July 28th, 1982, Serial No. 00996

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Monastic Spirituality, Set 7 of 12

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A couple of references for this. The theme of truth, of course, is an infinite thing. The theme of falsehood tends to restrict itself more. People like St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have written a lot on truth. St. Augustine also has a treatise on lying, De Vendaccio, in which he treats those difficult cases of the Old Testament, like where Rebekah tells Jacob to pretend to be Esau, and cases like that, where Jacob's lying to Laban, is a difficult one. Aquinas has a treatise, De Veritate, on truth, in three books, and of course in this he gets into the metaphysics of truth, he gets very deep. Similarly, if you look up the Biblical themes, you'll find that the theme of truth is endless, because after all, God is truth, and especially in St. John, Jesus is identified so much with


the truth, where he says, I am the way and the truth and the life, and he's continuing to say, a gospel of revelation, and therefore it's God presented as truth, Christ as truth, the Holy Spirit as the spirit of truth, and so, in some way, encompasses the whole gospel. The themes in the, for instance, in the dictionary of the Book of Theology are truth and lie, and lie is more specific. There's a lot in Merton about truth, not so much on lying, and we'll get into the way in which Merton uses the notion of truth, because if there's one thing about this word truth, it's ambiguous, because people can, for instance, the two extremes of the spectrum, in one way, are this, that the truth, for instance, is the Catholic faith, it's what we receive from tradition, what we believe, the truth of faith, but on the other end, the truth is the reality of human life, it's the existential reality of human life, you might call it the


hard or the cold facts of life, and we live between those two, in some way, and I was just thinking that people can err by, or they can be untrue by moving too much in either one of those two directions, in other words, if by their attachment to the truth of God and the truth of Christ and the truth of the Catholic Church, if for that reason they pull away from the nitty-gritty truth of reality, of human life, they're no longer in truth, they're no longer in truth. Similarly, of course, if people, by their attachment to the hard truths and the earthy truth of life, refuse to believe in Christ or reject the Church, they're out of the truth too, aren't they? See, a lot of people who call themselves atheists, who say they don't believe in God, can't believe in God because they're so, what would you say, obsessed with the truths of life, with the truths as they perceive them, that is with the realities of life. Reality comes from res, which is things, the things, the facts of life, whereas other people can't see


that reality at all because they've identified completely with the reality of their faith. The fundamentalists, for instance, okay, so on one side you've got the sort of good atheists, the sincere atheists, and on the other side you've got the fundamentalists. One is attached to the truth of, say, the truth of the people, therefore he becomes a Marxist, an atheist Marxist, because he thinks that the Church has betrayed the people and therefore it can't be true. And on the other side you have the fundamentalist, who only believes what he sees in scripture, literally, and what he takes as God's truth and what he identifies with, and so he's ready to tell you that the sun revolves around the earth still. There are people who will do that because that's the way it's presented in the book of Genesis, but we're in between those two extremes, which is not to say that God is only partly true, or that life is only partly true. It's that we tend to falsify by getting out of our place, by getting out of our own truth. And see, we falsify our nature by moving inside so much that we lose touch, we don't have to relate to the external


truth anymore, or by moving outside so much that we don't have to relate to the internal truth, call it the spiritual truth, the divine truth of God. That's oversimplifying the thing a bit, but see the ambiguity of that word truth. And we've each got our own meaning when we use that word truth, so we have to be very careful, especially in an argument. Then this business of projection, there are references on that, but we'll talk about that when we get to it. The first thing he's talking about there is suspicion. And the sayings of the fathers. See, this discourse on falsehood gets us back to the one I'm not judging. Basically, a lot of it's the same narrative. And then it's the matter of knowing yourself. Now, notice how Dorotheus is always... I'll finish the references. Then, of course, the rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 4. Note the sequence here, remember? We had that whole business about, we were talking last time about animosity, about these relationships between people in a community. And that shades


right into the question of truth and falsehood. Notice the connection, because it's connected in Dorotheus that way, and it's also connected in the rule of St. Benedict. Not to give way to anger, not to lay up revenge. Now, notice already that the business of love, the business of charity, or anger, or hatred, is moving into the area of truth and falsehood. To lay up revenge is to do something, is to conceal your vengefulness, to put it off to another time, to the opportune moment. So already there's a kind of secrecy and falsehood creeping in there. The next one is not to cover deceit in the heart, then not to make a pretended peace. So his truth, St. Benedict's truth, is the truth of the heart in paternal relations. Not to forsake charity, not to swear for fear of being perjured, to speak truth from the heart as well as the mouth, not to return evil for evil, not to do an injury, but to bear one with patience, to love our enemies.


