Subscribe to "A Daily Spiritual Seed" eNewsletter.
Page 1 2 3 
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Introduction to this forum Login/Join
 
posted
There have been so many transformative experiences shared on this discussion board that I've finally opened a forum where they can be more easily discovered. I encourage anyone coming across such an experience in a thread on another forum to start a new one on this forum and share it. Please site the source thread with a link and include the person's login name with the post. You do not have to be that person to start the thread; their posting it on this board implies their willingness to have their experience known on this board by others.

I also receive many emails from people who share experiences and who have given permission for me to post them here. I haven't always done so; generally, I encourage them to come here and do so themselves. Some have not done so, however, so now I will share their stories for them.

Feel free to interact with these stories and storytellers. Some of the interaction might overlap with other forums, but that's OK. We can refer to relevant threads when appropriate. If you are prompted to share a transformative experience during the course of interacting with someone, please begin a new thread. The idea, here, is to help these stories become more accessible.

Because of the experiential emphasis, here, I've decided to require registration to start a New Topic. This only takes a minute, and one can use an anonymous public name if one prefers.

Enjoy . . .

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Williams
posted Hide Post
Hello, i would like too share my visions & dreams & experinces that i have had with the kundalini.Its through my dreaaming process that i experince & have vision.I have kept a dream journal since the ahe of {20} & now i am {58}yrs.old.The kundalini has been with me since childhood.But she caame to me back in1996, for she knew i knew nothing about her or of her.She came too me own her own.She cme as the cobra.She has taken me unto herself to teach me & guide me trhough my dreams.She is very gentle kind .pleasant, calm, caaring & protects me.I hver been aallowed to stand in her persence & have been head too head & eye too ey & face too fave, & nose too nose with her.She has never harmed me or made me afraid of her.She has love me.I had a horrible child hood of being abuse tormented, bestern & nelgected by parents & unlove & hated by fmily member since the day i was born.I have face death at that time as well.I think she has loved me from the begining.She is always in control & she has been all over my body as well.I would like too share my dreams & experinces with someone who would like too read them.I welcome their own insight & veiws as well.Hpein too hear from someone who would like too read my dreams & experinces i have had in my dreams.thnk you,Dona
 
Posts: 11 | Location: miriscoft outlook express5 | Registered: 17 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Dona, I think we all here would love to hear whatever dreams you wanted to convey. Me, I love the fact that I have (or have had) vivid dreams and I regret only that I don't live in a future century where one could go down to the local Best Buy and buy a Ronco Dream Recorder. 

My philosophy regarding dreams and their meaning/purpose has changed recently. I used to try to delve into them with a fine-toothed comb to try to understand what I thought was an important message they were trying to convey, but now I think that such a significant amount of any dream is beyond our comprehension that we can and will actually interrupt their value by trying to analyze them too much. I went through a period recently (and it's only been alleviated in the last four weeks) where almost every night for the past five years or so, perhaps longer, almost every night was chock full of intensive and vivid dreams. What I'm pretty sure now what was happening was not my subconscious trying to tell me something, but my subconscious was trying to fix what I consciously was ignoring or did not know how to address, or was afraid or unwilling to address. The subconscious was trying to compensate as best it could but it really isn't made to do the full work of our volitional selves. And when I started doing the volitional, conscious stuff I needed to be doing the intense dreams went away almost overnight.

Because you say you were a victim of abuse I would say that the first thing you need to do is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for being weak. Forgive yourself for being broken. And forgive yourself for doing what you have probably done to yourself long after the actual abuse happened: you probably picked up the patterns and habits of that abuse and are constantly dumping on yourself in small ways. Forgive yourself for that. And if you can't start by loving yourself (and admittedly this can be hard to do and sometimes too much to expect), then at least admit that you are worthy of sympathy, not scorn.

And then accept the fact that it is likely that a part of you is damaged forever. Accept that. It's a nasty truth but it's a truth nonetheless. But there's good news. Very good news. The part damaged is FAR smaller than we think. It only seems big because we spend so much time in that pain. We amplify it. But when we start getting back in touch with those good parts of ourselves (and make no mistake about it�we are good and have many, many good parts) then that small, damaged part starts loosing significance. It shrinks. It loses power. We find we can not only live with it but have not problem living with it whatsoever because the real us is still alive and well. And we also know that in some odd way that real self is strengthened by the abuse we underwent. We are far more compassionate than we would have been otherwise. We have a direct channel to amazing compassion (once we stop dumping on ourselves) because of our histories.

