Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Out of My Mindfulness Part 1,2,3

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
ACLJ attorney Jay Sekulow’s bulletin of December 11, 2018 focused on complaints about Buddhist/Eastern meditation being forced on school kids. More from that in a minute.
Various “relaxation” programs have been appearing in the public schools for years. Most parents and teachers didn’t pick up on the religious implications because (1) parents often didn’t even know this was going on; (2) most of us are naïve/uneducated about Eastern religions/the occult/New Age; and (3) the language describing these programs has been deliberately disguised.
Clear back in 1981, Jack Canfield (the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy) was interviewed by Science of Mind magazine. He described how to blur the terminology to get these practices accepted in the schools: “If we…point out to educators that they have an ‘essence’ that can be invoked through ‘meditation’. . . they’ll be put off by the buzzwords. But if we give them an experience that leaves them feeling better about themselves . . .” (Dec 1981, p 108. Quoted in Ray Yungen’s For Many Shall Come in My Name).
Even before that, The Centering Book: Awareness Activities for Children, Parents and Teachers suggested calling these practices “quiet time” or “relaxation” (Hendricks and Wills, 1975, p 169, 171, quoted in Yungen above)—and not the Eastern mindfulness/meditation they really are. Ray Yungen, before 2007, had found schools (even in very rural areas) whose teachers instructed students to “focus on their energy centers” (Yungen, p 69 above).
I’ve said all that to emphasize that this isn’t some little thing that’s being exaggerated. There are now years of momentum; the situation is worse than it might appear. We need to take it seriously.
Now back to the Sekulow report. There’s also a two-minute video at the bottom of that page, and a one-hour talk-show episode is available too. From all that, these highlights stood out:
  • There are many mindfulness/meditation programs, but one getting attention is MindUP. An Oregon professor has been given a $3 million Federal grant (your taxpayer dollars) to study the effects of MindUP on school kids. Parents are not informed. (It amounts to an experiment.)
  • MindUP comes from Buddhist Goldie Hawn, who says we must bring in “contemplative practice.” (There’s another confusing/disguised term. Read my article on this topic.) Hawn mentions “His Holiness the Dalai Lama” to give credibility to all this. Interestingly, regarding his own mindfulness practice, the Dalai Lama elsewhere said, “I myself cannot claim with confidence to have made any remarkable progress over the years.” (Hmm. If it doesn’t work for the god-king of Tibetan Buddhism, what hope is there for us lowlies?)
  • Sekulow’s lead researcher found that terminology is disguised (just as I described above)—changing, for example, “mantra” to “reflections.”
  • School kids are sometimes in the lotus position, and they are most often following a live feed; there’s no way for parents to review the content beforehand.
  • The researcher had trouble getting access to samples, but did obtain enough to hear things like “All the universe is sending out feelings of love and peace.”
  • Some schools do this as often as three times a day.
  • The ACLJ wonders why the ACLU and atheist groups aren’t complaining about this religion in the public schools. (Is this yet more evidence that only Christianity is to be pushed down?)
Part 1 of this series told of the ACLJ’s action against Buddhist meditation being forced on school kids.
The ACLJ’s researchers dug into general (not just school-related) reports on mindfulness/meditation. Turns out that with this current craze, mindfulness being trendy and cool, studies don’t report the negative side effects (or they downplay those). That matches info I’d found recently.
One article gave several specifics (and it’s significant that this is a secular article):
  • A guy said meditation made him become more withdrawn.
  • Some people “describe a loss of emotion beyond what they wanted.”
  • One guy said he felt what I would call a “who cares?” attitude about other people’s problems. But then at some point, he swung the other way and became overly emotional.
  • A person mentioned feelings of having no self.
One psychologist said that “the purpose of mindfulness is not to make you dissociated.”
That may not be any given psychologist’s purpose, but isn’t that exactly Buddhism’s purpose? If you study Buddhism’s goal of detachment, it only follows that mindfulness/meditation amounts to being trained not to feel anything and to become enlightened to the idea that everything is an illusion.
