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Christ in yogic meditation

Is Yoga Demonic, Evil or Satanic? A Christian Concern

As you know, I’ve been studying meditation and moving down that path. It comes from a place where I want to know what Jesus knew, and I think that’s a question we should all be asking ourselves as Christians. How do we close the gap between us and our Creator? Christ has said He is the way. So if Christ way is the way, what steps did He take in His life?

I don’t think it’s just as simple as, “I’m going to be a nice person”. I don’t think it’s as simple as you follow the 10 commandments and you have nothing else to worry about. I think there’s more to spiritual evolution than following a couple good guidelines for behavior, right?

If Christ has said His example is the example to follow, then how do we follow that example? Through my research, some clues point to the possibility that Christ went to India. Again, I don’t know how viable this is and maybe that’s part of my problem, but there’s a big gap in the Bible where Christ is a child and then He disappears for what? A couple decades? Then He comes back and He’s baptized by John the Baptist and moves in to this life of leadership and sacrifice.

(Note: Further research has pointed out that this time is referred to as the “Lost Years of Jesus”. There have been numerous stories about Jesus traveling far and wide, but most seem to have been dismissed by contemporary religious scholars. Curious? Read “Unknown Years of Jesus” at Wikipedia.)

Somebody asked me recently, “Matt, are you a Christian? I see that you’re studying under Sadhguru.” I said “Yes, I am a Christian” or at least I wear the Christian label. I hail from Roman Catholic roots and—in me trying to follow Christ example—I’m exploring meditation right now. If prayer is us communicating to God, meditation is us listening to God, right? That’s how I’ve got it sorted in my mind.

Then they asked “Since when do you have to have spend money for enlightenment?” When you go to a conference, it costs money to put on a conference. I’m okay paying a $250 ticket for a conference; that’s not out of bounds at all. Compare that with a Tony Robbins event! How much are you spending there? $1,200+ for the same weekend? So, this question, we’ll throw out.

Now, back to the question about being a Christian and studying under Sadhguru. I feel like my belief has grown. I sit through church now and I feel I’ve got a whole new dimension of understanding about the Scriptures. I feel like I’m even more clear as a result of having studied meditation.

But then they volleyed with some links from folks who had also studied yoga and ended up opening themselves to demonic possession and all sorts of evil?

I’ll admit! My faith is shaken in the yogic path now, so I’m trying to get clarity. If any of you guys have any insight, please sound off.

I’m asking the question now. I’m asking “All right, is there more to this further on down the road?” No, I’m not detecting any kind of evil intent from any of the Sadhguru teachings. I’ve vetted him against other gurus and—some of the other gurus—they don’t feel right. They feel like they’re off in the bushes. They feel like they’re making up certain things. Do a search on human levitation. That’ll open up some weird stuff. (People hopping and calling it levitation.)

I did that vetting process and I’ve been praying all along, right? I’ve been praying all along, “Lord, if I am on the wrong path, please correct me. I don’t want to spend a minute on the wrong path. If I am not intended to be studying Kriya yoga or following Christ in this manner, then correct me, please!”

And, so far, nothing’s come.

In fact, the only thing that’s come from this has been a greater understanding or a greater depth experienced in Scripture, so when I go sit in church on Sunday, I feel like I have even more clarity than I’ve ever had in the past. I understand (or I feel like I understand.)

Who knows?

Maybe I’m going crazy.

But I feel like I understand when Christ says “It’s all through me,” he’s not talking about Jesus of Nazareth (which is always where I got stuck. “Really? Okay, it’s all through you.”) In my mind now, it’s Christ Consciousness. It’s this evolution towards Divinity. Christ has even said in the Book of John, “These things and greater, you can do if you’re in the faith.” That tells me we’ve got a huge responsibility to study and follow his path and see what it is we can see.

How do you take that? I think most Christians don’t take the responsibility, and so they stop seeking and they just show up to church and maybe they say prayers over their meals and whatever. I think most folks stop way before taking this responsibility. And I don’t think Christ was lying and I don’t think Christ was crazy, so must be that this is the truth, right? If Christ has said we can do even larger miracles than He did, why is nobody doing it? Why is nobody doing it?

Answer that question.

That’s where I’m at. I’ll admit to getting blown out of the water by some of these YouTube videos that were then sent to me by this guy talking to me on Facebook, Paul. (Hey Paul!) In the videos he sent, again, “demonic possession yoga” by folks who have become born-again Christians, several of whom say that they had this Christ experience where Christ came and whispered in their ear or shocked them with light. They felt this massive boost of love and then they had a course correction. That kind of thing blows me out of the water too. These folks are speaking with conviction; they are coming from a sense of their own clarity.

I don’t think their making up their experiences, so is it truly that yoga is the wrong path or is it that these veins of yoga—just like veins of Christianity—seem to be off in the bushes?

Is it that these certain gurus are off in the bushes, and maybe Sadhguru is on the right path? (But then I find a video where somebody actually studied under the Isha Foundation and had a demonic experience.)

So is it that these folks are not conducting themselves properly in the yogic arts?

I don’t know.