All of this, you see how they're interwoven? The theme of truth is interwoven with the theme of love. And truth here is in the context of relations with your brothers and your family, what's in your heart and the way that you behave. And love relates to those two levels, the external level and the internal level. And the relationship between the two is this question of truth, of falsehood. The Sayings of the Fathers, that's Book 14 on not judging. We won't go into that again. Another reference is St. Bernard with his degrees of truth, and this is pretty close to Dorotheus and of course close to the will of Benedict. Remember his three degrees of truth? The first degree of truth is knowing the truth in yourself, that is knowing yourself and knowing sort of the other side of yourself that you don't want to. And this somehow is the key to the other truth, especially it's the key to the second one. Well, that's what humility is about. St. Bernard writes quite a bit about that because it's in the book on the steps of humility,


the steps of humility and the steps of pride. And so it's set in the context of the rule, so for him the rule of St. Benedict is how you know yourself, or the steps of humility that St. Benedict gives are the steps of self-knowledge for him more or less, because humility is self-knowledge. So everything in, I think everything in chapter 7 of St. Bernard lies in the first step of truth, knowing the truth in yourself. You have to be careful with that though because remember the truth in ourself is not just baseness, it's not just the dark side, it's also the right side, it's the presence of God. And the second step of truth for St. Bernard is to know the truth in your fellow man, to know the truth in your brother. Now notice how before you've gone through the first step, at least we're schematizing, so obviously it's not quite accurate, but before you've done the first step you can't do the second step. Unless you know yourself,


you can't know your brother. Unless you know the truth in yourself, you can't know the truth in your brother. Does that make sense? It's concerned, we're going to meet that when we get into the theist here, but it's concerned with that question of projecting our own dark side out on somebody else. Remember the shadow thing we were talking about. The recognition of that is getting more and more widespread among people who do psychotherapy, it's kind of a general wisdom now, self-knowledge and pulling in these projections and then coming to terms with it. So somehow we've got to know what's ours before we can know what's our brother's and before we can see him properly we have to know the screens that are over our own vision. And then the third degree of truth, of course, is to know the truth in God, is to know the truth in itself, and that's contemplation. Remember the three steps you did, compunctio, compassio, contemplatio, compunction, compassion and contemplation. Like Saint Augustine


Garnet is beautiful because it's sort of the music of this theology, but then afterwards you have to say, well that's not quite exact because they all happen at the same time, this and that. It's a beautiful oversimplifying, it's a kind of art, it's a poem. A lot of this, what Malthus says is about John of the Cross and his writings, is true also of the fathers, that partly they're writing poetry. It's the poetry of asceticism, it's the poetry of prayer, the poetry of contemplation and the poetry of the monastic life. Because ancient men didn't know how to write a treatise on biochemistry, and he didn't know how to write flat historical knowledge, he turned everything into poetry, because he was still somehow related to the word in that way. The word was still a human thing, the word hadn't been shot down yet, it hadn't been flattened out and killed. That seems to start with the truth. I was wondering what you were talking about before, it's self-forgiveness that you're talking about.


Yeah, because if we just know the dark side of ourselves and we don't feel that forgiveness of God, and we can't therefore forgive ourselves, then we're still afraid, we're still in our little castle of self-defense. And therefore we've got to get rid of that guilt somehow, we'll push it on somebody else pretty quick. We'll be ready to blame everybody else, because we're not unblamed yet ourselves. And what you say about self-forgiveness is right, because it's not only that God forgives us, but somehow we have to ratify that forgiveness and forgive ourselves. Because there are a lot of people who are forgiven by God and they don't forgive themselves, they don't know how. A lot of prayer for healing is about that kind of thing. People who don't, to accept forgiveness and to forgive yourself, I suppose those are the same thing, they can do it on their sides. The trouble with these things is that we don't know that we're not doing it, we don't know that we're doing it until somebody tells us. Okay, any other preliminaries before we


talk about the discourse itself, which is rather brief, rather simple, there's been a lot of talk about it. He talks first of all, he says there are three kinds of falsehood. And that too is a kind of simplification, but it's useful. The first was struck that there's a difference between those three kinds, that they're not all, he's not talking about the same thing. The first one strikes us as being a little out of line with the other two. There are three different kinds of falsehood. There's the man who lies in his mind, or in his, I didn't bring the original of this, I don't know what, I don't know what the word for mind is, they've got to look it up, but it is his imagination. The man who lies in word is the man whose very life is a lie. And the man who lies in the mind is a man who is suspicious, actually. What he's talking about is suspicion. And he's talked about this a lot before in the discourse on not judging.


