Hello Fred, so sorry to hear you are still struggling.
Reading your posts, and your "WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT", seems to be your theme in this life. We all have themes which we play out over and over again, with seemingly no relief.
I certainly did, until I stopped by just lying down, simply breathing ( no techniques ) and staying with my feelings. (BUT NEVER ALONE - ALWAYS WITH A COMPASSIONATE WITNESS ) My theme originated so far back, cognitive therapy would never have reached it, but by grace and staying in the painful place, I moved through my pain, and now live dynamically.
I pray the same for you Fred.
Ah, Clare, good to hear from you!
I was just troubled again by this post by Phil.
I have started this therapy (in fact more a kind of 'meditative acupuncture)and I feel it is quite intense.
I have had some exchange about it instead of actually feeling for myself what is good for me!
On the contrary I find this suggested exercice of putting my right hand on the heart and left hand on the abdomen quite relaxing.
I have to learn to listen inwards but this pain can be overwhelming!
Thanks anyway for the encouragement!
I was just troubled again by this post by Phil.
Sorry to have troubled you, Fred. I was responding more to this idea some were giving you that we have to "balance and harmonize our energies before Christ can be born in the mystic heart (second stone)." I think those kinds of quasi-gnostic teachings are very different from those of the Christian contemplative tradition.
You'd also mentioned a "daily exercise (2X 45 min.) of proper breathing deep down," which I understand to be 90 minutes a day of deliberate breathing exercise. That seems a lot to me, and I wonder how it's affecting your autonomic nervous system.
- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomic_nervous_system
Obviously, some people must benefit from these kinds of disciplines, but it's surely played hell with my physiology. I don't go near anything remotely resembling pranayama, holotropic breathing, or similar exercises as they just royally mess up my ANS, causing all sorts of pains in my body, increased heartrate, chi-bloating in the head and other areas, etc. All in all I find these activities to be willful, "self-fixing" behaviors. But, as I say, that's just me, and if it helps you and others in some way, that's great.
I'd understood you to be maybe wanting some feedback about what kinds of energy therapies might or might not be congruent with Christian spirituality, and there are some great links you've shared, especially those I've noted above. My "bottom-line" position here is that Christian faith and theology permits of a wide variety of interventions, but every individual must evaluate how it influences the relationship with Jesus as well as the practical outcomes experienced. Iow, does it help or not? Does it lead you away from Jesus or not? Does it make you more preoccupied with "fixing yourself" or not? It's too bad there are no acceptable spiritual directors in Belgium to help you sort this out, as these are important questions.
I agree with you. I have been reading parts of http://www.amazon.com/Into-Sil...lation/dp/0195307607
again. It is an excellent book on contemplative practice. Some time ago, I contacted a publishing house here in the Flandres because I wanted to translate it in Dutch. But this wasn't possible.
Quite interesting is his chapter on the body and the breath with quotes from the Philokalia.
Breathing (linked to Jesus prayer) has been much practised within the tradition. It is a bridge between matter and spirit or between the unconscious and conscious. It is used as a skill not as technique to gradually open oneself for God and contemplation which is of course a gift/grace.
I agree however that the accent in my therapy is probably more on own effort than on the grace of God. I thought it would help me to let go (which is where it is all about). Maybe my practice and understanding is the problem...
But relaxation for the body what surrender, letting go is for the spirit. In fact it is one and the same.
I have to talk this through with the therapist. maybe I have to stop this all together...
As I said and as Clare says, simply lying down in the midst of all this tension pain, with my right hand on the ehart and my left on the abdomen and stay with this or saying my loving Jesus word is 'the only necessary' for the moment. 'I have searched outside and you are in me' (Augustine). But maybe a 'witness' is necessary to go this process...
Good plan, Fred. I hope it goes well.
There are now several threads where you share your struggles and have received feedback, so please just continue adding to one of those to process with us rather than starting another one. When I have a little time, I'll do some pruning and editing to consolidate them.
Hi Fred - I too am sorry you are struggling.
