Mystic Prayer of the Eastern Church

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Poly Writes:

In the easten church, there is a discipline that allows "prayer without ceasing," even when conversing with others. Many monks do that. Perhaps the world would be a worse place without it. There is no way to really tell, is there?

Shortly after I came out of the monastery, my nephew found me crying in my car. He asked what wrong. I replied, "It's the way people treat one another. It's the way society functions. Don't they know what they are doing to one another and to life itself?" It was one of the saddest realizations of my life. I'd forgotten how it was outside of monastery grounds. I've since become more accustomed to it.

Culture shock can be traumatic.

Karolina Writes:

OMG, Poly, when I moved to Manhattan I was given a book that introduces that lifestyle. It absolutely changed my life to having an even stronger spiritual focus, despite that I had just moved to a place where there were many who had had their spirituality and humanity destroyed, and who had become sadly demoralized. Those lost souls knowingly or unknowingly, were often trying to aggressively pass that pestilence on to anyone with whom they dealt.

I believe the short prayer in English is something like "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to me [a sinner]." It is both a mantra and a meditation that keeps a person in a higher mode of consciousness — and it continues even while the person is living and working in the physical world.

As I saw a few months back on 60 Minutes about the monasteries in Greece, I am sure that you learned that lifestyle from the older monks in the monastery, but if you happen to know the book that I am thinking of, please let me know the name of it. My books have been in storage back in NYC for several years now, and I would love to rent that book from the library to reread it for a quick refresher course. It is time for some more inspiration!

UPDATE: I tracked it down with Google—the book is "The Way of a Pilgrim" and the prayer is called "The Jesus Prayer."

Poly Writes:

'Tis a good little book on the topic...the narrative taking place in Czarist Russia.

The "prayer rope" is utilized at the beginning of the discipline. Once the prayer can be said even while conversing, etc., any prayer can take its place. The prayer itself is a discipline to come to that point. The prayer isn't an end in itself, though many monks think it is.

You may enjoy the Philokalia. A difficult book to grasp that even many monks can't comprehend. It's a compilation of writings by monks of the past. If you can, grasp it, it's life transforming. Don't interpret it literally. It's like the Bible. Full of allegories and metaphors. Pointings.

In particular the references to union with God as coming to know all that there is to know about everything carries with it a huge disparity between the interpretation of those statements and what they actually mean. The statements are true. Most interpretations of them are false...based on "beliefs." Many of those beliefs have nothing to do with religion.

Understanding the allegories and metaphors and suspending beliefs leads to the true interpretation...and the experience. The experiece is life transforming. It can only be pointed to, not described.

I'd liken the book to Zen koans with a Christian approach. Studying the basics of zen would be helpful.

From the non-cannonized Gosple of Thomas. "A man must become as a woman and a woman as a man." True. And it doesn't mean what most people would assume it to mean. From a zen perspective, the true meaning is derived. Just be...........without labels and preconceptions to follow. Who you are will unfold naturally..and is a beautiful thing. Following the labels distorts the Being. Being-ness. You too can simply say "I am that I am" without claiming godhead.

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Karolina
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An addenda:

In the early U.S..,the rugged male plowed the fields, planted the crops and harvested them. In other cultures, a real man wouldn't be caught dead doing women's work.

Labels and expected actions are culturally imposed..Who people are at their core....their self... is buried in order to follow the script.. Prayer is another way to re-claim being-ness.

While people too can also simply say, ,"I am that I am",without claiming the godhead, Chris Hedges has what may be a more accurate interpretation of that biblical phrase. "I will be what I will be".

Accepting Christianity includes the acceptance of being created in the image of God, does it not?.

There is more depth to religion than appears on the surface.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"...

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I have always felt that true religions are only about a human being's individual, personal journey back to the energy, the life intelligence, that among other things, keeps life and intelligence flourishing magnificently, everywhere, eternally. And as an extra "side effect," the human on that journey gets to reconnect to the life intelligence that also created 'him/her/it' in this physical form. When that person truly reconnects, or even when absolutely earnestly trying to reconnect, 'he/she/it' thrives, without hindrances that the human brain may invent or receive, getting in the way.

Unfortunately, it seems to me, that many religions lose their original purpose, and instead of protecting people's freedom to be human beings, they become hierarchies, etc.

I have found that the mystic "offshoots" of all five of the biggest world religions are much the same, because they are all about reconnecting to the intelligence of life — science, evolution, wisdom, truth, etc. all included!

While I was in high school, I read the whole Bible on my own, and then found a book that I immediatly loved, namely Paramahnsa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi." As I was raised in a religious family of the Eastern Church, the book "The Way of a Pilgrim" was a happy discovery later and exactly when I needed it.

I've also had friends that were Sufis and some who were Buddhist monks & nuns. It is always like meeting like a relative.

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Karolina
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Karolina wrote: Unfortunately, it seems to me, that many religions lose their original purpose, and instead of protecting people's freedom to be human beings, they become hierarchies, etc.

I have found that the mystic "offshoots" of all five of the biggest world religions are much the same, because they are all about reconnecting to the intelligence of life — science, evolution, wisdom, truth, etc. all included!

poly replies: And/or as DRC sometimes reminds us, , what it means to be a human being. Whole and complete..People who do that have no need for the same basic set of rules set down by all religions. The rules are internalilzed. They are already there, and once recognized, there is no interest in breaking them...written down in a holy book or not.

Keeping religions' rules isn't an end in itself. Uncovering what already exists internally is the prize. Whole human beings don't steal, don't murder, don't bear false witness against their neighbor, etc...and rules outside of themselves have nothing do with that. It's who human beings are at their core. Pretty marvelous creatures. with an unbounded capacity for love.

Religion is about getting in touch with that. I liken it to the famed psychologist Abraham Maslow's "Self-Actualization"

You are really fortunate to have been exposed to so many religious backgrounds. Your understanding will be greater than most It shows. A thumbs up!

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Everything you say is a meditation in a sentence! DRC's "whole & complete" human being! Religious rules actually being within the natural character of a person in union with God! Humans at their core being "marvelous creatures with an unbounded capacity for love!" Maslow's "Self-Actualization" being another name for getting in touch with that core!

And thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate it!

I don't know if you read the story that I posted in the thread that started out about a Republican candidate getting money from racists, then became a debate about racism. The story is about an experience that I had in Central Park when a young man attacked me. I didn't fall into fear, but instead felt empathy for him, and he was the one shocked and confused.

That was just one example of how amazing situations began to often happen in my life when I started the Jesus Prayer. Is this what you mean by "Who you are will unfold naturally ... and is a beautiful thing"? My life was in some sort of "synchronicity" where wonderful coincidences,"miracles," were happening in my life, "lessons" being taught to me and I was always uplifted.

