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which is a little outside the scope of our lesson on cash-in, but we can do it anyway, because we hate to just leave something like cash-in conferences nine and ten and not bring them into a larger context. To relate this a little bit to your own experience, you've been using this centering theory. I think most of you have been initiated into that. To some extent, you've used it in your meditation theory. We were talking last time about the cloud of unknowing, so we have sort of three levels of input there, cash-in, especially that ejaculatory prayer, as I come to my assistance of the Lord in my case to help me, related to his prayer of fire, of course. Then we've got the cloud of unknowing with the blind stirring of love that we were reading about last time, and the cloud of forgetfulness, remember, and the cloud of unknowing. And now we've got the centering prayer thing. I'd like to refresh your memory a bit on that.


This is from Finding Grace at the Center. The chapter in here by Father Basil Pennington is the same, I think, virtually as his article, which is when we've been in prayer, those things. That book of his, Daily Retouching, there's a lot of other stuff, too, that doesn't just talk about the centering prayer. And in that book, there are some maybe doubtful things about TM, which we can leave aside because we're using his article. What he says in the article, we wouldn't have much trouble with. Now, in here he gives the three rules for the centering prayer. Rule one is about going into it and coming out of it, remember? Rule two is the word. After resting for a bit in the center and faithful towards love, we take up a single, simple word that expresses this response and begin to let it repeat itself within.


This seems to be the core, practically, of the method. The other things are sort of adjuncts. And then rule three. Whenever in the course of the prayer we become aware of anything else, we simply gently return to the prayer word. So, what he's doing is using this word as a means of entering into silence. And the use of the word is very, what would you say, very quiet, very unassertive. Remember, he says, we take up this single, simple word that expresses the response and begin to let it repeat itself within. He doesn't say repeat it. He doesn't say use it forcefully. This is in contrast to some other uses of a prayer word. These distinctions are pretty subtle, you'll notice, because often people are talking about things that are very close together. They're all talking about using an ejaculation or a prayer word. And yet, really, they're doing something a little bit different. So, in this, I think it's a little bit different from what you find in the cloud, as a matter of fact. The two are not identical, even though they're very close. What you have in the cloud seems to me to be more active than the syndrome. Remember, it's a blind stirring of love.


It's a movement. It's essentially a movement. Whereas what Father Basil is talking about here, what the centering prayer is, is a movement into silence, where the movement seems to stop then. Essentially, it seems to be a repose in silence rather than a movement. Now, what you have in the cloud can lead you to that, but it seems to me that the way that the cloud of unknowing is written, it's not itself that. So, there's a little difference. But they're very close together. And really, for the individual, you can move in either direction in what you're doing. Personally, I find the centering prayer approach more suitable for myself, even though I don't use it, you know, just like this. But that repose is a more workable thing for me than is something like the blind stirring of love. Now, the blind stirring of love, however, has got two aspects. One is what you do, and the other is what happens. If you read Father Keating's, the Avidus Princes article, which follows this, you find that the blind stirring, he considers to be the goal of the centering prayer, you see.


And that's the infused movement of the Holy Spirit that occurs after the whole of the centering prayer has taken its course. That's what he calls his sixth kind of thought there in that article on distraction and dealing with thought. Whereas, in the cloud of unknowing, it's at the beginning. That's what you're directed to do. And then at the end, or sooner or later, there is an infused stirring that comes from God, which somehow moves right into what you're already doing, you see. But essentially, the cloud seems to me to be a little more active. We'll get into that a little more when we get into the dimensions of meditation, I'm sure. So, in that sense, the centering prayer is closer to non-Christian meditation, closer to something like PM or something like Zen, than is the cloud of unknowing. The cloud of unknowing keeps pretty close to what we mean when we say prayer, usually. Even though it abstracts from all content, from all petitioning, from all particular


thought. There seems to be a movement in there, almost always. What kind of movement? Well, it's hard to describe unless a person has either done it or experienced it. But this stirring of the heart. It's not verbal. It's almost a feeling. Yeah, it's almost a feeling. And yet to use any word for it, other than the word that he uses, is tricky because it tends to become something else. The stirring that he's talking about. Now, in the end, the stirring is going to be a feeling because it's a feeling that God gives you. But when we say feeling, we don't mean gross emotion, especially we don't mean anything violent. He's very careful to rule out any kind of a physical movement. We can do that in prayer. We can be doing something physical and we think we're doing something spiritual. He's got chapters and chapters trying to prevent that mistake from happening. And people are learning it. Now, it's almost impossible to say what it is unless a person has experienced it. And I'm not sure that I would be saying the right thing if I tried to say what the author


is saying. I can't say that my experience is the same thing. But it seems to me that it's almost, you reach a point where the two things are the same almost. That if you make a space for the thought of God, as it were, the thought of God not as a discursive thought, not as something we can analyze, just a diffuse thought or remembrance of God. If you make a space for that, there's already a movement to God that's employed in there. In other words, I think the thought itself is a movement. And this is something like the image of the Trinity, something like that. The image of God in us is so constructed that when we think of God, there's a movement in that already. So, if you talk about repose in the presence of God, even if you talk about that repose, the repose rests only in a certain sense because it's really movement at the same time. But it's not movement from one thing to another. It's movement into depth. And so it's like a stillness. It's like an attraction towards the center. So it's like there's a force of gravity in the water that's in a still pond, right?


