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U. P. North Zen Christianity


Jim Ramelis
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I have been influenced by Eckhart Tolle. The first of his books that I read or listened to on audio book was "The Power of Now". His most recent book is "A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose".These two are his best in my opinion. Eckhart recomends developing the power of "not thinking", just practice being sometimes.All meditation, whether it is mantra based, breath based, or visualization hopes to bring you to a state where thought ceases and you are one with yourself and the universe and the Creator. You must stop the chattering of the drunk monkey in your head though. Get your watch out and try not thinking for one minute. No thoughts whatsoever allowed. Hard isn't it? It has taken a few years but I can stop thinking for several minutes without going into sitting meditation. I can move about and stop thinking.

 

I live in an isolated rural area in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (U.P).Even though to most Americans, Michigan is already way up North, downstate Michiganders say they are going "Up North" when they come to the Northern Regions of Michigan. There is a road by house that leads to a lake. I have walked it for years. This winter has been a particularly hard winter and only in the last few days has the temperatures soared into the high twenties and thirties so I could walk down the road. I don't do that ten below stuff.I walked yesterday and describe my experience using Eckhard Tolle's method of "not thinking".

 

Crystal clarity, both in the mind and in the day

Shimmering snow on evergreens so flush

Peace, quiet, the world ceases to roar

 

Be still and know that I am Lord, says God

The wind says Om

The silence in my mind says Om

The Om of the wind and my mind are one

 

Doe and fawn run from me

The hard winter has made them slow and lethargic

I smile, but to them I am barring my fangs

I am a threat

 

In my quiet I am like them

Alert to every leaf rustling

Hearing every squirrel rushing about

Observing the scat of a wolf with deer hair in it

 

I get to a lake and a man is ice fishing

He is several hundred yards from me

Does he hear Om when he looks in his dark hole cut in the ice?

 

Walking back home I am quiet for several minutes

No thoughts have I, blessed relief from incessant thinking

The pain in my back that has been present for a few days is gone

My 57 year old body has no age, it just is

I just am

 

God said “I Am”

Jesus said before Abraham. “I am”

For a few minutes, “I Am”

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"Let us learn to be still and let the truth speak through us; to be still and know that the inner light shines." Ernest Holmes, "The Science of Mind"

 

"His hands can shape through ours. And our sounds can somehow echo what God has never said, for the divine is really speechless, it is too in love to chat." St. Teresa of Avila (Now that is some Zen Christianity - Jim)

 

"Silence is God's first language; everything else is a poor translation" - Thomas Keating

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Ralph Emmerson, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and Tagore started my search, but, I like to read science, philosophy, and psychology. I plan on reading again Augustine and John of the Cross. I enjoy reading a few pages and then just contemplate the topic. My son suggested a novel so I am reading it now so I can talk philosophy with him. Those subjects are in every book. We are so lucky to have so many people write about the same mind altering spiritual experience. Jim we are on the same wave length, enjoying the same journey.

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Ghandhi was also influenced by Thoreau, his essay on Civil Disobedience and I am sure Emmerson since they lived and studied together. It is nice that we on this forum can discover and explore together too and share our ideas.

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  • 6 months later...

I first found Tolle when I had experiences several years ago. I found Zen and mystical Christianity next.

After much practice and massive research, I don't really go for Tolle's emphasis on purposefully stopping thought anymore. As if neocortical activity were the enemy. I am reminded of Krishnamurti's criticism of spiritual people creating dulled minds and their meditations being inner aggression toward themselves. David Bohm who was influenced by Krishnamurti talked about coherent vs. incoherent thoughts. The average person does not have the awareness to know the difference. Coherent thought is completely spontaneous and right for the moment.

I found in my practice that I did have to learn to still my mind somewhat at first. I counted to ten in zazen to quell thoughts. After some months, I noticed thought occurring no matter what I did to try to stop it. So I just mindfully observe my whole condition now, thought or no thought. Almaas makes the emphasis that no one can tell you what state you are supposed to be in. Maybe your mind is supposed to be in a swirl of thought, and next in absolute stillness. There's no one state that's absolute, even the experience of the so-called absolute, is just another experience. That's the subtle Zen point, nonidentification with mind/body activity as opposed to artificial mind states. I absolutely hated this idea at first. I wanted to be in a specifically better state at all times than usual.

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