I believe that we are all born with a love for people and a curiousity about each and every one of them. Those of us that are lucky enough to have loving people around us always while we are children, as adults we then see all people as either kind-hearted or "in need of help & healing".

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Karolina
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Karolina wrote: I believe that we are all born with a love for people and a curiousity about each and every one of them. Those of us that are lucky enough to have loving people around us always while we are children, as adults we then see all people as either kind-hearted or "in need of help & healing".

poly replies: Interesting observation. I had similar experiences as a child. I saw all of my relatives as loving me with totally with no holds barred. . My siblings didn't have the same experience. Was that merely a reflection of my loving them totally with no holds barred bouncing back at me?. Love asks nothing in return. It just is.

From time to time when I wonder about in secular clothing, people give me a slight bow. I've never been able to explain it and find it embarassing. That happened very frequently when I attended church at the monastery before becoming a monk. Maybe that's why I was asked to become a monk. Usually it's the other way around. One petitions to become a monk.

I think perhaps the bow is simply people acknowledging who they are at their core without realizing it..Perhaps they are seeing their own reflection without the smoke and mirrors. One doesn't bow to a monk. It's the other way around.

Some see the monk and themselves without the garb. My relatives don't see the monk or themselves even with it...and do know they are loved..To paraphrase Mark 6:4, "A prophet is not known in his own household". While I'm certainly no prophet, I think the same holds true for monks.

I simply don't know. the answer to your question with any certainty. . It's still very much a mystery to me.

My interest in religion began with a childhood experience. By the laws of physics and nature, I should be dead....and am not. That experience has to remain a secret known only to my confessor..

After half a lifetime pursuing the religions of the world in search of answers, I finally settled down to where I am now.. That doesn't mean it's the only road. 'Tis a beginning, not an end.

"God is love," 1 John 4:8. Unlike much of the bible, you may take that literally. keeping in mind that love asks nothing in return. It just is..A life without it is pretty barren compared to a life with it. Only when you've experienced it is when you grasp the difference. Much of what passes for love...isn't.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I read your post yesterday a few minutes after you put it in, and it was great.

Since I had already started reading & occasionally posting on the thread about the Leon Panetta testimony, and I was unable to get out of that argumantative mode to a peaceful place. In fact I'm not even really sure that I am in a better place now, as my early morning meditation today wasn't successful in getting me focused on God, which is unusual. Maybe it's the arguments or maybe the supposed solar flares hitting the middle of the continent!

However, I would like to answer your post anyway, as who knows when those "solar flares" will go away! I hope that I don't say something that might offend you.

Quote polycarp2: My siblings didn't have the same experience. Was that merely a reflection of my loving them totally with no holds barred bouncing back at me?. Love asks nothing in return. It just is.

Just within the past 3 years, I have gotten into discussions with my siblings about our childhood. I was shocked to find out that we also have such different views on what was happening then.

Even though we all knew that we were loved, my brother had no memory except love. No mistakes our parents made, etc. He was the youngest one, always as cute as can be. He was loved and given all of the happy attention he wanted from everyone in the family, every day from the minute he awoke up to the minute he fell asleep.

As a child, my little brother enjoyed all of that love and that care and he "just was," like a ray of bright sunshine in everybody's life. He was a reflection of the love everyone in the family and every person who saw him sent to him! If only all children had that, there would be far less problems in the world!

Quote polycarp2: From time to time when I wonder about in secular clothing, people give me a slight bow. I've never been able to explain it and find it embarassing. That happened very frequently when I attended church at the monastery before becoming a monk. Maybe that's why I was asked to become a monk. Usually it's the other way around. One petitions to become a monk.

When I first read this it reminded me of the beginning of the 91 Psalm (which is my prayer of choice these days)...."He who dwelleth in the secret place of the most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty." Maybe, those of us who dwell in that "secret place of the most High," are walking around in the "shadow of the Almighty," and it shows.

And/or, you probably stand out as quite beautiful, noble and/or dignified—yet you are humble, deep-thinking....and open to most people. I have no doubt that people respond well to you, even bow to you, because they notice you and you make them feel acknowledged. Many people feel invisible in this society, and when they feel acknowledge it is like an affirmation of being.

I used to be told by people that I look like an old soul. Supposedly, that meant a soul that has had many lifetimes of experience. I don't know if I believe in that, but I'm happy that those people saw me as a wise person.

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Karolina
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There is a long tradition in many faiths...that when a spiritual hurdle is to be overcome,someone will appear to help you overcome it. I've found that to be so in my own life.

I think,perhaps, that they have been there all along. We all serve in that capacity though it often doesn't appear that way.

Sometimes lessons are learned from a negative experience. Sometimes, by a positive one. What we do with that experience is our own choice.

.The lesson will be taught over and over until it's finally learned and the hurdle overcome. Some remain where they are their entire lives...repeating the same life experiences over and over and over.with different people and in different surroundings. Same experience...

Some of my greatest wisdom has been obtained from the most unlikely persons. The greatest wisdom of all is that I have none. Be open. The search for spiritual wisdom is a road, It doesn't lead to a final destination. It doesn't lead to a sudden "I have it!"..

Acknowledge folks. There is a great delight in chatting with anyone if you look for it.. From your pupils you may be taught.

You are right. Affirm people...In return, you have the experience of being affirmed. Don't affirm, and you have the experience of being unaffirmed....isolated. The experience of love comes out of affirmation...not denial.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think that maybe my spiritual hurdle has to do with injustice. The first experience that I had was at the age of three, after my parents and I just moved to a new area. I was the first child, so at that time the only child, running around the newly bought house. The doors in this house had no door-stops, so when they were pushed open and hit the wall, the buttons on the doorknobs were pushed in and, so, locked the doors. My parents were not aware of this and immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was running around, locking the doors for fun.

I was told not to lock the doors, and though I had no idea what my parents were talking about, I agreed to not "push the buttons in" (?). After a while, I was very angerly and powerfully scolded for continuing to constantly lock the doors, and for lying that I wasn't doing it. This was the first time I had ever seen anger and the first time I had seen my parents angry at me. An hour after my devastating scolding, my Dad realized that the doors locked themselves and he was as devastated as I was. He apologized to me, which was my first lesson that people, even authorities, are not always correct in their actions toward others.

When a young woman is alone among a city full of strangers, if she is immediately affirming of the people she encounters, in our sexually-obsessed society she is in strong danger of being misread. I believe that is why The Way of a Pilgrim found its way into my hands—so that I would be under the "shadow of the Almighty." Hence, my story about my Central Park encounter.

I think that reading about injustice and thinking about it is what had me so upset yesterday. Probably why I came to this web site—to find some companions with whom to ride out this horrific time, and to try in a small way to help change the path of the planet from injustice, to justice and prosperity.

