also, the free YouVersion Bible App has an audio only version. The NIV has some soft music playing in the background which may help if you’re trying to go to sleep. https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/

  4. Mel says:

    Your article was very helpful. Thank you. I did some studies on eastern religions a while back. Someone I love recently suggested I try meditation and as he was only trying to help, I knew it was wrong. I needed clear, to the point, information to share with him. Thank you again.

  5. Paul says:

    Thanks for the information and encouragement. My oldest son (29 yrs old) is a believer and served almost 5 yrs with the organization YWAM. Anyhow, he has fallen into yoga mediation but assures us that he doesn’t talk to entities and still loves Jesus. Although he is living with his girlfriend, doesn’t go to church anymore and has embraced practices that we don’t agree with. We also have a discernment that his girlfriend is a somewhat practicing witch. She does tarot card readings and is currently in Peru to learn more about a poisonous frog’s venom that is supposed to cleanse your body! She once was practicing Christianity but has fallen as well. We continue to plead the Blood of Jesus over our son, speak Truth into him, occasionally have heated discussions with him, and continue to build relationship with him. At this prayer, prayer and more spiritual warfare is what we continue to do as well as praying for deliverance as well as praying that this relationship with his girlfriend be severed. Thanks again.

    • Todd Clay says:

      Thanks for sharing, Paul. Based on your information, I would also be concerned about your son’s practicing meditation and drifting. May the Lord open both your son’s and girlfriend’s eyes to serve the living and true God. I think you’re on the right track in praying for deliverance and spiritual warfare.

      Lord, may you hear my brother’s prayers.
      And grant Paul’s son a vision of the dangers of messing with demonic entities.

  6. Frank says:

    I would like your opinion on mindfulness as explained in the book “Mindfulness On The Go” by Padraig O’Morain .

    • Todd Clay says:

      Thanks for checking-in, Frank! I have not read O-Morain’s book. In general, mindfulness training seems to be a mild form of meditation. Sort of like ‘meditation-lite’ – a possible ‘gateway drug’. I would be wary.

  7. Maya says:

    Thank your for this articles, it gave me all the answers I was seeking.
    I came across the idea that yoga was dangerous when I was practising yoga nidra and I had a terrible vision.

  8. Brian says:

    Curious to get an opinion on frequency meditation. I just started to meditate. I’ve been listening to the alleged God frequency of 436 hz while meditating. The claim is everything God made, has it’s own frequency, and vibration. God DID create us with a vibration. His voice. And sound is just vibration. So if I raise my vibration while I meditate on his word… well I dont see nothing wrong. I do enjoy the sound while trying to be still. Your thoughts??
    Brian

    • Brian – I’ve never heard of the “God frequency”. I would be careful of anything that’s supposedly from God not addressed in Scripture. The thing is, many spirits have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). So many so-called God things are nothing of the sort. But we can be sure of his leading through his word.

      If you want to meditate, I would encourage using the Psalms as a guide. Feel free to use light music without words. But stay tethered to the Scripture in your thoughts. Otherwise, you could be dealing with demonic doorways. You don’t want to invite that sort of oppression.

  9. GM says:

    I have practiced Zen meditation for some 30 years, and I am having trouble understanding just what makes it unbiblical. I can understand that if a meditative practice chants mantras, but the Zen variety almost entirely a breathing exercise. You maintain a particular posture. . . spine erect, head straight, sitting upright as comfortably as you can, exerting yourself only enough to maintain posture. Eyes open, and breathing slowly and deeply. Breathing with your entire abdomen, not just the upper chest as most people do. That’s it. No mantra, no chanting. Posture and breathing.

    What is the difference between biblical and unbiblical posture and breathing?

  10. Josephine Stawicki says:

    I do. After reading the Bible through 3 times, and studying Biblical literature and history at a Christian college I find 4 major issue with your argument:

    1. Jesus quotes Buddha over 400 times . The Way, Truth, and Light of the World are all Eastern concepts written about by the Buddha. Jesus studied these principals as he was raised in Egypt and spent many hours studying the ancient laws and scrolls.

