Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lo que encontré en el Dialogo Monástico Interreligioso

Saludos a mis querido lectores. El deseo que tuve hoy de hacerme sentir la palabra religión, algo mas universal y unificante me llevo a este sitio de internet, el cual esta dedicado al dialogo monastico interreligioso.
En el encontre muchos escritos, el cual comparto hoy, copiado integro del sitio original se titula como sigue "A Comparative Consideration of Types of Meditation".
Aparece en el articulo:
"Report on the Monastic Meeting at Petersham: Dr. Daniel Goleman and Fr. M. Basil Pennington on A comparative consideration of types of meditation" escrito por Sr. Mary L. O'Hara, CSJ
inicia cita "from Bulletin 1, October 1977

A Comparative Consideration of Types of Meditation

The presentation was made by Father Basil Pennington—a monk of commanding presence and encyclopedic learning, of contemplative simplicity and boundless energy.

Christian teachers should teach more by their lives and should make room for the teacher. The best way to bring people to Eastern spirituality is for them to be into their own way and tradition in depth.

Interest in meditation can be seen from the articles appearing these days: “10 Journeys for the Spirit” (New Yorker); “Meditation Without Mystery” D. Goleman (Psychology Today)

It is important to clarify terms when dialoging with the East. Meditation usually means contemplation for Easterners, while contemplation may mean discursive meditation. Any meditative practice has to be part of a life context. This is where a method such as T.M. seems to fall short of practitioners’ long term needs. Can a meditative technique be transposed from one culture to another and be lived in depth? This is a consideration raised by the lives of Dom Dechanet and Abbot Tholens. Does following an Eastern method of prayer mean moving out of the traditional community? What about our vow of stability?

Types of Christian Meditation (4 of many types)

1. Benedictine/Cistercian—Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio. Faith begins with hearing/reading the word and response to it moves one on to other levels.
2. St. John Cassian—author of the Institutes and Conferences. In the conferences on prayer, Abbot Isaac said the formula for prayer handed down from the fathers was chosen from the words of Scripture, “O God make speed to save me; O Lord make haste to help me.” This was to be used to stay in God’s presence at all times. It should be said at every moment of the day, it should be the last thing you say at night and the first thing you say in the morning.
3. The “Jesus” Prayer. In Eastern Christian tradition it developed from a simple form to a more sophisticated one. It is a prayer of the heart—Hesychasm—quietness. Nicephorus, the Solitary: Attention is repentance, renunciation of sin, turning to God, serenity of mind. It is necessary to seek a teacher who will show from his own sufferings what must be done. To breathe we use our lungs which develop the heart. Breathing in the words of the prayer we bring the prayer to our hearts. Together with the air we force the mind to enter into the heart and stay there and repeat the Jesus prayer. When our lips are silent, desires speak from the breast. We must force the heart to say only the Jesus prayer. St. Gregory of Sinai is considered the greatest teacher of Hesychasm. How shall a man discover or better be discovered by Christ whom he received at baptism? Through the fulfillment of the commandments, or by obedience to the spiritual father in the practice of the memory of God: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me”. St. Gregory describes the practice: Sit on a low stool 8 inches high, bow low, force the mind into the heart and repeat “Lord Jesus Christ;” after some time switch to the second part of the prayer. Control the breath, breathing slowly and quietly. This practice should always be taught personally and paced for the individual.
4. Cloud of Unknowing—by an unknown 14th Century English author. Sit relaxed and quiet. Prayer is a spontaneous desire springing to God. Center attention on God. It should take only a brief moment to do so. Use a short, meaningful word to do this. Do not strain the mind or the imagination. The word should be repeated internally with no thought or sound. This word should represent the fullness of God.