The book that I read, Autobiography of a Yogi, got me praying for a guru, early on. Since no guru ever appeared, with the Jesus prayer I accepted that I already have a guru helping me at every moment, eternally. And, yes, I agree there is always someone brough forth to help overcome a spiritual hurdle. :)

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Karolina
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Which guru introduced you to the book(s)?

Some time back, I gave someone a slight bow. They questioned it.. How could I reply other than say, "If you saw yourself as I do, that which you hide even from yourself, you might fall to your knees when looking in a mirror.. I'm too old. I can't get back up. I'm, sorry for the bow. It's all I can do."

I learned a valuable lesson from my "guru" once I verbalized and acknowledged it.

People are more accustomed to being criticized for who they are rather than being honored for who they are. That often includes myself....even now.

When people gave me a slight bow at the monastery, I responded in kind. The embarrassment I attached to their bow was false humility. I hope they didn't feel the same embarrasment when their bow was returned.

Maybe that goes back to tradition absorbed as a belief.. In the meantime, please don't bow to a monk. A "good morning" with a smile can tickle their souls..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote polycarp2: Which guru introduced you to the book(s)?

The "guru" I meant is Christ. I guess I should have written it as "Guru." I think guru means "siritual teacher."

I never really had much contact with a "bona fide" Hindu guru. The one time that I did, I had an intuitive experience, which is unusual for me—as he was talking in front of the audiance in which I was sitting, I suddenly saw in my mind a particular type of statue in front of a temple.

When I was leaving the event, we all got some pamphlets. The next day when I was flipping through one of the pamphlets, I was shocked to see a picture of the same statue and in front of the same temple, in India, from a different angle than the way it had appeared to me in my imagination—it was a temple this guru had built and the statue he had commissioned, which represented what he worshipped.

That guru was only in the US for a short period of time. The event was interesting because of the strange intuition that I experienced.

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Karolina
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Karolina wrote: I never really had much contact with a "bona fide" Hindu guru.

poly replies: Not all gurus wear a turbin

.Many, many years ago when I was having coffee in a coffee shop, a rather disheveled man implored me to tour an old Spanish monastery up the Calif. Coast. He presented me with a very old rosary. I wasn't catholic. I was exploring several protestant denominations and a bit of Zen at the time, and was enthralled with the teachings of Krishnamurti. (I still recommend him)..

Several years later, I went there..

I knew every room and its function before I entered it. I told a friend I was with that I wanted to see the large wooden cross in the cemetery. His jaw dropped when we went straignt to it...tucked away in a corner behind a building..

I've never been able to explain the "tour" where I was my own tour guide.

There are more "gurus" not wearing religious garb than than are those who are wearing it.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is a great story! It is consistent with more things that I have experienced!

BTW, was the monastery by any chance, the Santa Barbara Mission? Just curious. I have a friend that used to work there.

I was told by someone who also came up to me out of nowhere, that I have been an artist in many lifetimes before, but that mostly I have spent my "lives" in monestaries as a nun or a monk, Christian and Buddhist mostly, but even in others before those religions came to be.

Again, I don't know if I believe that, and I have no idea exactly what the spiritual "Big Picture" is as far as individual souls/people are concerned, but spending lots of time in monasteries kind of felt right. My subconscious is full of prayers, reaching out and talking to God almost like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof ..... etc., etc., etc.

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Karolina
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It could well have been the Santa Barbara Mission. I took a trip up the coast visiting all of them. Ended up at Ft. Ross, an early Russian settlement. This was nearly half-century ago.

The official church teaching is that we don't have previous lives or memories from them. I leave that on a shelf as "undecided". Perhaps memories are passed on genetically at a cellular level much as instinctual behaviors are.

Or: Thought is energy. It can be measured. "Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another" - Albert Einstein..

Another is, there is but one "thing" we call life manifesting itself in many different forms. An extention of the Christian teaching that all life is maintained by the Holy Spirit. When the spirit withdraws, animation, reproduction, etc. ceases. There is but one Spirit....defined as life. I lean towards this.

The idea of re-incarnation is found in all major religions (including some Christians) and goes back to the beginnings of recorded history. Did it arise from seeking an explanation for experiences...or as a hope?

I know too many people who have had similar experiences to dismiss them and have never found a satisfactory explanation for them.

As an absolute certainty, I know only this. As the universe expands and contracts and infinitly re-forms itself over, and over, I have been there in one form or another and always will be. Whether or not I'm always aware of that at any level is perhaps another question. Probably when these old bones appear as molten metal from a big bang, there is no memory.

There is but one Spirit....defined as life. In Christianity, that one spirit is defined as the Holy Spirit., the animator of all living things. God. I lean towards this.

Wherever and whenever it appears there I am and there you are It exists outside of creation...and participates in what is created. There is one life. one spirit, with many different manifistations. That which gives you life is no different than that which gives me life. Identical. One. In a living cell its present. In a dead cell it isn't.

Life would be pretty boring if it manifested itself in only one living form. Take delight in the differences rather than going to war over them..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DITTO!

I have also wondered if memories can be transmitted in DNA, or even at an atomic level! Also, Albert Einstein's words have been, for me, a scientific truth that supports the concept of "eternal life," even though I too don't subscribe to any of the stories that have been written about what to expect! I just stay optimistic, and put it all into God's & the Universe's hands, since there really isn't anything that can be done about it.

The idea of life being a single "energy" manifesting in all forms, could be a strong argument as a scientific explanation for intuition. God is said to be Omnipresent, as well as Omnipotent and Omniscient. Sometimes I wonder if that is just a different way of saying that the entire Universe & everything beyond, is just a single energy in the countless, various forms.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

Well, I think perhaps there is but one Spirit. That essence that we call "life". It's identical in its many manifistations.The Christian term is Holy Spirit.

I've heard some they they would like to return to God. An absurd statement, really. One can't separate from that single spirit...LIFE. How can one return to what one has never separated from...can't separate from.... except through thought process and the self-invention of the personality?

One may certainly separate themselves from religious teachings and precepts. One can't separate from that which animates living things. Life. When life withdraws from a specific life form, the essence of life remains....identical in all other life forms. Don't confuse that with personality which is really of no import.(Though the world would be a pretty dull place without it). Sitting around going OOOOOOOM all day isn't my idea of a well led life.

A merging of a use of your portion of life/spirit to the whole is simply that. It can be experienced in this lifetime if you really want to experience what it's like. The individual personality fades way, way to the background. It isn't missed. The only human experience remaining is love. "God is Love" - John.1.

You needn't "die" to have the experience of union with what most refer to as God....which is the primary focus of an eastern monk.. Didn't even Christ say heaven resided within?

Union means becoming one. When Christ said He and the Father were one, He was correct. The terminology is subject to misinterpretation. He remained one. No monk I've ever known of has done that longer than for brief periods. It's sufficient.

I'd liken it to the Buddhist experience of enlightenment. which isn't a continuum. It's an alternating between enlightenment/unenlightenment. Sometimes so rapid as to appear continuous without interruption...and it isn't. Enlightened beings get very cleary that they are simply life being aware of itself with the personality an inconsequential though interesting adjunct to that. The experience is "love". .

The few "Enlightened" Buddhists get it...through an experience...not intellect..Intellectual understanding is the booby prize. Koans attempt to bury the intellect long enough to trigger the experience. After that, intellectual understanding is fine. Christian prayer can trigger the same experience.

Imagine God as a circle so vast it has no boundaries. Put a dot within it. Yourself. Currently, you are aware of the dot (self) ...and the surrounding dots. Expand that to include that in which the dots exist.

You aren't just a cell in your liver, The cell, an individual life form, is but a portion of the whole.That which animates it also animates the cell next to it. Religious teachings that Life is One can be taken literally

I've still no idea with any certainty of how memories of a prior life or experience come into being.

Keep in mind that 100 years ago, I'd have been burned at the stake as a heretic, more at risk outside of a monastery than within one. for not clothing explanations in religious terms that even most monks can't comprehend. Read the Philokalia, and you'll see what I mean. Most mis-interpret it for nearly their entire lives before they grasp it. A few years spent with a Zen master would save them decades of time. LOL

Unfotunately, that sort of thing is "off the table".....even though the well-known monk Thomas Merton placed the table cloth for it..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Been following your thread, and can relate. The Way of a Pilgrim came to me in my 20's, and was a tool of transformation. When you give up on yourself, there, in my experience, is where "things happen." For me it was 3 years of free-floating anxiety, while I was a psychotherapist and living in a catholic, charismatic christian community. It was called Lamb of God Christian Community - (now I call it Lambda God, and see it all as a cult.) The brokenness of not being able to "heal myself" opened me to radical change (and an end to anxiety) - like when the Spirit does it, not you. I had been reduced to the Jesus Prayer - it was all that was left. This has been a theme in my life - that out of brokenness comes something totally different. As Krishnamurti said "Out of the ashes of the ending of thought arises another intelligence, which has nothing to do with thought."

Here are two quotes I have on my facebook page. They have the ring of truth to me, and perhaps for you also:

"Thus far we have seen the theories of these Advaitist philosophers, how there is but one Atman; there cannot be two. We have seen how in the whole of this universe there is but One Existence; and that One Existence when seen through the senses is called the world, the world of matter. When It is seen through the mind, It is called the world of thoughts and ideas; and when It is seen as it is, then It is the One Infinite Being." Swami Vivekananda

and

“Rama asked Hanuman, ‘Hanuman, what is your attitude when you worship me?’ Hanuman said, ‘Sometimes I see that You are the whole and I a part of You. At other times, I see that You are the Master and I am Your servant. And Rama, when I have the knowledge of Absolute Truth, I see that You are I and I am You." The basic concept that Poly espouses is congruent with the Vedanta philosophy of India. In ancient times one finds the concepts in the Upanishads, and later in the philosophy of Shankara. In modern times the same viewpoint is held by J. Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi. It seems that Einstein took a similar read on things. My current understanding as well. Of course understanding has little to do with experience. Understanding must always be left at the door. In normal life it serves as a roadmap, and for that I am extremely grateful. Studying the road map is my m.o., but I mostly enjoy life when I leave it all behind!

Nice to talk with people of a similar mindset! Quite uncommon for me!

dhavid
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Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

dhavid posted:

"Thus far we have seen the theories of these Advaitist philosophers, how there is but one Atman; there cannot be two. We have seen how in the whole of this universe there is but One Existence; and that One Existence when seen through the senses is called the world, the world of matter. When It is seen through the mind, It is called the world of thoughts and ideas; and when It is seen as it is, then It is the One Infinite Being." Swami Vivekananda

poly replies: I'm delighted with your input!.

An understanding of sex through the mind isn't quite the same thing as the exprience, is it? So it is with religion. Intellectual understanding of the process through the mind is the bobby prize without the experience. An intellectual understanding through thought processes after the experience is fine.

dhvid posted: "Out of the ashes of the ending of thought arises another intelligence, which has nothing to do with thought." -Krishnamurti

polyreplies: The purpose of zen koans. The same thing can occur through the Jesus Prayer.Other Christian prayers as well.

Who is the observer of thought? People tend to think they are their thoughts, beliefs, and the like. They'll kill over them....They aren't.their thoughts. They are much bigger and vaster than that. An understanding of that isn't the same thing as an experience of it. An experience of a "Self", an intelligence with what Krishnamuati calls an "ending of thought". opens a door. All major religions lead to the same doorway. I call Krishnamurti's "ending of thought" a suspension of thought. Same thing.

People often talk of living in the now. If I ask you what you are experiencing right now, you can't tell me. You immediately delve into the past of what has already occured and explain your prior experience. You can't tell me what you are experiencing in the present...The mind is tricky.

Sometimes (though rarely) repeatedly and rapidly asking oneself the question, what is going on right now, right now, right now............can trigger the experience of thought suspension. and seeing "what is"...One Infinite Being Clap the hands with each repetition of the question.It brings other senses into bear.

Separatness is an illusion of the mind...required to function in the world of matter.. We get too wrapped up in it. The results of doing that are seldom pretty individually or in our relationships with others.

What mental illness doesn't carry with it the baggage of intensified separatness and a focus on it?

Our own culture glorifies separatness. Religion, as taught, sanctifies it. The "personal" God is created in the image the individual prefers rather than being the Infinite within which all exist. Probably religion should stop teaching the opposite of its intent

One result is the largest prison complex in the world . Another is an annual increase in the use of legal and illegal psychoactive dugs. isolated beings become emotionally sick...the greatest legal torture being Solitary Confinement.. It even kills babies fairly quickly. .

Glorifying separateness is a spiritually bankrupt national illness and leads one away from reglious truths expounded by the founders and greatest teachers of the world's major religions, does it not?..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Polycarp and Karolina, I also have been following along like dhavid. I'm not a Christian but hearing Christians speaking of these things softens my thoughts about the religion.

"ending of thought" ?

But if one is alive, one has a mind. The nature of mind is to think thoughts. It's function is to notice our surroundings, to keep us safe, like a radar. Some thoughts expand and enrich our experience some do the opposite. Being aware of the thoughts we think is what it's about,,, for me. This doesn't come easy for many of us. It takes practice. It takes practice to to teach the mind how not to think a thought about a thought that arises. In some disciplines the starting point of practice is to simply allow thoughts to arise, acknowledge them, then let the thought go, and allow space for the next thought to arise.

Not all, but a lot of the pain many are dealing with are only thoughts.