I don’t know. I don’t know what I don’t know, so not knowing what I don’t know, if you know or if you feel you know, please sound off on this video down in the comments below.

I need help. I need some guidance. I’ve reached out to Christian friends of mine. I’m blowing them out of the water with these questions. I have reached out to Isha Foundation. Here’s my note to them:

Recently, someone approached me on Facebook and asked if I was a Christian. I affirmed I was and now they have sent me a number of YouTube videos where folks are reporting demonic possession or attack as a result of their involvement with yoga. One testimonial even cites Isha.

I’ll admit; my faith that I’m on the right path with Kriya yoga has been shaken.

Has Sadhguru addressed this in video? Any insight?

Thank you in advance.
Matt

And their response:

Dear Matt,
Sadhguru has spoken about yoga extensively.

You can find more information here:

Well. That helped a little, but it doesn’t really answer the demonic possession issue.

Guys, I don’t know. This is where I’m at, I’m in a very questioning place, I thought I was moving down the right path and it was feeling good. People talk about “Oh yeah, it felt good, but then I got possessed.”

I don’t want to be possessed. That’s not a goal of mine.

If you got any insight, please share. As I continue to collect data and pray and seek revelation, I will report out and we’ll just move through this journey together, okay? All right guys, this has been Matt Schoenherr. Good luck to us all.


This post is part of an ongoing discussion around the practice of yogic meditation. To see more of the discussion, go here.


UPDATE 01/17/2016

As of the past couple weeks, I have ultimately arrived at a place where I HAVE RENOUNCED MY YOGIC PRACTICE. God has found it in His heart to place in my path not just one but TWO individuals who are able to witness God’s supernatural love as uncovered by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Here is the story: https://levaire.com/my-salvation-experience/

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6 comments

  1. James says:

    Matt, I must admit that I do not know a whole lot about yoga, but I do have a couple of comments on your post.
    1. You say that you have asked God to let you know if you should be studying yoga and to let you know if you are on the wrong path, yet you seem to dismiss the warning from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, even those who have had negative experiences traveling the same path that you are now on. Maybe you should give those voices of experience a little more consideration. God often speaks to us through others.
    2. You said, “In my mind now it’s Christ Consciousness. It’s this evolution towards Divinity.” I think this is an incorrect understanding of Scripture. We are to become “like” Christ; we are not to “become” Christ. We are to imitate him in the way that He lived and loved, but we will never become God, like He was/is. We become “like” Him through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. As we read Scripture and obey the commands found there, we will become more like Him.
    3. When Jesus said that his disciples would do “greater” things than He did, I believe he used greater in a “quantitative” sense rather than a “qualitative” sense. In other words, who could do any greater miracle than to raise someone from the dead? However, given the fact that Jesus was one man, assuming all of the limitations that a human body brings with it, his disciples, numbering in the billions throughout history, surely would be able to perform “more” miracles than he would while on this earth. Your question of why aren’t we doing that, is still a valid question, though.
    4. Finally, you ask about those who have experienced demon possession, “Is it possible that these folks are not conducting themselves properly in the yogic arts?” Is it possible that they were doing it “correctly,” and that you are not?
    I do not intend to offend you or belittle your search for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, but I do believe that all that we need to have that deeper relationship with Christ is found in Scripture. My advice? Meditate on scripture. If you need training, get it from someone who is seeking Christ and not someone who is seeking after “something else.” God bless you, in your walk with Christ and your continue search for wisdom.

    • Matt says:

      My response below, in [brackets]

      1. You say that you have asked God to let you know if you should be studying yoga and to let you know if you are on the wrong path, yet you seem to dismiss the warning from fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, even those who have had negative experiences traveling the same path that you are now on. Maybe you should give those voices of experience a little more consideration. God often speaks to us through others.

      [James, thank you for writing. I agree I can learn from others’ experiences; the challenge is whose? It’s not like I’m studying yoga neophytes; Sadhguru and the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda. These leaders obviously have their own experiences and there is considerably less fear and mistrust in their accounts. Even if I turn to the Bible, I can find conflicting notions:

      The argument for listening to others:

      Proverbs 12:15 ESV, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

      Then the argument for not listening to everything we stumble across:

      Proverbs 5:1-23 ESV, My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol;

      How do I know these others who had bad experiences weren’t off in the bushes in their own practice? How do I know their reported newfound Christian faith is truly on the right path according to Christ?

      Even if I consider my own experience (which has been 100% positive so far), is my own judgment able to be trusted? How do I know the “yoga is evil” videos being sent to me aren’t there to snipe others off a valid path toward spiritual development? Seems like the kind of tool the Enemy might use, doesn’t it?]

      2. You said, “In my mind now it’s Christ Consciousness. It’s this evolution towards Divinity.” I think this is an incorrect understanding of Scripture. We are to become “like” Christ; we are not to “become” Christ. We are to imitate him in the way that He lived and loved, but we will never become God, like He was/is. We become “like” Him through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. As we read Scripture and obey the commands found there, we will become more like Him.

