The popularity of “mindfulness”, today’s euphemistic term for meditation, is growing in the United States among corporate executives, Oprah, the US Congress and even our school children. That’s right our children are being taught how to meditate.
This schoolroom effort is being advanced by people such as Goldie Hawn. She started a program named MindUp that has its roots in Buddhism and transcendental meditation. Ms. Hawn makes the claim that because she worked doctors and educators that MindUp is a scientific and “neurologically based program.”
“Studies show that grade-school-aged children who learn mindfulness and meditation are more focused and resilient,” says Sarah McKay, an Oxford University-trained neuroscientist and freelance science writer specializing in mind and brain. “It helps settle them down and improves concentration, particularly if done before school or after lunch breaks.”
The practice of mindfulness meditation has become more widespread at a time when the fastest-growing group demographic is made up of people who say they are unaffiliated with a particular denomination, said Varun Soni, the dean of religious life at USC, which has launched a university-wide effort toward mindfulness.
“Every religious tradition changes when it moves to a new place,” Soni said.
These programs both inside and outside the classroom are meant to deal with stress and a lack of focus. The claim is that mindfulness or meditation as it is being practiced, is not requiring a particular dogma or religious viewpoint. Practitioners claim that mindfulness or meditation will not only bring inner peace but maybe world peace.
Should Christians engage in this type of practice? Does the bible not tell us to meditate on the Word of God?
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. -Joshua 1:8
Meditation in scripture is not the same as the Eastern religions practice. The Hebrew word translated meditate in the above Joshua passage and in Psalms 1:2 is הָגָה , hagah. This word can mean to moan, growl, utter, speak, muse according to Strong’s #1897. Basically, we are to contemplate and memorize the word of God in our practice.
This is in opposition to mindfullness or meditation which advocates emptying the mind. The Lord wants us to fill our minds.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. -Ephesians 5:18-21
That word translated debauchery is better translated as spiritual wastefulness. It describes an emptiness or vain action. that is why it is countered with being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here is the thing. The enemy wants us to empty our minds to make ourselves vulnerable to bad thinking and evil spirits. The Lord, on the other hand, encourages us to renew our minds by thinking on His word, putting a spiritual song in our heart and through prayer.
When we buy into the lie that mindfullness and meditation are without a spiritual component, we open ourselves and our children up to being retrained and refocused on things we should not engage.
Digging deeper we see a focus on self and an acceptance of sin. People focus their full attention on the present moment. They acknowledge what they are feeling and experiencing and accept it without judgment or criticism. This is the opposite of what scripture teaches.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
The Lord intends for us to have spiritual disciplines to defeat the enemy not to give place to the devil. Most Christians fail to realize that we are in a spiritual battle and that battle requires spiritual weapons, and not the weapons of the enemy. Children of God need the armor of God, this armor is made up of the spiritual disciplines of the reading and memorizing of God’s word, prayer and fasting, and the singing of spiritual songs.
Believers should oppose mindfulness and meditation in the schools and never take part in it as adults. These things are not for us.