Discussion Period
We are looking for a way of life, not a method. Jesus never gave a method. He said: I am the way. The truth. His practice, however, gives some clues or ideas as to methods. But it was related to His culture and conditions and so must ours be. His basic experiences, however, were universally valid. He is above all teaching us to enter His inner life of relationship to His father. Can Eastern thought give insight into Christianity? Eastern thought is perhaps necessary to bring mankind to maturity. Jesus freed men from the rigidities of the Rabbinical School. Identification is a stage from which one goes beyond to find one’s own identity. The temptation of all religions is to stay at the level of identification. Methods are helpful, but only as a means. Ritual has a place but form and meaning must be truly one. The gospel message is simple. Everything, including methods, which help purity of heart, can be used, but not idolized.

Part of the monastic “return” of Sr. Donald’s talk could be opening to other religions and cultures. Is it our Western scientific mind which leads us to call these things “methods”? Not necessarily. This was the attitude of the Eastern monks at Bangalore. These techniques have arisen from the structures of the psyche. Jean Houston’s studies offer various levels of psychedelic experiences:

1. Sensory—Franciscan
2. Recollective—Jesuit
3. Symbolic—Benedictine
4. Silent—Cistercian—Carmelite—Zen

Christianity is unthinkable without the fourth level-- silence gathering up all the creation. Christ came into a Jewish context, but there is no reason why that same experience of union with the Father can not be lived in another religion. Jesus was not a Christian. Perhaps Christianity must die as a seed.

The afternoon session was devoted to an explanation of the “centering prayer” so called from Merton ‘s conviction that we go to God through our deepest center. It grows out of the tradition of the Cloud of Unknowing. People come to the monastery asking for help in prayer. This is an answer.

Sit relaxed and comfortable in a chair with the back well supported. When Jesus said, “I will refresh you” he meant body as well as soul. Eyes gently closed. Three basic rules to the technique:

1. Move in faith to the reality that God is present within. When we go to our deepest self, we find not only God’s image, but our deepest self coming from God’s creative love. Come out of this prayer slowly through a moment of affective prayer.
2. Take up one simple prayer word which naturally effects a meaningful response in you -- e.g., Lord, God, Love, Life—and let it repeat itself within. The aim is not an ejaculatory prayer, but to abide in the Presence. The word is there only to help this.
3. Whenever we become aware of anything else, we simply let it go and return to our prayer word.

It is strongly urged that one take at least two short periods (20 minutes) for this prayer each day. The best time of day for this prayer seems to be early in the day and before eating in the evening. The centering prayer was seen as well founded, starting with the discursive and then naturally moving into contemplation, whereas many Eastern techniques perhaps start too high.

TM and Centering Prayer
TM uses a meaningless sound whereas centering prayer uses the most meaningful word. In TM there are very detailed instructions given, and initial progress is checked after three and ten days. Also, the mantra is picked very carefully as it gets more powerful at finer levels. TM is geared to intensify and purify the nervous system so that a dynamic samadhi may be maintained at all times. TM could be compared to Jnana Yoga in its approach, while the centering prayer could be compared to Bhakti Yoga in its more devotional aspect. An aspect of both approaches is the transcendence of the word used. We can use any faculty with which to transcend—a sort of divine psychotherapy allowing the opportunity to empty the unconscious of its needless “junk.” If the unconscious is unloaded too fast, one may become aware of things that he is not prepared to face. Since these two techniques enter essentially non-directed atmosphere, they are performed for relatively short periods of time. When these methods are motivated by personal ambition toward attainment, we often find a loss of prudence in their use and a jump into extremism that only turns back on oneself. These methods are fully effective only when guided by prudent men. The silence that is stressed is not important as an end in itself, but as a space in which one is freed from endless desires and preoccupations, entering a pure and natural space in which one may come to his true self. Each comes to this self-realization in his own time and rate. In this spirit St. Teresa has reminded us that our natural movement is into God, realizing that conditions and methodology are a means and not an end. (See Father Basil’s book: Daily We Touch Him)

In the evening the group addressed itself to considering the primary focus of the meeting: exploring ways to aid monasteries in opening to the heritage of the East. See the summation of the conclusions committee at the end of this report."
fin de la cita.
Todos los Grandes Misticos Cristianos en alguna forma han recomendado la meditación como ayuda en la vida diaria de oración, o han practicado alguno de ésos métodos. Espero les haya gustado, igual que a mi.

No comments: