Multiplex: What's New | Site Map | Community | News My Multiplex Account | Sign In 
in Search

Integral Contemplative Christianity

Last post 10-19-2008, 9:44 PM by Magnulus. 62 replies.
Page 5 of 5 (63 items)   < Previous 1 2 3 4 5
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  •  03-12-2007, 8:27 AM 20509 in reply to 20504

    Re: Integral Contemplative Christianity

    Thanks edison, Mary,...

    Reading that you, Mary heard Fr. Rohr, then edison's drawing parallels between paths, reminds me that, on meeting Fr. Rohr, he felt, to me, like a mature Zen student. The evening we met I had just spoken at a men's meeting at the local Cathedral, then walked into the public talk being given by Fr. Rohr on male spirituality. The congruences between his talk and mine confirmed, as will happen, that when Spirit has something to say it gets said !  To these kinds of affirmation of faith and purpose I can only bow in amazement and let this fuel future work.

    Be well all,

    kcd


    'takes all kinds.
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  10-06-2008, 1:07 PM 92568 in reply to 20509

    • Magnulus is not online. Last active: 10-20-2008, 6:22 PM Magnulus
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 09-27-2008
    • Posts 2
    • Points 10

    Re: Integral Contemplative Christianity

       I have experimented with alot of Buddhist meditation over the past year or so... but recently find myself being drawn back to Christianity, to explore that.   I grew up as a Christian but I stopped going to church in my 20's.  Now I'm my early 30's.  I practice yoga, Buddhist meditations, and I'm interested in the Emerging Church Protestant movement (but I don't really live near that many Emerging congregations), and I read a fair amount on Christian theology, particular Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

      After doing quite a bit of Buddhist meditation (regular meditation, metta-bhavana, tonglen- none with a guru/teacher, all self-taught), and biofeedback, I realized most of the misgivings I had about Christianity were really ego-projections from a troubled childhood.   I found meditations on compassion to be very helpful at getting rid of alot of the negative feelings I kept having hanging around me.  Indeed, it will sound very wierd but I realized how all that negativity was a blessing in some ways, as it was a unique experience to suffer like that, to see the things that made you different from others also could connect you with the suffering of other people so you could identify with them, if you opened up to it.

      I also had a somewhat religious/spiritual experience, where I felt a sense of grace in my life, but I also had feelings similar to "kundalini syndrome" very wierd body sensations that would come and go every few days, and a few days where I just felt a sense of nihilism.    I was assosciating with some Buddhist also that had very nihilistic views on life, and this negativity was rubbing off on me.  I felt troubled and I asked some Christians I knew to pray for me and I prayed myself, and I decided to re-read the Gospels and they seemed to connect wiht me in a way that they had not in a long time.  So now, I'm sitting on the fence a bit.

      I think there are alot of interesting perspectives in the Buddhist tradition but ultimately I'm not sure Buddhism is "all true".  I think Buddhism brings a unique perspective to religion, but I also see alot of flaws in it, in some cases deeper flaws.    The ugliness and cold brutality of Zen in WWII, or the complacency that sometimes exists in Theravada countries regarding social issues (giving aid to the monks when there are other people in those countries that could use the money).

      For a Christian, "enlightenment" is not the main purpose of the faith, because acording to Christianity, God already bridged the man-divine divide.  Theosis is "Christian perfection" ,and I'm not sure "non-dualism" is all that important, I think Christianity is much more the path of purification and connecting with other human beings on a real level, not just a mystical level.  Theosis is just becomming more like Jesus in every way.  It's all about other-power, and that's the simplicity of it.  As a teen I never understood what faith is, it's surrender, putting aside the rational mind that always wants to know more, wants to explain the unexplainable and will never find those answers.   I also think the Christian faith has some good insights on the importance of love, something that seems absent in the average American Buddhist- no doubt that's the reason my favorite bodhisattva would probably be Quan Yin, I think that kind of mental image helps me connect with a part of myself that wants to be listening and compassionate, but I was raised in a home where men didn't feel much of anything. 

