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The Brethren also asked Abba Haggadah, amongst all good works, which is a virtue which requires the greatest effort? He answered, Forgive me, but I think there is no labor greater than that of prayer for God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies and demons want to prevent him, for they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can enter his journey. Whatever good work a man undertakes, if he perseveres in it, he will attain rest, but prayer is warfare to the last breath. Well, that's pretty strong. I'd like to read another quotation to contrast to that. This is from a fellow who writes on TM. The name of the book is The Seven States of Consciousness. This doesn't help in our issue. Now, I don't quote this simply in ridicule. It's a problem that has to be solved. The Maharishi's basic insight depends on a basic postulate of the Upanishads, indeed


of all interiorly oriented religions, that the state of pure awareness is, in its own nature, blissful. When you arrive at the center, as it were, at a state of pure consciousness, it's an untroubled, unclouded, blissful, extremely joyful state. If this is true, Maharishi argues, that movement toward it must be natural. It is to be reached not by control but by letting go, not by concentrating the mind but by letting it expand. That's the principle of TM, that you move toward the center by delight, by pleasure, actually. Of course, it's not only TM. In TM, it's kind of unilateral, and that seems to be the principle. And the other principle of effort, of difficulty, and so on, doesn't seem to be present at all. It certainly can't be all that way. You must recognize difficulty and effort in meditation. Anyway, that's the way it's widely presumed. Thus, the principle which underlies transcendental meditation is that one does not try to gain


a state of pure awareness but allows oneself to be drawn in that direction naturally. Bliss, joy, pleasure, supplies the motive power that draws the attention inward as gravity draws matter toward the center of the world. The attention is constantly searching for happiness. In cybernetic parlance, it is a scanning mechanism looking for happiness in the external world for the sense of security. But since the external world is, as Heraclitus pointed out, in a constant state of flux, the happiness which the mind discovers there can never be permanent. The inner pure awareness is permanent happiness, however. And therefore, if the attention is once pointed toward it, no deviation will occur. The passage of the attention from the superficial level of the objective world through the various intermediate regions of the mind to the innermost layer of all the self is the process of transcending in transcendental meditation. And this you do through the mantra.


There's quite a contrast between these two. How do they deal with it? I don't know. You just go back to the mantra. Are they able to deal with it? Evidently not. Which is true. Which is the same thing that you use in the semantra. But what's striking is the difference in the degree of difficulty or the way, the kind of presentation of this being a basic struggle, and essentially a struggle, and this being essentially completely without struggle, just a matter of dragging yourself into following greater affections, just like that. Two views of spiritual life. Two views of prayer and meditation. Of course, one is talking about prayer and the other is talking about meditation. Remember that section in The Cloud of Unknowing? Chapter 26.


We're talking about this last sentence in the report. Chapter 26. And he talks about this work of his, this meditation in The Cloud of Unknowing as a work. And he says it's a hard work, too. He said, Work very hard now for the present and beat upon this high cloud of unknowing, then rest after it. So this is hard. A difficult task indeed, as he has, who commits himself to this work. In fact, it will be exceedingly difficult unless he either has a very special grace or has been accustomed to the work for a long period of time. And then he goes on. Now, I ask you, in what does this difficult task consist? Why is it so hard? Certainly not in that devout stirring of love that is continually brought in his will, not by himself but by the hand of Almighty God. Sounds a little bit like the Maharishi, doesn't it? Well, here he's talking about a movement towards something else. And the Maharishi was talking about a movement towards the center of your own being, right? So it's like gravity being drawn down towards the earth.


But you can look at what the author of The Cloud is saying in that in those terms, too, even though he's talking about using the word spatial. For God is always ready to bring this work to pass, and each soul is disposed to carry it out. When a person does whatever is his power, and has done so for a long time, then how do they carry on the work? Whatever is in his power. But I ask you, in what does this difficult task consist? So that's our problem between those two views. Certainly it consists in treading down the remembrance of all the creatures that God has ever made, and in holding them beneath the cloud of forgetting of which we have spoken before. So the difficulty is with the distraction. The difficulty is clearing the mind. All the difficult work is contained in this, for this is man's fundamental struggle with the help of grace. And the other mentioned above, that is to say, the stirring of love, that is the work only of God. Now he says the stirring of love, and Maharishi says, or whoever is editing, says it's the movement of delight,


the movement of the mind towards the center, or towards pure consciousness, under the power of the attraction to pleasure, to delight. Even though the spatial metaphor is different, the two are not necessarily what I felt for. Go on with your work, therefore, and surely I promise you that he shall not fail in his. But still there remains a contrast between the effortless way and the effortful way. And Abha Agatam is saying this is the hardest thing in the world. And the author of the class is saying that this is really man's fundamental struggle. And the other view is saying, well, this is a spell, just watch yourself go. Just like gravity will get there. I think we will have differences in strength and assessment. I think the end is one aspect where other schools, when they talk about the same planet, mean that it's the center of the people. They talk about it in a very ascetical way. They talk about the benefits of it in the same way.


Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think if you look at the way they live, it's terrific. Zen people, Tibetan Buddhist people. I really don't think there's a distinction between these states. I think the line between other schools might make a distinction. Listen, the TM guy, Maharshi, is using terms that the American president can understand. Not only terms that he can understand, but he's presenting it almost in the way that advertising presents a product, you know? What's a comparable thing? A product that might be sold as having only virtues and no flaws. Only virtues and no defects. They're promising instant satisfaction. But the thing is going to do it. You don't have to do anything. The technique is going to do it. Just that nature is going to do it, or you have to just buy it. But there's another element, too, there, which is going to happen.


In number four here, the sayings of the father in the same chapter, Abba Avagrius said, If your soul grows weak, pray. As it is written, Pray in fear and trembling, earnestly and watchfully. We ought to pray like that, especially because our unseen and wicked enemies are vehemently trying to hinder us. You get an emphasis on the demons, and standing especially in the way of prayer in the desert forest. That's what Agathon said there, too. He said it's a struggle because there's somebody opposing him. There's something getting in the way of the prayer, which is not just natural. And if you look at Avagrius and his work on prayer, there's a whole cluster. In fact, that's kind of a basic principle in the whole thing, but you'll find a few especially strong ones. In his chapters on prayer, numbers 46, 47, 49, 50. Page 62 and 63. The devil so passionately envies a man who prays


that he employs every device to frustrate that purpose. Thus he does not cease to stir up thoughts of various affairs by means of the memory. He stirs up all the passions by means of the flesh. In this way he hopes to offer some obstacle to that excellent course pursued in prayer on the journey towards God. When the demon has done all that he can and still finds that his efforts to prevent the prayer of the virtuous man are unavailing, he will let up for a time. But again, after a while, he avenges himself on this man of prayer. For he will either enkindle the man's anger or provoke him to some unreasonable pleasure. 49. This is the strongest one. Every war be fought between us and the impure spirits is engaged in for no other cause than that of spiritual prayer. So prayer is the center of the spiritual warfare. This is an activity that is intolerable to the devils.


They find it so hostile and oppressive. To us, on the other hand, it is both pleasant in the highest degree and spiritually thoughtful. And in his last words, he reminds us of another issue. He says it's pleasant in the highest degree. In other words, this is a work that is congenial to us. It agrees with our deepest nature because Evagrius would say that prayer... He talked about it in terms of the intellect. That prayer is the highest activity of the intellect. Now, the Maharishi might say that meditation is the realization of the self or something like that, the activity of the self. But they're talking about the same thing, basically. They're talking about the core, the center of man. And prayer or meditation is congenial to that. It's its most joyous activity. But there's something in the way which Evagrius brings out and which the Maharishi doesn't. And Evagrius attributes it to the demons. The author of the cloud attributes it to our sinfulness. If you read on there, he talks about all the purification that we have to go through. And it's the junk that's in us that gets in the way of this joyful activity which is the stirring of love.


The reason why we have to fight in order to clear the space for it. It's an activity that's intolerable to them, Evagrius says. Why do the demons wish to commit acts of gluttony? Wish us, actually, to commit acts of gluttony, impurity, avarice, wrath, resentment, and the other evil passions in us? Here is the reason. That the spirit in this way should become dull and consequently rendered unfit to pray. For when man's irrational passions are thriving, he's not free to pray and to seek the word of God. You see, his vision of Christian life is sort of centered in contemplation so that contemplation is the way in which man realizes it. It's in, already in his life. And this is the thing that provokes, for some reason, the envy of the devil. And so the devil opposes it, and that's where man's struggle comes from. In Evagrius's terms. It may seem like it was very far into our minds, that conception. There was something in it. And a very strong, not only in Evagrius, but in those who oppose it.