The water is completely still because there's a force, there's a dynamism that's pulling it towards the center as it is. And so it is in us in this repose. So the borderline between movement and repose at that point is very delicate. Similarly, the borderline between a thought and no thought is very delicate at that point. Are you understanding something? Are you knowing something? Or is it just emptiness, you know? Well, you're knowing something at that point, but in a sense you're knowing everything and in a sense you're knowing nothing, because you don't know anything in particular. And yet, in a very diffuse sense, you know everything. It is the Holy Spirit there, you see? So once again, the boundaryline becomes almost indistinguishable. And you move across from thought to emptiness, just as from movement to repose, or movement to emptiness, very quickly and very subtly. You see how delicate that territory is? And yet there are certain things that we can... certain dimensions that we can distinguish. Let's read a little bit of what he says about it.


This is in pages 16 to 18 of the Basil section of Finding Grace at the Center. What we are concerned with here is a simple effortless prolongation or abiding in the act of faith, hyphen, love, hyphen, presence. This is so simple, so effortless, so restful, that it is a bit subtle and so needs some explanation. So it's somewhere between an act and a non-act, somewhere between an act and a state. A spiritual act is an instantaneous act, an act without time. Many quotes the cloud. The world needs only this brief fraction of a moment to move toward the object of its desire. As soon as we move in love to God, present in our depths, we are there. And so it's a question of abiding there. To facilitate our abiding quietly there and to bring our whole being as much as possible to rest in this abiding.


Remember how often Jesus used the word abide in the same job. After a brief experience of silent presence, we take up a single simple word that expresses for us our faith, love movement. We have seen that the author of the cloud suggests such words as God or love. One syllable word, the author of the cloud said, use a word of one syllable, short as possible. Evocative word seems usually to be best. You know what that means? Evocative word is one that evokes somebody. It's a word in the second person. Like God, but not God out there. But God, thou, God. So in that way, it's a prayer, you see. We begin very simply to let this word repeat itself within us. So there's a kind of a rhythm. There's something we can hook it up to. So that we can put it into our, whatever you want to call it, into our mill, this caisson. Remember the mill? No stone and caisson. It goes round and round and round. You control what goes into it. So what you're doing is you're putting this word into the mill.


It goes round and round in the mill. Grinds out. We let it take its own pace. Louder or softer, faster or slower. It may even fuzz out into silence. The cloud says, It is best when this word is wholly interior, without a definite thought or actual sound. We might think of it as if the Lord himself present in our depths were quietly repeating his own name, evoking his presence and very gently summoning us to an attentive response. We are quite passive. We let it happen. And of course, the cloud again. Let this little word represent to you God in all his fullness, and nothing less than the fullness of God. Let nothing except God hold sway in your mind and heart. The subtle thing here is the effortlessness. St. John of the Cross talks about that too. Then he gets to rule three. Whenever a distraction comes into mind, you return to the word. So the word is a device for returning to the presence of God.


But when you're in the presence of God, then in a sense you don't need the word. Now here you're going to find that the people differ. You remember that Tom John Main, who wrote the three articles on the mantra in the Cistercian study? He's contrary on this point. He says you've got to stick with the mantra no matter what. You should keep saying your mantra through the whole time of prayer no matter what happens you say. Now, that for me doesn't, that wouldn't work for me. Because it seems to me that if your mantra gets you where you're going, then the mantra is only a device that can be dropped. If it gets you into the silence which is the presence of God. Now he says that can get you into a false silence, a false repose. It can happen, but not if the context is right, I think. And what does his thing do? Well, I don't know. I don't remember how he explained it exactly. Maybe we could go into that afterwards.


I wouldn't know quite where to find it. It's a thing that's evidently worked for him and lots of other people. But I think it might leave you not enabled to go deeper. In this prayer we go below the thoughts and images offered by the mind and imagination. But at times they will grab at our attention and try to draw it away from the restful presence. When we become aware of these thoughts, if we continue to dwell on them, we leave our prayer and become involved again in the tension. But if at the moment of awareness we simply gently return to our prayer word, now this implies that the prayer word has been dropped, it's been abandoned. Whether out of laziness, whether that was the distraction that made us drop the prayer word, or whether we dropped it on purpose, remained in the presence of God, and then at a certain moment became distracted and had to return the prayer word, which I think is a more optimal case. But he has dropped the prayer word, and then needs it again.


It's a tool for becoming recollected once again. Then the thought or image with its intended tension will be released and flow out of our lives. Ok. Now, Father Keating in his article here, also says something about the technique. To do this systematically, take up a position that will enable you to sit still. Close your eyes. Half the world disappears because we think most of what we see. Only when we close our eyes, then we have a whole other world of distractions to look at. That's another point of view. There are a lot of other things involved in that too. Then slow down the normal flow of thoughts by thinking just one thought. You see, that's what Cassian is saying too. Just one thought. Poverty of spirit. Poverty of mind.