And if none of this fits your situation then perhaps it fits someone else's and they will benefit from these words. Perhaps you could start a thread in this section and begin talking about whatever it is you wanted to talk about. Good luck to you.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Williams
posted Hide Post
I will start sending in my dreams.They are waesome & beautiful.I belive in Karma & reincartion as well.Thank you for your reply& you can even email me at this address.dovewhite@bellsouth.net.Dona
 
Posts: 11 | Location: miriscoft outlook express5 | Registered: 17 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Williams
posted Hide Post
I will start sending in my dreams.They are waesome & beautiful.I belive in Karma & reincartion as well.Thank you for your reply& you can even email me at this address.dovewhite@bellsouth.net.Dona
 
Posts: 11 | Location: miriscoft outlook express5 | Registered: 17 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
I think karma is actually a quite logical concept. Surely many of the concepts of religion try to explain the same thing (god's love, etc.). Because there is no doubt at all in my mind that if one sort of puts out the love "vibes" that love will find you and be attracted to you. Even more powerful is putting out the love vibes without an expectation for return, but a deep thankfulness if something does, in fact, return. And surely there's nothing wrong with positive reinforcement. 

As far as reincarnation goes, who knows? People believe in all kinds of different concepts of an afterlife, and who's to say who is correct? But this is just me talkin', but I think the healthiest thing to do is to live this life and not be distracted by or dependent psychologically on other possible lives to come. That's the law of living in the present moment which is surely a wisdom held by many beliefs, philosophies and religions. If we sort of half-discard the lives we're living now for hopes of a better one then the end result, if you ask me, is that we usually end up making this one worse. And even if we *do* end up with a better life in the future, it won't be perfect, and it's likely that not having learned how to accept and live the one we have now is going to lead us to not appreciating that future life/heaven/world/whatever. We'll be left, again, wishing for the next one to come along.

Here's hoping that we can all be thankful for everything we have, no matter how little, no matter how painful it was to gain it.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
When asking for transformative experiences, do you mean mystical experiences, or does that include the more mundane kind that life throws us into? I must admit that my greatest transformations have come in the most mundane ways. I truly am a different person from who I was 15 years ago, but transformation has been very, very slow, laborious and unspectacular.
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Michigan | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Charis,

Hello, and welcome! Smiler

That is an excellent question.

"very, very, slow laborious and unspectacular."

This was added to the second edition of the basic text for alcoholics anonymous, since many people got the impression that recovery should happen in
a blinding flash.

http://www.12step.org/Big-Book-Appendix.html
(Spiritual Experience is about halfway down the page)

I believe that what you are talking about is the way it happens for nine out of ten people. Sometimes I get up and share my story and it seems
so dull and I cannot put it into words.

Anyway, what's changed in 15 years. Would like to know...

caritas,

spoonboy
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
[QUOTE]Originally posted by spoonboy:
[QB] Anyway, what's changed in 15 years. Would like to know...

QUOTE]

Oh my, you're asking for a book! I'll try to keep it brief. Fifteen years ago I was married with three teenage sons. I thought of myself as a failure, expendable, and someone who pretty much contaminated everything I touched. I was fearful, my life was consumed by trying to please people and live up to their expectations, especially my husband, and no matter how hard I tried, the end result was disappointment to other people, to myself, and most especially to God. I was becoming suicidal, believing that everyone in my life would be better off without me. The only thing that kept me from acting on that impulse was that I was aware of the impact parental suicide had on children, how it legitimized the ultimate act of violence against self and made it a viable option when life got tough. I didn't want that for my kids, so with great effort I resisted the urge, but I also knew that that rationale wouldn't be strong enough forever. I was on a path to self destruction.