So I don't know where the demons are in TM. Maybe they're waving people by. Go on! Like a coachman in the first place. But demons in TM seem not to have anything to fear about. Because they don't have any manipulations. Well, that's the thing, you see. It doesn't have anything to do with God. It doesn't have anything to do with God. It's man's thing. So it's all right. I mean, they've got no reason to get in the way. If we look at it that way, from the point of view of demonology. There's no threat to them. In fact, it's kind of good, because it tends to be idolized. It tends to turn into a religion, whereas it's not a religion. Or at least it's not a religion in our sense. It's not theistic. But it tends to be a final coin for a man. You see, when he gets into that kind of meditation, he thinks he's found it. This is the center. This is creative intelligence. This is the goal. And so he stops there. And it's a perfect kind of blind alley. Because he's in bliss.


A certain kind of bliss. And he thinks that's where it is. But very often, the human doesn't change his life. He doesn't have a moral code to go with it. That's it. So he can be a third wheel already. He does, you know. So he doesn't change his life. That's the other aspect. From one point of view, he's got this goal which is short of the goal. In other words, it can turn into an idol, like that fellow said in his article. Meditation itself can be an idol because it's a satisfying activity which remains... It's short of God, but it's an image of God. Because what a person is doing is enjoying the image of God, which is himself. He's enjoying, as it were, the light which comes not from God, but from the image. Or it comes from God, but filtered, reflected in the image. Instead of going through the image to God. And secondly, he doesn't have to face the dark side of his life. Because he's already there, so he doesn't have to go through all of that stuff. And so he's got some sort of refuge from facing the other side of his life.


So those are two aspects of inadequacy. Which is true, I think, of TM and also in some degree of it. True of meditation techniques that don't get people to God. Where they tend to satisfy them prematurely. Now a lot of those things are good. I don't think there's anything wrong with TM. It's only sort of the way that it prevents going further. In those two ways. The way that it satisfies a man before he should be satisfied. Leaving him short of God. And offering him an alternative from converting his heart. From going through the dark part of his life. Really changing himself and being transformed. It's a short circuit. But the mantra in itself can be very helpful. Yeah, that's another aspect. Which has always been difficult for me.


The two things. The little initiation service there. Which has really a religious significance. And the mantra, which is an Hindu religious term. Nothing of a deity. It's one of the Hindu, not a Christian, not a theistic religious significance. So that for me has always been... Most people can take that in their stride. But I see it as a difficult relationship. Anyway, I don't want to make a big digression on TM. But TM is a kind of a very clear example of a certain direction of spirituality in America. And in the West in general. Spirituality, which is basically humanistic. Or which may be connected with the East in an Eastern context. But which is a very different path from Christianity. And it's very questionable whether it can be integrated with Christianity. Whether it's not just a decision, this or that. It's not simply a decision of one or the other. Not a Christian integration. Because often you find you're getting into a worldview which is... Everything which has come through which is that of revelation.


Anyway, I don't know much about TM. It's all one piece somehow. You wouldn't think so. But the meditation itself seems to be... Seems to lend itself to this sort of a cosmology. To this sort of a philosophy. That's the way. It's very difficult to detach something actually from the context in which it grew up. Like the Jesus prayer, for example. Yeah. Scientists would say a person didn't believe. That this particular person didn't believe in the Jesus prayer. A Christian. But then the one in the prayer... Sure. But the Jesus prayer belongs really in its whole context. In its whole context of faith. Of theology. Spirituality. And if it's out of that context, it may bring the context. It seems like converting a person. It may bring the context of that. Or it may not. It may just be used as a technique.


And therefore not really that. The frustrated ones. To continue with the sayings of the Fathers in this speech. I don't think I've ever... I guess I've never heard of a lot of issues. Evagrius also said, When a contrary thought enters the heart, do not cast around here and there in your prayer, but be simply penitent, and so you will sharpen your sword against your assailant. He's always talking in terms of the battle. The idea, don't think about the thought, is also a principle in Centering Prayer. Don't think about the distraction or the temptation, but simply return to the center. Now, in Centering Prayer, you return to the center by repeating your prayer word, right? Here, you would return to the center by an act of penitence. By contrition. This is very typical of the earliest monks.


