For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NASB)

Be Careful What You Go Seeking For Because You Might Find It

Men and women, Apprising Ministries has long been sounding the alarm concerning the Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM)—a so-called “Christian” mysticism—which has now slithered into evangelicalism under the guise of the spurious Spiritual Formation being promoted by myriad Spiritual Directors within the Emergent Church such as “key mentor” Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin Dallas Willard.

For the past few years I have been studying these supposed “spiritual disciplines” largely propagated through evangelicalism’s sick love affair with The Cult of Guru Richard Foster. And one teacher of so-called “Christian” meditation who is quoted by nearly everyone teaching corrupt CSM for his wisdom concerning what is also known as Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) is the late Roman Catholic priest Henri Nouwen.

This now brings us to a book called Meditation: A Simple 8-Point Program for Translating Spiritual Ideals Into Daily Life where on the back cover Guru Henri Nouwen tells us, “This book helped me a great deal.” Well if someone like Nouwen, so often called to testify as a expert spiritual witness for the meditation of CCP in other people’s writings, is helped by this book then the author of Meditation must really know their subject matter.

And the truth is Eknath Easwaran surely does know enough about a form of transcendental meditation to have founded The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. At their website, to no surprise, we read the usual denial of the doctrine of original sin mixed with the psycho-babble of human potential which is actually quite reminiscent of Nouwen’s own mystic musings:

Eknath Easwaran shows that our most glorious asset as human beings is our ability to remake ourselves according to our highest ideals. He developed his method of passage meditation to inspire and encourage us to reach our fullest potential. (Online source)

Easwaran is known as “the originator of passage meditation” as well as for supposedly being “an authentic guide to timeless wisdom” (Online source). We find the basic spiritual message of his book Meditation, which professing Christian Henri Nouwen says “helped me a great deal,” when Easwaran keys us in on “the great discovery” that he says is found “in profound meditation” (25).

Therein he says we:

become concentrated on one thing and one thing alone: our true identity. In this absorption, this great gathering within, we break through the surface of consciousness and plummet deep, deep into our real nature.

So what do we discover in this altered state of consciousness? Easwaran explains:

the boundaries that seem to separate us from the rest of the world disappear. The duality of subject and object, knower and known, falls away; we are opened to a transcendental mode of knowing… (25)

In this profound state all petty personal longings, all hungering and thirsting, all sense of incompleteness vanish. We discover, almost in every cell of our being, that deep within us we lack nothing. Our inner reserves of love and wisdom are infinite; we can draw on them endlessly and never diminish them. (26)

And wouldn’t you know it Easwaran then tells us this going within to discover our inner infinite human potential also happens to be what Jesus Himself taught as well:

Aren’t people essentially the same everywhere… You live in everybody, just as everybody lives in you. Attaining this state of consciousness is the highest goal we can have in life. Different religions have called it by different names: illumination, enlightenment, nirvana, Self-realization, entering the promised land or the kingdom of heaven within. But whatever the language, the experience is everywhere the same: Jesus called it “a pearl of great price.” (28)

This is what helped professing Christian Henri Nouwen “a great deal.” And no doubt it did tickle the right spot because in Easwaran he simply found a teacher who would scratch his itching ears of universalism. Tragically Nouwen would then take this kind of demonic delusion to its logical conclusion as he would write:

Solitude, silence, and prayer are often the best ways to self-knowledge…because they bring us in touch with our sacred center, where God dwells. That sacred center may not be analyzed. It is the place of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise.
(Bread for the Journey, March 22)

Still, when we remain faithful to our discipline [of Contemplative/Centering Prayer], even if it is only ten minutes a day, we gradually come to see — by the candlelight of our prayers — that there is a space within us where God dwells and where we are invited to dwell with God…

One of the discoveries we make in [meditative] prayer is that the closer we come to God, the closer we come to all our brothers and sisters in the human family. God is not a private God. The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being.
(Henri Nouwen, Here and Now, 24, 25)

Today I personally believe that Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her way to God. (Sabbatical Journey, 51)