Choose a sacred word of one or two syllables that you feel comfortable with. A one-syllable word such as God or love is best for the author of the cloud. Now choose one that is meaningful to you. But even if it's meaningful when you start, its meaning may vanish. May leach out, sort of. It will be the sign of your intention to open yourself interiorly to the mystery of God's enveloping presence. Keep thinking that sacred word. The word will be your defense in conflict and in peace. What do you mean by thinking it? How can you think it if it doesn't have any conflict? Any conflict. How can you think the word God? In a sense, you can't. It's like pronouncing it or letting it be pronounced. And that itself is the act. It's almost like you're having another nail. And it's supposed to establish the state. So you're always having this interplay between an act and a state. And often it seems like a forceful act. Like an ejaculatory prayer.


We talk about an ejaculatory prayer sometimes. It's a violent thing. And the state of the rest and the present. The cloud is the mystery of God. And so is the sentence. Never strain your mind or imagination while you are in the cloud. For truly you will not succeed in this way. With emphasis on gentleness. And then he talks about all of these kinds of thoughts that successively sweep in upon you as you try to maintain the presence of God. Because that's what it is. It's kind of a holding battle. You try to keep the presence of God and everything in creation Christ is saying away from you. So you try to keep the emptiness in which it is the presence of God. Now he says it is an emptiness. Because there's no experience, there's no feeling, there's no thought there. So it seems that almost anything that comes


can get in between you and that rest and emptiness. So, Fr. Keating talks successively about five different kinds of thoughts. The first ones are simple distractions, irrelevant, superficial thoughts. If you call it noise, like the noise of a mosquito. The second kind of thoughts, when you just let it go by, you're never going to go through it. The second kind of thoughts are your thoughts that pull you in, that interest you for some reason. And it's harder to get rid of. And then you have your prayer words. And as you use the prayer words, they become stronger and stronger. And you're more and more attached to that. There's more power to do those other things. The third kind of thoughts, more subtle still, are insights that come to you. More spiritual insights, contemplative revelations or whatever. One kind or another. You can have images and expressions in your mind.


But the eastern orthodox, the Russians and the Greeks, are extremely severe about not having any image or using any image. They use an icon, but what I mean is not dwelling on any image that comes into your mind. That's in Where's the Power of the Name? You've got a good section on that. Now, thoughts and images would be the same thing. So you'd avoid dwelling on any thoughts. I could be very harsh sometimes. You may have been waiting for something. Trying to solve some kind of problem. You answer something in your mind. So what do you do? Do you stick with your prayer? Do you run over and everything? Fr. Keating says no, you stick with your prayer. But that will depend. You don't always have to be tied to it. And yet in general that's true.


And you can have a good, you can hope for some good basis if the insights come back to you in your mind. Or something just as good. So you're not supposed to hang on to those either. The fourth kind of thought is the desire to reflect on what's going on. Oh boy, this is good. Now I'm really getting there. Something like that. And that's equally dangerous. It has equal or greater power for destroying the faith. And we become self-conscious in that way. And we try to cling to where we are. This is really good. Now if I can just stay here. Of course, as soon as you start thinking that way, you're not there anymore. Probably. But the answer is always to return simply to the word. Or return to the emptiness. One or the other. The word is the help against the emptiness. Because the word itself becomes empty. Because you don't see anything, know anything anymore. Except maybe just God or Jesus. And you're very confused. Very confused. The fifth kind of thought


is the thing that comes up from the subconscious. Like the people who do Zen say that that's so wild. You start getting a lot of stuff coming up out of your own consciousness. Maybe garbage of various kinds. Lower instincts. Manifesting in all kinds of images. And maybe thoughts. Maybe anger. Usually with an image. Because it's hard for us to have a feeling without an image. But people assume we've got to get it. You may be going through a kind of psychoanalysis. And all this stuff coming up. As far as your prayer is concerned. When you're interested in prayer. You have to use the same point of view. And not get interested in this stuff either. Even though sometimes it might help you to understand yourself. Better to turn to it outside the time of prayer. And try to deal with it. Than during the time of prayer. Now you'll find other people who differ on some of these points. Because they're interested in something else. Some of the charismatics for instance They say this is a good time for revelation. Or just a fourth kind of thought.


And if God gives you a word during that time. Or write it down. Let me kill you. But when we're interested in the prayer itself. And as monks we're supposed to do. That's normally what we're going to be interested in. We follow God. But you can't be that way. If God wants to keep you. The usual thing is that people think that God is speaking to them much more often than he does. Or he may give them some light. And later they go off. And after a little while it's their own stuff coming out. Now the sixth kind of thought finally can be accepted. When in the seedbed of deep interior silence the mustard seed of divine charity has been sown by the Holy Spirit and begins to grow. It creates within what the author of the cloud called the blind stirring of love. He puts this very late in the game.