The notion of penitence or penthos, or contrition being a remedy for everything. And that gets you automatically back to the center. But you can do that. We can't always connect with that, so we have to do something else. For instance, the Jesus Prayer. Now, if you use the Jesus Prayer, that would be both, you see, because it's both a prayer word, it's a repeated prayer. And the Lord Jesus Christ is talking about have mercy on me, it's centering. So it puts you right back in that position of penitence or contrition. So it has those two sides to it. Number six. Epiphanius, the bishop from Cyprus, was told this by the abbot of this monastery in Palestine. By your prayers we have kept our rule. We carefully observe the offices of the church, sects, nuns, and vespers. Epiphanius rebuked him and said, Then you are surely failing to pray at other times. A true monk ought to pray without ceasing, but always to be singing psalms in his heart. It seems to me that Cassian remarked about


the lukewarmness of the monks in Palestine as compared to those in Egypt. Because in Egypt the idea was unceasing prayer. And the hours of the day were not the times when you prayed, but the times when you prayed together in a special way, I suppose informally. This often happens. It also happens in monasticism. Just like we found with God coming to my assistant for my case development. It ends up as a sort of decoration in the beginning of the divine office, whereas it was supposed to be the unceasing prayer of the heart in the beginning. You've got those two extremes. Unceasing prayer and formal liturgical prayer. And then the monk feels, Well, if I've done the divine office, I've really done the basic thing in a monastic life, and I knew what I wanted to do. That's sort of the wide spectrum. Number eight is Joseph of Penepolis. Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him,


Abba, as far as I can, I've saved my little office. I fast a little. I pray and I meditate. I live in peace, and as far as I can, I purify myself. What else can I do? Remember the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Sounds like a rich young man. I've done all this stuff. Give me another thing. Give me something to do this week. And then the old man stood up and stretched his hands toward heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire. And he said to him, If you will, you can become all flame, Sister Benedicta. I think in Greek, you can become fire. He didn't mean you can have a mystical experience or something like that. He meant that you can be turned into fire. It reminds us of, in another dimension, it reminds us of what Epiphanius says. Don't just pray at those times. He said pray all the time. So here, Abba Joseph is saying, don't just do those things, but turn into prayer. Don't just pray sometimes and then do this and then do that. Those things are not really the point.


The point is to be transformed into this movement towards God. He says you're able to do this. He says you're able to do this because I'll show you because I've done it. The significance of that vision. If you will, you can become fire. If you will. The idea of the liberty of the will, the fact that the whole thing is right there is just in wanting it. It's a question of wanting it more and more until you've got it. When you really want it with your whole heart, it's only when you've got it because you've been changed, you've been transformed. Man's freedom to do that. There's another part of that that says somewhere, if a man really wants to, in one day he can reach God. Start really early in the morning and you just want real hard the whole day, by 5, 6 o'clock, sure enough. There's usually a catch and move. Like moving a mountain. I don't know if anybody ever did it. Yeah, she tried, but she didn't qualify


because she had a hidden reservation. Then there's this good story about the Yukites. The ones who thought that because they were told to pray all the time that they shouldn't work. So, you can read that one. Who prays for you while you're asleep? That's a wonderful story. It's not the only one I saw. The other one's about how the pomegranates grow. If you can find it. Not all of them, but some of them you'll find, especially in this chapter, I noticed a couple of them are not in her book. Most of them are. The sections on prayer. Only this, as far as I know.


I don't know of any other one in preparation. I don't know what it is. Maybe he showed me, but I don't remember. I don't think it's, I don't think it's the whole thing. As far as I know. I wish there'd be a print that you can look at that. You can do it. Now, some of them are missing in the book. She probably got some other ones. The trouble is, you can't find them because they're scattered around. There's one, two, three, and six. Seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven. That's all. Four, five are missing. Some brothers asked Abba Macarius, how should we pray? And the old man said, there's no need to talk much in prayer. Spread out your hands often


and say, Lord, have mercy upon me, as you will and as you know. But if war presses into the soul, say, Lord, help me. He knows what is pressed for us and has mercy. This one is commented on, I think, by Father Husserl in the book of the, you were talking about the short prayers among the monks. And these are Macarius' prayers. His short prayers, you see. One is help me and the other is have mercy on me. Have mercy on me, as you will and as you know. Probably most of them have just said have mercy on me. Another one is help me in an emergency. That's beautiful. Have mercy on me, as you will and as you know. We get the idea from reading these sayings of the Fathers that their prayer was very much a very simple prayer of petition. And the petition in the end was a prayer of compunction. Have mercy on me, as you will. Very much like the Jesus Prayer. It always seems to end up there.


