Hi all. Tried asking this question in a variety of places, but could never get a firm answer - so here i go, its long so bear with me.
I’m sure everyone here knows all the flashing headlines about Yoga/Zen and Catholicism - so just wanted to clarify things.
From what i gather, there’s a bit of a spectrum as you got
Exorcist in England who says its opens you up to the demonic.
Our Holy Father who back in the late 90s, wrote a letter which essentially frowned on such practices (but without going so far as to say its demonic - perhaps “self absorbed” is the better tone)
And a bunch of inter-monastic dialog where you have Jesuits priests ending up as Zen Roshis as well.
To which i have to ask - IS there a consensus view on this matter?
Or is this one of this typical issues within the Church that is just not going to get resolved so long as it doesn’t become a large issue.
That’s part 1.
Part 2 - To throw an interesting twist into all this - I have a friend who is a devout Catholic but has taken up the field of neuroscience and neurology as his career.
Part of his research is into the psychological and physical benefits of meditation - of which he studies Buddhism.
Referring back to part 1 of this question - is he in violation of something? I mean, the guy told me straight he could care less about those who are meditating to “join with the Divine” or whatever - he just wants to create some Alpha waves and see what their effects are.
IE: Since Buddhism is part philosophy - part spirituality, coming from a very rational/technological background - his goal seems to be like “strip the spiritual, stick with the technique.”
I asked him why he didn’t bother doing this with say Lectio Divina or St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and he gave a surprising tripartite answer:
1.) He thinks it would be sacrilegious to do so. I suppose this ties back to the whole “My Goal is Practical, not Spiritual.”
2.) Buddhists have been at this meditation thing a lot longer. They’ve also studied the workings of the mind and framed it in such a manner that gives a whole technical discipline to the modification of the mind.
So folks… what are your thoughts?
EDIT - I know someone here’s going to go say something to the effect about “temptations of the Devil.”
However, while i know jack about meditation and the mind, i do know a bit of History of Science.
It used to be the case that way way back when, lots of non-Christians in regions where we sent missionaries to used to be awed and amazed by our vast abilities in astronomy.
Jesuits, Franciscans, et al. used to teach astronomy and natural philosophy along with Catholic theology to these people as demonstrative proofs of our faith.
When the Enlightenment thinkers came along, they just could of gutted out that part about Theology and kept Astronomy.
And here it stands - Astronomy as a field continues as a science sans religious or spiritual connotations (to which people turn to astrology i suppose).
So if i understand him correctly - there’s a mind science and then there’s that science covered up by all this weird spiritualism. (Much like Astrology tries to interpret Astronomical results).