    2. Inviting a demonic presence is not possible if one has been born again, as he has been covered by the blood sacrifice of Christ. Here I reference John 10:28. If we have accepted the gift of eternal life and are in fact in the hands of God, how would a demon enter us?

    3. Non-christian roots: The word “Christ” literally translates as Anointed Messiah – But Jesus wept as he rode on the donkey as the people mistakenly called him this!

    4. Eastern world refers to nations in the Asia and Middle East. Middle east countries are:Saudi Arabia , Kuwait , Yemen , Oman , Bahrain , Qatar , United Arab Emirates ,Palestine,Jordan,Lebanon,Iran & Iraq.
    These countries make up the surrounding areas of both Jesus ministry and the roots of “Eastern Meditation”

    • Thanks for dropping by, Josephine. Here are the responses to your arguments.

      1. Jesus did not quote the Buddha 400 times. False. Where are your 400 references from the New Testament?
      2. Inviting a demonic influence is not the same thing as inviting demonic possession. Your reference of John 10:28 does not address the argument.
      3. Not sure what you’re saying here. When did Jesus weep when he rode on a donkey in the New Testament?
      4. Perhaps I was unclear. In this context, by “Eastern Meditation” I am referring to the Far East – not the Middle East.

      It sounds like you accept other references for Jesus aside from the New Testament. The references Reformed believers consider authorative for spiritual instruction are the Old and New Testaments, not extra-biblical documents.

  11. Josephine Stawicki says:

    https://today.oregonstate.edu/archives/1998/mar/new-book-looks-parallel-sayings-jesus-buddha

    My apologies Jesus only quotes Buddha 100 times

    Also Jesus weeps as he nears Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday!

    Luke 19:28–44

    I am very concerned you have not read this passage and today is Easter Sunday!!!

    • Regarding the donkey and Jesus, I had never considered where Jesus was when he wept over Jerusalem. From the Luke 19:28-44 passage, that sure looks like Jesus was riding a donkey at the time. Good reference.

      Regarding to similar statements between Jesus and other religious leaders: correlation does not mean causation. Just because Jesus said things that were similar to other religious teachers does not mean he lifted them from their writings or disciples. There’s no evidence that Jesus traveled to anywhere near India during his time on earth if we are to take primary source documents seriously. Here’s a good overview of Jesus and Buddha, with a special emphasis on the primary source documents for both Christianity and Buddhism: https://carm.org/the-historical-reliability-of-jesus-and-buddha

      I think one of the reasons you find commonalities between Christianity and Buddhism ethical statements is Buddhism’s appeal to a universal ethic. Paul says, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them” (Romans 2:15). In other words, everyone knows what is right and wrong: “the law is written on their hearts.” But you will notice in the link you provided, Jesus is coming from a radically different worldview than the Buddha. For instance, “Let us live most happily, possessing nothing; let us feed on joy, like radiant gods.” (Dhammapada 15.4) – Jesus would never affirm the polytheism taught in the Buddha’s statement. Similar ethic, but the opposite metaphysic (one God vs. many gods).

  12. Lucyna Bowen says:

    As an ex-New Ager who meditated a lot for 27 years, your article explains perfectly what happened to me after meditating for long periods. Stuff happened that was not good and I can only presume I got possessed. I was asking the Holy Spirit to let me know the technical manner of how this happened as I need to explain it to people who say meditation is harmless if done at only 10-20 mins. (Holy Spirit lead me to your article). I meditated for long periods and released too much ‘stuff’ at once (clearing out my house) and then I began to get psychotic episodes (the demons had entered in) then I lost it mentally. Spent years looking for solutions to get my mind back until I found Jesus.

    • Thanks for your testimony, Lucyna. May the Lord continue to bring you peace. And perhaps you can now help others caught in the web of unholy meditation – through Jesus. Peace.

  13. […] Brandon Clay: Four Spiritual Dangers in Eastern Meditation […]

  14. […] guided Christian meditation” (see Abide). But with all the information out there and the inherent dangers in Eastern meditation, how are you supposed to meditate […]

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