What Clare has said about simply lying down and allowing the feelings to process is what has worked for me. Clare's comment about having a compassionate witness is also very sound advise. I have done much of my healing alone and this has made ( I believe) my healing longer and more difficult and dangerous. Of course the Holy Spirit has always been present and I have tried to picture/feel Christ's presence during the sessions! And there is nothing like a real compassionate, incarnational person next to you. Another tool that has helped me is to cognitively say to myself, " I am safe, here now today...these feelings cannot hurt me...I am an adult and have choices...the fear of blocking the deeper feelings are False Evidence Appearing Real"
Anyway, I hope this helps and does not add more confusion
Peace and All Good
That looks like a good book, Fred. Certainly OUP is a quality publisher.
You said in an earlier post:
Often inner work is a matter of feeling pain rather than trying to avoid the process by looking for a shortcut.
Clare mentioned that your posts often have a theme of "WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT?"
I see that, too.
Even your search for the right therapy has this theme of difficulty to it.
Hi all--Can anyone expand on the "compassionate witness" idea? Are you--Clare, Alan, others--referring to having a friend with you, or do you mean someone else, like a professional counselor or spiritual director?
When I was a young girl I was very reluctant to cry in front of anyone--I preferred to go off in private if I felt I might lose control of my emotions. I mean, I was willing to quietly cry with someone nearby, but not lose control with a completely wrenching, pouring my heart out like water on the ground sort of crying. Yet, when that sort of crying has happened in front of someone despite my effort to stop it, I wasn't really ashamed. I guess I was indeed comforted by a person's hand rubbing my back. I say "my back" since I feel I need to lie face down, sort of bleeding into the ground.
Still, are you people saying that either you never hesitate to cry like that with a friend, or you're not talking about that kind of "staying with your feelings"?
I ask because that sort of crying happens at odd times for me, and I don't see a way to always have someone around me during those periods. I agree with what I think Clare and Alan are saying--that being by myself at such times can make me feel so unspeakably alone, more alone than is real. Yet I don't see a way to avoid usually being alone during such moments--it happens, as I said, at different times; and at this point I don't believe any longer that it's pride or shame that keeps me from losing it when I'm with someone.
So, Clare, Alan, anyone--can you say more about what you mean?
The "compassionate witness" is a better term for what Alice Miller calls the "enlightened witness" in books such as The Body Never Lies:
Search Google Books: The Body Never Lies (highlight "enlightened witness")
It just means "someone who understands" -- someone who will be with you, insightfully and compassionately (as opposed to someone who will try to dismiss what you're feeling.)
The "compassionate witness" might be a professional therapist or might not be.
Derek: Thanks for the answer and thanks for the link.
Speaking of dismissing things...I'm sure this will sound pretty pathetic to some people, but, though I think it does a dis-service both to people and animals to anthropomorphize animals or use them to fill in where we need honest human relationships, nevertheless I believe God can use animals to reach out to us...sometimes God reaches us not only through human hands but paws and whiskery muzzles as well, I think. I'm saying this because, though a human friend is best, I can't always have a friend around. And some very sensitive or traumatized children will release emotions in front of animals that they won't show in the presence of people. These thoughts aren't new, of course, but what's more new to me is the observation that some specific animals appear to be gifted at responding to hurting people with what looks alot like compassion.
Sorry for going off topic here, but just yesterday a friend and I were talking about my horse Abide's kindness with teenagers--who can be pretty shut down with adults-- and I'm simply thanking God for His ability to use even "dumb beasts".
What do you mean, Phil. Do I have to go to another thread ?
In the meantime...
Yesterday and this morning: unbearable pain!
I received post that this breath therapy is all about lettig go and not willing or pushing anything...while it is so 'wordy'...
Again I come upon something now I have said ealier. This moring I prayed the rosary and inthe midst of all this pain AGAIN I found relaxation and rest.Is it a result of the repetitive character of the prayer or plain GRACE.
With all this talk about therapies, I wouldn't underestimate the power of the rosary and f.e.
a document as http://www.vatican.va/holy_fat...inis-mariae_en.htmlµ
It is such a strange thing! I have wandered around through all these therapies (waht a shopper!) and it seems as if nothing quite helps me. Many times I think that God is waiting for me to stop this searching work so that HE ALONE can heal me...
Any testimonies on the power of the rosary
Hi Fred and All - My experience has been that having a "sitter" i.e a compassionate witness is usually best AND I believe that when the feelings come up, go with them even if alone. I used the bathroom on numerous occasions at work to "have a process"! If the feeling work is interrupted, I trust that I will be presented with the time and space to "finish the work" later. The danger comes in after a particularly intense alone process. Prayer at this time is key...prayer for protection from evil/negative forces/energies that this type of deep healing/soul work can open up is important. And Fred I think you are on to something about what God desires. I too was quite the therapy shopper and have found that healing has happened when I am most vulnerable and at the end of my rope yet somehow very present to what was really happening to me.
