Transcendental Meditation - A Christian
is transcendental meditation (TM)?
TM is often referred to in our culture as a
relaxation 'technique' that consists of controlled breathing,
emptying one's mind of thoughts, repeating a mantra,
sitting still in a certain position, among other things. In
actuality, it is Hinduism and Eastern Mysticism repackaged for a
Western culture as a methodology for relieving stress.
of transcendental meditation terms
The following definitions are taken from
Webster's New World Dictionary-1982:
1. guru: a Hindi (see
definition #9) word referring to a Hindu's
personal spiritual adviser or teacher.
2. lotus position: in yoga (see
definition #7), an erect sitting posture with the
legs crossed and with each foot, sole upturned, resting on the
upper thigh of the opposite leg.
3. mantra: a Sanskrit word referring to
a Hindu hymn or portion of text especially from the Veda (see
definition #6) that is chanted or intoned as an
incantation or prayer. Typically, the mantra used is the name
of a Hindu god.
4. Sanskrit: the classical Old Indic
literary language, as cultivated from the 4th century BC onward
and still used in the ritual of the Northern Buddhist Church.
5. swami: from the Hindi word 'svami'
which means lord or master, a Hindu title of respect especially
for a Hindu religious teacher
6. Veda: any of 4 ancient sacred books
of Hinduism, consisting of psalms, chants, sacred
7. yoga: in Hinduism, a mystic and ascetic (see
definition #13) discipline by which one seeks to
achieve liberation of the self and union with the supreme spirit
or universal soul through intense concentration, deep meditation,
and practices involving prescribed postures, controlled
8. yogi: a Hindi word referring to a
person who practices yoga
9. Hindi: the main language of India
10. Hinduism: the religion and social
system of the Hindus, developed from Brahmanism (see
definition #11) with elements from Buddhism,
Jainism, etc. added. [A pantheistic(see definition
#14) system of beliefs]
11. Brahman: a member of the priestly
12. Jainism: a Hindu religion resembling
Buddhism, founded in the 6th century BC emphasizing asceticism (see
definition #13) and reverence for all living
13. asceticism: the religious doctrine
that one can reach a higher spiritual state by rigorous
self-discipline and self-denial
14. pantheism: 1. the doctrine that God
is not a personality, but that all laws, forces, manifestations,
etc. of the self-existing universe are God 2. the worship, or
toleration of worship of all gods of various cults.
15. mysticism: 1. the doctrines or
beliefs of mystics; specifically the doctrine that it is possible
to achieve communion with God through contemplation and love
without the medium of human reason 2. any doctrine that asserts
the possibility of attaining knowledge of spiritual truths
through intuition acquired by fixed meditation 3. vague, obscure,
or confused thinking or belief.
is yoga as compared to TM?
TM is more of a subset of yoga. Yoga includes
more physical motion and physical exercises than TM. Both are
derived from Hinduism.
is the significance of the 'lotus' position?
The lotus position is one of the many positions
or postures used in yoga. It is the primary posture used by
practitioners of TM. The various yoga postures have religious
significance, usually relating to animals that the Hindus
consider to be gods (cobras, etc.).
kind of meditation is TM?
"The technique of TM renders the mind passive
as one seeks to turn off all thoughts and images, but Christian
meditative prayer and reflection makes the mind and spirit active
as the believer seeks to deepen his appreciation of, and
commitment to, Christ as Lord. The Christian's meditation is part
of a personal relationship with the Lord, while TM is impersonal
in nature." [Ref. 1]
kind of meditation does the Bible recommend?
Joshua 1:8 - "This book of the
law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate
therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according
to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way
prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
Psalm 1:1-2 - "Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in
the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But
his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate
day and night."
Psalm 119:15 - "I will meditate
in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways."
Psalm 143:5 - "I remember the days
of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse
on the work of thy hands."
TM a bad thing and if so, should Christians avoid it?
If indeed TM is grounded in a religious system,
we need to know the basic premises of this religion and how they
relate to the beliefs of Christianity.
A. The beliefs of TM's Hindu
gurus and swamis are contrary to those of Christianity.
"In dealing with man's greatest need,
Christianity says that man's greatest need is to be rightly
related to God. TM says that his greatest need is to be happy and
that happiness comes as he learns to relax and thus improve
himself. Christianity does not frown on happiness, although it is
concerned with a state of being that is far deeper and that is
probably better portrayed by the word "joy". But even
concerning happiness, that which keeps anyone from being truly
happy is the sin problem. Any system that emphasizes happiness
without dealing with the sin problem is building a superstructure
on a shaky foundation. True happiness is the result of knowing
that one is in right relationship with God [knowing that you are
on this earth to glorify God and are prepared to spend eternity
with Him]. Since the cause of unhappiness is sin, to be effective
in helping others to be happy it is necessary to deal with the
cause, not the effect." [Ref. 2]
B. TM advocates are
deliberately deceiving people so that their world view can be
venerated guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has said: 'whenever...
religion dominates the mass consciousness, Transcendental ...
meditation should be taught in terms of religion. Whenever
metaphysical thinking dominates ... [it] should be taught in
metaphysical terms, openly aiming at the fulfillment of the
current metaphysical thought. Whenever ... politics dominates ...
[it] should be taught in terms of and from the platform of
politics, aiming at bringing fulfillment to the political
aspirations of the generation.'
The psycho-occult philosophy of the human
potential movement is wrapped in scientific and therapeutic
terminology. The saffron robes, shaved heads, and incense are
replaced with three-piece suits, pseudo-scientific [terminology],
and an emphasis on human potential." [Ref. 3]
should a Christian cope with stress?
1. Pray to God for peace.
Spend quite time alone with the Lord.
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10,
"Casting all your care upon him for he careth for you."
[I Peter 5:7]
2. Praise God.
By praising God we focus our attention on the
one who has power over everything, even life and death.
"Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips
shall praise thee." [Psalm 63:3]
3. Meditate on scriptures.
Many verses in the Bible will remind you that
you are not alone in your struggles, God is with you. You will
also see how other great men and women in the Bible faced
difficult situations in their lives. "I can do all things
through Christ who strengtheneth me." [Philippians
4. Enjoy God's creation.
Take a break, go for a walk, go for a ride in
the country. "O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in
wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy
riches." [Psalm 104:24]
5. Fellowship with other believers.
Confide in someone who is a good listener and
has the gift of compassion. "And the next day we touched
at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him
liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself." [Acts
6. Deal with sin your life that you have not
dealt with yet.
Many times, we have stress in our lives because
of sin. Sin causes stress in many ways. Perhaps we are not
spending enough time with God in prayer or not studying the Bible
as we should. This can cause us much anxiety as we try to take on
problems in our own strength and in our own wisdom. Perhaps we
have not made peace with someone that we have had an argument
with or who we feel has wronged us. By forgiving others and by
making restitution to those we've wronged, we will receive peace
from God, knowing that our consciences are clear in the sight of
our Lord and Master. "Hide thy face from my sins, and
blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy
presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me
the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free
spirit." [Psalm 51:9-12]
- Kenneth Boa, "Cults,
World Religions, and You", Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois
60187, p 166.
- Harold J. Berry,
"Transcendental Meditation - Is It Meditation?", Back
to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501. p.6.
- Kerry D. McRoberts, "New
Age or Old Lie?", Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody,