Is it Compromise?
Because I am interested in natural health I continually come across eastern medicine and also things like yoga, meditation and such therapies.
For the last few months I have been involved in many sessions of something called "I-Rest". I decided to give it a try, being open minded and also seeking God's discernment of whether or not it was compromise. This is what I felt I learned. For many of you it may not have any bearing in your life since you are not interested in such practices. But this is an issue that is given very little thought by open-minded Christians who seek to have a "non-legalistic" viewpoint. And honestly, I believe we have a duty to "have an answer" to those who have found peace outside of God.
Some of you may say "Impossible! There isn't peace outside of God!" But with all respect, you're wrong. I've seen people over and over and over find "peace" without any credence given to God. People who have found real help.
What is I-Rest:
I-Rest is a discipline of mentally and emotionally supporting your healing process by guided meditation. It is not an emptying of the mind, as some would believe meditation, but simply taking the time to listen, to know, to face, and ultimately to welcome the unresolved issues in our lives. In our fast-paced world we rarely take the time to listen to the signals and messages our body tries to tell us. Someone asks us “How are you?” and we habitually reply that we are “good”, without the slightest notion how we really are. When is the last time we took notice? To know “where we are at”? We live in stress, or anxiety or fear or guilt (the list can go on and on) but we aren't even able to put a label on our unrest; it's just a hanging burden. A burden we get so accustomed to we forget it's there. But it's there; constantly wearing us down. We haven't taken the time to face “it” because we haven't even accepted “it's” existence. I-rest teaches how to stop for a moment and listen. To ask yourself where you're at in life. How are you? Really, how are you? And the stressor will come, the fear, the guilt, the trauma, it will come to you. I-Rest then gives you the chance to hold “it” in the light and view it for what it is. It's no longer a nameless, constant weight in the back of your mind. You can see it. You can face it. And you have the choice to either continue to ignore it, or to welcome it, accept it, feel it; instead of flee. And in that moment there is a liberty that comes with the courage of holding onto it without letting go.
Why Christians can use it:
I-Rest is a tool; not a religion. I-Rest actually promotes biblical principles. Instead of ignoring or running away from our negative emotions or circumstances, I-rest teaches that these can be embraced and accepted and learned from. As Christians, we know this to be true. The bible says “...count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Hardship works our our faith and teaches us patience and ultimately creates completeness. This is biblical. I-Rest teaches to embrace pain, to face it, to hold it along with joy, and to accept them both. I think of the hymn “More Love Oh Christ” and the verse “Let Sorrow do it's work, send grief and pain, sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain, when they can sing with me, more love oh Christ to thee...” This is in essence, I-Rest. I-Rest says, instead of fleeing from sorrow, why not let it do it's work? Allow yourself to feel grief instead of continually building a barrier to emotion. Instead of resisting, sing with them! C.S. Lewis, the renowned Christian author, practiced this discipline. When his wife died Lewis decided to “observe” his grief. He wrote about it. He held it. He wept. He felt it. It was a constant companion. And by observation he was able to heal. “Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.” - C.S. Lewis, 'A Grief Observed',59
The reason Christians would not use it:
Although I-Rest is suited to the Western world, it's roots are founded in Indian philosophy and Yoga Nidra. Modern Yoga Nidra is basically a relaxation technique that was derived from ancient tantra (Hindu ritual text dating to the 6th-13th centuries) by an Indian student of Yoga, Swami Satyananda in the 1970s. Although the intentions were to make Yoga Nidra available to every culture, regardless of religion, it's roots are undoubtedly connected to ancient Indian religion, including their god, Vishnu. I-Rest is an indirect adherence to the doctrines and principles of the tantra. Though I-rest is several steps removed from it's eastern religious background, it's roots lead directly to Indian rituals. This is something, that as a Christian we cannot be comfortable with, because we believe in one God.
Dueteronomy 6:4-5 “...The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might.”
Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the LORD do all things.”
“...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” 1 John 14:6
This is the “narrow mindedness” of Christianity. Truth is often “narrow minded”. There is a wrong way, and there is a right way to most things. There are absolutes.
For example: I have one biological father and will always, only have one, and there is no other way to have more than one. This may come across as narrow minded if you believed there was the possibility to many biological fathers, but it is actually an absolute truth. I know and believe I can only have one biological father. I am not narrow minded in believing this; I am believing in truth.
I also know I can only have one God, and one heavenly Father. I know Him personally and love Him. To deny this would be like denying the truth that I have one biological father, whom I personally know and love. I would never accept anyone claiming to be my biological father who wasn't. They would be false father. Just as I would never want to give allegiance to anyone that claimed to be my god, who was not. They would be a false god. By following yoga principles I could indirectly give credence to a false god.
“Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14
I-Rest also encourages you to find your inner resource. I do believe that we ignore our God-given tools to recognize illness, to accept both the “negative” and “positive”, and to understand what our health options are. But we are not sufficient of ourselves.(2 Corinthians 3:5) We are all born with a need of God.
At least once in our lives we have done something to be ashamed of. We have lied, we have stolen, we have looked on someone in lust... the list goes on. Inherently we know we are wrong. God gives us a list of commandments (His law) to show us we have at least broken one of these. Even breaking one makes us a law breaker. God tells us in the Bible that there is eternal consequences for the immoral law breaker. It's called Hell, a place of everlasting fire and torment. One of those absolutes. But God is not willing that any should perish. We have broken God's law but Jesus paid the fine. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We have a need, and He met it.
We have to be careful with the idea that we are complete without Him. That we can find every solution to life outside of Him. Nothing can replace Him, not even I-Rest.
I-Rest follows many biblical principles and therefore does help people. But for the unbeliever in Jesus it could become a mimic alternative to God. God has called us to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15). No other peace is as complete as His peace.
Though I am convinced I-Rest is helpful and a legitimate benefit and even involves many biblical principles, it also stems from a religion and mind-set that I do not fully agree with, as a Christian. I am thankful for the things I have learned from I-Rest and even intend to continue practicing these principles. But I-Rest in and of itself is something I cannot completely stand behind.
Many Christians refuse to learn from things around them if they are not directly affiliated with their church, or their denomination. This is true narrow-mindedness and needs to be considered since it is a stereotype that we encourage by this behavior.
We Christians also need to realize that God is not a “fix-all” to our life. Life includes the good times and the hard circumstances. We are promised “fiery trials” (1 Peter 1:7). But God also tells us that these trials are the fire that purges us and makes our faith as precious gold. God did not promise us a life of ease as Christians. He is not our jinni that we go to when we are faced with dire circumstances. Prosperity has nothing to do with Christianity. Instead in Jesus' life we see compassion, which leads to service, we see unconditional love, which leads to vulnerability, we see obedience, which led to death. If we follow Him long enough we too will experience these things. Christian, just as I-Rest teaches, and also the Bible, you will have burdens. You will have struggles. You will have hardships.
The question is: Will you face it? Will you accept them? And will you give them to Someone far more capable of carrying them?
Integrative Restoration Institute's website.
King James Bible