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bamboo
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I've been having a busy day today, so I haven't been able to do much writing today. Dhavid & Bamboo, I also am so glad that you posted here!

I hope that I am not repeating anything, but I found that once I started the never-ending meditation, it made my thoughs much more interesting for me and much more focused. Like all young adults, I had plenty of baggage from childhood and youth, and it didn't all just immediately instantly disappear. However, I did notice that right away, situations started to happen in my life that brought me deep healing.

Coincidents...or were they just coincidents? Anyway, at this point, I am usually pretty optimistic, even if I see a potentially threatening situation. I am so very grateful for this!

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Karolina
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Bamboo wrote:

"ending of thought" ?

The nature of mind is to think thoughts. It's function is to notice our surroundings, to keep us safe, like a radar

poly replies: Exactly. It's required to function in the world of matter.

The primary function of the mind is survival of the physical self. Unfortunately, it's taken on the survival of its own thoughts and beliefs as being the same thing. Thoughts are merely thoughts.

However, they allow us to take pleasure in the world, function in the world, be aware of other beings in the world and delight in their creations..And it's with a brief ending of thought that one discovers one exists without it...is not thought. Or, as Krishnamurti describes it, a new intelligence arises. That "new intelligence" is identical in all beings who connect with it.

An "Enlightened Being" isn't without thought. The difference is:, One: there is no identification of self with the thoughts. One can have a book or a grain of rice without being either. Same sort of thing.Two: that gives freedom of choice in how to respond to thoughts. Responses aren't automatic. Three: A person has one foot in the world of the Infinite, and the other in the world of matter.

Bamboo wrote: . In some disciplines the starting point of practice is to simply allow thoughts to arise, acknowledge them, then let the thought go, and allow space for the next thought to arise

poly replies........: Who is it that allows the thoughts to arise, simply acknowledge them, and then lets the thought go to allow space for the next thought to arise? 'Tis an excellent discipline. The Buddha had thoughts.

Bamboo wrote: Not all, but a lot of the pain many are dealing with are only thoughts.

poly replies: That's the primary suffering that Buddhism strives to eliminate. We tend to manifest that suffering onto others.

An observation: Christian teaching refers to the "Son of Man" and the "Son of God". Are they not one and the same? Ditto yourself.

On specific prayer: Is Christian prayer answered? I've sometimes seen it answered instantly. Usually, it isn't. I'd suspect the same is true with other religions.

On Anger: Anger (or flight) as a response to a threat on the well-being and/or survival of any being is a legitimate function of the mind.. If someone holds a knife to your throat, or to that of another, disarm him with a swift blow if a verbal admonishment isn't sufficient..

Anger in response to a threat to a thinking process or belief one holds dear isn't a legitimate function. We should probably stop bopping one another or going to war over such nonsense..

Karolina wrote: hope that I am not repeating anything, but I found that once I started the never-ending meditation, it made my thoughts much more interesting for me and much more focused.

poly replies: The observation process that most avoid like the plague! Keep going!

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The Way of the Pilgrim is a great book. It came into my possession in my early twenties and I took it to heart following the instructions. At the time, I was doing an annual vision quest solo every year and found myself in Crestone, Colorado in the Sangre de Christo mountain range. For three weeks prior, I was saying the Jesus prayer five hours a day with the intent to sit in my quest circle and use it all day long until fatigue or death got the better of me. There are cautions given in the book that advises one not to use it without a spiritual advisor. I had none. In the third day of my quests my heart started to race and deep breathing would not still it. It triggered a profound vision which is as clear to me today as if it just happened yesterday and that was thirty years ago.

Another marvelous book is the Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer is excellent by CHumley a graduat of Union in NY. Many scholars note that the Way of the Pilgrim was edited over the years. The original prayer noted by Chumley is, Jesus have mercy on me. The later add on was a product to make the prayer conform to Christian dogma.

Centering Prayer also comes out of mystical Christianity and is a powerful form of prayer.

For those interested you might try a book by Brother Lawerence, The Practice of the Presence of God.

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FoodForAll
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Jan. 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Here is an additional link of the film whence the book emergred of Chumley's research:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjub9vxQ0NM

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FoodForAll
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Food For All writes: Another marvelous book is the Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer is excellent by CHumley a graduat of Union in NY. Many scholars note that the Way of the Pilgrim was edited over the years. The original prayer noted by Chumley is, Jesus have mercy on me. The later add on was a product to make the prayer conform to Christian dogma.

Karolina writes: Thank you, Food For All, for the great information, including your experience. I didn't know of Chumley's book, but I am very happy that the original Jesus Prayer did not include a hint of self-degradation!

While I was in college, I had read what was possibly the original precurser to all of the self-help books that people were bombarded with in the eighties and ninties and beyond—The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, by Joseph Murphy, published in 1963. Basically it expanded the idea that the way things are in a person's mind is the way life develops (for them). Kind of a "he who lives by the sword, shall die by the sword" or a "...Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" for everybody. Murphy was a religious Christian person, so he suggested interspersing your thoughts and prayers for whatever it might be that you hope for & are trying to achieve with Psalm 23 and other readings that are about images of peace, beauty, abundance and prosperity.

When I read The Way of A Pilgrim, I knew that was much more hard core. It was not about ideas that had already been put into my mind by the civilization that I grew up in. Instead, it was about getting to the center of who I am, or as Poly calls it "the core" of the human being where we are all the same. It wasn't about getting my desires. It was about love.

However, my experience with the The Power of Your Subconscious Mind made me very uncomfortable with calling myself "a sinner." I knew that I was far from perfect — but continuously repeating in my mind that I was a "sinner", when what that word meant to me was to be evil; disconnecting from God; selfish; dishonest; uncaring of others; unloving? Well, it just seemed like a very bad idea. I didn't want to be a "sinner". That's why I was doing the Jesus Prayer!

So I didn't include the "sinner" addition to the prayer, and I thank you so much for relieving me of my slight insecurity about that.

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Karolina
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karolina wrote:

So I didn't include the "sinner" addition to the prayer, and I thank you so much for relieving me of my slight insecurity about that.

poly replies: most of what are considered "sins" are additions as well. Tacked on to Christ's teachings.

Christ seemed to consider "sins" as harming another with a purposeful action or inaction. It's a constant thread running through His teachings. We aren't born gleefully waiting until we can purposely do harm to others.

The Ten Commandments that He re-iterated admonish us to refrain from doing harm.

"Love God. Love thy neighbor as thyself. On this hangs all the law and the prophets" - Christ.

Pretty straight forward.

If you harm another, acknowledge it, fix what you've done and move on. Don't repeat it.

If you can't fix it, move on. Don't repeat it.

Don't label yourself a sinner. We tend to out act out the labels we give ourselves.

I don't say the addition to the prayer either.

