Yoga and Christianity


#1

You are a yogi or a yogini, if you practise Yoga for health, beauty, strongness, relexation or healing. You are a yogi, if you practise Yoga for inner peace, happiness and enlightenment. You are a yogi, if you are enlightened. Enlightenment means to live in God, in the light, in a cosmic consciousness. In modern Yoga your religion is free. Yoga teaches the unity of all religions. You can be a yogi and a hindu, a christ, a moslem, a buddhist or an atheist. Spiritually, humans can be compared to onions. Tension and conflict must be dissolved layer by layer. When one layer is peeled away, the next quickly appears at the surface until the inner core is revealed. At this point, a lasting inner joy is found, and the Yogi or Yogini lives in light (despite the fact there is still much to be done).

[I]Wikipedia: Yoga is the Hindu practice of physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goals of yoga are varied and range from improving health to achieving moksha (spiritual freedom, elightenment). In the West, the term “yoga” is today typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. In the 1960s, western interest in Hindu spirituality reached its peak, giving rise to a great number of Neo-Hindu schools specifically advocated to a western public. A second “yoga boom” followed in the 1980s, as Dean Ornish, a follower of Swami Satchidananda, connected yoga to heart health, legitimizing yoga as a purely physical system of health exercises outside of counter culture or esotericism circles, and unconnected to a religious denomination. Some Christians integrate yoga and other aspects of Eastern spirituality with prayer and meditation. This has been attributed to a desire to experience God in a more complete way.
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[I]Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to get in touch with and deliberately reflect upon the revelations of God. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God. Christian meditation aims to heighten the personal relationship based on the love of God. Teachings in both the Eastern and Western Christian churches have emphasized the use of Christian meditation as an element in increasing one’s knowledge of Christ. Christian meditation involves looking back on Jesus’ life, thanksgiving and adoration of God for his action in sending the Son for salvation. In her book The Interior Castle (Mansions 6, Chapter 7) Saint Teresa of Avila defined Christian meditation as follows: “By meditation I mean prolonged reasoning with the understanding, in this way. We begin by thinking of the favor which God bestowed upon us by giving us His only Son; and we do not stop there but proceed to consider the mysteries of His whole glorious life.” St. Theresa viewed Christian meditation as the first of four steps in achieving “union with God”, and used the analogy of watering the garden. She compared basic meditation to watering a garden with a bucket, Recollection to the water wheel, Quiet (contemplation) to a spring of water and Union to drenching rain. Thomas Merton characterized the goal of Christian meditation as follows: “The true end of Christian meditation is practically the same as the end of liturgical prayer and the reception of the sacraments: a deeper union by grace and charity with the Incarnate Word, who is the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.” Christian meditation is different from the style of meditations performed in Eastern religions (such as Buddhism) or in the context of the New Age. While other types of meditation may suggest approaches to disengage the mind, Christian meditation aims to fill the mind with thoughts related to Biblical passages or Christian devotions.[/I]

My experience of Jesus Christ

Nils: “My parents are atheists. After my studies, I became a lawyer. When I was thirty, I found my spiritual calling in addition to my profession. I did three hours of spiritual exercise daily. In November 1986 I had my first big enlightenment experience. During a meditation while lying down, a warm column of energy slowly rose from my lower belly. As the energy reached my head, my self-consciousness disappeared, I became one with the all-encompassing love of the cosmos. I experienced extreme happiness. I was suddenly able to understand the holy books written throughout mankind’s history at a deeper level.
The high point of my spiritual experience was what I felt as the entrance of the Holy Spirit. A thick beam of energy flew from the sky and into my crown chakra. The energy flowed through my body and filled it out completely. On my head was a small flame of energy. This experience is comparable with the Pentecost event. On the heads of the early Christians appeared small energy tongues. Spontaneously arose in me the thought that now I have been blessed by the Holy Spirit. I felt the energy beam as a descent of the Holy Spirit.
A short time later I had another amazing experience. When I made my daily walk one evening, I suddenly had the feeling that I was seen from the sky. It was as if at the sky there was a large eye that saw me. The message of this eye was: “You can go your way with trust. You are guided by God.” I read the Bible thoroughly from front to back. Through my experiences of enlightenment I could now understand the deep wisdom in the Scriptures. I also understood what the term “God” did mean.
In 1994, one day I layed on my bed and meditated. My thoughts always came to rest more and more. Suddenly Jesus Christ stood as a person in a great shining light in the middle of the room. Back then I lived for six years as a hermit in seclusion. I knew immediately that this luminary was Jesus Christ. Jesus came to me and floated into me. I was filled with bliss. I rested for some time in this unimaginably large energy of love, peace and light. I think I got the blessing of Jesus Christ for my spiritual path.”

