What do you think about mindfulness and meditation?


#1

I’d like to hear from anyone interested in christian meditation. Recently I was at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery: I thanked God that i am Catholic! Trully!!!
I am not interested in the negative ontology of Buddhism (i.e. its view that life is suffering and that the final goal is basically destruction) however I am interested in concentration techniques such as mindfulness. Why? I figure that we pray too distractedly…centered we can fully give ourselves powerfully and totally to God.
I tried it today with the orthodox “Jesus Prayer” and it was purifying and good. I think our minds are full of bad mental habits like anger, doubt, fear, addiction, vanity…Mindfulness concentration then powerful contact with Jesus can change all that.
I am not an anti-intellectual so I don’t want to take all this to the extent where reason is in anyway undermined…But I have noticed that already I am less inclined to swear and lose my temper and dwell on stupidities in my mind.
I welcome all feedback on this subject.
Ciao 4 now.


#2

I have gained a spiritual depth by praying the Benedictine divine office and reading following lectio divina as a Benedictine oblate.

Everyone is so different. That is why my best advice is keep on within the Catholic contemplative traditions as you are, there are many great ones, each a little different. It sounds as if you are on the path, that’s 90% of the solution! :slight_smile:


#3

I think that the Rosary is a good way to meditate and be mindful of our Lord. Also I prayed the Jesus Prayer for some years but now find it more helpful to use the words “Gentle heart of Jesus I trust in you”. Everybody though is different, explore the Catholic treasury of prayer there will be something there for you. Saint John of the Cross is the mystics mystic see for example-
poetry-chaikhana.com/J/JohnoftheCro/LovesLivingF.htm

O Love’s living flame,
Tenderly you wound
My soul’s deepest center!
Since you no longer evade me,
Will you, please, at last conclude:
Rend the veil of this sweet encounter!

O cautery so tender!
O pampered wound!
O soft hand! O touch so delicately strange,
Tasting of eternal life
And canceling all debts!
Killing, death into life you change!

O lamps of fiery lure,
In whose shining transparence
The deep cavern of the senses,
Blind and obscure,
Warmth and light, with strange flares,
Gives with the lover’s caresses!

How tame and loving
Your memory rises in my breast,
Where secretly only you live,
And in your fragrant breathing,
Full of goodness and grace,
How delicately in love you make me feel!


#4

Thanks guys. What I think does my nut is that Mass really is becoming an exercise in patience for me at times! I know its not about feelings and all, but the passivity of just tagging along day after day is challenging. Are we really growing. I don’t know that I am…I don’t doubt for one sec. that the Lord is there…but are we really there!!! I’m considering limiting myself to Sunday mass for a while, I have new work obligations anyway.
Why does n’t the Eucharist seem to make a difference in our communities, are we fully recieving its power?
That is why I am rebeling against lay passivity and over dependecy on the priests to lead the way. I am often not that inspired…to be frank. If we were protestants we wouldn’t even think twice about this situation…we have to be more responsible as laity for our growth in relationship with Jesus.
I am not angry with the Church, but I want to grow within it and see progress and real striving. THis is my call…perhaps.
Ciao 4 now.


#5

To each there own i guess, the gift of prayer and faith leads us on in different ways…Sometimes it is profitable to work on cathechism and dogma, at other times to enter deeper into centering prayer.
The sacraments are a vital nourishment and our priests are largely doing their best…which incidently I’m certainly not.
Is anyone here familiar with the Philokalia (an orthodox collection of writings from monastic fathers) ?


#6

I read that we are not supposed to discuss “centering prayer” on this forum. You’d be banned for it.


#7

I’m sure what is being defined by those who run this forum as C.P. and that which I meant are two different things. After all I am refering to methods of prayer that are as old as Christianity practically and that are recommended by sound Catholic authors. It must be a question of notions and definitions!


#8

I have looked up this term on internet. It is somewhat different from the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern catholic practice of the Jesus Prayer. I hope that is not banned too!
The Jesus Prayer though repetitive is not a mantra and has no intrinsic worth per-se other than being a prayer! It can unlike mantras be said in any language…and ultimately the goal is to bring prayer of the lips down into continuos prayer of the heart. Wikapedia explain it adequately.
My initial encounters with it have been beneficial…I measure this by my devotion in mass, my reduced readiness to anger, my increasing hunger for sanctity and all things holy etc. But hey, there is no magic technique to our faith. Our God is a God of Love not of Zen concentration. That isn’t to exclude Zen practitioners, but yes to draw the distinction. Concentration is only useful to us in the measure in which it permits us to live out that first commandment…"Listen Israel…you will Love the Lord…with all your heart, soul and mind."
Ciao 4 now!


#9

I have read the Philokalia and also the anonymous “Way of a Pilgrim” from Russia which is a beautiful summary of its heart essence. It has played an important role in my spiritual journey.


#10

Mindfulness.

Aren’t we simply talking about being Conscious in the here and now? Taking life in the living of it?

Don’t we take love with us, on the move? Doesn’t the tree, a flower, our dog, the neighbor, the moon above, and the stars, all speak of love? (And if God is love… you add it up…) He is all around.

Meditation is useful. The medical field is using it for some patients, teaching them to do it for their personal benefit toward recovery. It then may be useful for returning to living a normal life. But, the normal life is lived on the run, not on the stool.


#11

Is normal life lived on the run? What is normal? Isn’t the point of mindfulness to keep in mind at all times and places that we are in the presence of the Good God? If you give your day a good foundation by, say, praying the Rosary before breakfast won’t that help you to call our Lord to mind while you are speaking to a colleague or negotiating traffic?


#12

If one cannot see God’s love in the world around them, wherever they go, and don’t love others in passing, will it help to sit on a stool and try to find Him?


#13

Yes, ask the Carmelites, ask St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.


#14

Yes, “Prayer” is Good for getting in touch with our Creator. I believe our Soul is the link for communicating with God.

It is meditation (sitting on a stool), as the Buddhist try to achieve that one is looking for God “inside” as a presence within… rather then the communicating with Him by means of one’s soul, through prayer.


#15

There is a huge gap between the Buddhist goal of enlightenment and the Christian goal of union with the Tri-personal God. However to dismiss meditation as a Buddhist practice is not accurate.
The Buddhist has a goal of stillness and ciao thats it! As a Christian stillness of mind is just the beginning…By stillness I mean concentrating the mind so that we are really present in our bodies and present before the Lord. In this full presence of ourselves we can then more intensely make a present of ourselves to God in true whole being-heart prayer.
This is the essence of the practice of the Jesus prayer: which seeks to bring the mind down into the heart, or rather connect mind and heart.
Concentration prayers such as the Jesus prayer is not denying the mind and the intellect and its high dignity, but rather recognising that merely thinking and dreaming will not bring us to union with God. At some point there must be a leap from reason and its domain into the arms of faith, hope and love. Reason is not abandoned because the leap is a reasonable one: once we are convinced of God, of Jesus and his plan…then comes the leap. Having studied theology for years I know: how many guys stay at the realm of intellectualising…all good but not enough.
There is no magic encantation, no mantra in the Jesus prayer path: the words are good-if they work for you, if not the Fathers are unanimous-change them. The important thing is to come in personal contact-heart to heart with the Lord more and more. To pray without ceasing: with every heart beat…Anybody walking this road right now? As a humble lay man I do what I can, but I say it is a powerful road, that takes you off the stool and brings the Kingdom down into our lives. Read “the Way of a Pilgrim” trans. R.M. French!


#16

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