The church(s) has a hangup, You needn't adopt it,.

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Yeah, Karolina, I read that book by Murphy in College too, along with many others in the same frame! The Hebrew word for 'sinner' simply mean 'missing the mark'. A world of difference from dysfunctional Christain traditions who make it a morality play. I think it is precisely why Christianity is going through a powerful transformation in contemporary culture, and away from its top down mentality. Progressive Christian communities are plowing new ground light years aheard of the dysfunction it has been in the modern era.

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FoodForAll
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Jan. 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Excuse me Poly, but the word Christ is a post- Easter phenomena and has little to do with the Historic person: Jesus of Nazareth. I follow the teachings of Jesus, not the teachings of the theology about Jesus, and in point of fact -- inimical to what Jesus actually taught. When you refer to "the teachings of Christ" you are only projecting Christian theology and thus speaking through Jesus rather than listening to him.

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FoodForAll
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Jan. 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Well, I adhere to the post-resurrection religion commonly known as Christianity. Up until now, I've never heard of Jesusianity though I did attend the Church of the Nazarene as a pre-adolescent.

.Early Christians called Him Jesus Christ..... meaning ....Jesus the Messiah. or Jesus the Annointed One depending on which translation of the Greek word Khristós you prefer. Today, if one uses either word, one generally knows Who is being referred to.They are one and the same.

He can be called Jesus the Nazarene...keeping in mind that there was probably more than one Jesus born there. Common name. Old human habitation.Which Jesus of Nazareth would you be referring to? Khristós makes a clear distinction.

If He is not the Khristos foretold by Judaism, then the word Jesus is sufficient. He could perhaps be simply referred to as Jesus the rabbi (Jewish) or Jesus, bless his holy name, (Muslim.)

If you want to get picky about it, The proper name Jesus ( /ˈzəs/) used in the English language originates from the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua (ישוע), also having the variants Joshua or Jeshua.[

"A rose by any other name is still a rose" - Gertrude Stein

Even though I'm sometimes considered a wayward monk, strange as it may seem to some, I still accept the Resurrection totally and with that, the title of Christ. given to the Jesus born of the Theotokos. My reason for that has nothing to do with theological teachings. It has to do with a childhood experience known only to my Confessor. I should be dead...and am not. That's as much as I can say about it.

Wayward monks aren't new to the church. One of my favorites was St. Francis. Another was Thomas Merton. I'm in good company though I sometimes may have inadvertently caused my Abbot a bit of distress Not as much, however, as St. Francis gave his Bishop. LOL.

The church would be the better for it if it had done more than given him lip service. Protestants could uses a few Francis's of their own.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

To Poly:

What you just articulated is a post-Easter theology. It has absolutely nothing to do with modern scholarship on the historic Jesus. I am not disputing your belief system: just pointing out that modern historic scholarship on Jesus has no confluence with your beliefs. One can understand the resurrection myth as connotation that it may not mean as denotation. The early Councils simply unified belief via a political process which excluded other voices who disagreed. Modern scholars have arrived at consensus on this issue. Early Christianity was much more diverse than the dogma you note. Elaine Pagels many books express this consensus among scholars of early Christianity. Just because the patriarchy held sway politically, does not render illegitimate the diverse views of early Christians. I understand – and this is true for people in progressive Christianity like the UCC, Swedenborgians, and other progressive denominations – express their faith as being, not belief.

Believe whatever you want to Polycarp, I am not suggesting you don’t; just remember one thing: your denomination does not speak on behalf of all Christians.

I might also mention that I hold dual degrees (MA and MDiv) from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and belong to a progressive denomination -- the UCC.

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FoodForAll
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Food For Thought wrote: Believe whatever you want to Polycarp, I am not suggesting you don’t; just remember one thing: your denomination does not speak on behalf of all Christians.

Karolina replies: And neither does yours, Food For Thought! What's the big deal?

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Karolina
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From above:

Believe whatever you want to Polycarp, I am not suggesting you don’t; just remember one thing: your denomination does not speak on behalf of all Christians.

poly replies: My "denomination" doesn't even speak on behalf of myself! It's merely where I finally ended up after a life-long quest to explain a childhood experience that defied the laws of physics and nature. I should have been dead at age ten...and am not. An acceptance of the Resurrection is entertwined with that. Whether or not it was accomplished in the manner described in the bible or not is another question isn't it?.

On divinity studies: We had a graduate divinity student ask to join the monastery. He was certain he could teach us more about God. His jaw dropped when he was told we didn't want to know about God. We wanted to know God.

Knowing about your neighbor and knowing your neighbor are two different things. Knowing your neighbor can uncover a lot of errors about your neighbor.

'tis a different approach.

One of our monks was a top theoligan in the secular world. Taught all over the world by request.. He finally got that knowing about God didn't fill the bill ..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Poly writes:

"On divinity studies: We had a graduate divinity student ask to join the monastery. He was certain he could teach us more about God. His jaw dropped when he was told we didn't want to know about God. We wanted to know God."

I know that twisting the context of posts is the norm on this site and especially true for you moderators who think you are a special class of elites to the rest of us. You were the one trying to teach me when you note the following:

"Early Christians called Him Jesus Christ..... meaning ....Jesus the Messiah. or Jesus the Annointed One depending on which translation of the Greek word Khristós you prefer. Today, if one uses either word, one generally knows Who is being referred to.They are one and the same.

He can be called Jesus the Nazarene...keeping in mind that there was probably more than one Jesus born there. Common name. Old human habitation.Which Jesus of Nazareth would you be referring to? Khristós makes a clear distinction.

If He is not the Khristos foretold by Judaism, then the word Jesus is sufficient. He could perhaps be simply referred to as Jesus the rabbi (Jewish) or Jesus, bless his holy name, (Muslim.)"

I was pointing out that biblical scholars, and historic methodology juxtaposed against theology are two different animals. If that is a subject of angst leading to a personal threat to your belief system , so be it.

Your articulation is entirely based on theology. It is striking that you blend theological themes buttressed against the statement, “to know God” as a preoccupation of your monastery. Are you saying that theology, dogma, and adherence to traditional patriarchal structures interpreting theological themes is the same as knowing God? Or do you simply have your own private Mount Sinai – Poly -- where God disseminates truth to you and you alone?

Moreover, your entire belief system is based on biblical interpretations based on copies of copies, of copies of copies, ad infinitum. The copies number over 7,000. None of those copies say the same thing and often reflect views that contradict each other. Whatever translation one reads of the Bible is derived from thousands of copies of scripture that contradict each other. The only existing fragment comes from the gospel of John and is about the size of a credit card. Everything else was written hundreds of years after the fact contemporary to Jesus. How can one know God via scripture since its entire production is based on those who edited the material to fit a specific ideological perspective?

