Sunday, November 4, 2012

Christians on meditation

Recently I was told the Roman Catholic Church in Hong Kong has been offering courses on meditation. I checked our local Church a few weeks ago and saw the announcement of a meditation course. The course outline said that a meditator should focus his mind on his breathing as well as other internal bodily sensations. And that such internal perceptions should be getting more and more prominent as a meditator progressed in his practice. As a warning, those who has a tendency towards psychological imbalance are advised to avoid doing meditation before seeking medical advice. Sound comments.

Years ago, I talked to a devoted Protestant who was absolutely against meditation and any form of chi-kung and viewing such practices as a route to invite the evil spirit. He was adamant! A few weeks ago a minister friend of mind told me that Protestantism takes the view that evil spirits can have a direct impact on human lives as an entity that one can experience. He was not against meditation and chi-kung, but he advised me not to do the deepest level of meditation lest I might be visited by evil spirits. I told him that I'm not interested in personality overhaul, that could possibly turn me into a Saint in Christian terminology or an Immortal in Taoist terminology, that goes with the deepest level of meditation. "As long as we agree on the action, it's fine!" He, a Chinese minister, was pragmatic, as expected! He once confided to me that he was asked to perform exorcist rituals, prayers and other techniques, for a lady who believed herself to be possessed by an evil spirit. "At first it worked...perhaps I'm not good enough". He smiled.

The side of mind-cure in systems of mind-body exercise does require more cautions than the body-cure side. My experience is that an initial progress on the body side, like sweating a bit through doing zhan zhuang or tai-chi nei gung, can facilitate and act as a possible safe-guard for people using a mind-body system primarily for mind (or psychological or spiritual) purposes. And it is also the classical approach the Taoist way, not that I'm a Taoist by religion. A disclaimer.

Father Gabriele Amorth, the official exorcist of Vatican City

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