Contentment

Nils (2012): Last night I had a dream. I saw all the readers of my God-article. I saw that they believed in the truth of my words. Enlightenment exists. God exists. There is a life after death. But the readers wanted more and more. They were not content. They were never content. Television teaches them always to be discontent. In school they learn that they must always be better and better. All their life they search inner happyness and cannot get it. In my dream I thought about how to help them. Discontentment is a mental problem of many people in todays time. Wishes always grow. If one wish is fulfilled, the next wish appears soon. If one looks for outer luck, one will never be completly content. An enlightened is inwardly happy. He is even inwardly happy if his outer life is chaotic. He rests in himself and in Gott (unity consciousness). A yogi rests in the great Sat-Chid-Ananda (being without attachment to outer things - unity - bliss). A christian rests in God (in holiness, happiness and all-embracing love). To get complete happiness, we have to work on our mind. We must learn positive thinking. We must learn to be content. The founder of yoga Patanjali tought the ten points of yoga (Yoga Sutra). A yogi must train his spirit to be content. In christianity we learn to be thankful. Thankfulness is a way to happiness. Contentment is a way to happiness.
How can we learn to be thankfull and content? Look at your mind. Find a thought that makes you thankful. Enlightenment is mostly a mental problem. Negativ thinking causes tensions in your body and your mind. You can resolve the tensions by overcoming your negative thoughts with positive thoughts and with meditation (spiritual exercises like yoga, walking, praying). A good way to overcome your negative thoughts is orakel reading. There is alway one negative thought that hinders you on enlightenment and bliss. An oracle can help you to find this negative thought und to develope a healing positive thought. If you train every day your spirit by positive thinking, praying or oracle reading, you can change your spirit to happiness and to enlightenment. You only have to do it consistently every day untill you are enlightened. Then thankfulness, contentment and positiv thinking come out of the deep of your soul. I wish you that. Try oracle reading (Angel oracle, Buddha oracle, I Ching oracle, Tarot) or find your personal way of mental work (for example thankfullness training according to Sonja Lyubomirsky).

Positive psychology emphasizes positive values

Sonja Lyubomirsky is one of America’s happiness researchers. She is a professor and wrote the international bestseller The How of Happiness. She wondered what one can do if one wants to get a happy life. She accepted that, after the current state of research about 50% of a given human’s happiness level is genetically determined. About 10% of happiness is affected by external living conditions, but 40% of happiness can be influenced by the mind of a person.
According to Lyubomirsky, the secret of lasting happiness is to turn our attention mainly to that 40% and constantly maintain our inner happiness. We should exercise regularly, avoid negative thoughts and encourage positive thoughts, maintain our social relationships and have a positive task in our lifes. Many studies demonstrate the positive effects of meditation on our happiness, "Meditate every day. Begin with five minutes and increase to up to 20 minutes a day."
Sonja Lyubomirsky developed a twelve-point program for personal happiness. The main point for her is gratitude. We should focus on the positives in our lives and be grateful. We should live according to principles such as optimism, joy, helpfulness, forgiveness, good social relationships, good health care and a positive task if we want to achieve a happy and fulfilling life.