If you can get your hands on Thomas Keating's Intimacy with God and look at chapter 8 the psychology of Centering Prayer you might find it fruitful. Click http://deepwellnessworks.com/stressprocessing.aspx for a brief video summary of some of the themes in Chapter 8.
Again take what fits and leave the rest.
Dear Alan et al.
Very thoughtful and helpul post!
1. I have this 'sitter' in the person of a girl friend who is not as 'intellectually' directed as myself (good thing!) and who 'assists' me with much compassion
2. And yes, I think I am up to something about what Gods desires. Whe I think of the rosary these days I sense some sweetness. I am most vunerable and high sensitive (this world and all that noise seems to me so crazy these days) and at the end of what we say 'latin'. But I have more 'courage' to stay with all this...
3. I have read very much of TK. I have this impression that I am more a devotional (I am a painter and so I have a lot with images, pictures, symbols...but not in a sentimental way, more minimalistic) than an apophatic type.
I have thought for far too long that the latter is 'higher' than the former, but this is not true. The two have to be kept in balance...
I especially like the rosary because of the warmth, the intimacy really, the deep rootedenss in Scripture and the simplicity leading towards contemplation...
Dear Fred: I think it's grace. I have been greatly helped by God working through people, so I don't want to diminish the value of searching and reading, but in the end the work-the finding of the lost sheep--still is the job of the Good Shepherd.
Here are some passages I've been remembering lately:
Isaiah 30:18-21--"The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"
Jeremiah 6:14,16--"They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace...
This is what the Lord says:
'Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is and walk in it
and you will find rest for your souls.'"
I know it doesn't seem as though Isaiah's words are true: "As soon as He hears He will answer you." He seems pretty slow to answer at times, does He not? But here is Psalm 131:2--
"I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore."
Edit: Fred, I see we cross posted. I think the simple ideas in your last post sound good.
Yes, thank you...
Believe me, I know what this 'water of affliction' is and the Psalmist's cry about 'the waters rising' but it is still more of a dry land, a desert with having a compass.
D. Hammarskjöld said something like that we don't choose the path but quite the reverse...
And this wonderful Ps. 131 (read everything, it is pointing right to me!), how many times did I pray it?
I don't know whether you read that I am a member of a lay community of 'hermits' (sort of) 'the Laura of abbot Poimen', initiated by http://monasticdialog.com/search/index.php a great and erudite scholar and monk. Frequently we come together and then we practice the Psalms or lectio divina or the liturgy of the hours or the Jesus prayer but what I most like the rosary, I don't find there...
Where is your place?
PS Maybe I'll stop this breath thing; it is expensive, far away from home, long term and intense work with the accent on own exercice (where is grace?)... Please pray about it.
PS Maybe I'll stop this breath thing; it is expensive, far away from home, long term and intense work with the accent on own exercice (where is grace?)... Please pray about it.
A few nights ago, while reading "In Silence, Why we pray", by Donald Spots, I thought of you and wondered if I should add to the conversation with a quote from the book.
I decided not to write you that night, because I didn't want to come across as; this is what you need to hear, also, I don't know a thing about this man, other than what the author wrote.
Looking today at the website you shared with Ariel, I see that you might be familiar with this person, so maybe it wont seem odd to you if I add this.
Please know that I don't have a motive in sharing, I hardly know what to do with my struggles. As I said earlier, when I read this, I thought of you and wondered if perhaps it might be helpful.
"A noteworthy French Catholic named Henri Le Saux adopted a Hindu monastic lifestyle without abandoning Catholicism. He died in 1973,after spending the last twenty-five years in India, where he assumed the more elaborate name Abhishiktananda, under which his writings were published."
"We do not, he said, first think of the air around us and then draw breath: we breathe to order to stay alive. So it is with the devine Presence, which is still more essentail to our life and to our very being than is the air to our bodies."
My prayers are with you Fred. Gail
Firstly may I clarify something..... Fred mentions “ as Clare says, simply lying down in the midst of all this tension pain, with my right hand on the heart and my left on the abdomen and stay with this or saying my loving Jesus word is 'the only necessary' for the moment. .....
