Integral Psychology

Ken Wilbur has written a comprehensive map of the human mind in his book “Integral Psychology”  with the sub title Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy.   Wilbur writes, “as we look more carefully at the overall levels of consciousness, we can’t help but notice that, with a few exceptions, the vast majority of modern researchers do not include, or even acknowledge, the higher, transpersonal, spiritual levels.  It is striking how many modern researchers stop somewhere around the centaur and vision-logic, and ignore or even deny the transpersonal and transcendental waves of superconscious development.  In premodernity, even if the average individual did not awaken to the higher levels in the Great Nest of Being, it was clearly understood that these higher potentials were available to any who wished to pursue a path of awakening, liberation, or enlightenment.  Premodernity acknowledged these higher, transpersonal, spiritual realms, where as modernity, for the most part, denies them altogether.

How could something so universally widespread at one point in our collective history become resolutely erased at the next?  It’s a staggering scenario, fully comparable, in its own way, to the extinction of the dinosaurs.  The most pervasive notion in human history and prehistory (namely, the existence of some sort of spiritual dimension) was simply pronounced, with the thundering authority of science, put with a zeal that was inversely proportional to its believability, to be a massive collective hallucination.  The spiritual dimension, it was solemly announced, was nothing but a wish-fulfillment of infantile needs (Freud), an opaque ideology for oppressing the masses (Marx), or a projection of human potentials (Freuarbach).   The bleakness of the modern scientific proclamation is chilling.”  p. 55 Integral Psychology by Ken Wilbur Shambala Pub. 2000

Putting on the Mind of Christ

Our Wednesday evening meditation class has begun studying one of the most fascinating books I have found on the mystical Christian tradition by Jim Marion called “Putting on the Mind of Christ, The Inner Work of Christian Spirituality.”  Our 7:30pm weekly meditation class will now be available to watch through Zoom meeting app from any smart phone or computer, all you have to do is give me your email and I will send you an invitation each week where you can join the meeting and watch as well as interact with questions and comments.

This following is from the back cover of his book, which I highly recommend, I have read it several times since I got it last year, its that good.:   Jim Marion, a former Catholic monk, mystic, and attorney, says if you want to join the Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven, you must do so while living as a human on the Earth.  It’s not something that automatically happens to Christians after death, nor can the Church do it for you.  Marion says inner spiritual growth has always been the true essence of Christian practice.  Marion has described his mystic experiences within a ‘Christ focused” framework, but he also includes other mystical writers from various religious perspectives.   For Christians who are disaffected with contemporary Christianity there is another way- Marion calls it the “old original way”- to experience true spirituality of Christianity.  he shows how to emulate the developmental stages of the Christ- how to put on the mind of Christ to achieve spiritual illumination and communion with the Christ.  Provocative and pioneering, transcendent and grounded, Putting on the mind of Christ may permanently altered the landscape of 21st century Christianity.

Moderator’s Report Sept 2017

Moderator’s Report  September 2017

So about 7-8 years ago someone told me about meditation.  Unfortunately I never heard about it in bible college, not in seminary, not in 15 years of working in the church.  the practice has almost been completely lost in the church in the west, even though it has been taught since the first Christian monks in the Egyptian desert taught it.

Since I have been studying and practicing meditation I have come to believe it is the most important thing you can do in your Christian life,  out from it flows everything else, Jesus & John the Baptist came preaching metanoia, changing the mind.   Repentance is a terrible translation of the greek metanoia, it really means changing the mind, St. Paul calls it a metamorphosis in Rom. 12  the best way to change the mind is meditation, the desert fathers like Evagrius (4th Cent.) taught meditation, and what they taught was strikingly similar to the Buddhist practice.  Evagrius said our demons that we must fight are our thoughts.

Meditation is so important- that I call it the theory of everything, the physicist are searching for a theory of everything that reconciles the incompatibility of Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.  Meditation is the theory of everything in metaphysics.  Meditation helps you with everything you can imagine, high blood pressure, anxiety, diet, lust, sleep, greed, ADD, anger,  it is the way one can experience the mystical union with Christ, it is the path one takes to fully live out the sermon on the mount, which is all about what is going wrong in your head.

Ironically, in the US meditation is spreading rapidly not because of the church, but because of  the hospitals and board rooms who are using it across the country.  Over 700 hospitals use John Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.   The U. of Penn Hospital has been teaching an 8 week course on mindfulness meditation since the 90’s and has had 15000 students.  Companies are using meditation for their employee training, Google, Ford, SAP, and many, many others.  This is happening because meditation works, and it works for just about everything.