      [1 Peter 2:21 KJV, For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps…

      Oh, I agree, James. I’m not so egomaniacal as to believe I’ll become Christ if I continue to meditate. I HAVE, however, experienced a deeper shedding of worldly concerns and a more pronounced cleaving to God as a result of my ongoing spiritual studies and meditation practice.

      For example, one simple kriya yoga meditation has helped me to become more aware of the illusion created by having a physical body and an intellect. The meditation is simply a mantra of breathing “I am not my body; I am not even the mind” followed by seven exhalations of “Ah” to force this awareness throughout the body at a cellular level. The guided meditation can be found here (http://www.ishafoundation.org/Ishakriya) and Sadhguru’s explanation on why he recommends this meditation is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4hCvdDn7Zc

      So, some of the results in me? Less fear of man. Less vanity. Reduced body self-consciousness. Reduced need to keep up appearances. Less interest in chasing the almighty dollar. Less devotion to my own plan; more openness to God’s. Less lust. Less coveting. Less idolatry. More patience with my wife and children. Less need for things to be a particular way. More peace. More acceptance. More grace.

      Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t arrived. But this is all movement in the right direction by my book—and by the Good Book, for that matter. Much of this comes from the growing awareness—at the heart level—that all of this striving and building and struggle I’ve been engaged in for years is all founded in matters of the world—not of the Spirit.

      I’ve attended 12 years of Catholic schooling and many years of attending church on and off and after all this time, it wasn’t reading the Bible that brought me to this new level of peace and awareness—it was meditation. Intellectually, I knew a more spiritually-centric state was what I should be moving towards, but I was missing the manner by which to achieve it.]

      3. When Jesus said that his disciples would do “greater” things than He did, I believe he used greater in a “quantitative” sense rather than a “qualitative” sense. In other words, who could do any greater miracle than to raise someone from the dead? However, given the fact that Jesus was one man, assuming all of the limitations that a human body brings with it, his disciples, numbering in the billions throughout history, surely would be able to perform “more” miracles than he would while on this earth. Your question of why aren’t we doing that, is still a valid question, though.

      [John 14:12 KJV, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

      And

      Matthew 13: 58 KJV, And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

      Both these passages tell me that healing and amazing works (amazing by our reptilian standards) are within human grasp if our faith and understanding are great enough. Unfortunately, the world has been pulled over our eyes and we don’t take the responsibility to dive in deeper. I think we just say, “Oh, but that was Jesus. We can’t operate at His level” (even when He says we can.)

      As a result, we stop seeking His path. We say it’s enough that we believe in Him and we draw a line in the sand and say that’s where our responsibility stops. Then we try to be on our best behavior without taking any more steps to actually mirror Christ’s example, but—as we see regularly in the news—good behavior is often undermined by other more base features of our personality. If we try to follow set rules for behavior without solving our attachment to our physicality or our intellect, our attachments will always be in conflict.]

      4. Finally, you ask about those who have experienced demon possession, “Is it possible that these folks are not conducting themselves properly in the yogic arts?” Is it possible that they were doing it “correctly,” and that you are not?

      I do not intend to offend you or belittle your search for a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, but I do believe that all that we need to have that deeper relationship with Christ is found in Scripture. My advice? Meditate on scripture. If you need training, get it from someone who is seeking Christ and not someone who is seeking after “something else.” God bless you, in your walk with Christ and your continue search for wisdom.

      [Thank you for writing, James! You did not offend me at all. I hugely appreciate you taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. I agree with your advice and I will continue to dive into the Scriptures. I think what gets me is the fact that there is so much missing from the Bible regarding Christ’s path. We see Him as a child, He disappears, then returns as an adult and begins teaching. What were the steps He took in His life? Jesus evolved while He was here on Earth. Otherwise, He would not have truly had a human experience. So what did His evolution look like? He wasn’t working miracles prior to His disappearance. When and how did this shift happen? So many questions that aren’t answered.]

  2. Jen says:

    Hi Matthew, I only just found this LEVAIRE site after looking for reviews about Sadhguru teaching and programs and found a video of you after the first day of a training in Chicago.
    Anyway, I’m searching closely right now because I am in a difficult time (but challenges often simply represent and opportunity to grow some more and overcome)……..so what I have also come across recently is some amazing work by Shakuntala Modi:
    “Memories of God and Creation: Remembering from the Subconscious Mind”
    “Remarkable Healings: A Psychiatrist Discovers Unsuspected Roots of Mental and Physical Illness”

    and in them there are some wonderful case studies which take so much fear and doubt away for me……which I have been struggling for over past 30 years.

    I am just hoping these are the beginnings of healing potentials that might get me out of a chronic and complex fatigue which after fighting for so long has laid me out for past 6 months. Anyway – thought as you had shared your journey, I would offer this little fragment from my search…….all the best, big love and blessings…

    Jen :o)

  3. francis lacroix says:

    hi mathiew I’m very intersted in your post I saw you have learned things from sadghuru and In my life I am searching and I’ve been understanding things with times and meditation and really not that complicated but we would need to take times to talk to each other so that you take time to understand things, so I would really really be intersted in talking to you by skype or phone 418-473-9940 . In the same time I have some questions that you could maybe help me clear out.

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