***DISCLAIMER***The following is far from an exhaustive answer to the question. It is simply an answer nonetheless.
Recently, someone asked me about a term known as “Universal Consciousness.” What follows is the question followed by my response to it. Because this is about a particular concept, I have placed this under the “profile” umbrella.
I know what the Bible says is 100% true and infallible. A friend of mine is part of a facebook page/group that discusses or dabbles in Universal Consciousness. While I don’t fully understand what it is, I was wondering if it is contrary/wrong for a Christian to dabble/study this philosophy or belief. If so, what scripture or Christian material would prove beneficial to deal with this matter? Is Universal Consciousness similar to Yoga and its mysticism? I would appreciate any advice or wisdom on this matter. Thank you very much.
Before stating whether or not it is wrong for a Christian to dabble or study a particular belief, one must understand what dabbling and studying are. There is a difference between “dabbling in” and studying a particular thing, religion, practice, etc.. According to Webster, to dabble in something is to “work or involve oneself without serious effort.” To study something is simply to learn more about something. Studying something does not always require me to involve myself in the practices of that particular thing. For example, I can study Mormonism without observing some of their practices (i.e., abstaining from caffeine, partaking in baptisms for the dead, observing their Communion practices, etc). Dabbling in Mormonism would require me to involve myself in one or more of Mormonism’s practices.
With a firm grasp of the definitions of both dabbling and studying now in hand, one must now consider the characteristics of Universal Consciousness. Universal Consciousness most definitely has ties to mysticism. As this article notes, the goal of mysticism is “to alter one’s perception of reality, redefining the self, the world, and the Divine according to mystical intuitions of Universal Consciousness as Ultimate Reality. Thus mysticism serves as the basis for a collective spirituality that transcends religious distinctions and is therefore the force behind the growing interfaith movement in which ‘Christian’ mysticism plays an important role.” Having quite the focus on mysticism “can certainly lead one into error.” Universal Consciousness also has ties to New Age and New Thought. As this website notes, Universal Consciousness is an experience with basically no thoughts in it. As a result, it is not off-base to state the term refers to a state of having an empty mind. Such a state is contrary to one of the two greatest commandments Jesus Christ gives in Matthew 22:23-40 (NASB):
23 On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, 24 asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up children for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; 26 so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. 27 Last of all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.”
29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” 33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.
34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment.39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Christianity is a thinking faith. Christians are called to examine everything carefully (1 Thessalonians 5:20), examine the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11), test all the spirits rather than believing them all (1 John 4:1) and contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). To achieve a state of universal consciousness is tantamount to turning off the mind. Nowhere in Scripture are Christians called to turn off their minds. Instead, Christians are called to fill their minds with the Spirit of God (Romans 8:5-14; Colossians 3:1-3). Therefore, it would be wrong to dabble in a state of universal consciousness. While it is definitely not wrong to know what it is, it is wrong and unbiblical for Christians to engage in it.
As for Universal Consciousness and how it relates to yoga, one must understand that Yoga is a union with the Hindu concept of God (not the biblical concept). Universal Consciousness does not appear to seek a union with anything outside of an emptying of the mind. Both Universal Consciousness and Yoga are similar in the sense that it is not wrong to study either thing. Nevertheless, it is most definitely wrong to dabble in either thing given their unbiblical characteristics.
I hope you found this response helpful.