The Big Question. (Spirituality & Prayer)
Warren, I honestly think you delude yourself if the whole church is going to engage in meditation along the lines you are suggesting. I think, to some extent, that Benedict is correct in his description of the average Christian as a "simple person". We're simply never going to see all Christians one day engaging in some form of Christian yoga gazing blankly into space or contemplating their navels or the gentle sounds of their breathing. Where Benedict I think is wrong is that he seems to posit the problem as one of intelligence or brain power. I think the problem is more associated with the lack of seconds in a lifetime, or each day, to do all the things we'd like to do. None of us have time to study all the big questions: we're engaged in earning a living, bringing up kids, making our way in the world, getting our end in (for boys), gettin' a bit of lovin' (for girls), keeping warm and comfortable. I engage in a lot of "mulling" — or "meditation" — but none of it is involved with any of the metholodogies of John Main or Laurence Freeman. I suspect "Christian meditation" is never going to be part of the mainstream however much I also believe there is great good in the practise of meditation. And none of that is to dowplay the crucial role in society that people who do engage in those meditation methodologies do play.
Down through history I think ALL civilisations and local societies have been controlled by "small elites". That's life and I don't see it changing. The average yokel is basically pummelled by the influence the various elites are constantly trying to exert on "the societal paradigm". What can change is the "paradigm" or "mindframe" in which the great majority perceive of their place in the world. What's changing today is "the mindframe". But it is a slow process. The ideas of leading edge thinkers like Einstein take centuries to percolate down until they are part of the "ordinary paradigm" in which people think about their lives — and Life.
To me the BIG breakthrough in fundamental physics is not the particulars of all the laws in quantum physics. It is the "paradigmatic shift": once at the paradigmatic level science saw itself as eventually being able to answer "all questions". It saw itself as eventually coming up with all the scientific equations that would "explain life". The earth shattering realisation they eventually came to is that at the end, or bottom, of all their searching there is nothing but more uncertainty (Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle) and just more Mystery. In a sense I think it can be argued that the theologians had arrived at that conclusion a couple of millenia before. The irony today is that it is the conservatives, the fundamentalists and the insecure remnant who are driving religion down the pathway that Newton and the early scientists tried to take humanity four hundred years ago. They are today the one's trying to replace the inherent "uncertainties and unknowables about life" with their own little certitudes, pet theories, superstitions and dogmas.
I think the big insight of Quantum Physics is that it shows us that uncertainty (which leads to anxiety and insecurity) is inherently "built into the very structure of life". The corollary is that "just because we don't know the answer to something we are NOT FREE to substitute any answer — to invent some superstition, dogma, old wives tale or mythology — to explain whatever it is that doesn't have an answer. We (humanity) somehow have to "live with the lack of answers" and not get all stressed or insecure about it and go running to some authority figure such as the pope looking for answers."
I think where you and I differ in our outlook is that you seem to posit that "meditation is the answer to everything". I suspect it is part of an answer but there's no more going to be some "magic bullet" coming from the realms of Christian meditation than there is some "magic bullet" coming from Quantum Physics, or, say, something like modern Genetic Science. As you argue we are looking for the unity — and relationship between everything — including between every discipline of human thought and behaviour.
Brian Coyne[Editor & Publisher]
- The Unity of the Trinity. - Warren, 2011-08-16, 16:13
- The Unity of the Trinity. - Brian Coyne, 2011-08-16, 16:56
- The Unity of the Trinity. - Francis, 2011-08-16, 17:46
- The Big Question. - Warren, 2011-08-17, 13:42
- The Big Question. - Brian Coyne, 2011-08-17, 15:04
- The Big Question. - Francis, 2011-08-17, 15:06
- The Big Question. - James, 2011-08-17, 15:25
- The Unity of the Trinity. - Marvemlb, 2011-08-17, 15:39
- The Unity of the Trinity. - Warren, 2011-08-17, 18:47
- The Big Question. - Warren, 2011-08-17, 13:42