Sort of the fruit of the whole process. This awareness is the goal of centering prayer. The beginning of divine union. Seriously it turns from a stirring to an awareness. Speaking in a more passive way. The answer is always the same. That last one now is the one that should be allowed not to go far but allowed to remain and to act. At that point you don't really have to throw yourself into it anymore. You can sort of abandon yourself to it. It should be you. You and God at once. Holy Spirit and you at once. Luke is the one who writes a lot about that. That sort of thing. When a person has become prayer and the heart has somehow been transformed by the word of the Holy Spirit transforming the movement. The cloud has got two ways of dealing


with distracting thoughts too. This is in chapter 32 of the cloud of unknowing. A little different from the simple usual method of using the word. One way is to look over the shoulder of the distraction to where God is in that cloud of unknowing. The other way is to cower beneath the distraction such as if you were ducking under an ocean wave and call on God for help. It's better. But of course they're going to take you out of your repose. That's when you're really pulled out of the silence and you're desperate. But if you're if the simplest creed of returning to the prayer word mantra, name of Jesus or whatever was, then you wouldn't have to do it more, slightly more comfortably in chapter


32 of the cloud. It's a way of strength in a sense. If you can do that you can sort of transcend a particular distraction. They talk about taking a distraction to your problem and putting it into your prayer. It's very significant. Both of these ways are ways of transcending the particular distraction. The trouble is we get fixed on a particular thing that we see or hear, a particular thing that bothers us and gets into our heart and so on. So how do you get by it? You get by it by your greatness or by your littleness. You get by it by your strength or by your weakness. Either way. Because either way you move into the dimension of God. The whole or the nothing, either way gets us there. What bothers you is the particular thing in between. So you can look over it into the background, which is God, the infinite, into the cloud where God is. See it against this background. Let's start seeing the background instead of the strength. Or you can sort of shrink to nothing and let it completely


engross you and then from that position pour it on God. Depending on what kind of thought it is. Desperation or transcending. When I say let it engross you, I don't mean surrendering yourself to the thought you can't do that. You somehow bend under it as if it were about to overcome you, but you don't let it overcome you. Instead you flee to the thought of God as it were. The kind of desperation to the movement of your loneliness. Okay, Borst in his little book A Method of Contemplative Prayer which is not really a method of contemplative prayer, we have 17 methods of contemplative prayer. Together with 12 stages or something like that. It's a good book though. The first part. The second part is more defensive contemplation.


He's got two devices in here for dealing with distractions and simplifying the mind. This is on pages 17 to 19, 17 to 20 of this book. The first one is rhythmic breathing. This is something that's very common in the Eastern world. Quite a rigorous method of controlling the breath according to numbers. The number of counts for your exhalation and the number of counts for your inhalation and the number of counts to hold at both ends of your breathing. But that can be too much. In fact, it can become a total reoccupation for a certain amount of strength. I think Deschenes talks about this at some length in his book. All these different numerical proportions that are set up. That sort of thing is a little out of the sphere of what we're talking about. And out of the sphere also is the kind of meditation


we're talking about. But what you can do is simply start counting your time of your inhalation, your exhalation using, he says, your heartbeat as a pulse. If you know this, you can sense the rhythm of your heartbeat as a pulse. Or you can do it just counting. And what this does is it brings you back from the outside and ties your attention to an interior rhythm, which is very powerful because it's right inside of you. And so I think it can be a good initial way of getting past distraction, of bringing yourself back inside. You gather yourself into your physical center, not just as a static point, but as a movement. Because your physical center has a dynamism about it too. And one dynamism is your heartbeat that I was talking about. The other one is your breathing. And over that you have some control. So you bring yourself back to your center both by recalling yourself to a central rhythm in your biology


sort of, and at the same time of controlling a rhythm, a net rhythm, in the sense which produces the recollection. By slowing your breathing down, regularizing. Because normally, often we get to breathe in quickly, especially when we're caught up in something. So this can be good as sort of a first way to break out of a really embrossing kind of distraction. You've really got something in your mind like rushing or something like that or even doing something with a lot of energy that can be good. But another way which is a little simpler and can go maybe a little further into prayer is just to note your breath, to put your attention on your breathing at the point, somewhere at the physical point somewhere in your brain where your breath turns from exhalation to inhalation. Just to advert to that. That's a way also in Centering Prayer, you can substitute that for the prayer words sometimes. And then you just drop it.


That gets you back there, inward. And then there's in silence. The other one is repeated prayers. Now this is what we've been talking about all the time, so there's nothing new. But you can use different ejaculations. You know there are hundreds of them. And he mentions the Jesus prayer but he's got a curious form of it here. Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me. The more usual form is Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. Then either with the Living God and the Sinner one, or just the name of Jesus. There are all kinds of others. Some people like to use Jesus, Mary, I love you, say so. There are a lot of different ones. A lot of people have their own. And you can change from time to time but it's best to be fairly consistent, fairly faithful to one for a good time. Not to depend on just a change in the formula


to improve your prayer. That's a good little book. Thank you. That's a part of the course. I haven't been there. It's concerning. The... Sorry. The whole mantra thing. We've been talking about what in the East is known as a mantra. Who is it? I've told in this book, Prayer and Meditation, it's kind of a long chapter on mantras in which he tries to put it into a Christian context. And he's got a list of five definitions here. And thinking about it, those are sort of aspects of the mantra.


