We are seeing a significant integration of New Age-Eastern Mysticism introduced into the church - and many Para-Church organizations. What is Spiritual Formation, what is Contemplative Prayer, and when does Biblical Meditation become Eastern Mysticism?
We have become very sloppy about discernment these days and we need to pay attention to the origins or roots of issues. Lately, we have been involved in discussions about Common Core Education. But most of the information you find on this issue relates to symptoms rather than origins or roots. This is even more true with the hot issue of "Contemplative Prayer."
One WATCHMAN group that serves to keep me informed is Lighthouse Trails Research (LHTR). One of their goals is to whimsically challenge error - as they see it. For those willing to consider the dangers of the deceptions coming from the New Agers, I would recommend an article they did recently that is a good example of how a very popular book (and author) has introduced thousands of Christians to the arena of Eastern Mysticism. The title of the article is Ann Voskamp's Best Selling Book One Thousand Gifts - A Collision of Inspiration and New Spirituality. You can find this article athttp:www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=6604
Like many other well meaning works, this book is an effort to enrich people's walk with the Lord. But what this and many other advocates of this type of thing ignore is the danger of the "sources" of these spiritual practices. The author of One Thousand Gifts (as with most operating in this camp) is an admirer of a number of people like Sarah Ban Breathnack who was launched into stardom by Oprah. In case you did not know it, Oprah is considered one of the worlds prominent spiritual leaders - as a New Age-Eastern Mysticism advocate. In this article you will see just a few of the advocates of this deception that have become household names in many "Christian" circles.
Typically, proponents of these practices are defensive about their sources, emboldened by their newfound sense of spirituality, and deny any connection to the New-Age/Buddhist/Eastern/Emergent practices. But without exception, you will find that their "mentors" have all been from one or several of these sources. Again and again, you will find that their really "deep spiritual practices" - they learned from "the other side." Make no mistake, these are forces of Darkness.
LHTR just documents one instance in this article of a person who has left Christianity behind for a "better way" but there are countless thousands. Just as Pot is a primary "entry way" into the drug culture, so Yoga and these kinds of practices are a segway into cultish practices.
New Age is probably the fastest growing religious practice in the United States. Why? Because it is so American - something that is feelings-emotion based and incorporates with other things that gives people a sense of having a superior edge - "I exercise my body and my mind at the same time."
Read the article and be sure you get as far as where she talks about this authors "Mystical Unions", it carries sexual overtones of "making love to God."
Much of this is rooted in a dissatisfaction with the word of God and a relationship with His Son.
If your looking for an in-depth probing of this "Emerging Spirituality," it's advocates, and it's danger from a Christian perspective, I would point you to A Time Of Departing by Ray Yungen. Ray and BSWF are communicating about the possibility of doing a Forum on these issues. You can get this book from BSWF or LHTR.