(You might consider reading your own subject line and walking its talk sometime.)

If you represent some pristine monastic experience void of scripture then I beg your pardon; but if scripture is foundational to your beliefs, then I suggest you know nothing about your own tradition.

That is why it matters and is a big deal for those taking scripture seriously. For those who don't, I suppose you can make it say whatever you want it to.

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FoodForAll
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You can't know God from Scripture anymore than one can attain enlightenment by reading the texts of Buddhism.

Errors began with the first translations of all of them.

From Ancient Greek to English was a long road to travel. Many biblical words first written in Ancient Greek in the New Testament have no other European lanaguage equivalents. Guess work. Some accurate. Some not. Some of the translations were coupled with tradition.

Texts and traditions can point you in a direction. In monasticism, the best guide is from those who have accomplished the task. Those adhering to dogma, the majority, never attain it.

Symbolisms of religion are often confused with the goal.

Even when languages are translatable, words change meaning over time. "Cool" used to mean only the opposite of warm. A chick was only a baby bird, , etc.

Errors in translation occur in even in texts written only a century ago. The errors of even older texts are compounded over time. Religious scholars utilize errors to come to conclusions about God.. . and fail to acknowledge errors in their own centuries old texts.Whoopie!

A monk has no interest in knowing about the Infinite. That's the theologians area of interest....studying errors. A monk wants to know the infinite. Big difference. The knowing can't come from a book.

As stated before my interests in religion and acceptance of a Resurrection (accomplished in the biblical manner or not) has to do with a childhood experience at age 10. By the laws of nature and physics I should be dead...and am not. An acceptance of the Resurrection is entertwined with that.

I travelled down the road of many of the world's religions before settling down to where I am now. Ultimately, most teach the same thing. It isn't convenient for me to live in Tibet or Bombay.One needn't go to China to learn The Tao. Christianity teaches all of it if one cares to look.

Treat the practice of kundalini, (found in some areas of India) as a plague.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

poly responded: "You can't know God from Scripture anymore than one can attain enlightenment by reading the texts of Buddhism."

FoodforAll replied: Where exactly did I make such an assertion?

-----------------------

Insert from your post #32. FoodforAll

If you represent some pristine monastic experience void of scripture then I beg your pardon; but if scripture is foundational to your beliefs, then I suggest you know nothing about your own tradition.

The response: poly responded: "You can't know God from Scripture anymore than one can attain enlightenment by reading the texts of Buddhism-------------------------------

Respond within contexts rather than in the framework of a troll.

--------------------------------End of insert:

Your latest is more in confluence to what my point was originally. If you go back and re-read yourself, your last contribution is entirely different from your previous ones. If you re-read what was written in my initial response to you, you might find confluence with what you just wrote. Again, I said that faith as BEING differs significantly from faith as belief. Prior to your last post, everything you wrote was based on theology and NOT predicated on an experiential awakening to the ineffable. Christ is a term entirely associated with theology and has nothing to do with Jesus, the man who walked the dusty roads of Galilee. It represents what the evolving Christian community began to believe about Jesus follwoing his execution by the Roman Empire on charges of sedition. I prefer to understand the historic context of Jesus' praxis in the ancient world; the man who taught a subversive wisdom and challenged the hegemony of the Roman Empire. One can know the ineffable via their personal praxis. One does not have to take refuge away from the market place of life to find God. If that is your cup of tea, fine by me. I don't care for the implication of your theology which tells everyone else who disagrees with you that we are the anomaly in life. Such a stance reeks of some type of personal and privileged fundamentalism.

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FoodForAll
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FoodforAll wrote: Christ is a term entirely associated with theology and has nothing to do with Jesus, the man who walked the dusty roads of Galilee.

poly replies: Unless, of course, one accepts the Resurrection as a result of a personal experience and searched out the religion that reflects it by asking questions. Experience came before the theology.

My parents weren't church goers. They didn't even have a Christian bible, let alone discuss it. It's something I began on my own at age 10. Now, if you'd prefer Christianity be called Jesusism because the Christ part offends you, start a petition...I'll sign it..

"A rose by any other name is still a rose"

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't have to start a petition. Unlike this site, the UCC is an open and affirming church not predicated on meme's, but respects individaul members to decide for themselves what their own truth is. Obviously, I am in the wrong place.

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FoodForAll
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Jan. 18, 2012 8:23 pm
Quote bamboo:

Polycarp and Karolina, I also have been following along like dhavid. I'm not a Christian but hearing Christians speaking of these things softens my thoughts about the religion.

I've been following as well and have remained on the sidelines for fear of screwing up a beautiful thread. And now perhaps FoodForAll has hardened your thoughts (Bamboo) about religion again. Certainly harshed my buzz.

Hey FoodForAll: I'm having trouble seeing how and where you see such a disconnect between Jesus, Karolina & Poly. I'm having even more trouble trying to connect you up with Jesus. Exclusion is not Jesus' way.

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Faith and belief are much different than experience. Belief, like understanding ,is the booby prize.You can't seem to grasp the difference.

And you can't have an experience by reading about it. Books can neither prove nor disprove an experience.. Stop relying on them. Go for the gusto.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Food For All, you seem to want to create some sort of competition here, and I don't understand why the discussion we were having made you want to jump in to compete? No one was threatening or disrespecting you and the conversation was about comparing spiritual experiences.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

To compare spiritual experiences, you first have to actually have one. otherwise they don't make a whole lot of sense to you. Can't discuss them, only challenge them or attempt to comprend them for your own growth. It can devolve into word games

I used to chat with a previous Buddhist monk in this section 4, maybe 5 forum boards back. He would have intrigued you. I was informed several years ago that he is deceased.

He said it was like looking a mirror. I can say the same. Christianity and Buddhism have so much in common they could almost be twins.

He was a loss to me personally and to the board.

FoodforAll has difficulty with my acceptance of the Resurrection out of an experience when I was ten. I chose my word carefully. I didn't say I believed it , I said I accepted it. One doesn't believe in what they experience, do they? They accept their experiences as being what's so for them.

A scrawny kid didn't start his day hiking in the Rocky Mountains searching for a belief in the resurrection of someone he'd never heard of...and that day led me exactly to where I am right now. For me, it isn't a belief with or without theology.. It's so.

Whether or not the resurrection occurred in the biblical manner is a question I can't answer.

Christ = The Annointed One (Messiah). The Resurrection confirmed the annointing. Was he annointed to teach? Was Buddha annointed to teach?

If Christ wasn't accepted as annointed, the teachings would have long disappeared. Such a condition wasn't imposed on the Buddha.

.Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Actually, now that I think about it, I have found that many people become frightened or envious or threatened when they hear of spiritual experiences that other people have had, especially if any hint of mysticism is involved. I could never understand that because I love spirituality—what could be better?