When we think our brother has done something, it's that kind of blame which is in the mind, it's a sin of the mind. And the psychologist would say it's the beginning of paranoia. The beginning of paranoia is a kind of systematic imagining. And they would also say that this is kind of the key, I remember reading a book one time about some fellow who had a breakdown, a real psychotic breakdown, and he went through it and came out the other side. And then he became a kind of healer of those people who had those breakdowns, and who had to learn to take them as a growth experience rather than just a destruction of themselves. His name was Boyz, a famous book, autobiography, and evidently he was quite good at helping people afterwards. But he said that the key difference between the people who get better and the people who don't get better, when they really crack up, is whether they're paranoid or not.


That is, whether they begin to become systematic and sort of hard in the way they misconstrue the world. We're talking about schizophrenic people, people who pull away from reality. If you pull away from reality and you're able to accept that you're lost, that you've become unhooked, that you're a bit off your rocker and out of touch with reality, then you've got a good chance of recovering, of coming back in touch with reality. And maybe be even better than you were before, because you've gone to a part of the spiritual journey. If, on the other hand, you attach yourself to a certain vision of reality in your unreality, then it's very hard for you to be brought back, because you've hung on to something. You've chosen a world of unreality to reclaim it as your own. So the people who think they're Napoleon, and the people who identify themselves in that way with something magnificent in their reality, are the people who can't get better, because they're stuck on that. They're going to hang on to that. Notice how central that identity thing is for us, and sort of we stand or fall


in what we identify with. And then that controls everything else. It controls how we think of other people. It controls the way that we see our world. Sort of the first thing is to be able to admit, become the reality of one's own world, to be able to admit our own falsity in which we see things, which is not to destroy our integrity, our perception, or our confidence in our own mind. It's not to do that, but to realize that our mind is bent, that basically we are the light of the intellect, which sees clearly. Here's something that's refracting, something that's bending, clouding. Okay, now on this business of suspicion, or conjectures is the word he uses here, but conjectures is not as powerful a word as suspicions. Notice how Dorotheus always brings us back to the same context. He's hardly ever going to take you out of the context of community and talk about


what goes on in your soul when you're alone. Even this business of untruth, all three kinds of interpersonal situations, to the community situation. The first one is not as obvious because it's internal, but remember what he's talking about is conjectures and suspicions about somebody else. There are misinterpretations about what somebody else is doing or what somebody else is saying, so they too refer to that situation. That's his field, that's his area. Even though he seems to be living as a hermit, because he's always talking about when I was back in the Cenobite. But he's teaching these people how to relate to that life, how to deal with that. You see somebody talking with his brother, he is suspicious and says they are talking about me. And if they stop their conversation, he conjectures that they stopped it. Now this is familiar to most of you, I think, this kind of thing. Either you've experienced it yourself, you've experienced that impulse when you come into a scene and people are talking,


they think they are talking about you, or immediately we begin to interpret things with respect to ourselves, and in a fearful way too. Fearful is either fear or anger, usually the same thing. Either we're insecure and so we have that kind of defensive thing. Now, the psychology people talk about this kind of thing as ideas of reference. See, this is the beginning of madness. It's the beginning of madness. It's sort of the tame domestic kind of madness that we carry around with ourselves like a puppy dog. The beginning of being crazy, of unhooking from reality. We've all got it, because there's a lot of unreality in our minds. And the monastic thing, I think, needs to be seen in this light. It's really, what it's really doing is trying to get hooked up with reality. Trying to cut through all that garbage This is the first kind of garbage that comes along, which is intimately important to us, because somehow it's as if we're always threatened in a situation. It's as if that climate of trust


and love, that climate of peace and charity hasn't diffused us enough, and we're still defensive. Because it happens, gradually it happens, gradually we get more secure. They call this ideas of reference, okay? Ideas of reference. And this is one of the signs of schizophrenia, is ideas of reference. You begin to think that everything pertains to you. That when somebody does something, they do it because of you. There's some mysterious connection. And then, when it really gets to its full blossom, then you think that they're coming to get you. Then, either it's the mafia, or it's somebody else, but they're out to get you. People really feel that way. It's really the mafia. They're at the door. Or somebody else. The communists. Well, the communists are out to get us, not just me, okay? The mafia is just after me, but the communists are after all of us. So, it's only the mafia that's a little more personal.