I've been a believer in God and a lover of Jesus all my life, but that seemed to have little impact on my self-image or my self-destructive impulses. The thing that made the difference wasn't mystical experiences but primarily people. I've experienced Christ's love reaching out to me through people who have offered me the priceless gift of unconditional love -- sometimes comforting and supporting, sometimes rebuking and challenging, but always sacrificial on their part and always pointing me to Christ rather than trying to bind me to them. I think through them my dry "reservoir" of being loved and valued began to fill up, and I started to actually believe that I had some value to God, and that I had something to offer to humanity. My suicidal impulses subsided, and I started thinking more in terms of what I could give rather than how I could fill up what I needed.

Those were profound changes, but some of the biggest changes came through more difficult means. One of them came from working in a three-person office with a woman who absolutely despised me, and did everything in her power to undermine me in my job and in my friendships within the church (we were on the church staff together, I as secretary and she as a youth director). She launched an insidious gossip campaign that has damaged my reputation to this day (seven years later), never really coming out and saying anything directly damaging, but planting subtle seeds of mistrust. Through this ordeal, and with a lot of help from friends, I was challenged to continually choose the way of forgiveness. I was faced every day with the challenge not only to forgive, but to choose not to judge or to retaliate, or to sink into self-pity. It was literally boot camp in learning to "love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me," and by exercising the choice to forgive over and over, I have become a much more forgiving person. By exercising the choice not to judge, I have become much less judgmental, both of myself and of others. By exercising the choice not to allow myself the indulgence of self-pity, I have gained strength to accept responsibility, and I have become a more joyful person. By valuing myself enough to refuse to accept abuse, I have become someone who stands up for abused people who aren't yet able to stand up for themselves. This has been done in a crucible in which it was necessary to surrender to God because I was utterly unable to do any of it myself.

These are just a couple of the "transforming experiences" I have had, but most of the others are similar and have contributed to the ongoing, gradual changes. They have taught me primarily two things -- one, the infinite value of every human being, including myself; and two, God's greatness and my utter dependence on Him. It is only through prayer and surrender that I have been able to remain faithful (albeit very imperfectly).

I guess part of my questions is that from what I understand about mystical experiences, they can accomplish the kind of laborious transformation I have seen -- and much greater transformations -- virtually instantly. If I understand them correctly, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross as well as other mystics attest to the fact that a genuine direct mystical interaction with God createss instant, indellible changes in the soul that issues forth in the growth Christlikeness in the person receiving it. That may be a naive, simplistic understanding on my part, but I would love to grow in my understanding.

I think the thing that confuses me most is the desire I have to know God intimately. I do want to become like Christ, but even more than that, I want to KNOW him. I thoroughly belielve that through my experiences, not only of the last 15 years, but all of my life, He has been with me and in me. He has blessed me deeply with loving friendships and the experiences I needed to become more the person He intends for me to be. But I have come to the point (actually, I have been at this point for years now) that that isn't enough. I read a prayer once by St. John of the Cross that has become my prayer. Here it is: "I no longer want to just hear about you, beloved Lord, through messengers. I no longer want to hear doctrines about you, nor to have my emotions stirred by people speaking of you. I yearn for your presence. These messengers simply frustrate and grieve me, because they remind me of how distant I am from you. They reopen wounds in my heart, and they seem to delay your coming to me. From this day onwards please send me no more messengers, no more doctrines, because they cannot satisfy my overwhelming desire for you. I want to give myself completely to you. And I want you to give yourself completely to me. The love which you show in glimpses, reveal to me fully. The love which you convey through messengers, speak it to me directly. I sometimes think you are mocking me by hiding yourself from me. Come to me with the priceless jewewl of your love." I first prayed that prayer in May of 1999, and it has become the constant drumbeat of my life ever since. Actually, I think it has been the drumbeat that has been in the background of my life for as long as I can remember.