We don't get the idea of them as simply sitting in meditation. I think they did. I think they did. But they couldn't have been doing this all the time. It's just too much. I think probably that sometimes they just sat in quiet meditation but they hardly had a language for it. They talked about Hezekiah, about quiet. They knew what that was. But they weren't doing anything. So maybe they didn't have any words for it. They had their reading, the reading of the Scriptures. Those of them who could read. But in between maybe they just didn't have language for it. So maybe they just called it Hezekiah. It didn't quite fit being the one. They called it just solitude. It didn't work. They didn't call it mental prayer or something. They didn't talk much about contemplation until you get to the Bibles. They said it. Isn't it the same thing that happens daily? People hear a form of prayer


mentioned and they just have to read it. It happened that maybe I was reading a psalm reading and I didn't know what it was. It can be. That's right. Because we don't have any language for our interior life. We don't know. Not until we learn a very special language. We don't know. We don't have any way to discuss what's going on inside of us. It's a very crude word. They said of Abba Sisoes that unless he soon lowered his hands when he stood up to pray his mind was snatched up into the heavenly places. There's this parallel between the body and the spirit. The spirit tends to go where the body is pointed. He's elevating his hands. Something has been rediscovered by the charismatics. Very significant though. Because the posture, the way of using the body influences the spirit very much. You see it more in the Eastern, the use of genuflections and so on. Attitudes of humility, frustration, genuflections, repeated hundreds of times. But also in this way.


If he happened to be praying with another brother he quickly lowered his hands and ended the prayer so that his mind should not be wrapped to remain in prayer to one of his brothers. Because he might just forget himself. An old man used to say, number 12, constant prayer soon cures the mind. That's beautiful. Constant prayer soon cures the mind. We talk about healing prayer. But maybe the most healing prayer is a person's own prayer. Depending on how he prays and what he prays for. I think especially prayer to the Father is a quality. To pray out from under one's problems, as it were, and through one's problems. Gradually to come to understand what one's illnesses, one's hang-ups, one's neuroses, one's problems are. And to pray through them and out from under them and around them


to God. And I think that the prayer itself, the power of the prayer itself, and of the grace that's coming the other way during that gives it. I met this lady who drove a bus for a while and then for all the people and you find all sorts of people you can think of, objectionable. And then she used to say that she went into women's pray all the time and it was good. And finally she discovered that more and more love instead of judgment started coming out and she immediately purified her. And that's pretty. It's evident then, yeah. And I deal with a lot of people that say that. But that's a way of not giving in to one's sick tendencies. It is not just feeling it. You have to bear it. You find a lot of people in the hospital who


do the comparable thing Dr. Concepcion had acquired in book two number sixteen about the three brothers who went different ways and wanted to be monks. And one of them went out into solitude and the other two sort of failed and they went out to see him finally to ask him how he was making out. And he was silent for a little and poured water into a cup and he said look at the water and it was cloudy. And after a little he said again now look see how clear the water has become. And when they leaned over the water they saw their faces as in a glass. And then he said to them so it is with a man who lives among men. He does not see his own sins because of the turmoil but when he is at rest especially in the desert then he sees his sins. We've got the same image used for two different situations and to prove two different points here. One the necessity of purification to see God. The curious thing there is


in this saying in our section on prayer no one can see his face reflected in muddy water and the soul cannot pray to God with contemplation. What have those two got to do with one another? You're not looking at your own face when you pray to God. Or are you? It's a curious and mysterious image there. If he was talking about the face of God that would be something else but he said you can't see your own face reflected in muddy water. Maybe that he's using it in a very crude way. And the other fellow said that you can't even see the harmful thoughts unless you get out of it out of the crowd. One of them makes the end of the thing prayer to God and the other makes the end of the thing and that's seeing your sins. Okay, that's enough


of those fellas. So what they seem to mean by prayer is prayer. They're not talking there about kind of quiet meditation. Often a prayer of petition and very often a prayer of compunction of contrition asking God for mercy or for help. It seems to be pretty close to what Cashman's talking about. We don't find exactly his technique of repeated short prayer like that God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me. But his house says it's implicit in the prayers of Robert Macarius for another time. It's quite a ways from the more you could say the more refined things of


of centering for the God of unknown. We've seen more more interior subtlety or interior analysis to it. You find that that sort of thing more in Evagrius than you do in other Catholicism. Evagrius is talking about prayer too and he's the one who starts talking about contemplation as well. Now for him pure prayer and contemplation are about the same thing just as they are for Cashman. And he connects with that pure prayer or with contemplation in a state of tranquility. And it's when he talks like that and when Cashman talks like that that we get maybe the closest link with what we think of as deep meditation or prayer of quiet or something like that. The notion of quiet