Do you agree with that? Yeah, well, it depends on how... But often they're projected on real people. They're here, they're listening. I saw one yesterday. The CIA also becomes a little bit... On the other side, the Central Intelligence Agency, because it fits into the spider or octopus thing. Paranoia needs a spider or an octopus. Also, the devil. The devil is the classic scapegoat for this kind of thing. Because of his ubiquitous, all-powerful dealings, he can be everywhere, responsible for everything. And darn it, I suppose he is. He really is out to get us here. The trouble is that we don't know where he is, and so there's a vast empty space of uncertainty


between where he really is or where he's really acting, and where we can interpret his presence. And meanwhile, in all that space, there may be a lot of responsibility for us, or a lot of mistakes made. If I think that so-and-so is motivated by the devil, for instance, in what he does, that can lead to all kinds of uncharity and all kinds of rash judgment. So it's dangerous. This happens among the charismatics that are interested in exorcism. And so they're exorcising everybody, and they do a lot of harm. This is going to go around in the network shop and deliver this program. And they give one example of a charismatic community, and they give their history, and they started off like this. And they persevered and gradually became concerned that they were always going off. And the whole community changed, and they were integrating psychology. They weren't saying the devil doesn't exist. They got to the point where they were really taking care of the practice, and they weren't seeing the devil in everything. It's real hard to get those things together. For instance, if you go into a mental hospital,


often there are people who are psychotic, who are also demoniac. In other words, there's a demon, there's a demonic influence that somehow is connected with it, with their schizophrenia or whatever. You can sense it. Maybe that's my problem. And I think that's the way also in the gospel. When Jesus casts out devils, the psychiatrist today will say, well, that was simply this, or that was simply that. That was this form of psychosis. Sure it was, but it was also a demon. Well, for each passion and for each evil thought, that kind of thing. I don't know if for each part of the body, it may have connected with diseases, for instance. So, it's in the gospel too. Jesus says, go and heal the sick and cast out demons. And he says


it almost in the same breath a couple of times. And he connects the two. Also, remember the lady who was bent under her infirmity for 38 years, and he said she was bound by the devil. So there's a connection there. Anything that's murderous, anything that's destructive of the human person, in some ways, it's an awfully dangerous area, of course, to conjecture. Theropod, in Buddhist Karmasa, is a classical modernist in this category. Casting out, I cast out. These demons are all over, especially around Paradasa. He was a holy man. There's false judgements, false judgements. They start seeing him. A whole bunch of people believe him too and admire him and pity him. If anyone should say a word, he suspects that it's to annoy him. And it's simply everything


he says about his neighbor. He did this on my account. He said this, that sort of thing. This man is being a liar in his mind. Nothing he says is true, but only his suspicion. Out of this conditionless investigation, slander, deception, quarrel. It's like Jesus when he says, out of the heart, come all these things. There's a falsity in the heart. Then, sometimes, he happens to hit on something true, and then he goes on. It may lead him to something which is apparently good, and that he wants to correct himself, because he thinks his brother was pointing to some evil of his own. And, of course, if we're sensitive about our own sins, and we know sort of what they are, we can interpret what somebody else does as a reproach to us, which, in a way, might have a salutary effect. But what is it? It's only our own inner guilt which leads us to that conviction. Dorothy says even that is not going to bear any good proof, because it's a bad tree. It shouldn't lead you to trust your conjectures. I found this,


the translation here, a little cloudy. I didn't check it, the original. But you get the idea. And then he goes on. The story about when he was in the synovium, and he thought that a certain lady wasn't a good lady, so he went to Abba John. Abba John didn't say anything about the lady with the picture. He said this, suppose a man had an innate urge to do certain things, and by fighting against it overcame it. You would not think you could learn the state of his soul from this. What he's talking about there is that you may see a tendency in somebody, and you interpret, you judge him by that tendency, but actually, his very virtue, his very sanctity is being worked out in fighting with that tendency. It's almost the same thing, I think it was said earlier on page 135 in the discourse on judging, remember? It happens that a man may do certain things, a certain thing which seems to be wrong, and there may be something


about that which makes more romance to God than your whole life. How are you going to sit in judgment and constrict your own soul? And should it happen that he has fallen away, how do you know how much and how well he fought, how much blood he sweated before he did it? Perhaps so little fault can be done in him that God can look on his actions as if it were just, for God looks on his labor and all the struggle he had before he did it, and has pity on him. Well, it's one thing to judge though, and it's one thing to judge the person as a sinner, it's another thing to judge that tendency, and he hasn't really done away with that problem, and that'll get you. Well, still, the impulse, the drive, the motivation, I see him, and he's right. It's just a matter of, it's just that he's fought with a country. And we can't help our intuitions about people. We've got to put them in a framework like this so that we can then balance them off to the other side, and not judge the person on the basis of the tendencies that we intuit in them. We can't really keep ourselves


