We cannot speak of Buddhist fulfillment. It is not ours. For all we know Christ is just as present in the heart of a Buddhist and dwells with him just as securely without words or images. What is it like for a Christian to experience Christ within?
I hear you there. I’ve often said I’m a contemplative trapped in an active body. Which also suggests we who are not consecrated religious can be top contemplative, to the detriment of our daily duties and responsibilities. It’s a balancing act, one we can’t hope to attain to wit out God’s grace.
Yes, for me, I can hope for about 30 minutes a couple times a week and try to carry the fruits through the rest of my hours. But most importantly, when I seem to sense God’s grace calling me to a moment of stillness, to give that call a priority. It is so easy to ignore it.
Easier said than done. It’s a grace in itself to even know such a grace was offered. That’s why I like the Jesuit Examen so much.
I was never guided through them and didn’t seem to do well on my own with them.
Well the Examen is just a prayer within the Spiritual Exercises. I’d highly recommend making even a short retreat to be led through the Exercises. They quite literally changed my life.
Anybody here do yoga exercises?
So tell me if I am wrong or in “danger”. As a result of my inward journey I have a sense of God at the center of us all, the source, the fount of life and love. And our conscious selves are out here on the surface so far from the center it seems like another realm, another being. But we are connect to it. Our own souls stretch down to touch it. God in us and thus us in God. The prayer of Jesus at the last supper on the Gospel of John is as explicit as can be.
We are nothing on our own. Everything we are is a share in God’s being, a share in God’s life. But we are always so focused on the surface, our material needs and wants and opinions and beliefs and thoughts.
This may be helpful:
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation
(prepared by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now known as Pope Benedict XVI)
Here are two excerpts that relate to the Original Post:
16. The majority of the great religions which have sought union with God in prayer have also pointed out ways to achieve it. Just as “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions,” neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured…
19. Therefore, one has to interpret correctly the teaching of those masters who recommend “emptying” the spirit of all sensible representations and of every concept, while remaining lovingly attentive to God. In this way, the person praying creates an empty space which can then be filled by the richness of God. However, the emptiness which God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness, not necessarily that of the renunciation of those created things which he has given us and among which he has placed us. There is no doubt that in prayer one should concentrate entirely on God and as far as possible exclude the things of this world which bind us to our selfishness. On this topic St. Augustine is an excellent teacher: if you want to find God, he says, abandon the exterior world and re-enter into yourself. However, he continues, do not remain in yourself, but go beyond yourself because you are not God: He is deeper and greater than you. “I look for his substance in my soul and I do not find it; I have however meditated on the search for God and, reaching out to him, through created things, I have sought to know ‘the invisible perfections of God’ (Rom 1:20).” “To remain in oneself”: this is the real danger. The great Doctor of the Church recommends concentrating on oneself, but also transcending the self which is not God, but only a creature. God is “deeper than my inmost being and higher than my greatest height.” In fact God is in us and with us, but he transcends us in his mystery.
But this is pure relativism. Universalism. Good old 1970s “I’m OK You’re OK.” Granted that there is truth in all religions - some have a good measure of truth. Clearely no one would adhere to a belief system that was entirely false. However, the Judeo-Christian world view explains every possible aspect of existence - both physical and spiritual. It explains all that has been, all that is and all that ever will be. No other comes close.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That has been revealed to us. NOT merely His philosophy, NOT merely His teaching, and NOT merely the reason for His appearance. He alone saves from sin - the universal failure of mankind. He alone promises eternal life in a glorified Body. He alone rose from the dead. No other.
If you want to know the truth, then look to the One who was predicted and who fulfilled those predictions. There is only One.
Sure, but that does not mean that EVERYTHING remotely connected to a pagan religion must be rejected and feared. What I am saying is that any religion or spirituality worth its salt will have self knowledge as an important element. And different methods of self knowledge do not need to be feared simply because they seem to be marketed as if associated with those spiritualities.
But for the moment lets stay right here in Catholic spirituality. We have the apophatic tradition that many shun because it is a “gift” “not for everyone” too “Eastern” or “New Age”. All that to justify staying at the surface with the comfortable thoughts and images of the ego. Yes, we need them and use them but they ought not define the totality of who we are for us because they are incomplete.
Yes, very good. So how do we get beyond our selves within ourselves and on to the transcendent God who is there? I think this"self" we are talking about getting beyond, leaving behind, “not remain in” is all the complex identifications with our thoughts and images. That is why the apophatic (beyond thought and image) path seems to me to not only be the safest but the surest path to God if done with love.
Sadly, every time in my life I’ve tried to discuss an Eastern religion around any “serious Catholics,” even with the very firm, clear understanding that I am not planning to convert to the Eastern religion, practice the Eastern religion, etc., somebody starts up with the same reaction about relativism etc that just happened on this thread. Eventually I just stopped bringing it up.
Yes, I go through my seasons. Sometimes I am up for a discussion, and other times not.
I can’t tell you, because I do not pray in the meditative/contemplative way as I understand it. Or perhaps I do without recognizing it. The letter I posted above (in post 25) gives a few hints and guidelines, and discusses errors to be avoided. I know it is quite long, but read it if you can. I read the whole thing and found much to help my understanding.
It does not offer a sure-fire approach. In fact, the following fragment from paragraph 23 says there is no sure way except that God may grant us the grace:
Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God
Yes, I read the letter when it came our back in the 80’s and refer to it often.
From Mother Teresa: "Silence gives us a new outlook on everything" Watch the people around you at any given moment. We are addicted to the noise. Yes it is because of fear. We are afraid to be alone with ourselves, our thoughts, so we numb the mind with the silly little games on the cell phone, with television, with booze, narcotics, etc... How many times have you heard someone say or maybe you've said? I only have the tv, radio (whatever) on for background noise. We keep things on for background noise out of fear. Try unplugging for a day or even a few hours and see how difficult even this is. Never mind about meditation of any sort.
I’m not finding the question here so I’ll say Lectio Divina is a recommendation.
I think it is always a recommendation, but recall that it has 4 stages. The fourth being “Contemplation”
"The final stage of Lectio Divina is contemplatio (rest) where we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts."
Yes, we run from it like a lion is after us.
The last stage is optional and usually done with a group for social or public thinking on how one may change something that way