Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I've been learning 'Centering Prayer', which is a form of meditation where the attention is diffused rather than focused. It follows the path of self-emptying as Cynthia Bourgeault puts it. Do you think this form of meditation is valuable to sorcerors?

It is EXTREMELY valuable. Centering Prayer is very nearly the Christian Equivalent to Dzogchen.

It is all about emptying the self to allow God space to move within. It accomplishes by simple openness what many months of ritual work often fails to do.

I have been over this in past posts, but simply from the strategic perspective, Sorcerers should be meditating. It will cut through so much else.


Father Tim Mansfield said...

Nice to hear your take on Centering Prayer, Jason. Amongst the Christian forms of meditation I've experienced it seems to be the simplest and the most profound.

I'm very interested to hear you compare it positively to Dzogchen. Cool!

nutty professor said...

Honest question: what makes this form of meditation "Christian?"

Jason Miller, said...

Father Tim.

It is similar to Threkchod within Dzogchen, and there are certain other methods similar to Semzins, but there is nothing that quite aligns with Togyal - at least that is public knowlege. I hope that one day, deeper info about contemplative techniques in the eastern church becomes available as I believe the desert fathers had similar methods for interacting with the "Uncreated Light" that would be similar to Togyal.

Jason Miller, said...

@ Nutty Professor

It arose within Christianity and is primarily practiced by Christians.

One could very well apply the principals outside of Christianity, just as you could apply the methods of Dzogchen outside of Buddhism or Bon. At that point however, it becomes something new because it is removed from its context.

Father Tim Mansfield said...

@Nutty Professor - I'd agree with Jason's response and I'd add that although the practice is somewhat innovative, it's in line with a thread of surrender practices in the Western Christian mystical tradition (a line which one could draw through points including The Cloud of Unknowing, John of the Cross and Jean-Pierre de Caussade) as well as having resonances with with even earlier writers preserved in the Syrian tradition like St Symeon.

So, it arose within the Christian tradition, originating with Trappist monks and developed by Christian lay people, in a tradition of Christian mystical theology and scriptural understanding and exegesis stretching back to the first centuries of the Common Era.

@Jason, A lot of the language from the Hesychast tradition is awfully reminiscent of the Vajrayana language and, yes, the descriptions I've read of Togyal do seem to resonate pretty strongly with the Light of Tabor accounts from the hesychasts. This is part of why I'm excited to hear you, as a Dzogchenpa, make the link – it's seemed to me that there's phenomenological connections, but I'm conscious that for me to equate practices across these traditions without any personal practice in Dzogchen is quite dodgy.

Thanks for the ongoing inspiration of your trans-lineage work.