Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Lotus Temple In Yogaville: A place for Christian Meditation?

In our multicultural counseling class we had to do a group project immersing ourselves in another culture. Our group chose the Jewish culture, and after interviewing a Jewish woman, I heard about the small town of Yogaville, VA.

This woman shared in her testimony how she lived in Yogaville for years trying to connect to her inner voice before coming to Christ. After spending time during the semester hearing her amazing story, some of our group decided we would take her offer and go with her to Yogaville, to visit her mother.

At first I was hesitant to consider even going there, due to the different teachings of Hindu and Yoga, especially since I had heard many negative things about Yoga. I did not want to expose myself to things that were not of the Lord, so I originally did not want to go. But, after looking through the website called "Satchidananda Ashram Yogaville" I started to wonder if this place could actually help those people who struggle with anxiety. The website encourages people to go and experience a spiritual community, get a little rest and relaxation, and take part in daily meditation and vegetarian meals.

In the book The Anxiety Cure there is a chapter on mastering Christian meditation where it explains the different forms of meditation such as prayer, study of Scripture, as well as worship. New age meditation, such as yoga and transcendental meditation (TM), has put such fear into Christians, that Dr. Hart's response is that "this is a pity... and Christians need to rediscover the value of meditation by putting Christ at the center of it" (Hart, 1999, p. 238).

A daily activity in Yogaville is spending time in the "Lotus Temple" (inside of the temple, picture on right). This temple is open to people of all faiths and is the only shrine ever built to house altars for every major faiths, and also faiths less well known.

Could it be possible for Christians who struggle with anxiety to be open minded to actually going to a place like Yogaville and spending time in the temple meditating on Scripture, praying, or worshiping? Psalm 1:1-2 says, "Blessed is the man... (whose) delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" (NIV). We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. Can this include going to the temple and meditating on Christ? I agree as the book states that meditation is "powerful and natural anxiety reliever... and as a spiritual discipline, which also has eternal benefits" (Hart, 1999, p. 239).

I will be going with some of my group members, to visit the mother of the Jewish lady we interviewed, and I look forward to asking the Lord whether I should be using the many forms of Christian meditation and spending time in the Lotus temple.

1 comment:

  1. Meditation is definitely a word that I often associate with the New Age religion, and the book is right that this is sad. When we spent two different class times meditating and slowing ourselves down inside and outside during class, it really made a huge difference in my clarity of thinking and stress level. I agree with the multiple scriptures telling us that that we are not of this world, and yet Jesus clearly commands and demonstrated the need to interact and share His love with those who need Him who are still in it. Something in me hesitates though at worshipping along side those worshipping false gods in a Temple, but I'm not sure why. I think some of it might be that I'm afraid of what others will think, and then I also have all that we learned in Neil Anderson's Victory Over Darkness in my mind, and fear willingly exposing myself to evil. I have wrestled with weather it is ok to participate in a historically "non Christian" event by making it a more "Christian" experience. This post has really challenged me to think through what those verses truly mean for me, and how I can encourage future clients to interact with "worldly" situations.


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