This has turned out much longer than I had hoped, but it is in essence the reason I registered at this site. It is my hope that through the experiences and wisdom of the people here that I can move closer to what St. John is talking about in that prayer.
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Michigan | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Hi Charis, I really enjoyed reading about your journey. I believe it is true that when He shares His Person with you He changes you... this has been my personal experience. We can only know Him by learning how to use our spirit to come before Him in faith... for me, centering prayer (Thomas Keating minus the oriental teachings), christian meditation (John Main, and using common sense), tongues (once I learned to slow down), and the book by Jeanne Guyon "Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ" have all been doorways to learn to how to open up to receive His Person and to know Him. In the end, it is really only the Holy Spirit who can teach you how to know Him, the Person of Jesus who lives in your spirit, and your willingness to receive His enablement to spend time alone with Him in queit every day... all the "techniques" are just ways to help you keep your scattered consciouness to focus on Him dwelling within. Keep on with the journey...

Caneman
 
Posts: 99 | Registered: 25 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
[Icon 1] posted November 05, 2007 08:04 AM


quote:


Oh my, you're asking for a book!

I read a prayer once by St. John of the Cross that has become my prayer. Here it is: "I no longer want to just hear about you, beloved Lord, through messengers. I no longer want to hear doctrines about you, nor to have my emotions stirred by people speaking of you. I yearn for your presence. These messengers simply frustrate and grieve me, because they remind me of how distant I am from you. They reopen wounds in my heart, and they seem to delay your coming to me. From this day onwards please send me no more messengers, no more doctrines, because they cannot satisfy my overwhelming desire for you. I want to give myself completely to you. And I want you to give yourself completely to me. The love which you show in glimpses, reveal to me fully. The love which you convey through messengers, speak it to me directly. I sometimes think you are mocking me by hiding yourself from me. Come to me with the priceless jewewl of your love." I first prayed that prayer in May of 1999, and it has become the constant drumbeat of my life ever since. Actually, I think it has been the drumbeat that has been in the background of my life for as long as I can remember.

This has turned out much longer than I had hoped, but it is in essence the reason I registered at this site. It is my hope that through the experiences and wisdom of the people here that I can move closer to what St. John is talking about in that prayer.
So, perhaps you were meant to come to the end of yourself, hear the voice of the different drumbeat
and become one of those people who runs across a prayer like that?

Thank you for sharing it, as it was new to my experience.

Most people don't seek God that way. I just asked my mother about meditation and she tells me that she needs something to do, so she digs around in the bible for something new, sort of a logos person, me mum.

OTOH, you are seeking that which John and Theresa
sought, more of a zoe person is Charis?

"It's always been there, driving you, like a spinter in your brain." -Morpheus, The Matrix

It's taken me nine years of pouring over the texts to learn that mostly what I get is a knowledge of texts, rather than what John and Theresa sought, so I am running around a similar track as me mum.

Now, I have a spinter in my brain plus alot of texts...

"Oh, my, you're asking for a book!"

Sure, one more wouldn't hurt. They're all different...

shalom,

spoonboy
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Caneman, thanks for your advice. I'm familiar with the writers you spoke about, and your advice echoes that of the few close friends I have shared my struggle with -- just relax and keep on keepin' on. Wise advice! I just keep thinking there has to be an answer somewhere, something I can do or learn that will break through this wall I feel like I'm up against.

Spoonboy, I think I'll pass on that book. It's been an interesting life to live, but it wouldn't be a very interesting read.
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Michigan | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of Katy
posted Hide Post
Charis, I love your story, and I love that prayer!! Thank you.

Katy
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Sarasota, Florida | Registered: 17 November 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<HeartPrayer>
posted
Dear Charis,

I just want to express my gratitude! Thank you for sharing so openly about your journey, your way in the midst of challenges.

God bless you -- and your Path.

Smiler HeartPrayer
 
Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Charis, I think the "good stuff" is what you describe -- the slow transformation effected through countless decisions to choose love and forgiveness instead of self-righteousness and revenge. Even people with profound mystical experiences have to do this; there's no such thing as "auto-pilot" in living a more spiritual life.

What I hear you longing for is a deeper relationship with God, and the best way to pursue that is through prayer. That's where the relationship deepens. I've composed a web page for the Diocese of Dodge City, KS that speaks to this. Check it out. Maybe there's something you'll find helpful.

