A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

ultrahumanist, modified 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 6:00 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 6:00 AM

A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 9 Join Date: 7/20/20 Recent Posts
Hi! While Buddhist and Hindu meditation has been thoroughly adapted to a modern context, the same cannot really be said for western christan practices. I myself did practice Buddhist meditation with some success for many years without considering myself a real Buddhist, so when I realized that there was something like a western meditative tradition I immediately wanted to find out more. Why should it be any less possible to embrace christian mediation from a "secular", pragmatic point of view than it is possible for Buddhist practices?

I practice western discursive meditation on and off for about a year now and think I learned a lot. So I tought it would be a good idea to share some of the basics, which I did in this article: https://not-the-territory.blogspot.com/2021/11/secularizing-western-meditative.html

Thanks for reading.
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Griffin, modified 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 11:44 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 11:44 AM

RE: A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 218 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
Interesting topic. This sounds exactly the same as Culadasa's "Analytical meditation" (Appendix B in TMI).
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 12:46 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 12:46 PM

RE: A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
aloha ultra,

   The sort of contemplation you describe is not the simple sitting meditation of the ancient east, which is vastly older than invention of christianity (e.g. mohenjo daro). It is, however, like a lot of modern practices which are gathered under the rubric of meditation (but are not). Might be called guided meditation or even lucid dreaming in the west.

   There are christian meditative practices more like classic meditation., especially the apophatics. We like to kick john of the cross around sometimes. There was a wonderful poem posted sometime back by jw which I like to read before meditating sometimes, I'll repost it for you.

terry




https://soundcloud.com/user-419955972/love-like-a-fire-la-noche-oscura-del-alma

Lyrics:

Love Like A Fire (La Noche Oscura del Alma)
​​​​​​​

On a dark night,
I woke in love and yearning
I left with none observing
My house being now at rest


A love like a fire
But without light or flame
Burning ever brighter
Keeps me on my way


In darkness but without a fear
Down secret stairs I disappear
No other light or guide
Than the one that burns inside


Stare into the fire
That no one else can see
Burning ever brighter
And you’re there waiting for me


Oh night, that guides
Oh night more lovely than the dawn
That joins beloved with love
In the night, you guided me
More surely than the light of the day


Upon my flowering chest
You lay asleep, and I caressed
Just as a breeze blew in across the wall


With the softest touch it pierced my vein
I abandoned all, forgot my name
And there I remained
Beyond all pain, soaked in rain

Flames growing higher
You can see it from a mile away
As wide as a river
As high as a mountain range


Oh night, that guides
Oh night more lovely than the dawn
That joins beloved with love
In the night, you guided me
More surely than the light of the day


Stare into the fire
Of love’s anxiety
Burning ever brighter
And you’re there waiting for me

​​​​​​​
Oh night, that guides
Oh night more lovely than the dawn
That joins beloved with love
In the night, you guided me
More surely than the light of the day
Now, I see you
ultrahumanist, modified 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 1:43 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 1:43 PM

RE: A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 9 Join Date: 7/20/20 Recent Posts
Yeah, TMI was the system I originally started out with. What is differnt in the practice of Hall is that it is used as a gateway to achieve altered, even jhanic states. Culadasa uses a similar technique for insight into conceptual question. As I say in the post, discursive practice can be used for this, but the scope is significantly wider.
George S, modified 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 9:01 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/29/21 9:01 PM

RE: A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 2463 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I would add The Cloud of Unknowing to the Western Meditative Tradition. Almost koan like in places ...
​​​​​​​
And ween not, for I call it a darkness or a cloud, that it be any cloud congealed of the humours that flee in the air, nor yet any darkness such as is in thine house on nights when the candle is out. For such a darkness and such a cloud mayest thou imagine with curiosity of wit, for to bear before thine eyes in the lightest day of summer: and also contrariwise in the darkest night of winter, thou mayest imagine a clear shining light. Let be such falsehood. I mean not thus. For when I say darkness, I mean a lacking of knowing: as all that thing that thou knowest not, or else that thou hast forgotten, it is dark to thee; for thou seest it not with thy ghostly eye. And for this reason it is not called a cloud of the air, but a cloud of unknowing, that is betwixt thee and thy God.
ultrahumanist, modified 7 Months ago at 11/30/21 12:34 AM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/30/21 12:34 AM

RE: A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 9 Join Date: 7/20/20 Recent Posts
The Cloud is certainly interesting. However, if you are interested in pragamtic instruction in non-conceptual meditation, I know of no better source than Molinos Spiritual Guide
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finding-oneself *, modified 7 Months ago at 11/30/21 1:51 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/30/21 1:51 PM

RE: A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 252 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
FYI if anyone has an Audible subscription, The Cloud of Unknowing is a free extra.
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terry, modified 7 Months ago at 11/30/21 2:03 PM
Created 7 Months ago at 11/30/21 2:03 PM

RE: A Pragmatic Take on the Western Meditative Tradition

Posts: 2185 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
spiritual guidance:

just sit


(yes, christians used to sit too)


t



"I sit, therefore I am not."
`~null-descartes


practice enlightenment same same
​​​​​​​~dogen

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