The mere heartbeat in which I realised that connecting with the sacred mystery is ultimately a matter, not of belief but of practice, was a singularly transformative moment for me.
It was one balmy summer evening more than a decade after I’d given up on believing in God that ‘God’ turned up right outside my back door, uninvited, unexpected, but unquestionably there. This fleeting accidental liaison with the ‘presence’ of a non-existent being who somehow managed to brush up against my soul before vanishing again into the twilight like a cat over the garden fence, left me deeply touched by the ‘peace that passes understanding’, and, if I may indulge in a little paradox, somewhat disturbed. Continue reading “A Matter Of Practice”
In my discussion of Meister Eckhart’s ‘Wayless Way’ I touched on the Dominican master’s notion of the need for detachment from everything if we truly want to break through to union with God. For Eckhart, ‘everything’ includes all our talk of God. This means, paradoxically, that if we are truly to encounter ‘God’, the ultimate reality for which we long, we must be rid of the ‘God’ captured in our theological definitions, concepts and images. At the conclusion of that discussion I asked why, if there is any truth in this teaching of Meister Eckhart, we should persist with Christian talk of ‘God’ at all. Surely it makes more sense to bypass altogether images and concepts we must ultimately let go anyway. Why not adopt at the outset a more ‘secular’ approach like that of Eckhart’s modern namesake Eckhart Tolle, or even of Buddhism which many claim is not a religion at all?
What follows is a first step in the development of an answer to this question, a defence of the value and relevance of meditation in the Christian tradition in a world where people drawn to spiritual practices have a rich abundance of options from which to choose. The simple point I make is that the value and relevance of the Christian meditation tradition derive both from what it shares with the other great meditation traditions and what distinguishes it among them. Continue reading “Why I practice meditation in the Christian tradition”