Thinking about it, I thought of a whole bunch more. What's a mantra for? What does it do? What does a prayer word do? It's got so many aspects that it amazes you when you start to go into it. And it therefore seems to indicate that the anthropology of the prayer word or mantra is a very deep thing, a very comprehensive thing. These are some of the aspects or things that you could propose as being a reason for using a prayer word or what it does or the function of it. A. To focus the mind on a single simple object. Because it does that. If you use the name of God or the name of Jesus, it focuses. B. To eliminate distractions and wandering of the mind. Now that's implicit in A. Because if you're eliminating distractions, you're pushing them out, you're doing it by focusing on something, by turning your mind to something else. C. An expression of the movement of the heart, of the dynamism of prayer, the inexpressible dynamism of prayer. This particularly in the Cloud of Unknowing


and in Jesus' prayer. Notice how the cloud says, in fact in the Centering Prayer he says, Take up a word which expresses this response of faith and love to God. So he expresses the movement. And yet with him it's a very subtle thing because the movement almost disappears in the silence. In the Cloud of Unknowing he says, The word expresses the blind stir. It says something. It's implied. And in the Jesus prayer it's obvious. Because it's expressible in prayer. D. A capsule of meaning, nourishment for the contemplative intellect. Because often the mantra or the prayer word, especially some of those non-Christian mantras, which are pretty long, contain a sort of a center of meaning. They're a theological well out of which you can keep pulling understanding. Now the name of God is that too. But there's only one aspect of it. A vessel or icon which brings into the heart or the soul or the mind the presence of God.


It brings the presence in. Now this is getting more theological. The implication somehow, the presence is involved in the word. This is most true with the name of God of course and the name of Jesus. In fact that's very much in the theology of the prayer of Jesus I believe. F. And this comes from TM. A means for descending from the surface level to the deeper, subtler or non-dualistic levels of mind. The Maharishi talks about descending to the level of what? The level of being. As if you were to touch your absolute center. There's no doubt that this happens, but the particular way it's expressed depends on your metaphysics. G. This comes from TM too. Through the specific sound properties of the word harmonizing, unifying or other effects upon the mind, the spirit and the body. Some people who use a mantra or a prayer word or promote it


say that the word has particular physical qualities. It is very important which word you choose. Not because of the meaning of the word, not because it denotes a particular person or God, but the physical word itself. The letters, the syllables, the sound of it is the itself. And that's very much in TM. I'm kind of skeptical about that myself, beyond certain limits. It's supposed to concern the chakra. There, you get down to a kind of a physicalization of spiritual reality, which is alien to Christianity, for one thing, in which I don't really have much confidence. I think there's a bit of hope on that. A little science fiction. More like fiction. It's more simple than that, I think. That is, I don't think that those sound vibrations are that specific on the purely physical level. Of course, we're talking about a purely physical level, we're not talking about a Western term, we're talking about scientific terms. In ways, we are kind of


naive in our knowledge of science. We tend to think of everything in terms of positive physical things. Okay. H. Invocation of a superior being, God, Christ, or some divinity. And here it becomes a prayer, you see. Now, that seems to be present in the cloud of unknowing. You choose the word God or you choose the word love. Fr. Pennington refers to that as evocative, which means you're addressing God or you're addressing God as love. As if you were saying, come. Prayer. I. A form of creative sound. I'm quoting this from Appel. Maybe thought of as the original creative word. Creative sound. Having a property, a power of its own. Which is akin to a name of God, of course. These things are all overlapped. You can probably think of a lot more, too.


A vehicle for a movement of prayer which becomes self-acting. Obviously, this overlaps what we said before about prayer. Like the Jesus prayer. In other words, you use the word and you start something because the word is something you can handle. You can say a word, so you can start and it's like priming a motor and then later the motor becomes self-acting and the motor takes over and the starter can stop. So you move from the priming action with the word to a self-acting prayer which takes over and continues. A focus for the orientation, concentration, excitation, or organization of feeling. Here we move to the feeling side. A prayer word or mantra can be something for intensifying your emotions or gathering them around a single object. Maybe the most powerful term of all for us is the name of Jesus. Because that's a magnet for your feelings, for the feelings of the heart. It warms the heart together by this fire that's generated in the heart. It's something beyond mere emotion.


Nevertheless, it has a terrific power. And in Christian terms, you see, this is the Holy Spirit which is acting in our heart and exciting our feelings. When I say exciting, I don't mean violent, rage, spectacular. Here's another quote from Appel, a microcosm of some eternal reality or a particular aspect of it which it is desired to contemplate. This is close to what I said above as a capsule of meaning, a meaning that you want to contemplate. It's like a mandala too, when you look at it, there's an insight, a contemplative understanding that comes through it, puts you in touch with eternal truth. There's another one from Appel, a peg on which to hang one's most profound inner experience. Now that's a little narrow, isn't it? Say you had a big experience of God at one time, and it was connected with what? A particular prayer or something.


