January 4, 2008

Still Small Voice Notes

Video Notes: A Still Small Voice, Bill Kurtis host

1. Examples: Valerie Andrews, researcher for Time Magazine, author -- "Nature Mysticism" --
. --Tim McDonald -- experience of "theistic mysticism"
--Joseph Goldstein -- Buddhist monk -- experience in Tibet -- understanding of self-lessness, core of Buddhism

2. George Gallup polling of US/England: 40-50% of people have had religious experiences: nature, music, meaningful coincidences, conversion, near-death

3. Meditation and Mysticism -- overview by Joseph Goldstein --
-- theistic -- God-centered
-- Buddhist -- meaning of universe
-- two method tracks: concentration (focus on object, picture, sound, breath, feeling) and insight (moment-to-moment awareness)

Sebastian More, English Benedictine, -- paying attention to God
says some people "have a knack" for going inward

Pascaline Coff, on North Am Board of East-West Dialogue (Osage Monastary Sand Springs, OK) -- uses Buddhist methods to focus mind -- focus down to one point using a mantra, word, syllable to focus mind

Kallistos Ware -- Orthodox Bishop of Great Britain -- discussing use of Jesus Prayer -- says we can't use the will to control thoughts, but need to replace them with a simple task, gradually stilling the mind (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me-- the "Jesus prayer")

Rabbi Samuel Dresner, student of Abraham Heschel, discussing chanting -- vocal meditation in Jewish prayer service

Seyyed Hosein Nasr discussing vocal prayer in Islamic tradition -- Sufism

4. Nature Mysticism -- the Wild Side

Valerie Andrews -- discussing addiction as craving for godhead -- nature religion gone awry -- A.A. recognizes the search for the sacred in addiction -- addiction to negative relationships that block us from reaching the divine -- compulsive behavior -- craving for acceptance

William Newell -- Prof of Philosophy U of Hartford -- religious traditions serve to structure euphoria -- or it can flip into power -- using people

Example of Rimbaud and use of drugs to induce spiritual experiences -- not god, but expanded ego

Dark Night -- contraction -- William Mahealy (sp?) and John Ferguson, both in Viet Nam -- evil is no illusion -- everyone is two people (boy scout and killer)

Mystical nightmare -- Nazism as example of use of mystical experiences to create religion of the state

5. The Dawn of Consciousness -- skipping this

6. Science & Mysticism -- Einstein's theory: energy vs matter -- chaos theories

George Stancin and Robert Augros, New Story of Science -- breakdown of Newtonian view -- complete determinism would mean no free will -- quantum physics starts with mind, allows for indeterminacy -- the experimenter freely chooses the approach

The big bang theory can be combined with theism -- something preceded matter -- space, energy, time were preceded by Mind.

7. Mysteries Solved -- mention of Teilhard de Chardin, with his theory of consciousness as the ultimate goal of evolution for the planet

-- Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco -- some kind of tradition is needed for spirituality -- his three:
communal testing/ inner experience / "holy book"
final test is love -- community building, contrasted to inflated, unbearable, crazy behavior -- e.g., what kind of human being is being molded
-- Bernard McGinn, the experience of the immediate presence of God is mediated to us through texts.
-- Valerie Andrews -- mysticism is breaking through everywhere
-- Seyyed Hosein Nasr -- spiritual experience -- both a gift of God and something an individual can seek through steady practice -- through grace, this practice can lead to permanent attainment
-- Gai Eaton -- satanic deceptions can mislead us -- to seek the marvelous -- is not our business at all
-- Alan Jones -- the church likes only dead mystics -- hard to control
--Luis Dupre -- the concentration on the self is the opposite of what is needed -- withdrawal, turning to self, then the person fails to do duties -- real mystics are great women or men of action
--Pascaline Coff -- we ordinarily see only the outer covering of reality -- with meditation, our inner eye opens, and we pierce through appearances
--Joseph Goldstein -- the "no-self" is a key idea -- hard to convey -- humans are a process of happenings -- all is experience -- there is nobody to whom they are happening -- what we are, is the process of change
--Bishop Kallistos Ware -- mystical experience is available to all -- all have seeds of contemplative attitude to life
--Samuel Dresner -- think of the self as a wheel -- spokes and a hub -- usually, the ego is at the hub -- the spokes everything important to the self. In the divine presence, God displaces the ego at the hub, and the self is only another spoke

NOTE: book he read from -- I Asked For Wonder : A Spiritual Anthology -- quotes from Abraham Heschl

--Tim McDonald -- justice in society requires spiritual grounding -- truth and justice go together
--Joseph Goldstein -- 2,500 past Buddha is supposed to be a time of spiritual resurgence (prophecy about when horses have wheels and ships fly...)