Unknown Date, Serial 00221, Side A

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You know, I think what I want to argue for, in working with this, and I think, again, my very limited knowledge of Buddhism, is that they might be more likely to attack these issues head on. So what's going on with you? What's happening with you? I think we need to do a bit more of that in our own monastic formation, and that it's incumbent upon us to ask others to help us with that. We need to have a prayer partner, I guess, not in a spiritual direction, yes, certainly, but a peer with us that we can talk about these sorts of things. We had a vocation candidate here, and he has a friend of his, and they do that for each other. So he'll ask him, well, how are you doing? And the friend will always say, fine. It's just what men do all the time, right? And then his next response is always, are you lying? And they agree to do that with each other, because then if the guy really wants to talk about what's going on, he'll say, yes, I am lying.


This is what's happening. You know? I mean, I think that's just a good thing. So maybe we need to go, how are you doing? And they say, fine. We should sit with him. Are you lying? You know? They're kind of friendly, but are you lying? Isn't there something else? Because I think this connection, this is especially true with sexuality. When we realize we're not alone, and we don't keep it a secret, and we don't keep it somehow something that's just happening with us, when we realize that other people have the same sort of reactions, it reduces the deforming energy of it in very important ways, in very important ways. All right. Yeah. I'd like to argue for Gershon and Amadeus. You know, they've got a lot of practices, and that's one of them, manifestation of thoughts. And there's nine others between the two of them, and it's those, you know, it's the six and twelve conferences translated by Terence Cardone.


Anyway, it is manifestation of thoughts. It is guarding the heart and watchfulness of thoughts. It is fasting. It is noticing your dreams, and noticing in your dreams if it comes from your own experience, or somebody else's experience, or in an anticipatory experience. So there's really a lot of analysis right in our tradition. Oh, yes. That is quite salient. The biggest one, however, is knowing yourself, as you've just described. But if you know your thoughts through a meditation practice, you would touch them. The trick isn't repression, but it's to know the thoughts morally, rather than have the spaciousness where if the problem with sexuality is that it is so subliminal, it trips us over into action before we can get a grip. So this whole thing of a meditation practice that we see our thoughts, and then this one has more deceptive feedback to us. So you can't do just that awareness business and spaciousness without a really good meditation


practice. That's right. Well, that's what allows for, I think, the awareness, and that's one of the key practices. The other thing I would add to that is that we have to attend to embodiment. That most of us are uncomfortable with ourselves. And even if we act sexually, genitally, it may give a certain pleasure to people, but it's almost always associated with some measure of someone not measuring up. I mean, how many of you have gotten a phone call lately asking you to be a model on TV for anything? I mean, most of us never will. And the implicit message is that there's something wrong with us. And we carry that around with us all the time. So not only do we have to listen to the thoughts in meditation, but we have to pay much greater attention to our bodies than we do. And I think that's clearly a growth area for Christians. Clearly a growth area for Christians. Let me challenge that question. Go ahead. Well, because we want to trim, you know, this is the heart of the matter of the debate. And Bruno and I have had this. Yes, get one with this body so that we are going to die.


And we want to not have body consciousness, or gender consciousness, or sex consciousness. We really want to transmute our consciousness. So by, you know, drilling back to this body consciousness, I bet you if all of us would say what's going on in our novitiates today, we're all working on body consciousness. And then they're out of the novitiate, they're out of formation. How long does body consciousness take? It takes as long as it needs to take. And for some people it takes a very long time. For example, folks that have been abused. Correct. Will struggle the rest of their lives with that. So, now, certainly we have to move beyond that. But, I mean, I read once in a discussion on Buddhist thought that when some non-Buddhists start to practice, hey, I don't have, they say, I can do this no-self stuff easily. Why? They don't have a self to begin with. You know, they don't have anything to lose. You know, they haven't even developed one yet. And I think that for many people there is this issue with the body that it has to be reclaimed first before we can let go of it.


