Attacked on Facebook! Meditation Causes Conflict.

  • Meditation

    Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

    Something funny happened this weekend. I simply added a link to the Henri Nouwen daily meditations on my Facebook page and someone I know vaguely but only by email had a bit of a go. Talk about passive aggressive. The  arguer I have labelled as OP. My Learned Friend is a great woman from church who has been a big support to me these last few weeks. She has a theology degree too.

    Read on, my friends…
    “OP: I do not wish to offend anyone by saying this, but my understanding of meditation is, in simple terms, that you look inside with an open mind. Anyone who tells you what the end result of your meditation will or should be be is not teaching meditation.
  • Prayer Walker: (That’s me, folks) There are different types of meditation or perhaps the right word would be ‘contemplation.’
  • My Learned Friend: Hi everyone, glad some of you like Henri Nouwen’s writing. OP,  I am not offended but meditation can be more complex and I wonder how many of us can come with a truly open mind? I guess it is a matter of choice – what would I want to focus my mind upon. Many people have had their minds filled with all kinds of things from the past and some are really negative. I ask that if a mind is busy with negative thoughts how can it be, without great effort, become a more open space? Sometimes it is helpful to focus on another point of view or understanding to help displace the negative and I do agree with Prayer Walker – perhaps it is good to contemplate other ‘truths’ but then keep an open mind about the things we see, hear and read. Therein lies the way to choice.
  • OP: It’s just a technical point, sorry. An ancient meditation tip goes ‘If you meet the Bhuddha [sic] on the road, kill him’. It’s another layer of delusion. Anything that helps us to stop and reflect is a good thing tho, I think. To take a wider view whilst relaxed can help inner conflicts dissolve. It is rare to find any teaching of meditation, contemplation or reflection that doesn’t come attached to some wider ideological package. (The catholic package is quite complex and enstructures the suffering of certain conflicts as a tantric mechanism within a locked belief system. With spectacularly mixed results.) The three pillars of meditation are relaxation, attention / alertness and non-judgementalism. It’s a rare organisation that doesn’t like to plant a few suggestions into people while they are relaxed, attentive and suspending their judgments. The practice of hypnotherapy relies on the process. I think the Henri Nouwen practice is a variation of self-administered hypnotherapy. Or voluntary brainwashing. It seems to have worked for him.
  • My Learned friend: Strange things is that we can all get defensive about the things we hold dear and if we think that someone is trying to ‘infiltrate’ our carefully thought out ways of being. Isn’t that way wars start? Contrary to some understandings, the world is large enough to hold us all and I for one am glad that it is so.”
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