I no longer talk to people about some of the more amazing things that I have seen and experienced, for fear of offending somebody . You are wise, Poly, to protect your life-transforming childhood experience from judgement.

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Karolina
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I've always found it interesting that many who deny the Resurrection believe in some sort of after-life....for everyone except Jesus. LOL

I've talked with two people at different times who both approached me in hush hush tones about out of body experiences. One at a really bad car crash where he was unconscious, and another on an operating table. Their observations of what occurred are accurate. How does one explain such things?. Their experiences, of course, are reflected in their views in the present.

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Autobiography Of A Yogi made it was clear that resurrection after death was/is not such a big deal in India among the hard core Gurus. They can come back even long after death in the same reconstructed body, they can stay alive as long as they want or need to, even centuries & milleniums, they can be in more than one place at a time. I have heard from several Indian people that it is considered common knowledge that Christ was in "Guru training" in India during the years that He seems to be 'missing' before He starts His teaching in the Middle East. Last year there was a documentary on either PBS or HBO about that, and that after the execution Jesus went back to India. In the documentary, though, I believe they said that Christ was 'almost killed' and left to go back to Asia because he knew that he was in danger in the Roman Empire. They also showed a tomb where he is supposedly buried.

Normally I don't believe anything unless I have experienced it, but I do believe that Christ was tortured, murdered and then was resurrected. I don't think that this is the single most important event about his life. In fact, I wish it had never happened—I am as broken hearted when I think of Jesus in Jerusalem as I am when I see or hear of anyone suffering.

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Karolina
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Poly wrote: "Treat the practice of kundalini, (found in some areas of India) as a plague."

Dhavid wonders: Why?

dhavid
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Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

Karolina - I have read and reread Yogananda's stuff for years. His Autobiography - an amazing book.

Recently, I read a guy writing about the via affirmativa and the via negativa, as two roads to the same "place." The affirmativa is all approaches that speak of the personal God - Christianity, Islam, Yogananda and his lineage - any approach which reaches out to God, individually. The negativa way is most directly espoused by Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti, and Taoism. Netti, netti (not this, not this) is the way of this approach - by ruling out the false, only the truth remains. It also goes with the vedanta philosophy of India, which I mostly feel congruent with.

My spiritual life started with the via affirmativa, and has led me more to the via negativa. Still, however, in silence I sense that the whole thing is very personal, so I am a bit of each, although more passive, less sure of myself, with age. The writer says both ways lead to the same ONE. An interesting take on the wide array of spiritual practices/beliefs people have.

dhavid
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Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

I tend towards a combination of both approaches. Krishnamurti and Taoism being my favored negativa approaches. I highly recommend reading Krishnamurti. His writings are readly available. Some of his teachings are available on Youtube. Some were video-taped before he died in 1986...

When the World is not in accord with Tao,
Horses bear soldiers through the fields;
When the World is in accord with Tao,
Horses bear horseshit through the fields.

There is no greater curse than desire;
There is no greater misery than discontent;
There is no greater ailment than greed;
But one who is content to be content
May always be content.

Christianity teaches the same thing, tragically leaving out the last two lines and veeres off in another direction....contentment/happiness later rather than now.

Taoism and our shop till you drop paradigms are pretty much opposed to one another. You deserve and should have everything possible....the meme is repeated every 10 minutes or so on your TV set. Discontent abounds and forces us to the mall in an attempt to quell it. An exercise in futility.

A U.S. newspaper even posts on its masthead, "There is no hope for the satisfied man"...as though an unsatisfied life is better than a satisfied one. Contentment for an American is prounounced as a curse. Discontent a blessing. We bought into it. Spiritual pursuits can break that chain.

What does a fisherman do when he learns the Tao? He fishes. [contentedly]

On the Kundalini.

The western mind finds it difficult to deal with the symbolisms involved. Westerners tend to begin taking the coiled serpent at the base of the spine literally..

'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy'.- Shakespeare. I've found that to be true,

Retired Monk -"Ideology is a disease"

.

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

When I was 19 I lay down in my bed to take a nap, heard a sibilant hissing sound at the base of my spine, and felt my being ascend to the top of my skull, inside. At the same time I entered into timeless bliss. 30 years later I read that it was the release of the Kundalini, something I had never even heard of. It never happened again, but the memory is still strong. Having heard that sound, it is easy to see the idea of a snake, coiled 31/2 times around the base of the sushumna, waking up and allowing energy to flow within that particular nadi. Strange, but true.

In terms of Krishnamurti, after I left fundamentalist christianity, I read him exclusively for around 7 years. As a result, his thinking is part of my mind, as I never really disagreed with him on anything, and "soaked up" his philosophy. To say I am eclectic is an understatement.

I have only one question for Krishnamurti - being a Vedantist, even though he hated labels, he held no view on life after death and reincarnation. Never-the-less, on the night he died he told a close friend he "was going to take a long walk in the woods tonight, and not return." My question would be, "Who took the walk?" :)

dhavid
Joined:
Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

Never read them, but I am aware that he believed Jesus and John the Baptist were Elisha and Elijah, reincarnated.

dhavid
Joined:
Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

I read them a decade ago and remember some of the ideas, but don't remember anything about Elisha & Elijah.

Karolina's picture
Karolina
Joined:
Nov. 3, 2011 7:45 pm

"but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." from Matthew's gospel.

dhavid
Joined:
Jul. 16, 2010 10:41 am

Karolina asks: you don't mind, Poly, I am wonder if you continued with the kundalini practice after seeing vanilla people having problems with it, and if so, did you find it enriched your conciousness?

poly replies: I studied under a Kundalini Master for about six months. I saw people having problems with it. The symbolism of elementals, guardian creation and the like, coming out of a tradition of multiple gods isn't really suitable for the western mind. There are better ways to go I satisfied a curiosity.

dhavid wrote: I have only one question for Krishnamurti - being a Vedantist, even though he hated labels, he held no view on life after death and reincarnation. Never-the-less, on the night he died he told a close friend he "was going to take a long walk in the woods tonight, and not return." My question would be, "Who took the walk?" :)

poly replies: Was he speaking literally or symbolically?

Krishnamurti had views only on that which he uncovered with certainty. That's what makes him such a great teacher. He'd probably agree with this statement:.....he now either has a view on life-after-death...or he doesn't.

"Ideology is a disease", found in my signature, in-part, comes from what I discovered with Krishnamurti. Truth can be found in experience. Even the truth "believed" is a lie. It really isn't so for you. It was so for someone else or was so at sometime in your own past...maybe when you were five, etc. This is the present.

If I somehow inadverently came up with the greatest truth of Infinity, and you believed it, I'd be doing you dis-service. You'd have to discover it yourself for it to be true.for you and be of any real value..

Krishnamurtii had it right. (Don't believe that) LOL

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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