Contemplation, the Demonic, the Shadow, and Original Sin

Consider these two quotations, found after only the briefest of Google searches. The quotes are verbatim, but the emphasis has been added: And I know that Scientology, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, and even some strands of “Christianity” offer techniques for you to control your mind: auditing, “mind exercises”, contemplative prayer, meditation, chanting, yoga, etc. What you are actually doing with these is giving full control over your mind to evil spirits that allow you to THINK that you are in c … [Read more...]

The meaning and purpose (and types) of prayer

A reader named Steven responded to my Wasting Time with God post by writing, in part: Carl, the terms "prayer," "contemplation," "meditation,"  "non-discursive contemplation," have been used in this conversation. I would very much like to understand how you would distinguish between them. Furthermore, I am trying to come to a deeper appreciation of the meaning and purpose of prayer. Forgive me for not getting too detailed in my response here, for two reasons: 1. it's late, and I want to get to … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Whatever form of meditation you practice, it is in essence simply a method for detaching yourself from thinking (which tends to reinforce the egoic process) long enough for you to begin to trust this other, deeper intelligence moving inside you. It provides you with another way to think: from "beyond the mind" — which, incidentally, is what the word metanoia, usually translated as "repentance," actually means. — Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope … [Read more...]

The ENDS of Prayer

Recently a monk shared this with me. His is a markedly apophatic approach to spirituality, so this may not speak to everyone. But for the monk and I suppose anyone else who shares his approach to prayer, this little mnemonic is a tool to assist in remembering the contours of deep contemplation.It involves remembering the "ENDS" of prayer, in this way: Emptiness Nothingness Darkness Silence Of course, entering into the emptiness, nothingness, darkness and silence of contemplation is not to … [Read more...]

Christian Meditation in the Fourth Century

If there is any monk who wishes to take the measure of some of the more fierce demons so as to gain experience in his monastic art, then let him keep careful watch over his thoughts. Let him observe their intensity, their periods of decline and follow them as they rise and fall. Let him note well the complexity of his thoughts, their periodicity, the demons which cause them, with the order of their succession and the nature of their associations. Then let him ask from Christ the explanations of … [Read more...]

Meditation Minutes

"Seven times a day I praise You." — Psalm 119:164 I took a class on spiritual formation from the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC, back in the mid-1980s. The instructor, Isabella Bates, led us through a variety of meditative and contemplative practices. We met every Saturday morning from November through May for two and a half hours. It was a wonderful class. One thing that Isabella said, toward the end of the class, has stayed with me over the past 25 years. Commenting on the relationship b … [Read more...]

New Books on Christian-Buddhist Dialogue

Three new books have recently come to my attention, all of which look quite tasty; all of which are concerned with the great conversation between Buddhism and Christianity. I've begun reading the one by Alan Wallace, and so far it's wonderful. I plan on blogging more about these titles as or after I read them, but I thought I'd post them now to recommend them to all of you who share my interest in interreligious dialogue and in the spiritual practice of learning about other faiths as a way of … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X