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I started using this word many years ago before it had such strong negative associations. Indeed, Eastern meditations typically consist of the unhealthy practice of filling one's head with sounds and words repeated in hypnotic fashion. Meditation, as I teach it, is anathema to Eastern and New Age practices.

I know that no "methodology" will save us from sin. However, like the Quakers and other sincere Christian groups throughout history, I advise people to "practice the presence of God" through quiet reflection and honest self-examination. As you know, meditation is also rooted in Jewish tradition. The full intention of what I teach sprang, for me, from the Biblical admonition expressed in the words "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10 KJV)

If we are caught up in the cares of the world--whether the hustle and bustle of a shopping center or the maddening traffic of modern big-city freeways—it is easy to forget that the Spirit is with us. It seems to me that Christians seek, through Grace, to find the inner peace that helps us to be ever mindful of Him, despite the distractions of the world.

Generally speaking, many non-religious people don't even recognize there is a spiritual battle going on in their hearts and minds. They often succumb to temptation without even knowing they've been tempted. For these lost ones, meditation (or the observation exercise as I also call it) helps promote awareness of this battle. We also often suggest that people meditate quietly on the Lord's Prayer during this practice of being aware, of being awake and sober, as Romans 12 suggests.

Hypnosis is not healthy; in fact, it is very dangerous. It is the very antithesis of what I teach, since it puts people to sleep. One of the first great realizations that led me to the truth of Christianity came during my years trying to help people as a hypnotist. I soon realized that people didn't need to be hypnotized, but rather needed to be freed from the hypnotic obsessions and stresses of daily life that kept them from being ever mindful of God.

Now and then in my seminars, I demonstrate hypnosis, but for a very instructive purpose. Under a mild trance some people will eagerly follow a suggestion, but at the same time, deny they are being controlled by this suggestion. This demonstration shows the audience how controlling the pressures of the world can be, and how very hard it is to face up to the slavery of sin.

Thus, I am demonstrating to the audience the nature of pride that causes people to deny the truth that they are slaves of sin. Jesus is, of course, the answer to that Truth that will set them free, but in today's secular culture there are millions of people who need to know they are lost before they can realize the need to be found.

In these few demonstrations when I use hypnosis, I disarm it by telling the audience how and why it works. For non-Christians who are looking for the truth, this is a unique way to demonstrate certain important Christian understandings. Of course, this peculiar method of communicating the need for salvation came naturally out of my personal background. I am not suggesting it as a technique of ministry, and I do not teach it.

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