Or maybe not. Maybe you just pick a word that describes that or relates it to you and use that as a key for recalling, taking you back to where you were at that moment, as if you could get back there. No. No, I mean, generally. It can have value, I think. It depends on how it's used. If it's used possessively or in a grabbing manner, no, obviously it won't work. But something like that, I don't know, like Pascal's work, Fire, the thing that he sewed into his coat. It's a very ambiguous thing. It's not to be overdone, not to be overpressed, but it could have some value. It depends on how you look at that experience. As something that I can grab by means of this magical word, this magical formula. Or as something also, not just experience.


Often our trouble is that we take the word experience and we detach it from the whole. Say I want to recall the moment when I was really touched by God, not only so that I can try to feel it again, but so that I can recall myself to the responsibility of that gift. Now that's something else. So, suppose something happened to me in St. Louis, Missouri. Like Nathaniel, and I recall, I write down the word St. Louis. Remember St. Louis. That means that I'm to remember not only the experience of God I had there, but remember what that commits me to. Remember my vocation. Remember all of that. When we're talking about experiences, it's dangerous that we get on that one side. It's a very modern temptation. Here's something a little fuller. A means for maintaining the memory of God. Now this house here writes about this a lot.


This is very close to the Jesus book. A means for maintaining the memory of God. Remember that the memory of God is something that expands to fill the whole of our mind, the whole of our life, the whole of our heart. So the word is not a means of just recalling something you enjoyed. Or something you experienced. But recalling the memory of God, which leads us to the presence of God. The memory of God has all different aspects. St. Benedict expresses the aspect of fear and responsibility. God is watching you. Remember that God sees you every moment. But it also has the aspect of the intimacy and the contemplative, what you call consciousness of God. It's a kind of a total thing. But that for the early ones is very important. Oh, this is happening. A means for polarizing the mind and the direction in which one wants it to go


and preventing it wandering so that it remains firmly fixed on an idea in order that the idea may have its fullest revealing effect. There are a lot of different things in there. It includes several of the ones we were talking about before. It includes finally the idea of a of an idea which has a revealing effect. In other words, which like a word of God, which has something's going to come out of it. P. Apollogen A means of awakening dormant forces in the soul so that it may be enabled to establish contact with the depth of consciousness and so to enter into a wider life and a deeper illumination. That again is a very big one. It's got different things in it. The dominant idea there is dormant forces in the soul, which evidently are not just emotional forces, even though they can be. Maybe they manifest themselves in emotion. But subconscious forces, spiritual forces that you have within you, maybe even the will of awakening your inner powers. Do you think it could be that


they could be some of the distractions that you experience? The hindrances that are separating you from God? Well, he's not talking about those here. He talked about them in some of the other things that he mentioned, but not here. Here he's talking about the positive forces. Q. The instrument which awakens and entangles the heart, which stirs it to prayer. The instrument which enkindles and awakens the heart, which stirs it to prayer. Here we're in the Judeo-Christian context once again. We're talking about the heart before we talked about the emotions. And we're talking about the awakening and entangling of the heart. We're talking both about consciousness and about feeling at once. The heart has both of them. Almost indistinguishable. Remember at the end of Old Spoke Teaches to Prayer he's got that text from the Middle Ages about the lute


player. The lute and the plectrum. The plectrum is the pick. The instrument and the pick and the instrument is the heart, right? And the pick is the word of God. Now the word of God ultimately can be just one word. It can be just the name of God, or it can be just the name of Jesus. And so you pluck your heart with this word in order to enkindle it and awaken it to the consciousness of God. So that's rather an image which is distinctively in the tradition of the prayer of Jesus. The plectrum, the pick, is the recollection of God, the name of Jesus, the word. That's a quotation. And there's a very good quote in Where is the Power of the Name? from Deaticus. It's on page 13


at the bottom of the following page. Deaticus. When we have blocked all the outlets of the mind, by the remembrance of God, then it requires of us, at all costs, some task which will satisfy its need of activity. Let us give it then, as its sole activity, the invocation, Lord Jesus Christ. Now here he's talking about two functions of the word, of the Jesus prayer. First of all is to establish the remembrance of God, which blocks out your distractions. But then what do you do when you block out your distractions? The mill is still turning around. The mind is still moving. It still has an activity. Now if it has an activity that's unceasing, it has to have an occupation for that activity. It has to have some object to work with. So you give it the name of Jesus. You give it the Jesus prayer. So it's a double effect. The blocking out and then the occupying of this ceaseless activity. It's very good in that respect. Because it's a fact.


