Is Joan Borysenko Too Eclectic for Catholics?

joan borysenkoReferred to as a New Age contemplative, Joan Borysenko is a highly educated woman and very popular speaker who tries to appeal to everyone and ends up incorporating New Age and eastern religious beliefs with science into a kind of eclectic hodge-podge that exposes the faithful to non-Christian worldviews.

According to her website, she has a doctorate in Medical Sciences from the Harvard Medical School, where she completed post-doctoral training in cancer cell biology. After her father died of cancer, she found that her interest shifted from the disease to the person so she returned to Harvard an completed a second postdoctoral fellowship, studying under the famous Herbert Benson, M.D. (The Relaxation Response). She went on to complete a third post-doctoral fellowship in psychoneuroimmunology.

Gifted and truly knowledgeable, the biggest problem I see with her is that she tries to appeal to people of all backgrounds but offers little for followers of Christ. For instance, this page on her website lists many different kinds of meditation techniques, but none of them are Christian. They’re all eastern techniques such as mindfulness meditation and centering prayer.

Searching through dreams for insight, as if they contain some kind of special wisdom, is also not a Christian belief, but this is yet another subject she teaches.

Her publisher, Hay House, which is the top publisher of New Age material, claims Borysenko experienced “6 months of an alternate reality” at the age of 10 that changed the course of her life. “One day, while praying fervently for help, all fear and confusion parted to reveal a luminous reality of exquisite love, surpassing peace, and practical wisdom that guided her to an almost instantaneous recovery. Her journey to hell and back birthed a lifelong fascination with healing, the roots of consciousness, and the realm of Spirit. Weaving together biology, psychology, and spirituality in a credible, accessible way is her soul’s purpose.”

Her best-selling book, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind is described by reviewers as “New Agey” and based on the premise that the “mind can help heal the body.”

There’s just too much New Age mixed into Borysenko’s work. While I admire her intelligence and skill, my taste is for the true masters of contemplation – the great saints and doctors of the Church who have written so eloquently on this subject – and have achieved what every human heart longs for whether they realize it or not – union with our Creator.

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