       One thing I think might be a problem with "Integral Christianity", as already mentioned before, is that unlike Hinduism, Christianity doesn't see the manifest world or the sense of ego or self as inherently evil or degenerate, nor has theological quietism generally be understood as a Christian ideal (as mentioned earlier, Christ came to earth to render wisdom as foolishness, not to affirm the wisdom of men), even in Sufism fana (annihilation) is understood metaphorically and is counterposed with baqa - living with God.  Yes, the seperation into the manifest world causes suffering but Christians tend to believe it exists for a purpose, a purpose that theologians have speculated on of course.   Maybe Mahayana Buddhism comes a little closer to this understanding but even then, it is still somewhat impersonal compared to monotheistic understandings of God.  Buddhism, being what it is, generally doesn't like theological questions.

    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  10-19-2008, 9:44 PM 97715 in reply to 92568

    • Magnulus is not online. Last active: 10-20-2008, 6:22 PM Magnulus
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 09-27-2008
    • Posts 2
    • Points 10

    Re: Integral Contemplative Christianity

      I thought I'd update with more of my thoughts...

      I think the whole Integral approach has a bias towards Indian/Buddhist religious practices.  And there's an assumption that somehow the Christian and Western traditions of spirituality are naive, or that somehow all religions must lead to the same mountain top, just because they have alot of common features beneath them.   It's possible to have a religion be both exclusive and somewhat pluralistic at the same time (Catholicism and Orthodox, for instance, don't necessarily deny the idea that other religions might have some degree of "truth" to them).   It's easy to eat up all religious beliefs into a meta-narrative, much like Hinduism does, but that doesn't mean it's true to do so in itself.   I see a tendency for some in Integral to do that.

      In truth, the Western religious tradition is strong with the "2nd person" perspective, that doesn't mean it is the only perspective in the Western religions.  They just use very different terminology and metaphysics.  A person isn't God in first person in the Western traditions, that doesn't mean people cannot have a 1st person awareness of a divine nature, a soul.   Likewise, the third-person perspectives aren't necessarily negated, either.   To say otherwise is to be ignorant of Christian theology.  Look up Orthodox theology (apophatic Essence of God and the Energies of God) or Protestant Process Theology some time.  It's possible to have God as both a personal, transcendent God and a pervasive, immanent God at the same time.  I think many people misunderstand what the world "personal" can mean theologically and metaphysically.  

      Likewise, I think alot of the Integral approach to spirituality seems to prize noetic gnosis and "wisdom" too much, traditionally as seen in zazen, or especially koans in Zen Buddhism (I've read that koans can actually, in rare cases be harmful psychologically... I don't know if it's tru absolutely, but I know from my own experience, I found koans taxing to think about.  Cultivating metta, or even practicing tonglen isn't as taxing... for me).  There are alot of other spiritual practices that deserve some credit.  The apostle Paul said you can have all the wisdom and faith, but it's all useless without love.  I can't help but think there's real truth  to that.  Maybe you rephrase love to "compassion" to make it more sensible to Eastern/Buddhist ears, but it doesn't really change the sentiment.   There have been plenty of "wise" people throughout history that supported acts of brutality and barbarism.   A Christian perspective might even see love as superior to wisdom.

        The whole idea of the "mantra" or "sacred word" thing doesn't work for me as a Christian practice.  There are ancient practices that resemble meditation spoken of by the Desert Fathers ("the rest"), the Jesus Prayer, and Orthodox prayer ropes/beads, Catholic Rosaries, Anglican rosaries/prayer beads... and what about fasting?  And heck, just old fashioned prayer, maybe it's more "Integral" to pray for things that are less self-centered?  That kind of prayer seems like a good way to help cultivate agape as well (I've know people with long, daily prayer lists, prayer chains, and invariably they seem to have alot more compassion than people that only admitted to rarely/never praying, or prayed only for themselves... coincidence?  I don't think so).  There's much more to Christian mysticism and spiritual practices other than "centering prayer".

    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
Page 5 of 5 (63 items)   < Previous 1 2 3 4 5
View as RSS news feed in XML
 © Integral Institute, 2006. all rights reserved - powered by enlight™ email this page del.icio.us | terms of service | privacy policy | suggestion box | help