of tranquility even in a sense of apathy as Evagrius talks about not as a continual state but as a state of prayer. And things like centering prayer or the prayer of the quiet or the prayer of simplicity of the quiet or a lot of the Eastern types of meditation we do. For some reason the way the language comes out they're talking about quite an active kind of prayer maybe because that's the way the scriptures have it. Evagrius talks about this thing of pure intellect. He talks about prayer as the highest activity of the intellect and pure prayer would be that of a purified intellect. And he doesn't talk about the heart. Cashman talks about the heart. So Cashman nearly translates Evagrius his intellect into


the heart in Latin. Chord for moose more or less. So there's quite a shift in between the two. And in doing that Cashman sort of Christianizes and somewhat de-Platonizes Evagrius. Evagrius again talks about the angelic vision of the state. Yes. Evagrius is very much in that direction. Most of the early fathers have been thought in those terms. Cashman does too. Cashman is not as much of an intellectualist as Evagrius did. With the cloud of unknowing we were talking about that in the Sunday chapter. I won't say a whole lot about it. But it's interesting sort of to compare


what we've been talking about. What's the basic active prayer or meditation of the cloud of unknowing? It's that pressing with a blind stirring of love against the cloud of unknowing which stands between oneself and God. And this is a movement that takes place in the heart. Notice the Desert Fathers certainly don't talk in those terms. They talk in more external and more rough terms. They talk on what behavioristic they could say. They don't talk about a blind stirring. They don't have that kind of psychology, that kind of language that hasn't developed yet. They don't talk about a cloud of unknowing. That was their experience. You get that apophatic theology and spirituality coming out in Gregory of Nyssa, already in origin. Gregory of Nyssa and the


oral tradition after. Dionysius, later on somewhat in St. Thomas Aquinas, I guess. And finally Eckhart very strongly. Now the cloud is influenced by Eckhart and Talbot but if I'm not mistaken. Which is very significant because if you read the cloud and read Eckhart you see very strong correspondence. That God is being in the darkness of the unknown in totality behind the cloud. Eckhart talks a lot about the nothing too. Eckhart wrote before the clouds, didn't he? Yeah, just a little while before I don't know if there's probably no direct, in fact maybe the other God might not have even read Eckhart but he probably would have read Talbot. That's what David Knowles says. So how does


the work of the cloud of the unknown compare to Cassian or Cassian's Conference 10. It's still a pretty active prayer it seems. A blind stir. And yet as you read the cloud it seems to get more and more refined. He says hide your desire from God. It should not be a crude stirring of the body or of the emotions but a very delicate subtle thing. And finally it turns out that, excuse me, that the stirring itself in its root is purely supernatural. So it gets extremely refined. He doesn't talk much about this sort of staying and beholding the cloud. There seems to be this emphasis all the time on the word. Maybe that's a paradox. An apocryphal prayer, a prayer of


emptiness, of darkness, of nothingness, which emphasizes that emptiness so much. And at the same time an active prayer, this blind stirring of the word itself, the real contrast between the two sides. That's part of the missions of the Quorum. The depth dimension, the darkness, the apophatic, the mystery dimension, and also the dimension of the activity of the heart, the time dimension of the heart. A man sort of gathering a whole of himself into this movement of prayerful thoughts, all this desire and gathering into that desire. It's a very delicate desire. I'd like to say something in terms of this prayer apocryphal. A desire which is so great that it's no desire, because it's so great that it can't be felt. It's not here or there, but it's everywhere. The whole person sort of turns into desire, and yet he can't feel it, because it's not just here, it's not just this, it's not just that. So he may just feel an emptiness, and yet he's completely charged with this energy


that's moving to his heart. It's like that, a very delicate blind stirring of that emotional environment. It's active, and yet mostly it's passive and patient in this sense that you get the idea that you've got to do this for your whole life, for a long time, and really what you're doing is not pushing your way through anything or into anything, really you're waiting more than anything else. You're waiting for something to break through to you from the other side. It seems to turn out that way. And certain things that you find correspond pretty strongly with it, maybe not with the passages that we read, but the idea of having the sense of yourself as sort of a lump of sin, and working through the sense of yourself to the sense of God, but the sense of yourself not as sometimes you hear, as a beautiful glowing image of God now becoming transparent to the light of God in the center, not that sense of God, but a lump of sin. The sense of yourself as being something that you want to get out of. He says the greatest suffering


