The problem is that all religions are up to their tush in "chaos generators". If one studies the core of all religions, that attempt to steer one toward the Loving Divine that are functional, the problem is the mess that is created by the anti religious when those religions attempt to lead anybody toward the Loving Divine.
Satan is at work every single time.
I'm thinking that many a person on a spiritual path has no idea where they're going and what is particularly right for them. But a person may be drawn to a teacher or teaching that says that they are supposed to have such and such experiences, or this and that "state of consciousness" or goal is the one they should manifest.
But how do you know what is right for you? How do you know the exact experience you are supposed to be having?
Recently I have been learning the difference between the meta-approaches of east and west. The east seems to be about realizing one's ultimate identity transcending the self. The west is much more about the transformation of the self and living a fuller personal life in relation.
Here's a great quote from William Johnston's very fine book, Being in Love. Johnston also wrote a book on Christian Zen and was a Jesuit stationed for many years in Japan, where he became closely acquainted with Zen practice. I had the good fortune of meeting him years ago and even having him over for dinner at my home, where we spoke of kundalini, zen, enlightenment and many other topics.
What he calls the True Self here might be taken to be Enlightened Self. Notice how his theistic perspective keeps him pointed toward Transcendence.
Another good quote:
And yet another from Rusybroeck:
Yikes! It is very easy to become deluded about all this and to mistake the "natural" for the supernatural, and even to become attached to the former.
I believe the purpose of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit that we may be transfigured into a likeness of Christ.[See St Seraphim of Sarov, Russia] this does not mean a physical likeness but a likeness in how we relate to other people, with love and compassion, and with emptiness of 'self' St Seraphim experienced energies and the fire of love.
Hi Georgina. Welcome to the forum.
Thanks for bringing up that great quote posted earlier from William Johnston's book. Were you wanting to comment on this? Maybe check out the Help link under the Tools tab at the top section of the page for more info on how to post replies and do other interactions on the forum. It's not too complicated.
Derek this has been going on for a while. No reflection in mirrors sometimes, disappear in meditation ect. Spent 9 months in a deep peace. I was fueled by the deep desire of wanting to know how to love unconditionally.
I haven't experienced the perspective that neither I nor anyone else exists but an emptiness.
Bonnie Greenwell mentions this sense of peace
& later spontaneous love and compassion in the second to the last paragraph
So then the question for me becomes is this
emptiness, peace, love & compassion coming from God through the Self or from the Self itself.
I have to reread what Phil & others have written about this.
Probably most of this has already been discussed. I am very grateful for what you wrote about awakening(especially the disappearing). It has opened up so much information for me. Thanks again.
The deep peace is a belly-awakening.
Yes, that's the heart-awakening. That's a good article by Bonnie Greenwell.
After a head-awakening, these kinds of questions don't arise. They just won't occur to you any more. You'll be happy to rest with things as they are in the moment. You'll see that reality doesn't need your questions added to it to make it complete. It's okay to let it be as it is.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Derek:
"The deep peace is a belly-awakening."
"Yes, that's the heart-awakening. That's a good article by Bonnie Greenwell."
Derek this is so helpful to start to understand
what's going on. This spontaneous love and compassion is occurring now.
"After a head-awakening, these kinds of questions don't arise. They just won't occur to you any more. You'll be happy to rest with things as they are in the moment. You'll see that reality doesn't need your questions added to it to make it complete. It's okay to let it be as it is."
ok, thanks for that feedback.
If I'm relating to this correctly I can see where there is potential for conflict between Christianity & the process of Awakening. Unless I relate to this emptiness as resting in God.
I am already feeling better physically and mentally being able to sort some of this stuff out.
Mary Sue, I'm still not understanding why your experiences might be in conflict with Christianity. Christian faith is not a matter of affirming a certain kind of experience, but belief in what the Church teaches about God and Christ. These beliefs support our ongoing openness to God, and to doing God's will. Faith's believing and entrusting transcends all experiences. In fact, it "holds" and "molds" them in such manner as to deepen faith, hope and love. So, to my understanding, there's just no mystical experience that can invalidate Christian faith.
Even if Krishna shows up in my prayer, or I come to enlightenment states that resonate more with Buddhism than Teresa of Avila's writing, I am still a Christian. Why? Because I still believe that the revelation of God in Christ is decisive for the human race, and that my link to God in Christ is what saves my soul. I am a living cell in his Mystical Body. Therefore, I need to belong to a Christian community, be nourished by the Eucharist, pray, etc. Whatever experiences might come along in that context I therefore consider to be conducive to my growth in Christ.
I hope my comments above help to shed light on your inner struggle. As for the emptiness and collapse of a sense of I-Thou relationship with God -- yes, this is very commonly reported by Christian contemplatives. Sometimes it is a stage, sometimes permanent. Generally, one does find that there are times when one can still relate to God as "Other," and times when it is enough just to "be," setting the questions aside to simply rest in union. A good spiritual director could help to affirm and discern these kinds of experiences and issues. I hope you can find one.
"Christian faith is not a matter of affirming a certain kind of experience, but belief in what the Church teaches about God and Christ."
I am still building a relationship with the Church.