Fred, I need to confirm that I never use techniques, such as putting my hand here or there, or using mantras, or saying my loving Jesus word....or whatever. For me, God’s presence is here, that is a given for me. So no need to start using language. or placing hands here or there. I just lie down and simply be who I am in the moment, If I feel crap then I feel crap if I feel sad, I feel sad, if I feel like raging, then I rage, if I feel like sobbing, then I will sob, but the most important thing for me, is to stay with it long enough to deeply connect with it’s origins. . And I totally agree with Alan when he says “ I have done much of my healing alone and this has made ( I believe) my healing longer and more difficult and dangerous. Doing this alone, just prolongs our agony.
Yes, enlightened witness comes from Alice Miller. Thanks Derek. Someone who wears the T shirt works best for me; someone who has NO agenda for me, but who can be a safe container for me when I need to be ME.
I have had spiritual directors in the past, who were unable to be with me in my pain, and tried to make ‘it better’, saying things like “have you prayed about this” or brought it to God” when I needed space to be me. (Later when I make connections then I can bring it to God ) Same goes for some counsellors. So for me one doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘qualified’ as a psychotherapist or a spiritual director to be a compassionate or enlightened witness but it can be a extra bonus when they are, but I will look for the T shirt first, not the academic qualifications.
Thank you Fred Aerial, Derek, Alan, Phi Gail et al.
And speaking of the topic A christian Understanding of Energy Systems, and noticing the dynamics of this conversation around Fred’s quote WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT FOR ME., and more, I wonder, perhaps are we getting caught up in the energy of Fred's life script, by being God’s little helpers; Just an observation.
Thanks, Clare, Derek, Alan, for the clarification of the compassionate witness idea. And thanks, too, Phil, Gail, and Fred for your contributions to this wandering thread--it's all been helpful to me.
What to say???
Some of you won't like to hear this, but since I am such a restless seeker I have made it myself very difficult again...
Christian friends of mine presently swear by http://www.apparitionsites.com...ie-paule-giguere.htm
They even have a sun who entered into this Army of Mary last year.I have had some discussions about this QUITERNITY and
then, amazingly, I came across:
http://www.innerexplorations.com/jctext/quin.htm on Jim Arraj's site (my condolences to Phil a.o.!!).
From this came something else. I had read a book about gnosticism in 1990 http://www.amazon.com/gnostisc...deling/dp/9024252121 This catholic author is very critical about gnosticism in all it's forms. It is a quite deep study in which also Jung is rejected because of his teachings.
Now, through having heard of visionaries such as http://www.valtorta.org/
A. K. Emmerick, L. Piccaretta, A. von Speyr, M. de Agreda, Marie- Paule a.o.and a text by this Marie-Paule, in which the term 'receptacle' is used many times, I came upon the visionary Swedenborg who is also considered like Boehme as heterodox and who makes also use of this term 'receptacle'. Now this is imo neoplatonicism! Why? Well, the 'Immaculate Conception' (the Army of Mary says) is a sort of eternal being (archetype of energy or attribute... of God?) that incarnated in Mother Mary. Now http://www.de-vrouwe.net/ would be this Marie-Paule who has a hypostatic union with Mother Mary (development of doctrine see St. Conchita, where Jesus for the first time uses this word of hypostatic union!)!!
Therefore: QUINTERNITY (Father, Son, Spirit, mary, MP)???
Not far from Jehovah's Witnesses?
On the other hand, also jung and Boehme and Swedenborg a.o. speak of a new (Johannine?) non-patriarchal Church and it is quite paradoxally that a movement that is ultra conservative turns up as maybe esoteric or gnostic (?).
I had contacts with a Swedenborgian theistic psychologist (whaw) and this talk!!!
Now in contrast with all speculations, this great story: http://books.google.be/books?i...v=onepage&q=&f=false
It is a strange thing however that I always get entangled in this stuff...and then this pain tells me again... STOP IT!!!
Thomas à Kempis: chapter 25!!!
I am considering to stop also this breath therapy (meditative acupuncture').
It is expensive, far from home and as Phil said quasi gnostic (much emphasis on own efforts, almost not on grace). I also feel it doesn't bring me closer to Christ.