from knowing people. Sometimes we need to. And he tells a story about the brother who really had this problem, and he was very suspicious of his other brother, and he went into the garden at night and saw him eating, stealing and eating a pig, and so he told the abbot that he couldn't be given communion the next morning. And so they find out that it was a complete fantasy, and reproach him. After the liturgy, he called all the monks together, and in tears he told them what had happened and made an example of the brother. He had a triple purpose in doing this, to confound the devil and show him up as a sower of suspicions, to allow the brother to make amends for his fault and be forgiven, and to put the brethren more on their guard against letting themselves be persuaded by their own suspicions. And then he said, nothing is more harmful than suspicions as received by the brother. This particular kind of expression, nothing is more important than, or nothing that


is more harmful than, is kind of frequent in our theology. Okay, then he has a kind of summary, which I think is useful. Our fathers tell us many such things in different ways. Let us strive with all our power never to put our trust in our own conjectures, our own suspicions, but nothing separates us so completely from God, or prevents us from noticing our own wrongdoing, or makes us busy about what does not concern us as this. Separates us from God, prevents us from nothing, and so on. Now we have to ask afterwards, how does it separate us from God? First of all, the judging of our neighbor, we're in falsity, and the point is that what we're really dealing with is ourselves, what we're really dealing with is ourselves, and the other person is only a kind of scapegoat for this trick of projection. I don't know if I need to go into any references about that projection thing, but it's a very common piece of psychological jargon.


We talked about it before. No good comes from it, but only trouble without number, and it gives us no time to acquire the fear of God. The opposite to it, in a way, is compunction. See, the opposite to it is compunction, which leads us back into our own place, and also unites us with God, and which is at once the first degree of truth, and the third, because it's the knowledge of ourselves, perceiving the truth in ourselves, but perceiving with that positivity, that hope, that confidence, which is already the third degree of truth, which is the knowledge of God. In that light, we're able to relate to our brother truly. But what about this thing here? Can we really make ourselves as blind as that to our brothers, and is it good for us? I think there's something else we have to recognize, that he's talking about a little different context, and that that kind of context of monasticism, which seems purely


vertical in a way, even here the brother doesn't go to the other brother and say, well, did you do that? He goes to the other, and he asks for punishment. It's a vertical context in which, as it were, all of the information, all of the intelligence, goes vertical, and there isn't that kind of communication horizontal. Neither, as we noticed in the last discourse, do we confront one another in that kind of context, do we try to bring the truth to one another, nor do we notice one another, and very likely, nor do we know one another. So I think we have to put that over here, as a way of living a monastic life, which may not be quite our way of living. I don't know if you have any reflections on that. I think we have to see the difference. Can we realistically shut our eyes to our brother in that way, and just sort of leave him to God, and leave him to the other, whether or not this one's true or not? There are times when we need to, obviously. It seems like in a situation like this, where you have a Bartholomew Pius and a John, and they were leading the individuals,


you know, really don't need to, you know, we don't, what's our check to make sure people are growing? I think the mutual effect is very valuable. It has to be kept even honest, because you yourselves in the past years have had, have experienced an excess of that sometimes, okay? When a person who has a little gift for paranoia begins to see this stuff in everybody, begins to see shadows in everybody, and gets over-sensitive and over-discerning. So you've seen how it can go to excess, and yet I think we need a sensitivity for where our brother is at, to be able to speak a good word, and also sometimes to be able to confront it, because the superior is probably never going to know it. He doesn't know him well enough, usually, but even the spiritual father, because he talks to him face to face, and he doesn't work with him, he's not with him in the same, what do you call it, the same relaxed atmosphere, where the person is not watching himself. Because if we're talking to our spiritual


father or to the superior, we're only watching ourselves in a certain way, we're aware of our persona. So I think it's, I think it's quite a point. I should have brought that book over, because they talk a lot about projection. Remember the two big reasons for the creative conflict there? One was to recognize and let go of your projections. I don't remember what the other one was. So that's dealing precisely with that, the business of mirroring and so on, where you repeat what somebody has said, and then gradually, working back and forth, you find out what is a projection, and what's really there. You find out if somebody's seeing you in an exaggerated way, or in a wrong way, in an unfair way, in a negative way, that can iron out a lot of things. But also, that's a special framework, and you can do it among a group of people who agree to do it, but I think you can't force anybody to do it.