Discussion

(Jesus.de, 2011)
Nils: I represent the position of the unity of all religions. I think that all religions basically aim at an experience of transcendence, which can be described by the term “enlightenment” or “holiness”. I believe that all religions should work together positively, because they have in the center the same goal.
German catholic: More and more Christians are discovering yoga and other Eastern meditation techniques. In the Catholic educational centers we offer a wide variety of yoga courses. In the practice Yoga is not contradictory to Christianity. Yoga is not only beneficial to the body and the mind, but also allows new approaches to Christian spirituality.
Evangelical Church in Germany: Radical rejection of yoga is just as wrong as an undifferentiated affirmation.
Catholic parish of St. Michael in Stuttgart Sillenbuch: Yoga is an ancient system of physical and mental exercises. Yoga is one of the cultural heritage of humanity regardless of culture. Yoga can tolerate very well with Christian meditation. Yoga exercises are offered in St Michael for more than 25 years. They are very successful.
Nils: In yoga, each can go his own way. Christians should keep their faith in Jesus. There are many different spiritual paths in Yoga and ideas of God.
Hindu: Jesus is transcendent, it is not necessary for him to be physically present. A true spiritual master must not be physically present. Sometimes I need energy in the form of a physically present master.
Nils: I see things like you. I work with the transcendent masters and the masters on earth. In my experience, both is helpful and even necessary for me. If there are in the afterlife enlightened masters like Buddha, Jesus and Swami Sivananda (my yoga master), then it is wise to beg them for help. A master who is present on earth can write books, give lectures, initiations (energy transfers) and personal advice. I find it very inspiring to see videos and to visit satsangs. My yoga teacher training with an enlightened Master has opened many energy doors (chacras). When I met Brother Roger (Christian enlightened, Taize) in Hamburg, I came into a dimension of light.
Ralf: An impersonal God is for me not enough. My whole belief system would break down and my life would be meaningless.
Nils: The great conflict between religions and within religions is, if there are higher beings or one being, you can call (pray) and wether you then gets help. There are in Yoga and in Buddhism the prayer group and the people, who do not pray. Amma has said that there are higher beings in the cosmos, that you can ask for help. You can call them in your own term as God, Allah, Buddha, Jesus or Shiva. Each person must decide whether he wants to pray or not. In Yoga, the prayer is optional.
Ralf: For me it is not a goal to resolve my ego.
Nils: God on a deep level you can only experience when you move beyond any belief system and when your sense of self (ego) releases. But who gives up his ego too early, can fail on the spiritual path. Therefore, there is the two-step pathway. First, you practice with a belief system and concrete meditations (with positive images and phrases). Then you just linger in the silence. With the grace of God you passes through the silence into the light of God. Teresa of Avila has first focused herself on the word “God” and prayed the Our Father. Then the happiness energy (Kundalini, Holy Spirit) woke in her, her thoughts came to rest and she came into the experience of God. Everyone should feel, whether concrete or abstract meditations are helpful.
Question: Is yoga a path of self-redemption?
Nils: In Christianity, there is much confusion about the path of enlightenment. A major criticism is in the fact that the New Agers want to redeem themselves and the Christians redeemed by the grace of God. Also between Catholics and Lutherans, it is controversial in how far a Christian should spiritually practice, or whether everything is done solely by grace. In yoga we focus on the spiritual practice. On the other hand, you can not force enlightenment. It comes ultimately from its own, spontaneously, as a grace.
Caro: The majority here in the forum beliefs that Jesus is the only person who lives in God in its fullness.
Nils: There are many different views among Christians. That’s all right. We should openly discuss and find a good way of constructive cooperation. Of course, I can accept that Jesus is most important to you. I believe that we can find a way of understanding. For me, God is a higher dimension of consciousness in the cosmos, which can be expressed in many religions terms. Every enlightened is a son or daughter of God, because he or she embodies the consciousness of God. Jesus embodies for me the way of universal love. Jesus has many children. And that’s just fine if they live together constructively. May the love of God be with you forever.


#2

Thank you for sharing all of this! I am a Christian, and yoga is changing my life! :slight_smile: Scripture gets me excited, and as a Christian I would choose to convey much of what was shared here with scripture~probably because many Christians struggle with the idea that they can practice yoga and remain firm in faith. What comes immediately to mind for me is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), and that we do that by thinking on things that are good (as laid out in Philippians 4:8). I really appreciated these thoughts and what it inspired! (((((HUGS))))) sandi


#3

After Pharoh banished him to the desert Moses wandered therin for forty days and forty nights. Like in the purification of gold, the brutal heat purged his being, and his suffering paid for his sins. Then and only then was he able to “climb the mountain” and speak with the Most High. And while God was giving Moses the Law those down below who couldn’t find their way into the mountain let alone climb it drank, made merry and worshiped idols.


#4

Anyone familiar with Sri Aurobindo? He has helped me reconcile yoga and Christianity. At least in my own mind.