The heart can't stop. It sort of reflects the image of in Revelation you know the constant, the continuous prayer. The continuous chanting of the word of God. In the book of Revelation? You mean like the heavenly liturgy? Yes. But who says finally of course that the liturgy of the heart participates in the heavenly liturgy. The ceaseless liturgy. So the ceaseless heavenly liturgy somehow has participated in the ceaseless prayer of the heart. Which is happening right now. Yes, happening right now. Yes. He says that that's something that's always in us for us to be conscious of. Here's another one from that Father Main that wrote the article The Mantra Prayer is the way par excellence to handle distractions because the purpose


of the one word is simply to bring your mind to peace, silence and concentration. Not to bring it to rest with holy thoughts alone but to transcend what we know as thought altogether. Now that's the image that I want to catch here. And the mantra serving this end is like a plow that goes through your mind pushing everything else aside. Making rough places plain. Quotes Isaiah there. The mantra is like a plow that goes through your mind pushing everything else aside. Now remember he's the one that says you use the mantra all the time. So there's a kind of a crudeness there and a kind of an absolute dependence on the mantra. And the plow is a kind of a crude instrument that pushes everything else aside. It doesn't give freedom. No. Now I think that that kind of sort of aggressiveness with the use of the mantra is a little bit owing certainly to the center and also to the quality of the mantra. Even though it's true that if you've got violent distractions


you may have to use this instrument. Yet most of the writers stress the gentleness of what you do. You don't fight with the distraction with its own weapons as it were. You don't fight with a violent temptation with a violent response. You try to fight it with peace in a certain sense. Otherwise you get caught up in a violent activity that's brought up in these dualistic things. Anyway. That's an image to remember, the plow. I think it's a useful image even though we might debate about interpretation. T. A means of harnessing or converting the incessant activity of the heart or mind to prayer. Now that's straight in the line of the Atticus. So if you've got a ceaseless activity inside of you, it needs something to do. In fact, you want to find a way of turning it to prayer. It shouldn't just idle. You want to hook it up to something. How do you hook it up to something? What's the clutch that you use?


The clutch is the name of the word that hooks it up to a load. Because we have to have an object. We can't just have a vague emptiness. We need an object to work with. Okay, that's all very confusing because I didn't try to put them in a category. You can try to put those things into categories. One category would be things that are simply physical. If you say that you use the word simply for something natural simply focusing the mind or for driving out distractions. There's nothing theological about that. You could do the same thing for another purpose. Nothing specifically religious about that. So some of these things are purely natural. Some of them have a If it's particularly eastern metaphysical like the idea of moving down to the absolute or creative intelligence There's a whole philosophy underneath that. The idea that you can really touch God


Also the idea that God is identical with nature. That's the tricky thing. Identical has to do with it. In other words, if you get to your own center at the absolute, you're at God. Period. That's it. You're there. I use the word identical. Maybe he doesn't use that word. You've got greater degrees states of consciousness to go into when you've arrived at the absolute. There's no distinction between natural and supernatural. No distinction between God and man. But if a person is at that state are they aware to realize that? Are they aware enough to realize that? There again, we've got to distinguish where they started from, what context they're in. Because it's hard to discuss the experience of an advanced TM person


and the experience of a Christian mystic in the same language If we try to do that We don't have any common language for it. We have to start, go along with each one sort of He may not be If we take the experience of Christian mystics they can be, for a moment, unaware of that. Or even for half an hour, maybe. Just lost into God. But then they come back down to earth for what they are. Their normal consciousness, even when they have arrived at the greatest union with God is not one of simply being lost in divinity without their own self. Partly, you know, that is a question of interpretation. But, it's pretty solid when you testify to it. One word, it seems like, seems to be more of a psychic phenomenon


than a spiritual one. Near the eastern mountain? I don't know, there's a there's a religious significance in it which is concealed into there. As I say, it's a purely natural, scientific thing. But, there's something in there. But those are I think the names and locations of the believers. But the beginner doesn't know that. What about you? Did you meet at a note that was collected in church about the pseudonyms and the stigma? Yeah, Victor's article today, that was very good. Because that's one of the chief pitfalls to learn. The idea that you can get to contemplative experience really very cheaply, just as you can get to any other experience without paying for it. You're not paying for the death of yourself. In other words, you remain unchanged That's the policy.


That's not true. That's not true. It's part of the American dream. Right, the American dream. In fact, everything is really for the asking, you just don't know where to look for it. Everything is really can be had, what, for money or for minimal effort. It's a question of finding the secret, finding the handle, and then you can have it. But, the truth is that the only handle is the one into which you die. The thing that is the total price the mystery of death and resurrection. Which is the same in Zen. It's the same in sound Buddhism. It's the same in sound Sufism. You can't get there with the self which you are, the ego which you are. And yet, there's a way that makes it seem like you're getting there, and yet, it leaves you unchanged. Something that seems like the experience of God


and which is really it's been put as really the experience of the image of God, which is yourself. Or the experience of an ego, which is freed from all limitations as much as you would. So, it's ascending to the place of God back into paradise without going through the door. Of course, it's not really paradise. You can't stay there. That's an illusion. It's kind of an ultimate illusion because it's nice while you're there, I guess. But, obviously, it has to come back to you. And then, a third category is the ones which have a particular particularly related to theistic prayer because here, we haven't been distinguishing meditation from prayer all the time. When you talk about the presence of God, when you talk about orienting your body and mind towards God, something like that, or bringing the action of the Holy Spirit, you're really talking about prayer. You can also divide these