It can be really rough to you. And also, one trouble with it is, it depends on how far you take it. I think some of it could be all right in our kind of life, but if you take it too far, then the whole of your life becomes subject to the scrutiny of the group, and you can't do that in this kind of life. There's an area of privacy which belongs to you, to God, and to a spiritual father, and that's why you're a professor. I think they do it at least once a year for everybody, and that means the whole community participates. I found a little difficulty in that, in that even the last person to arrive is right in all of the discussion of the life of this person who may have been there for 20 years, or less than 20 years, especially if the person doesn't stay, because they're not committed to


that. But they do it once a year for everybody, still. It's probably evolved over those years since they have a session on the negative side, and a critical side, and a session on the positive side, and then finally a summing-up session, so it's pretty intensive. I think the person is present right all the time. Of course, it all depends on the group, because a group can arrive at a kind of modus operandi in which they sort of glide over a lot of things. There's the way in which you do this, whether you really dig down all the way, or whether you're rather gentle with it, consider it. Because some of the way you could murder them, or you could just, the thing would break down at a certain point because the person couldn't take anymore of it, or there's certain things you just can't look at, but can't discuss. So you need, you need some compassion, some discretion in this kind of thing.


You can't trust any mechanism in a group to be in power. I think it's such a delicate matter that it couldn't hardly be done on the individual basis, because say that possibly the good intention is to motivate, not to respect, but to check your motivation with another member of the group before the person is in power. You can hurt somebody, or you can break a relationship probably so that it can't be restored after this. If you say a certain thing about me, I'm going to forget that. Or you can say that in a certain way.


Did you ever get a group request sometime, or did you just sort of wonder what confrontation? We're talking about this common thing now, this sort of creative conflict as a whole? Yeah, yeah. Okay, the beam and I... That's good. You know the problem is with group judgment. Yeah, the group judgment can be wrong, because a group has a kind of ego. A group has a kind of a collective ego, which there's a certain enjoyment in finding people


to reinforce you, also at the expense of somebody else. There's a trouble with in-groups. Part of their identity, part of their satisfaction in being together is by the common judgment of something else or somebody else. And all the sectarian groups are that way. Even monasticism can be that way. And then it happens in a group or in a community. And it feels like it's right. It feels like the Holy Spirit in some way. Because you're together, you've found unity. You're in common agreement about this thing, and maybe completely wrong. You remember the time when Abba Moses was called to the Council of Finisterra? Somebody did that in a sermon. I was part of Thomas for this. Abba Moses, they were coming to Council, you know, and they were all going to agree probably about this brother. He was never a part of it. He knew about that, that sort of collective beam in the eye. And the beam in the eye is usually precisely the projection. And what happens is the scapegoat thing, you know, in the Old Testament. That the group itself, the community itself is able to choose a scapegoat and load him up with their own darkness and then reject him.


Remember the witch hunts and the puritanism and the way men and so on, that kind of thing. I wonder how you all align between real prophetic leaders and not real leaders. And that's our side of the story. I think the scripture also, you know, we're supposed to know each other better. If a person just thinks he's self-knowledge, if a person is beginning to really get to know himself, he has compassion for himself, and he also uses his word as a compassionate word. And I think that's the sign. The sign is the positivity in that business. It's going to be the fact that there's more affirmation, or that the total positive, the total fruit is positive rather than negative. It's not a rejection, but it's building. Maybe, I don't know if it's always easy to discern that, but what is going to determine whether that happens or not?


How soundly this process works. One is the presence of the word of God within the community. And by the fact that the word is there, that people reflect on it, that they pray, the Holy Spirit should be there. And secondly, on the quality and maturity of the group. The group's on self-knowledge, which means somebody within it which will bring it back to life. We have this April thing, but it's the group that's helping us. What's going on with that? It seems, first of all, I have to praise this individual brother. First thing I have to do is look at myself first, and chew on that for a while, and then it gets too heavy for me just to sort of bear with it myself. And then I go to the spiritual father with it, get some discernment there. Like, for example, you may say, you know, offer it up. You know, I'll be wrong. You may, you know, in those times, you may say, well, it's too delicate.


You know, just sort of trying to let it go. You may say, well, something may be there. Let's give it more time for discernment. We have a difficult situation. In fact, I think it's a difficult situation for many of us, you know, our spiritual father himself. And also being the superior sort of puts another twist on it. So we have to be sensitive to that dimension. And, but still, I think we, and also it seems that we, it's real hard to give some kind of correction or counsel to a brother if we haven't first established some relationship of trust. If we haven't first done that, then even if we're right, objectively, even if we're right about a certain behavior, even if we're right, it's best to stay away from it if you don't have a relationship of trust with that particular person. It's because you're just going into an area that's probably too sensitive. Well, it'd be too sensitive. I wouldn't want to go into that kind of situation. If I don't have a relationship of trust with a particular person,


I wouldn't, I wouldn't want to go in there for some kind of counsel. First of all, I'd try to get it clarified with the spiritual father in terms of whether or not there may be something there. There may not be something there. I'd want a situation of trust to be there. Also, what was really good for me in a particular situation was that I knew that a particular person had a relationship of trust with another person. So after I sort of chewed on it for a while with myself and my own motivation and had some clarification from the spiritual father regarding it, then I felt that I, but the situation directly for me was too sensitive for me to enter into it with, say, a word of counsel. But I knew of another brother who did have a good relationship, so I went to this other brother for some sense of perspective on the situation regarding what was irritating me or what was causing me concern to get just another perspective on it. And it was real good for me because basically I found out I was wrong.


