Centering Ourselves Isn't Salvation
Living in 2016 has its advantages. Many of us enjoy a quality of life that was impossible in pre-medical days. An example is the cataract surgery - no more troublesome than an average dental procedure - that allows me to keep working and playing, often without reading glasses. One hundred years ago, I would have gone blind.
Modern psychology parallels today's medical advantages. Instead of the one-size (mis)fits-all lunatic asylums of centuries past, we now enjoy the benefits of sophisticated mental, psychological, and emotional understanding. These understandings and their treatments (therapy, counseling, prescriptions) improve quality of life for many.
Just as run-away medicine is contrary to God's will (examples include abortion and sex "reassignment" surgery), run-away psychological theories are also part of "this present evil world" (see Gal. 1:4). Wise medical consumers seek "second opinions." Wise consumers in the world's marketplace of ideas should also seek something other than the newest theories from the latest, greatest psychologists. This article words a warning about a misfit between psychology and Christianity.
One Offers Salvation
As helpful as many psychological treatments are, they cannot overcome sin. They can redefine sin, they can ridicule sin, and they can even reject the idea of sin, but they cannot eliminate sin. Christ "has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26), "and the blood of Jesus...cleanses us from all sin" (I Jn. 1:7).
Only Christianity offers a path through life, out of life, and into eternity "obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed...having been set free from sin" (Rom. 6:17-18). "The standard of teaching" includes being buried by baptism and walking in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). "Newness of life" includes a dedicated embrace of all of Christianity, and dedicated rejection of our sin in repentance.
One Offers Centering
Grounding (reducing negative energy), centering (increasing focus), and mindfulness (concentrating on the present)are said to be accomplished through these seven steps.
- Find a quiet place (the practiced skill of young mothers everywhere).
- Experience your breathing; inhale, exhale, repeat, keep repeating (this step is essential).
- Imagine that you are connected to Mother Earth. (if you have any questions, ask Oprah).
- Exert your physical energy downward (and not toward me!).
- Push your spiritual energy upward (insert your own sarcasm here).
- Feel your energy flow throughout your being (if you still have any feeling throughout your being).
- Find stillness (it's out there somewhere in nature, yoga, creativity, or journaling).
Don't Confuse the Two
There is no doubt that grounding, like Calgon, can take us away. There are, truly, tremendous emotional and physical benefits to centering. Mindfulness is certainly essential to effectiveness and productivity. But some have confused grounding, centering, and mindfulness with salvation, thinking that these steps are redemption, and that guilt, like spilled milk, can be cleaned up with the right state of mind.
These examples of man-made semi-salvation can only take us so far.
No matter how much negative energy we reduce, no matter how much we increase our focus, and no matter how thoroughly we concentrate on the here and now, we cannot empty ourselves of the guilt and the consequences of our sin. Herein is the danger of mixing too much contemporary psychology with the eternal principles of Christianity. That good feeling we might achieve is not salvation. That good feeling is terribly, terribly superficial in comparison with the scriptures that reveal "salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 3:15)