in this way. Which ones depend upon the particular word that you use, and which ones are indifferent to the word that you use, as long as it's a neutral word. The ones that depend upon a particular word often lead you into the religious fields, whereas the others can be purely mechanical like the idea of just distraction. The idea of the plow, for instance. You know, the plow is a piece of iron, and so the word doesn't depend doesn't matter what you use, as long as it probably grabs you sufficiently, grabs your attention sufficiently, you push out the distraction. Whereas, the name of Jesus is something else. There's also a lot of the Eastern mantras which have a specifically religious significance. We could go into discussing the criteria for those things and everything. I guess they're kind of obvious. I just mentioned these things. For the whole mantra process


or the use of a word for prayer meditation, a few tests. First of all, does the device, the mantra, and the way that you use it, tend to the opening and awakening of the heart, or does it bypass by tranquilizer, finding another center, another terminus. Does it lead you to a kind of a limbo, or does it really lead you to the heart, where you are with God, where God's able to speak to you, where God is also able to challenge you? This may not be easy to understand without experience, but we can be deluded about this in the long term. And it's not probably a matter of 100%, because we can always have a certain amount of illusion, a certain amount of this false limbo in meditation. Secondly, does it sensitize you to the word of God, or to the contrary, does it sensitize you to the person of Jesus? Does it tend to turn you towards the scripture, give you a greater eagerness, and a greater


light in the scriptures, or make you less interested? Does it give you gradually a warmth for Jesus, or does it turn you off on him, and gradually really make you want to turn away from him? Those are delicate indications. Now this, not necessarily in the time of meditation, because you're not thinking about these things in the time of meditation, but outside of the time of meditation, the rest of your life. Thirdly, does it remain, and these are saying very much the same thing, does it remain open and lead to the unfolding of the Trinitarian dimensions of prayer and meditation, or does it lead just in one direction, just into depth, into quiet, into interiority, into withdrawal? Or does it also lead out into understanding, and lead out into the movement of prayer? We'll get into that a little more when we talk about the dimensions of prayer. Fourth, does it lead to the fruits of the Spirit? In Galatians 5.23, love, joy, peace, patience, all those things.


Or does it lead to things like anger, impatience, and frustration, and just turn up in the lives of people? Sometimes we use just the pure non-religious meditation. Fifth, does it nourish or weaken the relationship of God which consists of faith, hope, and love? Now, the tricky thing here is, does it transfer your hope away from God, transfer your hope away from faith? Does it move your hope away from God, and your faith away from God, and does it invest it in the method, or does it invest it in something else? Does it invest it in this magical technique, so that after a while, you wake up and discover you no longer need God, because you've got this thing, you've got this meditation thing. We're always saying the same thing on different sides, and that's what happens, that's what happens. A person gets into it, he gets too far into Zen, too far into TM, or something like that, and he stops praying gradually, and


he's got that, and that's it, that's his religion, that's his contemplative life, and pretty soon there are a whole bunch of sides of his life in which he's really indifferent to God. And he doesn't really feel anything either, because he's got this thing, he's self-sufficient, it's all interior, it's all in what he's doing. This happens in yoga, too, it happens in whatever you do, it could happen even in running, it's a whole positive addiction thing. It happens in prayer, which is not real prayer, because prayer really is an intensification of faith, right? There's a kind of tension, an interpersonal thing between you and God. When I say prayer, I'm using the narrow sense now, which is, you know, oriented to the other person, the work person, strictly. Does the technique become an absolute necessity? Does it become the only way? Now here, this is very much positive addiction. It can happen with almost anything. Sixth, does it lead to a kind of a sinking, a kind of depressive place


from which one doesn't emerge? This happens with meditation, which doesn't have the Holy Spirit in it. Yeah, a kind of sinking? A kind of sinking, a kind of depression after a while. In other words, the person goes into a kind of a depth, but it's a kind of a zero place, a kind of a darkness. It's peaceful, but gradually it becomes darker and darker and darker, and colder and colder and colder. I've had that experience. For example. The most powerful type of practice will probably be that which has the greatest long-term fruits in the heart. Those fruits are the focus on Jesus, the attraction to God, the warmth, the tension, the vitality of the relationship with God, and also the attraction to death that has to do with it. Just to sum up,


we got away from the question of how you use the thing. What's the purpose of it? What is the purpose of the prayer? First of all, as a temporary means of descending into deep silent meditation. In other words, you use it, and then when you get where you're going, you drop it, just like the ladder, just like the boulder, a means for descending into the depths. And then you reuse it whenever you need it to center it, like for someone to pray. But you discontinue it when you're where you want to be. Secondly, use as an ejaculatory prayer, as an expression of the movement of the heart towards God, either momentary and occasional and sharp, like in a cloud. It's funny that in a cloud, sometimes it seems very gentle, and sometimes it seems violent. It's just fire. It's like a person calling out in desperation, in urgent need. Or the ejaculations in passion. God, come to my assistance. Remember all those desperate situations that the monk is in,


in temptation, in need, in desperation, calling out with passion. Or it can be semi-continuous and gentle, but still intent. Like the Jesus Prayer, used for continual prayer, where you make this recurrent act, which is still a sharp act, there's still feeling in it, a kind of intensity in it, and yet it's intended to bring you to a continual state. It's not just an emergency recourse, a cry for help. Doesn't that become sort of like background music to a Hebrew sense? Yeah. Doesn't that become sort of like background music