"As for the emptiness and collapse of a sense of I-Thou relationship with God -- yes, this is very commonly reported by Christian contemplatives. Sometimes it is a stage, sometimes permanent. Generally, one does find that there are times when one can still relate to God as "Other," and times when it is enough just to "be," setting the questions aside to simply rest in union"
Yes, I have been experiencing this fluxuation
in my relationship with God & was concerned about losing the I-Thou relationship with God
Do I have your permission to send your opening
& your last post of this thread to sister. I'd like to see what she says as far as her being able to offer spiritual direction.
Thank you for your comments. They are very helpful & appreciated.
Oh sure, Mary Sue. These posts are on a public board, so feel free to share them.
I might clarify that the focus of faith is God, and opening to God in trust. So it's not faith in the Church, but that the teachings of the Church point us toward God and help us understand who God is and what God expects of us. Sometimes people have a very narrow understanding of what the Church teaches, however, and imagine it's along the lines of what they hear from televangelists or their childhood Sunday school teacher. The teachings of the Church are quite rich and profound, however. Many others have gone before us and have shared of their experience and wisdom.
Greetings all (fron a new member of the forum).
I wonder if anyone is aware of Denys Turner's "The Darkness of God"?
Turner's thesis is that the medieval Christian mystics are not (as is commonly thought) speaking in experiential terms, but rather pointing to the opposite — that the Christian Mysteries are apophatic and non-experiential — The Cloud of Unknowing, for example, speaks for itself in its title.
Turner goes further: not only that the modern appropriation of these writers in support of this kind of experiential spirituality suspect, but that the idea of 'spirituality' or 'mysticism' as a practice distinct from the practice of religion, is something the mystics actually sought to critique!
There is a huge interest in 'spirituality' in the West, and one hears "I am spiritual, but not religious" has become a cliché. Such a notion would be utterly refuted by the medieval mystic, and is still largely unknown in the Orthodox world. (The practice of hesychasm in the Eastern Church is, they insist, not the same as quietism in the West.)
Although Catholic, I sought out Buddhist teachers to learn meditation, and although I have only dipped my toe in those waters, I am reminded of the advice to ignore all 'phenomena', and keep on with the practice.
Welcome to the forum, Thom.
I'm not familiar with Turner's book. Sounds interesting. I certainly agree with the point about the connection between spirituality and religion.
See http://shalomplace.org/eve/for.../18910625/m/76110806 for another discussion we have going on apophatic Christian spirituality.
I know what people mean by "non-experiential," but think that's not the best way to put things. There are mystical states that seem non-experiential in comparison with affective consolations and psychic experiences, but they are nontheless experiences of sorts, even if mostly pure awareness. Apophatic, to my understanding, refers more to unmediated experience, in comparison with kataphatic spirituality, which proceeds through the encounter with words, images, symbols, etc.
Hi Phil, thanks for the welcome.
Oh, I agree. I wasn't trying to play down anyone's experience – I've had my moments!
But, on looking at this thread again, I think you've said it succinctly:
Indeed. I think that's what I was trying to get to, such experience is not the point nor purpose of Christianity.
Thanks again for the welcome, and thanks for hosting this site. I think I'd better pop over to the lounge and declare myself!
Hi, Phil, I got the urge recently to re-watch your 1991 interview. As it happens, I then read a blog post where your interview seemed to be relevant. I thought you might like to see the blog post and my comment. It's here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpr...s-it-a-myth-or-real/ Also, to make it easier to hear what you're saying, I extracted the audio from the video and did a bit of clean-up on it. It is an 82 MB mp3 file. If you are interested, I could somehow get that to you.
Thanks, Derek. Poor guy had a time of it, for sure, but it sounds like a new integration eventually happened.
Thanks for offering a copy of the audio of my 1991 video, which I probably haven't listened to since 1992. I do have a copy of the video somewhere.
How are you these days? Things have slowed down here considerably. Seems people who want to discuss things have moved on to the new social media -- Facebook, Twitter etc. And yet there are more views per month on this forum than ever before, so I leave it up for whatever info people can benefit from.
I think the "Web 2.0" mentality of Facebook and Twitter has encouraged either very short postings or (more likely) just copy-and-pasting. That's one reason I was delighted to find Shanmugam's blog with its long and thoughtful pieces. Maybe Shalom Place preserves an era in Internet history that is now gone. As you say, someone somewhere must be finding some value from it.
I hope so, Derek. Almost 500,000 page views this past month. Some of them are bots from search engines, but over 90% are people browsing.
I've been somewhat active on Facebook with discussions on politics and spirituality. There's a lot of frivolous stuff there (including some of my posts ) but in a way it's something of a digital version of "the public square."
Twitter and Instagram have not interested me as much. I don't even have accounts for either.
Are you on Facebook? If so, send me a friend request. Same for anyone else reading this exchange.
I deleted my Facebook account some time ago. I don't remember exactly why now. I think it just struck me as an unhealthy way to pass the time.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Phil:
I hope so, Derek. Almost 500,000 page views this past month.
I for one am one of the 500,000 people browsing here on a daily basis. Although I havent posted here in a long long time, I still get so much from the various discussions. There are so many conversations on facebook etc on kundalini - some as flakey as hell - and others quite grounded, but it's always good to check in here to catch up on discussions around a topic dear to my soul Thank you Phil et al ......
Good to hear from you, Clare. Glad to know you're one of the anonymous viewers checking in.
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