I have been reading before on this crucial question of surrender/abandonment to the divine Will in the present moment in the lives of de Liguori, de Caussade, John of the Cross, F. of Sales, T. of Lisieux, L. Piccaretta and many many others and it is coming really home to me that I probably don't have to go ANYWHERE anymore after all my restless searching work for years, but just sit at the feet of the Master (Singh).
On the other hand, with all my pain, it is a difficult step to just trust in the Lord further on and I am still wondering what the relation is of this surrender to the Divine Will (the sacrament of the present moment), even in the midst of the greatest tribulations and pains and the Divine Will to heal people or any possible need for therapy and what the most healthy attitude is in these matters?
So I wish to radically simplify things, but it is so difficult.
I have this deep tendency of not being able to see that it is not either/or but both/and!
When I read Christian visionaries (A. K. Emmerick, L. Piccaretta, A. von Speyr, M. de Agreda, M. Valtorta... or meet simple people that I know, they don't bother about psychology, therapies, Jung or whatever...They just look at the Master for everything.
Some of you probably won't like this but here is a message of the controversial visionary John Leary.
By your story I would say that you definitely have investigated all kinds of religions and therapies. Our Lord told me not to be 'curious' as is posed in Chapter 24 in 'My Imitations of Christ' by Thomas a Kempis. It is enough to have Jesus in your Christian faith with his sacraments and our daily prayers with the rosary. Jesus has promised us eternal life for all those who eat His Body and drink His Blood. We do not have to go to other religions or New Age because these things will mislead you into the devil's traps. Truly Our Lord said that we need to be like little children in our innocence in coming to Jesus.
Everyone has a different level in their prayer life, but Jesus is the only One who can bring peace to your soul. You know in your Christian faith that Jesus is the only One to worship, so be content with being close to Jesus at Mass and visits to His Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Call on Jesus to discern your mission in life and He and His Blessed Mother will help you. Following Jesus in imitating His life is the best direction for anyone's life on this earth. God bless you.
I have said before that many spiritual writers of today speak another language than earlier fathers. Compare this awesome http://www.ccel.org/ccel/suso/wisdom.html with , say, something of R. Rohr!
Where is the humility? Where is the adoration of Christ and our NOTHINGNESS? No, it has been reduced to some kind of Holy Therapy!
PS This Swedenborgian wrote me that suffering isn't necessary! Fine to hear! Hm...
- - -
Some time ago i coudk download for free the book by father Keating 'Intimacy with God'. I don't find it anymore. Can someone help me?
Fred, why do you even bother with these matters? The essay by Arraj notes that the source is probably archetypal rather than authentic visions. Any visions purporting to update the Church's solemn dogma on the Trinity in favor of Quaternity or Quinternity is bound to be rejected, so I'm not seeing the point in spending much time with that sort of stuff.
Sure, there are teachers who say you don't need counselors and all you need is Jesus. My sense is that they don't hold to this principle when they have a toothache, however, and that they don't especially care if their dentist is a Christian. I wonder why they object so strenuously to people getting help for their "emotional toothaches?"
Here are some general principles for sorting things out re. therapies and faith:
1. Does the therapy work; i.e, does it bring some kind of resolution of the problem and deeper integration? Granted, this might take some time to sort out, as sometimes it might seem we're getting worse before better.
2. Does the therapy seem to help us draw closer to God or not? (We might ask the same of spiritual disciplines in general.)
Here are a few possibilities, then:
A. 1 yes, 2 yes. That's the best-case scenario. Stick with the program until it's time to move on.
B. 1 yes, 2 neutral. E.g., getting a root canal from an agnostic dentist generally helps, but doesn't impact faith one way or another. Same goes with a lot of psychotherapeutic approaches and even energy therapies.
C. 1 yes, 2 no. That could be problemmatic, but it might also be that the therapy is forcing a necessary re-imaging of how God works in one's life. So one needs to discern what's going on.
D. 1 neutral, 2 neutral. After awhile, one must ask if there's any need to continue paying money for nothing. Again, this is provided that we give certain therapies time to do have an impact.
E. 1 no, 2 neutral. Same as above.
F. 1 no, 2 no. Don't bother with it. Do something else, beginning with restoration of relationship with God.
- - -
Exploring those possibilities would be ideal in spiritual direction, but if that's not available, one should be able to get a sense of it through journaling or other means of self-reflection and evaluation.
Hope this helps,
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