HAUNTED SOULS
From Meditation into Hallucinations

StAnthony

St. Anthony

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.
Your adversary, the devil,
prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.”
(Emphasis Added, 1 Peter 5:8, NASB)


As borrowed from the eastern mystical religions, meditative or contemplative spirituality-the operation of which involves engaging in ascetic practices and retreating into solitude (getting alone with God) and silence (remaining quiet before God)-has emerged among evangelical Christians as a popular way to experience God’s love and receive revelations from Him, for intimacy breeds communication.[1]Interestingly, this discovery among evangelicals about how to find “spirituality” now parallels the “mindfulness” revolution taking place in secular society.
 

By shucking their ever-present cell phones, tabloids, I-pods and other distractions, increasing numbers of people from all walks of life-athletes, educators, corporate execs and workers, politicians, government workers and members of the military-attempt to “de-stress” their lives by attending “mindfulness” retreats where under the direction of spiritual tutors, they learn to meditate with the hope that will discover “a new consciousness” to help them cope with life.[2] To promote “mindfully” working, playing, parenting, test taking, and even going to war, the practice of meditation is rising in America. Based on the increase of its popularity over the last decade, it’s estimated that in the near future more than 27 million American adults will engage in meditation.[3] To cope, they contemplate.

But amidst the rising popularity of this mindfulness revolution, a dark secret lurks in the background. One advocate of “Christian” contemplation, the Quaker Richard Foster, recommends meditation as a means for developing a deeper spirituality. But as to its practice, he also issues a disclaimer (Mark this quotation.):

I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance . . . there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way![4]

Though a significant majority of non-Christian meditators report benefits derived from the activity, some indicate that the exercise does not invariably promote psychological wellness.[5]

 

So it would be well for any would-be meditators, Christian or otherwise, to consider what could happen to their minds if they engage the practice. Meditation can go mad. Examples where this has happened, both modern and ancient, are known. We begin with reports from a rehab center which focuses on helping people restore the soundness of mind they possessed before they began to meditate.