So In the hopes that you will discover this incredible spiritual practice that can purify your thoughts and radically alter your brain’s neural pathways,  I will have available for you to take home,  books about meditation which you can find at the registration table at every meeting.  By the way, Buddhism has nothing to say about theology, it’s a psychology, a science of the mind.   I would also like to create a group or network, of those interested in meditation so that we can learn from each other and help others learn how metanoia is done through meditation.  Please send me your contact information if you would like to be a part of this group,  if you want me to speak about this anytime, anywhere,  just let me know.

The Meditative Mind

Book Review:

The Meditative Mind The Varieties of Meditative Experience

by Daniel Goleman

Goleman has written for the NY Times, was former Senior Editor at Phsychology Today and taught at Harvard.  This book is the best survey I have found so far describing meditation and how it is taught in various religions.  He also has a depth chart of the jhanas showing you what can happen as you go deeper into meditation.  He does a short survey of Hindu Bhakti, Jewish Kabbalah, Christian Hesychasm, Sufism, TM, Patanjali’s Yoga and a few others.   I have purchased several used copies of this book and its available to church members if you would like to have a look at it.   He quotes Thomas Merton as saying that what is practiced as “prayer” in Christian churches is but one- albeit the surviving one- of a range of more intensive contemplative practices.  The Desert Fathers meditated with verbal or silent repetition of a single phrase from Scripture, a Christian equivalent of mantra. The most popular prayer was the prayer of the publican, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”  In its short form, Kyrie eleison.


The Prayer of Jesus

The first Christian monks were hermits living in the 4th cent. In the Egyptian desert.  They are called the desert fathers. They practiced what they called the Prayer of Jesus, not the lords prayer but the Prayer of Jesus, which we know as meditation, they called it the art of arts and the science of sciences which leads the seeker toward the highest human perfection.  The practice of the prayer of Jesus, ironically no longer taught or practiced in the church in the west, requires genuine humility, sincerity, endurance and purity.  Hesychius of Jerusalem describes it as  a spiritual art that releases one completely from the passionate thoughts, words, and evil deeds, and gives a sure knowledge of God the Incomprehensible. Practice of the Prayer of jesus brings purity of heart which is the same as guarding the mind, kept perfectly free ofall fantasies.  The way to this purity, says Hesychius, is unceasingly calling upon Christ, with perfect attention, resisting all other thoughts.  Thoughts are described as enemies who are bodiless and invisible, malicious and clever at harming us who enter through the five senses.  A mind caught in the senses or in thought is distant from jesus, to overcome sense consciousness and attain a silent mind is to be with Jesus.  St Nilus says, “He who wishes to see what his mind really is must free himself of all thoughts, then he will see it like a sapphire or the hue of heaven.  His instructions for stilling the mind specify sitting on a low stool in the solitude of ones cell on first awakening and for an hour or more, collect your mind from its customary circling and wandering outside, and quietly lead it into the heart by way of breathing, then abandoning the many and the varied, we shall unite with the One, the Single, and the Unifying, directly in a union which transcends reason.”

Mark 1:35, Jesus got up while it was still very dark, went out to a deserted place and prayed.”

Conformed to the Image of His Son

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.” Romans 8:29

We are predestined for one basic thing: to be conformed to the full humanness expressed in Christ.  In him we have a vision of what God intended us to be: conformed to the image of his Son.  This is God’s goal for each of us.  He is creating a family in which Jesus is central, but a family to be conformed to Christ.  Our heart’s cry should be as expressed in the verse of Thomas Chisolm:

Oh! To be like Thee, blessed Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

In the text the two difficult words “foreknew” and “predestined” are not to be separated from the phrase that follows, “conformed to the image of his Son.”  God has a definite plan.  He intends that the incarnation should be followed by many adopted children, who are to be like Christ.  As we become believers, we discover that we are predestined in Christ to be conformed to his image.  It is a preplanned identifying with Christ in faith, the basic result is already determined; we will be conformed to his image.

Predestination can be considered almost mechanical and deterministic, like the joke of the man who fell down the stairs, got up, dusted himself off, and said, “Well, I’m glad that’s over.”  More dynamic ways to think of this term are relational ways of understanding it.  The nature of a child born into a family will be determined by the genes of the family line.  But he still has responsibility for the person he becomes.  Those born into the family of God are foreknown to have Christlike gifts.  The believer is predestined to be conformed to Christ, but this is realized by an appropriating faith.  We should rejoice in this, the work of God’s grace, not react as though it undercuts our responsibility.