Conscious Breathing

The purpose of the following article is twofold. First, it is a witness encounter to motivate you to take advantage of any opportunity to share your faith in Christ. Second, it is to reveal and warn our readers that many Christians are participating in spiritually dangerous occult techniques.

Karen and I attended a two-week session at a health institute in San Diego as part of the treatment to help Karen overcome cancer. During our stay, there was a class on conscious breathing. We knew it was going to be tainted with New Age techniques and beliefs, so Karen –– not needing any more stress in her life –– decided not to go. I looked at it as a research opportunity and decided to attend. The instructor of this deep breathing class opened by requesting everyone to chant a tone while punching the air to set the mood.

When I was the only one not participating, the instructor stopped the session and announced that everyone must participate. The toning and punching the air resumed but was abruptly stopped as the instructor asked if I was going to participate. With all eyes glaring at me, I told her that I would only do the breathing part. The instructor talked to me during a break, and I explained to her that it would be like her going to McDonald's. She would have to be very selective in the choices she made so as not to violate her convictions. Besides, it would be a regression for her. In my spiritual walk, this is a regression.

The session resumed with about 25 people punching and dancing wildly while chanting tones, deep breathing, and saying positive affirmations. An audio tape played for 90 minutes with music, toning, and such affirmations as: "You are beautiful. You are whole. You are divine. We are all children of God." While toning, deep breathing, and listening to the positive affirmations, participants were also told to visualize different colors as they visualized energy moving through the chakras.

During the session, the instructor twice invoked the gods of all who were there and also did an invocation for the masters of wisdom, inner guide, or whatever you believe the "mystery to be." I felt like Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon. I was in an occult environment and inundated with their belief system. I responded in my mind to each affirmation with a Biblical response. Now I would not recommend that any believer do what I did, but I prayed before attending this class and knew the Lord wanted me to see the influence many Christians are coming under and submitting to so I could both warn them and assure them of the superior power of God's Spirit and Word.

Immediately following the session several people came up to me and wanted to know why I would not participate. They listened intently for almost an hour as I shared my testimony and what Christ has done in my life. I then gave them copies of my Spiritual Warfare and Who Is This Jesus? books. I was amazed at how many, who were participating in some blatant occult practices during the two weeks we were there, were professing Christians who should have had discernment and known better. One had a Pentecostal background and two attended Calvary Chapel churches. A Jewish woman who also asked me why I would not participate, listened intently as I shared how I searched for and found the Jewish Messiah and what her Hebrew Bible teaches concerning such occult involvement. She graciously received a copy of my Who Is This Jesus? book.

Near the end of the session one woman said, "I am a Christian and this just reaffirmed everything I believe." Another professing Christian woman also punched the air and toned. When the session was over, she was smiling like she just saw Jesus. Another woman told how her deceased grandmother was in the room with her during this.

I also attended a class on Advanced Alpha Techniques. It was taught by the same instructor who taught the conscious breathing class. Once again I did not participate in the techniques, but merely listened to the lectures.

Following this session the instructor had each of us share. Most told how stressed they were and their need to be in "alpha," a meditative, relaxed state. As my turn neared, I asked the Lord for wisdom about what to share. I told them I run a non-profit organization that is often adventurous and chaotic involving extreme stress at times, but that I have tremendous peace in the midst of it from my relationship with Jesus Christ.

After class, a woman approached me and said, "I need to talk to you." She told me she was a Christian and wanted to know how to sort this all out and what she could do to have the peace of the Lord. We had a long and fruitful conversation.

The next morning another woman approached me. She told me she was Jewish and was greatly inspired by what I said yesterday. She said she called her daughter after she heard me speak. Her daughter had just started a business in New York City and had several near disasters and thought her new business would fail. She told me she told her daughter what I shared in class, which greatly encouraged her. I then told her I had been to Jerusalem many times and had a staff member who was a messianic believer. We had a good conversation and then parted because exercise class began.

The majority of people attending these sessions were either hostile to Jesus Christ and offended by anything Christian, or they were professing Christians who freely indulged in all the New Age revelry. As true believers in Jesus Christ living in a growing pagan society, we must be light and salt by sharing the love and truth of Christ without compromising our biblical convictions. Having this "balance" may be a challenge, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for the Lord.