Why I practice meditation in the Christian tradition

Christian Meditation photo

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”

Do thus and be good, or know this and be God?

Mosaic-of-Jesus-Christ-in-001[1]

Joseph Campbell’s lifelong study of the myths and stories of cultures all over the globe yielded some rich insights into what he believed was a universal quest for transcendence. He spoke of transcendence as the experience of the divine, or of ‘God’, within us and saw contemplation on the great heroic archetypes in our ancient stories as a powerful mode of access to the transcendent. In his seminal early work, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Campbell recognises two approaches we can take to the stories of our archetypal heroes and uses Jesus as an example. Continue reading “Do thus and be good, or know this and be God?”

Russell Brand riffing on awakening to spirituality

In music a ‘riff’ is a brief harmonic phrase that is repeated, often beneath a lead break. Philosophers and other teachers of wisdom from Jesus to Nietzsche did something similar with the ‘aphorism’ a brief, pithy statement, a one-liner that encapsulates a big idea.

Here is the adrenalin-energised Russell Brand dealing in some aphorisms about connecting with the transcendent.

Thank you to my friends at http://www.spiritbath.com for this one.