of all is just this sense of yourself and not being able to get out of the sense of yourself in order to have the sense of God. The feeling of yourself versus the feeling of God. But you've got to work through this feeling of yourself to get to God. There's that idea of working through as opposed to the end. Now what would you say if you followed the end philosophy? You'd say yourself is really the one perfectly blissful mind or center. So it's not a question of working through a sense of your misery. The feeling of yourself is separated from that. Simply getting through the very superficial layer might be a problem, a negativity, and then you're in touch with yourself which is your self God. And the difficulty is that there's a lot of truth in that, and that's where our true self is. But there's no snap to get through that because of the layers. Now where do you find that other aspect, that second


element in the desert forest? It's in the notion of compunction. The notion of that prayer is always being a prayer of compunction. Of not simply of letting yourself go into God's blessings. The person is always trying to separate himself from God, but he's not separating himself from God, he's recognizing where he is, knowing that when he does that, God will bring him closer to himself. And you pray when he writes about Christian mysticism and how it is distinguished from other kinds of mysticism, it emphasizes this two-fold movement, that in Christian mysticism you not only have a movement towards God, but you have a movement away from God. There's a creature who knows that he really is not worthy. A creature who knows that somehow in his core he's separate from God, that he is not just a piece of God and not just a manifestation of God's reality, but he's also a separate and sinful thing. He's not very strongly in the the other powers, even if they don't use that language. But we're


talking, I guess, more about ways and techniques and methods and all that we don't want to discuss. Is it sort of going back in order to go forward somehow isn't it? It's as if in order to reach God, as if you didn't move straight towards him, okay, but you move back into yourself knowing that when you get to the center of yourself that God himself will unite you with him. But in order to get to the center of yourself where God dwells, you have to go through all of the negativity which is your sinfulness, your perfection. It's hard because we're using physical metaphors and we're not completely covering it. It's as if what it looks like on the surface of it is as if in order to get to God you have to pull away from God. But really you're not pulling away from God. You're not allowing your superficial level, your ego level, to grab at


God, okay? You're not allowing your ego, your self-centered self, to grab at God like Adam grabbing the fruit of the truth. But you're returning to the truth, to the state of truth, in order that God may do it. Knowing that when you really arrive at the truth of yourself that you will find God, that God will manifest itself. So in order, you know, the first way that we're moved to go is just to go by instinct, to move straight after what we want, right? The second way is by obeying the word of God. What does the word of God tell you? Take your shoes off, because you don't come any closer. Like that. Or don't eat that fruit. So the second way is by faith, by moving towards the truth. Knowing that in moving towards the truth, the truth being really the word of God, that we're going to get there. Two ways. Either you grab, you reach out and you grab what you want, or you go to according to the word of God. What God


tells us about himself, about us, and what the word tells us. You know, you could make it up. Yeah, because purgatory is just one aspect or one manifestation of this whole business of purification, of the separation between what you have to go through in order to get to God. That's our traditional Catholic expression of it, the belief in purgatory, because people didn't have a clear belief about doing it in this life, about the purification in the contemplative life, or in the aesthetical life. The purgatory is still that. And it must be basically the same process, except that the three worlds are not taught in the same way in purgatory as it is in the Catholic world. In the cloud, what we should compare, maybe, is the


word of prayer, because if we're talking about cation, or if we're talking about centering prayer, or if we're talking about TM, it's a question of a word. It's in chapter 7, chapter 36, 37, 38, and 39. I'll read from chapter 37. When these prayers are in words, as they very seldom are, those who are doing the work, he says, these prayers are very seldom in words, so that's the first thing to realize, is that it's not a technique that you use all the time, according to the Father. No, you use it sometimes, when you need it. So it's not the same as a mantra technique to which


you thought there were only two articles, but there are three, and I read the third of them the other day, and I find that he insists on keeping to the mantra throughout your whole time of meditation. In other words, that is your meditation. Just get to that mantra, and if you stop saying it, you've gone wrong, you've gone off the track. And I think that's unusual in Christianity. I think maybe it's not best, because if you get into something better, why should you keep on with the word? The word is only a means. It shouldn't be an embellishment or an absolutely necessary thing. That's what most of the teachers said. Whether it be Jesus' prayer or the Word. When these prayers are in words, as they very seldom are, the prayers are the Word. They are only in very few words. In fact, the fewer the better. Indeed, if it is but a little word of one syllable, it seems to me to be better than a word of two syllables or more, for the main, like Maranatha. This is in accordance with the work of the Spirit, for a spiritual worker should always be at the highest and ultimate point of the Spirit. Now there's


