parabola-magazine:

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.

‘I’ and ‘you’ are but the lattices, in the niches of a lamp,
through which the One Light shines. ‘I’ and ‘you’ are the veil
between heaven and earth;
lift this veil and you will see
no longer the bonds of sects and creeds.
When ‘I’ and ‘you’ do not exist,
what is mosque, what is synagogue?
What is the Temple of Fire?

Mahmud Shabistari

With gratitude to The Beauty We Love.

Photograph by Q. Sakamaki , The Streets of Istanbul: Cultures co-exist in the storied ancient Turkish metropolis, from TIME Photo, via: findout.

parabola-magazine:

“The authority and ease with which he often wrote came from his wholeness, but wholeness was a work in progress. “The voice of God is not clearly heard at every moment,” he wrote…,”and part of the ‘work of the cell’ is attention, so that one may not miss any sound of that voice. What this means, therefore, is not only attention to inner grace but to external reality and to one’s self as a completely integrated part of that reality. Hence, this implies also a forgetfulness of oneself as totally apart from outer objects, standing back from outer objects; it demands an integration of one’s own life in the stream of natural and human and cultural life of the moment. When we understand how little we listen, how stubborn and gross our hearts are, we realize how important this inner work is. And we see how badly we are prepared to do it.” 
Passages of this quality from his writings deserve a place on seekers’ bulletin boards or in their journals. How can one keep these thoughts in mind and live by their light? One’s own search, however structured and inspired, must be similarly alive–and complex enough to address the human condition as a whole. We are our own workshops. Merton knew this.”
–Roger Lipsey, a longtime contributor to Parabola Magazine on the inner search of Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton from his forthcoming book We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope: Reflections to Honor his Centenary (1915-2015).
To read the full excerpt, purchase our Fall Issue on Spiritual Practice.
Help support Parabola by subscribing.
Photography Credit: Jonathan Williams, Portrait of Thomas Merton
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parabola-magazine:

“The authority and ease with which he often wrote came from his wholeness, but wholeness was a work in progress. “The voice of God is not clearly heard at every moment,” he wrote…,”and part of the ‘work of the cell’ is attention, so that one may not miss any sound of that voice. What this means, therefore, is not only attention to inner grace but to external reality and to one’s self as a completely integrated part of that reality. Hence, this implies also a forgetfulness of oneself as totally apart from outer objects, standing back from outer objects; it demands an integration of one’s own life in the stream of natural and human and cultural life of the moment. When we understand how little we listen, how stubborn and gross our hearts are, we realize how important this inner work is. And we see how badly we are prepared to do it.” 

Passages of this quality from his writings deserve a place on seekers’ bulletin boards or in their journals. How can one keep these thoughts in mind and live by their light? One’s own search, however structured and inspired, must be similarly alive–and complex enough to address the human condition as a whole. We are our own workshops. Merton knew this.”

–Roger Lipsey, a longtime contributor to Parabola Magazine on the inner search of Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton from his forthcoming book We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope: Reflections to Honor his Centenary (1915-2015).

To read the full excerpt, purchase our Fall Issue on Spiritual Practice.

Help support Parabola by subscribing.

Photography Credit: Jonathan Williams, Portrait of Thomas Merton