Bede Griffiths (December 17, 1906 – May 13, 1993), born Alan Richard Griffiths and also known by the end of his life as Swami Dayananda (“bliss of compassion”), was a British-born Benedictine monk who lived in ashrams in South India and became a noted yogi. He became a leading thinker in the development of the dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism. Griffiths was a part of the Christian Ashram Movement. (Wikipedia)
In Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God, she wrote:
"Bede Griffiths, one of the great contemplative masters of our time, claimed that there are actually three routes to the center. You can have a near-death experience. You can fall desperately in love. Or you can begin a practice of meditation. Of the three, he said with a somewhat mischievous smile, meditation is probably the most reliable starting point"
In 1986, Parabola Magazine conducted an interview with Father Bede Griffiths entitled “The Silent Guide” in our Spring issue: “The Witness.”
On the subject of what a witness means in the context of religion, he replied:
"In meditation one tries to calm the body and the senses, to calm the mind, and become what’s called “the silent witness,” the witness beyond the mind. We in the West think that the mind is everything, but all Eastern practice is to get beyond the mind to the point of the silent witness, where you’re witnessing yourself, where you’ve gone beyond the ego, beyond the self.
The Indian tradition rests on what the West has largely lost: that there are three levels. There is the level of the body and the level of the mind, which the Western world thinks is the end. But beyond the body is the spirit. It’s the Atman, the pneuma of St. Paul, another dimension where we go beyond the mind, the senses, and the feelings, and we’re aware of the transcendent reality. And that is the goal of life, to get to that.”
Why do you practice meditation?
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For more on Cynthia Bourgeault, see this post.