So, now, I'm not just glorifying the body, but I'm saying there's a lot of reclaiming that needs to be done first. Two more questions? All the way here. This is exactly, if there's someone that has an immediate follow-up. Shift. Read what you were saying, and I'd appreciate it. I just kept bringing to mind a letter I got some years ago from a person I had married five years previously. And, you know, he was a person who had tried monasticism for a while, too, and then decided to leave and get married. And he was going through a difficult time in his marriage. And he wrote to me, and he said he was reading Plato. Not many of my friends write to me who read Plato. But he said, he came across a passage in Plato, one of Socrates' disciples came to him and said, you know, Master, I don't know what to do. I really want to dedicate myself, my great desire is for the philosophical life. And I want to dedicate myself to that completely and not marry.


And he said, I'm also so attracted to just marrying and having a wife and having a family and being an ordinary person. I don't know which one to choose. And Socrates said, I can't tell you. But what I can tell you is that whichever of the two you choose, you will one day repent of it. That sense that, you know, we make the right choice. If we fulfill that, and we decide, you know, where our heart's desire is leading us, and then, you know, clarify our understanding and then choose it, that that's going to bring ultimate fulfillment. Yeah, baloney. Just a little autobiographical comment there. Years ago when I started this transfer process here, as I think about that, I'll anthropomorphize it. God said, look, what do you want to do? Do you want to be a psychologist or do you want to be a monk? You're not doing both of these very well right now. So make a choice. And I had the sense that God was saying, either one's okay with me, whatever you choose, but


just do it well. So I made this choice. And have there been times when I regretted it? Yes. If I had just gone and been a psychologist, would I have regretted that then, too? Yes. And I think that's an important thing, because there's regrets in all of the lives we choose, and that doesn't mean that we're not following our heart's desire as well. I think it's so important that young, married couples hear this. Oh, yes. If this isn't working, I made a mistake. I'm talking the first ten years are the toughest, you know, and then it gets worse. One more question, maybe from the Buddhist side. The Hindu side. This isn't from the Buddhist, it's from the Hindu perspective, but anecdotally, let me tell you that for 20 years, our convent adjoined the Jesuit novitiate. Now, very, very often during this period, those novices would be coming up to our bookstore and saying their problems with celibacy. It was continual, and they were never given any reason why they should be celibate.


Now, in the Hindu tradition, this is very strong, because you need that energy, that sexual energy, you need to take that, transform it into that energy for God. And so, in the Hindu tradition, it's a very positive, joyful choice. Now, no matter what we said, every single one of those boys who came and talked to me, without exception, they left, including over half that monastery. So, I'm really backing up what Fr. Thomas here said earlier about, there has to be more discussion here. There's a really large group happening in the Catholic Church these days about it. I've been a part of that with some of the workshops that have been put on. St. John's University, no one hear us from there, but they've... My seminary has four, every year we have a celibacy skills workshop. They do it for four years in a row. It's not just a one-time shot, you know, it's not like a vaccination for 10 years, we'll come back in 10 years and we'll tell you something much more complicated than that. Thanks so much. He was a staff psychologist at Manningbrook,


and he became this holding the Bishop Ramsey Professorship of the School of Mental Health at the Church. Director of the Division of Physical and Psychiatry at the Manningbrook Church. He developed continuing education workshops on psychological issues, directed clergy and other religious professionals to follow. Clinical work with a wide variety of patients, including a lot of religious professionals. Consulted with clergy, dioceses, and religious congregations on a wide range of issues. He's written in the area of integration and psychology and religion, and has long resonated with presentations and writings. He has joined the monastic group at Atchison, Kansas, St. Benedict's in 1981, and has come to this community and is about to make his final conclusion. During his time at St. Benedict's he served as a member of the Council of Seniors, Junior Master, Novice Master, and Director of Formation. Became involved in retreat work.


He was also Associate Professor of Psychology at Benedictine College. At present, being his Novice Master and Vocation Director, involved in a limited retreat ministry. His interests now are kind of refueling for the boundary line between spirituality and psychology, and specifically now the role of desire in spiritual life and in human life. He's pursuing a more solitary and contemplative life with, at present, very limited professional involvement. So, Steve. Thank you. Thanks very much. I'd like to begin with a quotation that I think applies to me that I didn't say. I learned everything I know listening to myself talk about things I don't understand.