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Power In Overcoming


JenellYB
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A theologian once said to me, in reference to monastic/convented mystics such as St. John, St Teresa of Avilla, and the like, that such a path of myticism is a selfish path of weak faith.

 

He pointed out how sheltered from real life and all its challenges those that have taken up the cloistered life are, he spoke of the need for overcoming the challenges of ordinary life in building our faith and promoting out growth. He compared the development of muscle strength of one who toils at heavy labor vs one whose most strenuous activity is lifting their dinner fork laden with delectable tidbits and their napkin with which they daintly wipe away the crumbs.

 

He questioned if the meditations of one safely cloistered away from the troubles of ordinary real life could ever bring to a state as near God as does the prayers of a mother whose children are sick near to death. Or if faith in face of adversity is more trully built through voluntary exercises at self-deprivation and pennance than through the lifetime of tedious dedication of the man that arises early and fall into bed late, exhausted from his day's labors, until his body is consumed by years of hard work, to provide for his family.

 

The "path of suffering" is usually associated with someone that experiences a life of untold misery, yet in original meaning, "suffering" merely meant "experiencing" or to "allow experience."

 

An interesting and thought provoking idea, I think.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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In the cloistered life of a celibate, a person who ceases to trade in the material battle raging on the physical plane lies a mental battle with the monsters of the mind. Gargoles protect the inter sanctum from seekers who are not sincere, scaring them with physical deformity. They are angels in our dark recesses that our not to be feared but overcome. St. Teresa a true mystic described her journey through the mind as a journey through different rooms in a castle where one sensed the light coming from the Chamber of Christ. She is speaking to her fellow nuns and warning them of the snakes that follow one into the first rooms or layers of the mind. This journey is not easy. The monsters on religious art in the east mirrors these mental battles in the taming of the mind. I am married now, but still have deep admiration for the individuals who travel this path. I feel a married man or a celibate monk leads to the same place with incentives and hardships to the altar of the soul found with the light of Christ. Krishna leads others with his flute and Shiva with his drum. I sincerely feel everyone deserves years of solitude to find him/herself. It could be a prison, hospital, mental institution, beach, mountain or monastery there are many plans, but none of them are a vacation. The views are tremendous, but the climbing is hard. If one can get into the witness mode then it is like a movie with the eyes being the cameras and all hardships are enjoyed because the soul feels no pain, only the mental and physical.

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Yes, I've read, and gained much from, "Interior Castles"..

 

However, those guardians of the gates, the monsters, believe me, are not encountered only in the journey of the cloistered....there are parts of the extensive writing I did during my own personal transpersonal crisis over a decade ago now, that I at times think about, in the attic boxes, and wonder, should I bring them down, burn them, lest anyone find and read them after I'm gone? And see for themselves the monsters I confronted in my own mind?

 

For me, it WAS over the course of events in my life that I was brought to and through the rooms of the castle, a sense of everytime i found a door and passed through, there was yet another door beyond...as if every time I found answers to present questions, it only raised many more new ones...until I had eventually arrived at an inner room, deep within the heart of the castle..

Throughout that crisis point in the process process, my stages of crisis were often played out in vivid, powerful dreams, full of symbolic imagery I often had to try to find meaning for in unraveling the mysteries of my own mind, soul. At one point, in perhaps the very most critical and difficult stage of that event in my life, I confronted a deep and wide gorge, filled with horriible beasts and demons, with flames rising up, licking to, a very narrow stone bridge that spanned the chasm, to where at the other side, there rose up yet again a sheer cliff, too high to see the top, but into which were set a pair of large doors, made of heavy timbers and iron hardware. It was very much a scene similar to some of the dungeon-dragon fantasy art we see, but oddly I have never gotten into that kind of thing at all. At the end of the bridge, guarding the doors themselves, were two of the most terrifying monsters of all....In the dream, I knew i HAD to fight my way through all of them, across the narrow stone bridge, battling the monsters while not being toppled into thhe flames below...and confront those two terrible monsters, I had to get to, and enter in through those doors...the fear in the dreams was horrible, i'd often awaken trembling and sweating, taking some moments to re-orient myself to the here and now, be back in my safe bedroom instead of that terrible place. It took a good while, that dream replaying, as other events both psychic and material played out in my life, before I understood what it was about...I had come before the mercy seat, guarded by the cherubim....eventually, I did make it through those doors...and felt I had gained the greatest prize that could ever be imagined. and once i had, those terrible dreamed stopped, and I entered a new phase of gorwth on a different dimension.

 

I had not read any mystic works until that crisis was well underway, and actually for the most part, the worst of it over and behind me...when I read "Interior Castle", I recognized the similarity, but her castle seemed much gentler and more civilized than mine!

 

Jenell

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Btw, the solitude....for the time of my own crisis event, over a period of about 4 years, I was married, but my husband worked out of the area and was home very little..I was working, had my own pet grooming business where I worked alone, even while grooming dogs the part of my mind and my body doing the work knew its task and carried it out, while the other parts of my mind continued in meditation and the inner battle raging within. one thing that was so incredible to me, all through it, is how well i aprantly seemed to keep up 'appearances', seem 'normal' around others, continued to function effectively in 'real life', while all that madness raged within. All others seemed to notice, if anything, was I seemed withdrawn, reclusive, but then, I have always had a need for some time like that in my life. It was as if, so it seemed, forces even beyond myself had conspired to provide me the time of solitude i needed even in the midst of an outwardly "ordinary" life. By the time the crisis had largely resolved, the marriage had also unraveled, he was truly a very superficial person, had not really even noticed I was going through anything unusual or difficult at the time. he was ready to move on, and I was more than willing to let him do so.

 

What I shared above was as the theologican I mentioned expressed his view of cloistered mysticism. I can't say I agree or disagree, I know little of that way of life, but did find his perspective interesting and though provoking.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Jenell you lived as a nun and mystic. One doesn't need to live cloistered away to find solitude. Al-one even alone we are with everyone. You are very fortunate to have such intense experiences. The experiences we need are sent to us streaming all the time so we may grow on all levels. Enjoy the show as from your descriptions I see you access witness mode easily.

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