Buddhism, Meditation, false coping mechanism

(Yolande Mirza) #1

Hi, I have two members of in-law family is into yoga and also buddhism. They both have had traumatic events happen to them in their life. The one was raised in a muslim family, she fled her family age 16, and is now vegan and into buddhism. The other, a guy, lost his wife to MS. He is now also vegan and into yoga. He is an atheist. I am particularly interested in how to discuss trauma and healing with the girl, without selling Christianity, but obviously from my point of view. How do we approach people who revert to “meditative/peaceful” practices to cope? At this point the only thing I can think of is the living testimony of my own life, and testifying of praying for things, that has visibly come together. But that might be flawed, because God doesn’t always answer prayer!

(Bronwyn pearse) #2

Hi Bronie from Australia here.
Like Ravi says you are in a stronger position if you know your subject well on atheism and Buddhism . One big hole I see in Buddhism is the ultimate aim to remove any desire from your life. That includes the desire to love . I really don’t think the average person actually understands how unrealistic this is in the end. Even Ravi himself said after talking at length to the only female monk ( married and who had children ) from one particular country. “ so you are on the journey to eliminate the desire to love your children . “ she said “yes” to which Ravi responded. So tell me how come the Dalai Lama desires the freedom of Tibet “ to which she responded . “We say he chooses too.” How hippercritical is that . It’s ok for the dahlia lama to desire the freedom of Tibet. But a mother isn’t allowed to have a desire to love her children.
It’s all very flawed when it comes down to it.
I’d suggest reading Ravi’s books on these topics . Remember With regard to family and friends and evangelism it’s not a 100 metre race it’s a marathon. This means getting alongside them and finding out how they think. Spending time together. Building up trust .Questioning them when it is appropriate about their beliefs . But you also need the help of the Holy Spirit to bring about any change. After all he is the one who draws them to Christ. Once you have a good knowledge about their beliefs then I’m sure opportunities will arise incidentally. After years of not being able to discuss my faith with my atheist friend. After listening to and reading Ravi’s books amazing opportunities came up . Now we are in a long term discussion about our beliefs and the search for truth . Your not alone in all this our precious lord and friend will help you. God bless you and your family. X Bronie

(Robert Anderson) #3

I think you are on the right track in wanting to show them something better that you have experienced in your life. As you mentioned, these people are reverting to meditation as a coping mechanism, which means there is some real hurt there. I would hate to drop the logic hammer on a hurting person so I think a more tender approach would be more effective. Obviously they “desire” to ease the pain which is why they are meditating and exploring Buddhism. But this is an issue since the motivation to remove desire is desire, the desire to ease the pain. Will they also remove that desire? But like I said the logic hammer might not be appropriate so maybe fanning that flame of desire and showing them the love of God, a real and true love that doesn’t let pain go to waste, might be a better approach.

(Yolande Mirza) #4

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I think people are confused in thinking they need to empty themselves… Jesus says we need to fill up with love. That is a good angle. Also John 6:44 says God will draw people to Him, it is not our task to save them. But He could draw them through me. Will read more on Buddhism as well.

(Yolande Mirza) #5

Thx… hehe yup, logic is a vicious circle sometimes. I guess staying humble as well about my blessed life with answered prayer, is key. But I think I have to testify continuously on the go, in my stride, of how this and that prayer was answered… in case the penny drops for them. I think atheists really need evidence as well.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #6

@YolandeMirza, it is heart breaking to see when our loved ones are sincerely onto a path that they think will give hope. I pray that God will provide opportunities where your family members themselves will open up and ask questions. Presenting too much information just causes people to shut the door prematurely.

The peaceful and disciplined lifestyle of Buddhism seems attractive to many as it creates some order out of chaos. Ultimately though, a lot of it is just living by determination which as Bronie mentioned is stressful. There is no hope outside of self. Moreover, not everyone reports positive experiences with meditation. Serious meditation over hours or days can cause panic attacks and dissociated personality disorder. Here’s a public health statement from a scientific article:

“The use of meditation practices related to mindfulness-based interventions has increased, but there is a lack of knowledge about their potential unwanted effects. In this study, 25% of the participants reported unwanted effects of the practice, with anxiety episodes being the most frequent.”

You may read the full article here

I wonder if they would be willing to investigate this concern of unwanted effects of meditation. Jesus’s promise is so different, it’s peace amidst chaos not silence.

(Jacob Cheriyan) #7

Hi Yolanda,
Thank you so much for sharing. I am sure you are faced with a difficult task of reaching out to your family friends who are hurting. I second what bronie said that Buddhism doesn’t give an answer but rather who to escape the reality of what the person actually feels. It is definitely not the answer, even if it gives short term relief.
The best approach is to be with them in their time of difficulty and then when the opportunity presents itself, show them how detachment never really solves anything but only accentuates the problem because it goes against human nature. We are relational beings and inextricably ties to one another. To deny that is to deny what it means to be human