You know, I found out that certain criticisms I had were exaggerated. You know, there was a certain, I was sensing in a particular area that I was sort of hypersensitive in this area and that I really wasn't sort of walking along sort of on the middle road. So it was real good for me, so that's another sort of access we have before actually being put in a sense of a face-to-face with this other brother as we can chew on it for ourselves, spiritual father, and then perhaps a relationship with another brother for another sense of perspective on it. And I think, you know, Brother Mike said, well, yeah, that gives me some concern too. But he also, what happened in my case is he tempered my criticism. He said, yeah, that concerns me too, but I don't think it's really that big a deal. So basically that said to me, well, I'm a little hypersensitive in that area, so that gave me some space to calm down, you know.


It can especially be true when the relationship between two people is pretty intense, more than average, you know, and then a lot of hypersensitivity can come up. Also, it may make it hard really for you to approach that person because the thing is intense enough so that the atmosphere of trust is weakened. Okay, the second kind of lying now is lying within word, and of course that's more obvious. And he gives the example of not getting up for vigils just because one's lazy or something, and then giving another reason for it. But if he wants to get something, he doesn't come to the point and say, I want the thing, but this isn't saying it in a roundabout way. I suffer from this, and therefore I need that. There are all kinds of little ways in which we tend to do this. One way is simply that I catch myself doing sometimes, is if I want to say something to somebody and somebody else has mentioned it,


I'll tend to put it on the other person, say, so-and-so mentioned this, passed the buck behind in that way. How easy it is to do that. And it's true in a way, but it's also not taking responsibility for the thing yourself. On the other hand, sometimes people will come and they want precisely to pass the buck to you. They'll go and say so-and-so to so-and-so, you know, aren't you going to do something about this? So you've got to know where to draw the line. Because every while you can become the center of a lot of friction if you have to be the sheriff for other people. He says there are three roots to this, okay, and here we get back into our old Greek psychology. All sins arise through a love of pleasure or avarice or vainglory. Remember the three roots. They don't all do it that way.


But avarice, lust, or love of pleasure and vainglory. Remember in the letter of Saint John, there's nothing in the world except for the pride of life, lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh. They correspond to those three. It's more biblical, this particular version in Greek. And then the idea of the three great evangelical, the three great Jewish practices, which are prayer, the spirit, and that's related to the vainglory thing, not avarice thing, and almsgiving against avarice, and fasting against the other thing. But the Greek psychology behind it, which comes together with this biblical thing, the irascible appetite either to anger or to power, and therefore avarice, the aggressive power, or the, this doesn't fit perfectly,


or the, whether it's concupiscible, the one that moves towards pleasure, or the intellectual or spiritual one, which gets inflated and moves towards vainglory. We've been into this when we did Keshe. And in the end, no one believes him when he speaks the truth. No one can believe him for the truth he speaks is ambiguous. Sometimes you meet a person you just can't believe, you know, where there's a fundamental, there's a fundamental sort of twist in the personality, so that the person himself is mixed up about what's true and about what he wants, okay? So you get a person and they'll come to you and say, well, this is so. And you know that in the way that he presents the thing already, there's a kind of fabrication, okay? In the way that he presents the truth or the facts of the situation, it's already kind of a sales promotion thing, but there's already something injected which is untrue. Or somebody else has always brought into it to justify it


for some other reason, for no real reason. And you know, as we present a false image to others, we gradually become to believe it ourselves. And that's where the thing gets done. Now, kids over there, you know, kids, it's easy for them somehow to get into a pattern of saying one thing and meaning another, or justifying things, you know, with a kind of transparent little white lie. But then we can do it anyway. Oh, no. Okay, it's almost time to finish. I guess we'll have to go a little bit into next time, I guess, but we'll also try to get well on into the next one. But that won't be for a couple of weeks, really, because Erasmus is going to be here soon. We have an interlude of some guest time. As many as we can get. He offered to do six at first, and I looked back and said, well, I don't know if we can get them to commit themselves to six. Somewhere between four and six.


