School of Meditation Weekly Teachings

Weekly Teachings 6/5/2012

Meditation as a Road to Self-knowledge

According to Evagrius the way to identify our personal ‘demons’ is twofold: by prayer/meditation and by effort to come to self-knowledge and awareness. An important role here is played by ‘watching the thoughts’: “If there is any monk [human being] who wishes to take the measure of some of the more fierce demons.....

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Weekly Teachings 29/4/2012

Importance of the Emotions

We have looked at Evagrius’ emphasis on becoming aware what our ‘demons’ are, recognizing them, acknowledging them and thus robbing them of their power. He talked about ‘purifying the emotions’: purifying and transfiguring the emotions back to their original state of divinely given energy:

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Weekly Teachings 22/4/2012

Evil Thoughts

Evagrius had profound psychological insights into the workings of the human mind. The fact that insights, arising from carefully scrutinised thoughts, are essential for change and transformation is one that was only rediscovered in the 19th century with Freud and Jung. Now it is a commonly accepted working hypothesis for most psychotherapists and analysts.

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Weekly Teachings 15/4/2012

Resistance by the Ego

We have seen how Evagrius’ demons all stem from our fear, our fear of not surviving, in fact, our fear of death. The moment we start to meditate the ‘ego’, our King and Queen of survival, goes into action. It does not like us entering the level of silence, where we will meet the ‘self’, the Christ within, as we will be out of its total control.

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Weekly Teachings 8/4/2012

Resistance Through Unmet Needs

We also need to be aware of the way our ‘ego’ will try to deter us from the silence of meditation by playing the old emotional ‘unmet need’ tapes with their flawed self-images. If our ‘love’ need was not met or we have only experienced conditional love - love as a reward for good behaviour –, it may be hard for us to imagine that God, which is Unconditional Love, is also there for us.

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Weekly Teachings 1/4/2012

Resistance Through Religious Conditioning

Our religious upbringing forms our inheritance of images of God, which may well be a further hindrance to us on the spiritual path. We must become aware of how our ideas about God are not only shaped by social and cultural factors but are also distorted by our conditioning, our personal fears, hopes and needs. They are often a product of our early childhood linked with our attitudes especially to parents and teachers. All images are a product of the ‘ego’. 

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Weekly Teachings 25/3/2012

Images as Blocks on the Spiritual Path

Often when people meditate and feel themselves slipping into silence they stop in fear and panic. Why is that so often the case? It has to do with our image of God and our self- image. They may be such that entering into the silent presence of the spirit of Christ within is too challenging. Thoughts such as “Is God really unconditionally loving and forgiving?” “ Will he not find me wanting?” stop us in our tracks.

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Weekly Teachings 18/3/2012

Psychology and Spirituality

We have been exploring in the last few letters the importance of self-knowledge on two levels. Firstly we need to become aware of the wiles of the ego, “cleansing our doors of perception”, as William Blake called it. We noted the various images of self and God, which can hinder us on the path to the Divine. Secondly we need to remember that we are more; we also have another deeper spiritual level to our being, often called our true self. Learning to understand the ‘wounded ego’ is often seen as “merely psychological”, not spiritual.

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Weekly Teachings 11/3/2012

The Gospel of Thomas

The teaching of Jesus in the ‘Gospel of Thomas’ expresses beautifully what we have been talking about. It encourages us to open ourselves to the Divine Reality, to Divine Wisdom. The way is true self-knowledge, arrived at by truly listening in silent interiority to the deeper spiritual significance of his teaching. Our effort is supported by his all-embracing grace.

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Weekly Teachings 4/3/2012

Effort versus Grace

Thomas sees Jesus guiding us by encouraging us to understand the teaching of his sayings, but also clearly laying the responsibility for our salvation on our own shoulders. Interestingly enough, finding the true interpretation of these sayings is similar to the deeply attentive reading of Scripture that Origen stressed, which according to him led to and was aided by contemplative prayer.

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