Thank you for your generous sharing.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Thanks, everyone. And thanks Phil for the link. I agree that the only way for my relationship with God to deepen is through prayer. Faithful choices can only go so far. They can change behavior, but they can't change the heart, nor can they "earn" the gift of union with God. I've practiced lectio for a long time now. In fact, something very like lectio was my instinctive way of reading Scripture long before I had a name for it. For the past couple of years I have also been practicing centering prayer. But I know I'm not alone in saying that from time to time I need encouragement to continue my prayer practices. So thank you all for your encouragement. It is very helpful.
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Michigan | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Hi Charis... it seems like you are already disciplined in coming before the Lord with lectio and centering prayer... but are you saying that during these times you are not experiencing the presence of Jesus and getting to know Him this way? What do you experience during lecito and cp?

Phil - I liked your lectio diagram... do some aspect of lectio and when you sense Him giving you rest then go straight to Him.


Caneman
 
Posts: 99 | Registered: 25 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
It all stays pretty much in my head, if that makes sense. Almost like I am living from the eyebrows up. That's not to say that I don't "receive" from God. Often there are insights into Scripture, creation, life, even people, that I know don't come from my own limited understanding. They couldn't! Actually I have been told I'm gifted in "seeing" beneath the surface of things to the deeper meanings and realities. My issue is that it all seems impersonal. It is like "something" is there, but for me it lacks the quality of being "someone." Again, I accept by faith that it is "Someone" but it still feels like "something." AHHH!! I'm probably not making any sense at all!

I once read that St. Teresa of Avila said that the problem most people have with prayer is that they pray as though God were absent (I read that in a book by Gerald May). They pray as though they have to convince him to come to them by their eloquence, earnestness, holiness, sincereity or neeed, when all along God is right there, indwelling them, closer to them than their own breath. That understanding has helped because that's exactly how I tended to pray. But again, it stays in the understanding. I accept it by faith, but experiencing it is something that seems beyond reach as yet.

The last thing I want to do is to get off the path God has for me. If this is God's way of leading me to him, then that's what I choose -- and gladly! I just want to make sure that I'm not missing something that He intends for me. I don't want to "fix" something that's not "broken" or jump into something on my own that God wants to lead me to in His own chosen way.
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Michigan | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Thats makes a lot of sense what you are describing. I know that moving from the head to the heart takes time, and I don't want to come across as some super spiritual person at all that has all the answers, but I can relate to what you are saying. I know that with the Eastern Orthodox Church they talk about learning how to pray with the "mind in the heart"... this doesn't make sense until the Holy Spirit teaches you how to do it. But all I know is that I can only sense Him with my spirit and not from my mind... It starts just as you describe, that by faith you know something is there, that Someone is there... but it starts to build from there and He begins to share what He is like with you in your spirit... this is very hard for me to explain. I hope others jump in here to add to this, because I sense you are right at the doorway ready to walk in! I have always liked what Teresa has said about prayer: "The important thing is not to think much, but to love much."

Caneman
 
Posts: 99 | Registered: 25 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
One thing that came to me regarding Teresa is her teaching on active recollection. In her writings she talks about gathering together all of the faculties of your soul and focusing them on the indwelling Presence of Jesus who lives in your heart, at the very center of your being. She says this is the most expedient way to receive the beginnings of contemplative prayer from the Holy Spirit. Jeanne Guyon describes something similar when she explains how to look inward, she likens it to the how on a perspective drawing all of parts are focused inward toward the focal point, who for us during prayer is is the indwelling Lord Jesus. These two teachings have really helped in my times of prayer with Jesus, and I believe they are what the EOC is teaching about �praying with the mind in the heart�.

Caneman
 
Posts: 99 | Registered: 25 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Charis,

http://www.amazon.com/Daughter...uality/dp/0870612247

I have Father P. Marie Eugene's books and they are a labor of love and lifetime work of a genuine Carmelite who adores this saint. Recommended! Smiler

Have you read Evelyn Underhill's "Mysticism" yet?

Caneman,

Good stuff that Gerald May. Phil has a lectio diagram? Perhaps I have seen it and forgotten...

shalom,
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Thanks spoonboy and caneman. I really appreciate your responses. Thanks for the book suggestion, spoonboy. I've done a lot of reading on this topic, but I've never come across this one. Many years ago, the impetus that first drew me to this path was another book on the synthesis of St. John and St. Teresa, Fire Within by Thomas Dubay. I read it right after it was first published. It opened my eyes to things I never knew were possible, and my own "fire within" was ignited, so to speak.