The third kind of lying is... No, he's got another thing in between there. That's the justified falsehood. Remember, we talked about this a couple of sessions ago. It came up in somewhat... And the case that he gives, this would happen during the war, and so your moral theology teachers would be quoting this kind of thing. You've got a runaway Jew or somebody who's being hunted by the Nazis, and he comes to your place, and you're the parish priest or something. The Gestapo comes, and he says, is so-and-so hiding here? Do you know where he is? What do you say? You say, yes, he's right here in my spare bedroom. You say that. Yeah, there's another truth. We know instinctively that you don't tell them where he is. We know that instinctively. But how do we justify it? Theologically, or how do we justify it? Rationally. You can say that either there's a larger truth in question here,


and we don't violate that. I remember we were talking about this. There's a larger truth that we don't violate in this case. And you can also say that that person has no right to this particular truth. That is, by force, he wants to extract or wants to compel you to give him a truth that he has no right to. Because there are people who have no right to a truth, largely because they're going to misuse it in a gross way, as in this particular case. Now, the case that he quotes is a little harder, because the Gestapo case is not a hard one. And I think that the morality of it has been pretty at peace about that. You don't catch a murderer in that case, right? But the case here is a little different, isn't it? Because actually, a murder has been committed. This person is guilty. And still, the father says he wouldn't turn him over. And he surprises us, doesn't he? The automatic response that we're left to have to civil law was not rhythm, was it? They had a different idea there. To turn somebody over to the judge, to turn somebody over to civil justice,


it wasn't automatic for them. They didn't do it. And maybe it was because they felt this difference between the old creation and new creation. And that's diverted to the rhythmism, especially the new creation. It's like Gandhi's nonviolence, but it's in another way. Not cooperating with the system or the structures, which can still follow. And that the refusal of capital punishment is the first step, sort of, going that way. I remember in Merton's debate with D.T. Suzuki, remember there was a story about the old man, the robber's king, who robbed his cell. And the townspeople were invaded, so they caught the robbers and they put them in jail and they were punished. And the old man went, I think, in the seventh week. He went in the middle of the night and opened the jail in the seventh week. So there was this debate about whether he was right or whether he was wrong. Now, a certain point of view is certainly wrong, because the robbers are probably going to go out and continue their profession and do harm to others.


Another point of view, I think the end, the upshot was there, because he was wrong there. Because that was out of his jurisdiction. He couldn't claim to, almost by force, impose the new creation in the middle of the old creation. As far as he's concerned, for him not to prosecute, that's OK. James Fox, that's right. They wanted to send him away for how many years? A long period, a long conviction. Did he, what did he do? Well, then he testified against them. I don't know how long they put them in. It was a nasty crime. They beat up the savage James Fox, this old man who was living as a hermit.


I was not a savage. He was living in a hermit, out of an isolated hermitage, a property some distance from the center. These were young guys, I guess. They just killed him. Probably had an invention or something. They beat him up, and they stole his rifle, and they tied him up, and massacred the person. And then the local people were very angry. He was in Kentucky. OK, and the third kind of lying, that is lying in one's life, and one pretends to be something one is not. And it sounds very obvious, you know. And when Jesus talks to the scribes and the Pharisees in the Gospels, he says, were you hypocrites? And so on. You say, well, it's here. But the only trouble is that we're it, in a way. To a lesser or greater degree, we all do it. Because there's an inconsistency between what we profess ourselves to be and what we actually are. And this is especially true for monks, because they have a high ideal, OK? And we wave this banner of our ideal.


We have to. We have to keep that banner in front of us, to keep aiming for that ideal. Because then, boy, there's an awful gap between that and the way that we really are, and the way that we really live. And it's especially rare for the Hebrew to talk a lot. The people who have to talk. The priests who have to talk the ideal all the time. And by that very talking, people identify them with an ideal. If we talk about something, we talk about the virtues, as Dorothea says. We seem to be claiming those very virtues. We talk about prayer. We talk about contemplation. We talk about fasting, of charity. And when we do that, we do it with such confidence, such complacency and smoothness, that we seem to be claiming the very thing that we're talking about. People would conclude, oh yeah, he must be that way. Isn't that marvelous? He's not that way at all. He's not anywhere near that. So that's a trap. And sometimes, out of panic, we can actually clutch onto that thing, as if we did that last time. The first thing is to know our own shadow, know our own weakness. That's what he said. We'll do a little more on that next time,


because Martin has a lot of good things on the subject of truth and reality, which is his particular conceiving of truth. Okay, let's listen to a question. So I'll post the schedule for Erasmus. It starts once he gets here. It'll probably start about a week from today.