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Addendum 3...more on unusual experiences in deep prayer...(#11)

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  and a bit of a meander as to where things went wrong with institutional Christianity leading to "the culture wars".... Firstly, without attempting to frighten away seekers, it is a known fact that in deep concentration/prayer/"meditation", the practitioner can experience some unusual things, as already mentioned. Whether one wishes to ascribe them to the "subconscious", or demonic influence, or divine intervention (always risky), the fact remains that strange things can happen, with those who are of long time, and disciplined, practice reporting any number of highly unusual things.  Martial artists of Eastern practice are known to achieve some amazing feats through their strength of concentration, while other people have had assorted sensations, or abilities to know things they should not know, whether separated by only distance or even time, and also run of the mill visions/hallucinations or sudden solving of complex problems, or any number of assorted

Addendum 2...the "culture wars"...(#10)

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  A somewhat dated musing as this writer currently endures yet again another hyperactive, frenetic, angst and anger-ridden election season where each and every candidate and party promises salvation if we vote for them, and damnation if we do not, them believed with religious fervor by their fan clubs. Likewise we are promised utopia if particular religious institution factions are in power, and damnation if they are not, believed with political fervor by their fan clubs. Where even religion has become only politics with same mass media campaigns and propaganda, pundits on the internet spewing from left and right, and treated as if it a football game, helped along by religious news sources also covering deeply spiritual matters such as movie reviews....and all so very tiresome. Imagine if all that energy were put into a loving union with God, and all that money used to spread the word. It is simply mind numbing to see just how much is wasted on the silliest things. Our first responsibi

Addendum....fixing everything....(#9)

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  The modern phrase might be "root cause analysis" or "peeling back the layers of the onion" or simply "what went wrong".... no matter the expression, same as in the New Testament scriptural story of Jesus, Mary and Martha, all the human problems in the world are due to humans not doing "the best part" of Mary in uniting themselves totally in love to God, where nothing else truly matters past that loving contemplative gaze and union, which then in-forms everything else. Looking for a reason for the collapse of marriage? Where the purpose of marriage is that of two souls devoting themselves totally to doing what is best for each other (union with God always first on that list) and always putting self last, united in their search for, and union with, God, where the marriage physical union, same as the love between Father and Son eternally begetting the love-personified  Holy Spirit, results in new life and love to share, and where they devote thems

The Last Post, Hurrah! Starting with closing comments....(#8)

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  and proceeding from there, naturally... Again, this blog is simply being put out there (wherever "there" is) as food for thought on the validity/necessity of the contemplative prayer experience, and to provide a few resources for its practice. You may, and can, bulk out these resources near endlessly, but truly the resouces listed provide nearly all which is needed. There is the nice compact overview in "Common Mystic Prayer", the very concise and relatively short beginners-to-adept instructional work of "The Cloud Of Unknowing/Book Of Privy Counselling", and the incredibly detailed "Sancta Sophia/Holy Wisdom" which should handle any difficulties/sticking points encountered along the way. There are certainly other/numerous extremely fine works. Only recall that one never meets God by reading about it. Finding and experiencing God is not an intellectual pursuit, but rather, one of the "heart". One only does by doing, and you will never

Belief in God is scientific, East meets West, and....(#7)

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the meaning and nature of all things...or maybe not this last thing....where this author bites off more than he can chew in this next post or two, while savaging the modern idea of technology/science as Savior and Dispenser Of All Knowledge in showing it is actually quite silly, and while mentioning a book or two on Eastern mysticism/meditation and nature-of-reality world view, there being far more of that type thing out there than any such easily obtained regarding Western mysticism. The primary emphasis will be on Japanese Zen/Chinese Chan (Ch'an) Buddhism, them the most concise and bare bones expression of Buddhism without the stifling overlay of popular piety/superstition/practices of the majority, which same could be said for all the multifaceted splinters of Christianity. Historically, Buddhism began in the sub-continent we know as India, came to dominate there, and then spread to China at about the time of Jesus, and from there spread to Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.. No slig

The Whole Tamale...(#6)

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  which is an apt description of this final cited instructional work, it likely THE finest one volume work written in English upon the subject of the spiritual life and practice thereof. It is exhaustive, exhausting, and most definitely not for everybody, unless reading the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence is something you do for light entertainment at breakfast. It is written in English, but composed by a man who went to his reward in 1641, his name is Father Augustin Baker O.S.B. (Benedictine), his credentials being he was the spiritual director of a large Benedictine abbey of nuns. He never exactly wrote a book, but the nuns were so enthused as to his teaching that, after his death and with the aid of another priest who was well acquainted with Father Baker, all Father Baker's papers and notes from which he taught were assembled into a book.  The book itself was received with wild acclaim by English Benedictine monasteries, and remained a staple of spiritual instr

Sources, sources, sources....(#5)

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  "and about time", any reader may justifiably be saying... As said earlier, all which came before can be skipped if only the reader finds this post and reads the few suggested following works. All which preceeded (past any polemical ranting of mine) was only an attempt to prepare the reader for the following works. There still is a bit of definition of terms which may be helpful for those readers from modern protestant backgrounds, as all these sources are old sources, the main one from before there ever was any such thing as protestantism, nor were there anything but Eastern and Western Churches, and even that division something fairly recent to that writer, and that division purely over papal supremecy and theological hair-splitting over ONE word in the Creed. To repeat from earlier, "meditation" or "mental prayer" in these writings will mean those operations of self and intellect, whereas the modern popular use of the word "meditation" has co

Nuts and bolts of mystic/contemplative prayer, versus...(#4)

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 "normal" prayer. And which really is misleading, as each blends seamlessly with the other. There are active lives and there are contemplative lives, with infinite shades between them. The same goes for active prayer and contemplative mystic prayer. But, in a nutshell, active prayer ("normal" as most understand the word "prayer) is an action undertaken by the self and uses the intellect. Catholics would say there is mental/meditation prayer as opposed to contemplative prayer. In active prayer, there is a self who performs actions, an intellect which ruminates over meanings and feelings, or dutifully recites rote prayers or readings while reflecting upon their personal import, and reflects upon what God might mean or want us to know. If you think about it, it is rather hard to know what anybody at all wants, if you do not know them at all.  Contemplative/mystic prayer is the seeking of a direct experience of God without use of the discursive intellect. As said e

"So, what's so Christian about all this? After all....(#3)

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  you've hardly mentioned Jesus, the Christ?" A fair enough question, but this little blog is only a message in a bottle cast upon an electronic sea, in the hopes of aiding other seekers, and meant to be neither an exhaustive treatment of various methods of truly encountering the living God, nor is it a theological treatise. I will simply state the obvious. God created creation, to include us, so that God could lavish his love upon it and us, and it and us return that love and share it into all eternity. Our first parents failed in this simple thing, and we, their children, have continued the same broken and rough path ever since. God went out of his way to encounter us in his chosen people, and was generally ignored and rebuffed again and again, but still God reached out, providing sure stepping stones back to God, his laws and ordinances, if only the advice were taken....cue yawns and derisive laughter from most of humanity. As Christians, we believe there was one final, and

What orthodox Mysticism is, and is not.....(#2)

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Going back to the prior post comment as to magic and manipulation, let me be clear that authentic, orthodox, true mystic prayer is not some form of conjuring, where all one needs do is follow some formula/spell/method and TAH!DAH!, that you will experience God and know all the answers. Keep in mind we are talking here of God....all powerful and beyond space and time. Time and space, and all things, and all possibilities, exist within God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being. We, all alone, are helpless before God, who comes and goes as God wills, and who operates for our eternal betterment, on our loving God's schedule, and not ours.  This is a cautionary and most serious statement of concept, that we can NOT manipulate God, that we are NOT in charge, where our only power is to seek to return his unbounded love, and that even that ability comes directly from God, and that we must beg constantly for that meager ability to never utterly fail, although you surely will have y

Mystic Prayer....what is it, and why do we need it? (#1)

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 The simple answer to the latter question of the title is that this is what we are created for, and to do. All human conflict arises from us not doing this very thing, as we go against our very nature and break ourselves and others, often irretrievably. It could be fairly said that the turmoil in the various churches, social structures, the institution of marriage, stewardship of resources, questioning of Commandments, any manner of greed and evil to include crime and war, etc etc etc, are all due to a failure to do this one most important thing. As to what this thing is, mystic means hidden...if you think it means magic, or manipulation by any other name, you are already in danger of starting down a dark path leading to utter brokeness and loneliness for eternity. More specifically for the seeker, it is the positive experience of meeting and knowing God in one's depths. It is the hidden union of self with God with bonds of love, and the annihilation of self IN God, who IS Love. Al