Caneman, what you said about praying with "head in the heart" is intriguing and helpful. I am beginning to appreciate more than ever how much this gift of contemplation is utterly grace, and how helpless we are to create it. Believe me, if it could be created, I'd have done it by now!

I'm concerned that I have completely derailed this thread and made it about personal help for me, and that was never my intention. If this is an inappropriate way or place to interact in this way, please let me know!
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Michigan | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Charis:
[qb] I'm concerned that I have completely derailed this thread and made it about personal help for me, and that was never my intention. If this is an inappropriate way or place to interact in this way, please let me know! [/qb]
I don't think this is a concern at all... I really enjoy it when other people talk about their personal realtionship with Jesus Christ, I always learn something new and your sharing has been no exception! Please continue as you feel lead, hopefully it will bless you and I know it will bless others...

Caneman
 
Posts: 99 | Registered: 25 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by spoonboy:
[qb] Charis,

http://www.amazon.com/Daughter...uality/dp/0870612247

I have Father P. Marie Eugene's books and they are a labor of love and lifetime work of a genuine Carmelite who adores this saint. Recommended! Smiler
[/qb]
Thanks for the book recommendation, it is very good. It is very similar to Dubay's "Fire Within". I am indebted to these authors for summarizing the teachings of Teresa and John on prayer so that we have some kind of road map to follow. I appreciate their redux on the initial stages of supernatural prayer: simplified meditation, leading to aridity of senses, leading to passive recollection, leading to prayer of quiet... this gives us a road map so that we can see what is going on. I can only say I am at the very beginnings of this. I really believe that almost all folks in protestant churches become discouraged with prayer and having a personal spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ, and end up quitting prayer or clinching their teeth and "gutting it out" because they do not have this road map available to them. To me, this road map of the prayer life from Teresa and John is one of real treasures of the RCC.

Caneman
 
Posts: 99 | Registered: 25 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
posted Hide Post
Hi Caneman,

As a lifelong Presbyterian I have to agree that we protestants, and Presbyterians in particular, have focused far too much on the intellectual aspects of the faith and minimized the spiritual and mystical to our detriment. But that has changed dramatically. There is a deep hunger for not just "right knowledge" (as though there were such a thing) of God, but genuine, transforming experience of God. Many Presbyterians I know have been turning to the classical writers, including Sts. Teresa and John, the Desert Fathers and Mothers and many others, most (but not all) of whom come from the Roman Catholic Church. I have a great love for them all, and have been blessed by their insight, but I especially love Sts. Teresa and John, maybe because contemplative prayer, as they teach it, provides such a stark counterpoint to my intellectual Presbyterian upbringing. They themselves are highly intellectual, but I love how their way of prayer transcends the intellect.

I have nagging question about St. Teresa though. Both she and St. John consistently downplay the role of spiritual experience in prayer. In fact, they counsel their directees to ignore them as much as possible. But on the other hand, especially in Interior Castle, St. Teresa appears to lay out very specific experiences that she claims are normative for people who are experiencing deepening levels of contemplation, and, in addition, are indicative of the level (or "mansion") they are occupying. This sounds to my unenlightened mind like a contradiction. I'd deeply appreciate any insight anyone could share with me on this. It really is a stumbling block for me that I would love to get over, around and/or through!

As someone who has been pursuing a life of prayer for many years, and who has not experienced the kinds of things Teresa talks about, it can be discouraging. It is not that I am seeking experiences at all. But if these experiences are signposts along the way, then I feel like I must be on the wrong way, or if I am on the right one, then I am making absolutely no progress at all.

I don 't want to be one of those protestants Caneman talks about who drops the practice of prayer out of frustration and discouragement. I DESPERATELY don't want that! But if these experiences are indeed the signs of progress, then I am truly becoming very discouraged. The questions that plague me, and are indeed what drew me to this site in the first place are: Do I continue simply as a matter of will? Or do I seek another, more fruitful way of pursuing union with God? Or -- does another way that is faithful to the Christian faith even exist?
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Michigan | Registered: 31 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2 3