This piece notes that many research studies on meditation aren’t even asking about negative side effects. (Doesn’t that mean the evidence is skewed?)
A professor said that when people experience bad side effects, “it’s hard to know what they were doing that caused harm.” It’s hard to know only because the poor professor is unaware of the dangers of false religions.
If you want more . . .
A 2015 report says that a student in a “meditation retreat” had very negative side effects. The reporter thinks this happens quite often but isn’t reported.
This 2017 report has some big words to wade through. But it definitely talks about how we in the West have tried to “secularize” this sort of meditation practice. And that there is under-reporting about bad side effects. The report is careful about placing too much blame, but still gives enough detailed information to make us feel some caution.
Part 1 and Part 2 of this little series lead in to this foundational question: Is mindfulness/meditation an Eastern religion practice or not? With its use in schools, businesses, and psychologists’ offices, it tends to be billed as neutral. Sometimes, though, the Eastern-ness is cheered, and (it had to happen!) you also sometimes hear of “Christian mindfulness.”
This Huffington Post article insists that all Eastern-ness has been removed for us here in the West. But this Wisdom Publications piece hints that the real power in the practice is its Eastern religion basis.
To sidetrack for a minute: I was given a book that appears to be a collection of quotes on mindfulness. We have to realize that when things become trendy, opportunistic people take advantage of the chance to make a buck. Some of the quotes in this book aren’t about mindfulness at all but more of the “A stitch in time saves nine” variety. And some of the people quoted don’t have a clue as to what mindfulness is. Of the quotes that remain, I can separate the “mindfulness” quotes into two categories: (1) ideas that are actually borrowed from the Bible—but without crediting the Bible and (2) ideas that go against the Bible. Examples:
“Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good does it do to brood on the past or anticipate the future?” (Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche). The Scripture more clearly proposes this idea in Matthew 6:25-34 (“your heavenly Father knows [what] you need”); Philippians 4:12, 13; Colossians 3:2.
“Compassion means that you automatically restrain yourself from any thought, word, or deed that might harm yourself or others” (Bhante Henepola Gunaratana). See Zechariah 7:9, 10 (“show mercy and compassion to one another”); Matthew 6:12; Colossians 3:12-14.
“We too should make ourselves empty, that the great soul of the universe may fill us with its breath (Laurence Binyon). See Acts 13:52 (“the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit”). Also some interesting Scriptures about “empty” and “full”: Isaiah 2:6; 59:4; Ephesians 3:19; 5:6.
“No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts” (Buddha). See 2 Chronicles 14:11 (“Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty”); Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 16:7, 8; 18:3-18; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness” (Thich Nhat Hanh). All present moments? Really? See John 16:33 (“in this world you will have trouble”); Romans 8:35-39.
That’s just a sampling. Since everyone can go straight to the Scripture for the Lord’s perfect teaching, there’s no need to go looking elsewhere. But worse, ultimately, is that mindfulness—being rooted in a false religion—aims to lead away from the true God, who is the true source of true wisdom, true peace, true love, and true power.
Back to our main point: There’s a big difference between a practice that’s completely neutral/nonreligious (like working a puzzle or watching the hummingbirds) and one that IS religious. What concerns me are the pagan practices that we are naïve about…and even try to sanitize into Christian practices. This, instead of starting with the Lord’s practices in Scripture.
Part 1 of this series said that people have been naïve about these practices. That’s understandable among certain people. But Christians are supposed to know how the enemy traps us, and we’re to be alert to his schemes. I suggest you read this series again. Do an hour or two of research—including flipping randomly in the Old Testament to…well, to any page! Because you’ll most likely land on a warning about false religion. There’s a clue.
To conclude all this: Let’s be aware of the big picture. And if schools intend to keep religion out of the classroom, let’s help them be consistent.