Use this thread to recommend books, web sites, and other resources that you've found helpful for supporting the practice of contemplative spirituality.
Note that you can use the URL button to help form clickable links to web sites.
Here are a few good books that I have about contemplative, simple living: "Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics", by Marsha Sinetar, "Simplify Your Life", by Elaine St.James, "The Way of Holiness-A Guide to Living with Spiritual Discipline", by Robt. Van de Weyer
The only one of those I am familiar with is Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics, as this gave me "permission" to pursue the path. I first read it about ten years ago and again about 5 years back.
As I recall, she placed an ad in the L.A. times requesting a response from anyone who led a simple lifestyle, focusing on spirituality and compassion and service to others. The book grew out of the replies. A very creative way to do a master's thesis I hope for more books like this and thank you for reminding me.
Wilber is still a bit over my head. So far I've read
A Brief History of Everything and am now into The Simple Feeling of Being, which is a compilation of his other works. Thomas Keating seems to like him alot. Worth looking into, methinks
I mostly like Ken Wilber's integral approach and highly recommend it. Christians will need to do a bit of theological tweaking, but all in all, he pulls a lot together in a very constructive way, imo.
I was just reading some things about Ken Wilber on the net yesterday.. mostly over my head, too! Also I was thinking he was too "new age" ???
MM, glad you read and liked the "Ordinary People As Monks and Mystics" book.
Wow, MM, I went to that first web site.. lots of very interesting information. Right up my alley!
I better wait to read it tho. I have information overload the way it is!
"The Way of Pilgrim", the anonymous Russian work on the Prayer of the Heart.
I loved this book too, HeartPrayer, but found the Prayer of the Heart opened me up to some very strong energies and connected me with outside forces which were pretty overwhelming. I would be interested in your own experiences of the prayer. I do have a fondness for it, although I don't pray it anymore.
Your comment interests me Stephen. Do you mean that this historically Christian prayer had detrimental/demonic influence in your life, or does your reference to strong energies and outside forces being overwhelming simply mean overwhelming but not evil? Sorry, but I did not find it obvious through your comment. Hope you don't mind sharing.
I'm just gonna come right out and tell it like it is and people can either believe or disbelieve.
I prayed the Jesus prayer for about 6 months and really enjoyed it. I felt open, free, a power of energy flowing through me. Then it started to stir up a lot of Kundalini and this had a sexual focus. The sexual energy was very strong and bubbled up whenever I was near a woman, and sometimes when I was not so near.
I started to dream of a woman who said the prayer. I got to know her name and everything and one or two facts about her life. I dreamt she tried to lay hands on me but I resisted. Her energy was very powerful but was filled with ill intent. Once or twice I was aware of her presence in my waking life but still I continued to say the prayer. Different channels seemed to be opening up to other people, psychics and tantrics etc and I tried to fight them off using the prayer but it only intensified the energy. I came under attack from the initial Jesus prayer woman and found myself in a bit of a state. The only way I could hold things together was by singing spiritual songs. This seemed to work. I was very disappointed by all this because I loved the Jesus prayer and had to stop saying it. Since then my contact with these people has diminished and I have been relatively sound in body and mind.
It's my opinion that certain types of prayer, especially mantra prayer, carry their own vibration which draws or repels energy according to unknown principles. The energy isn't necessarily that of the Holy Spirit but of the people who have practised the prayer over the years. Why I was drawn to this woman and not some super holy monk on Mt Athos, I don't know. Must be something to do with my sin. The idea that someone with nasty intent should practise the Jesus prayer so powerfully fills me with dread and wonder.
I find this notion of prayer carrying the vibration of the practitioners to be true of other types of spiritual work, especially laying on of hands, where the energy of the healer, and the whole church experience he is involved in, is passed on through his hands.
This is only my experience and I'm sure the Jesus prayer has been a great blessing to many others. As I say, I love the whole Mt Athos/ hesychast trip but find it all too powerful for my own feeble frame.
Stephen, I agree that some forms of prayer can wear down the barriers between conscious and unconscious levels of our being, thus intensifying energy. That's why I always recommend that a formal discipline of prayer be undertaken in the context of lectio divina, which helps to facilitate integration between conscious and unconscious energies. Praying in tongues also seems to be helpful.
Re. the example you give of the woman . . . you haven't really indicated diabolical phenomena, imo. Whenever the unconscious is stirred, archetypal dynamics become especially activated, projecting out in all directions to resonate with aspects of external reality. See http://www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/anima.html for an explanation of how this works with contra-sexual energies. It's amazing how these projections actually do go out beyond the range of our ordinary ego awareness to "hook" into people we don't even know and haven't even met. When we see them, we "recognize" them, however, and are drawn to them. To what extent other entities like demons might be involved in dynamics such as you describe is another matter, and not too easily discerned. I'm not denying the possibility in your case, but I can tell you that an archetypal "witch queen" dwells within just as surely as in any astral realm. Learning to integrate the energies she communicates so that this relationship with one's "inner woman" becomes more benign is challenging indeed!
Very interesting, Phil.
I don't discern any demonic involvement with the Jesus prayer woman, just an ill will that springs directly from her; with other "communicants", yes, there have been definite demonic entities involved.
I find the archetypal dynamics you mention very interesting and don't doubt that these projections do reach out and "hook" in to external reality. In all honesty, however, I don't discern anything like the "witch queen" you mention. Ever since my initial Kundalini awakening 12 years ago now and my subsequent invovement in new age spirituality, my problem has been hooking in and linking up with energies belonging to external human sources like healers, psychics, occultists etc. There has been too much shared information, too many facts, figures, curious coincidences pertaining to my "other halves" (by which I mean the healers, occultists etc, and now the Jesus prayer woman) for these to be manifestations of the darker elements of my own psyche or expressions of a collective unconscious. These linkages don't necessarily involve demons, in some cases they do, but they do very often lead to telepathic sensitivity to the other, frequent psychic attack, or some sort of connection where sexual energy is shared, none of which I want or am interested in as a Christian. My sensitivity and awareness of the "other", whether pleasant or unpleasant, is very heightened.
I will bare in mind the archetypal explanations you offer but really can't see past my own understanding of this. Indeed, I have had experience of archetypes before where I discerned and felt the presence of a Purple Woman whom I associated with unconscious sexual energy, and what I think of as personal archetypes, where I am aware of aspects of my unconscious expressing themselves as people from my past, in particular representing the Fool and the Wise Man, but these differ quite radically from the connections that are made with the external human contacts like the Jesus prayer woman.
Love those Russians!
I don't know if it's the full moon or what, but I have a lot of sexual energies coming up. An old girlfreind wants to go to Starbucks and a recently married woman was "running energy" with me in a group.
Love those females!
P.S. I could probably use some prayer, if anyone feels so inclined. Thanks! -mm
Those are incredibly penetrating and lucid observations, Phil.
Stephen, thanks for sharing your experience!
I don�t think Phil is suggesting that what you�ve experienced are "manifestations of the darker elements of your own psyche". However, the Prayer and other meditation practices can erase all sorts of boundaries � within us, and without. That can trigger some very "different" experiences.
Specifically, it may weaken our inner filtering/structuring mechanism that upholds the Consensus Reality into which all of us, by consequence of our upbringing, have been initiated. That may bring is closer to Reality (for the world is not as we perceive), but it can be too overwhelming.
All of this can be a real challenge � and in fact a danger � hence the need for a Spiritual Guide, or precautions such as those mentioned by Phil.
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