simplicity there. You can see this is so by an example from nature. If you're in trouble, you use a little word of one syllable like fire or health. And just as this little word fire stirs and pierces the ears of the hearers much more quickly, so does a little word of one syllable do the same when it is not only spoken or thought but secretly intended in the depth of the Spirit. It doesn't really have to be. He's saying it is. It's not only spoken or thought. It comes from the heart. This depth is height, for spiritually all is one, height and depth, length and breadth. It pierces the ears of the Almighty God more than does any salt or thought must be mumbled in one's teeth. This is the reason it is written a short prayer pierces heaven. Does it pierce God the earth or does it pierce our own heart? Really, it's probably the reason that psychologically it's effective. A short prayer is something that in some way you can put a lot of energy into and put your whole self into. Whereas the salt is ready to conserve that kind of intensity, tension or even feeling. Then you get


distracted. Your energy, your attention gets dispersed. And that's only the short prayers. There are garyas that try to jump in. But that too can lead to problems. So then he says take a word from the word of God put it in your heart. And that's he's trying to do. And that's trying to do. that's what he's trying to And that's the question of doing the will of the father. And therefore trying to convert one's heart. Actually the argument is not with the essence of the thing here is not on the repetition of the word as it were. It's on what's taking place in your heart. Now if


your heart is being transformed by means of this word of this means. Well that's what counts. Then you will be able to do the will of the father. Otherwise not. And what one is trying to do is convert his own will to the will of God through the use of this word. It's not as if. What is Jesus talking against? What's he speaking against? Is he speaking about this kind of practice of prayer of the heart? Or is he speaking about an external ritualized kind of prayer which trusts in the words that are spoken? Right? Which trusts in what's done literally without any interior correspondence without anything going on in the heart. Right? Or where prayer is separated from life. One of those two things. Either prayer is exterior and not interior or prayer is interior.


that doesn't work with Jesus. Other words of this are probably different. And the difference of a mom talking about prayer. They do it in the will of my father. That was a very important thing in my life. didn't know I know prayer because it would seem to put


in crisis the whole of the contemplative life. So you have to balance it off with other statements of Jesus. Martha you're worried about many things but Mary has chosen a better path. So it's dangerous when you take any one statement of Jesus. But what he's saying there is he's saying it even to contemplatives if they are not aware and concerned in their hearts of the needs of man that they won't be saved. You can put it that way. He doesn't say that but you can make it. That's pretty harsh. You see one parable will illustrate one point and if you take it all by itself it means very one sided but that


point comes across very strongly. Then there's another place, another parable where he brings in the balancing point. No but there are commandments to do at least with Jesus commandment and then St. Paul especially. It's not a work alongside of other works. Now that's important. Prayer is not one thing that you do which is to be weighed along with other things but prayer is sort of the heart or the breathing or respiration from which the other works come. So in other words no matter what the person has done, no matter what the person has done, whether it's feeding the hungry or whatever, he's doing degree to which he will be able to do that is determined by what he's doing. So they're just two different levels and some people are called to give their whole attention to that second level but the only way in which that's valid


is if when they are called upon to do it, they can also express charity on the first level towards their fellow men. They won't be called upon to do it so frequently but when they are called upon they've got to give the same response. Otherwise their prayer couldn't be valid either. But not everybody is called to the same suspensions or suspensions. Right. Jesus says somewhere else, pray that the Lord may master the harvest and send forth workers. Otherwise your prayer has some kind of effect there. Perhaps there are those who pray and those who go and harvest. The thing is that we like to generalize and we like to set something up that gives general rules that apply to everybody. But by definition you can't have general rules that apply to everybody because everybody doesn't do the same thing. That's our


trouble. So the Holy Spirit has to complement and interpret the words of the gospel for each of us because it's an interior part. For instance the words that you brought up today, that could be your passage to this message, either a word that confirms you, that helps you, or a word that threatens you. Okay, I guess that's enough for today. Next time we can still continue with this a bit more because there's some other interesting things to be mentioned before we go to our thing about summing up the whole mantra business and about the dimensions of meditation. I'm trying to sort of synthesize the whole thing as much as I can.