Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Listening.... Brings the Balance (Obedience and Justice)

In his wonderful book, The Music of Silence, Br David Steindl-Rast explains the word and its action, "obedience." 

"Obedience is 'intensive listening' (to the word of God which comes to us every moment - our inner voice- if you will), the opposite is absurdity, which means being deaf to life's challenges and meaning." -also inside of us... 

Steindl-Rast suggests that the next time we say "This is absurd," we ask ourselves, "To what am I deaf here?"

The etymology of the word, obedience is this:

from Latin oboedientia (nominative oboediens), present participle of Latin oboedire 'to listen.' late 13c., from O.Fr. obeir, from L. oboedire "obey, pay attention to, give ear," lit. "listen to," from ob "to" + audire "listen, hear."

Perhaps we can interpret all words, which are actually symbols, in an active or passive sense. For it seems to me that our commonly held notion of obedience is that of actively following a rule and rules are created, as law, to provide justice. And justice is about order in equity, balance, which is why the image of justice holds a balanced scales. So in a more passive sense, justice is more about finding the balance than it is, right and wrong. It is about right and right. It is about reconciliation, which is to return to the balance. Of course, this can take action...Law and Order! ;-)

So with obedience, if we are listening to God's voice, we will bring the balance of justice, inner first, and then outer action. How? Because we are made in the Image of the God of Life. Within each of us is the enlightened Mind of Christ, the Logos, what the Stoics called the ordering principle of the universe, and what scientists call [the Holiness of] Natural Order. And this Sacred and wonderful Natural Order always seeks the balance, always finds the balance, is always listening.

May you  find within yourself the deep stillness from which obedience expresses  justice. May that inner quietude allow the voice of God, the Logos to keep your heart and mind aligned with the universal balance of the Natural Order, its justice and its peace. In the end, Peace through Natural Order prevails. Be the peace. Bring the Peace.

Love and Peace,
_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Happiness and Meaning

Claudia Tremblay
“Happiness is “human flourishing,” which is a translation of the Greek word eudaimonia. The usual translation is “genuine happiness,” but “flourishing” is more accurate. Like the Buddhist notion of sukkha, and ananda—bliss, joy in the Hindu tradition—flourishing is a sense of happiness that’s beyond the momentary vicissitudes of our emotional state.  

And what brings this about? A meaningful life.”
~Alan Watts in Tricycle

How do we find meaning? It is not found through strict sensing, logic, or rational intelligence. Meaning is imparted through whole body experience. Whole body experience incorporates intuition, and often empathic, awareness into what is sensed and rationalized, leading to a greater "presence" of being. It is common for those with intuitive or mystical bias to do this automatically and frequently. One of the hallmarks of an intuitively biased person is that they often subliminally query their circumstances with, “What does that mean?” The first bullet under “Intuitive perception” on the Myers-Briggs web page is this: 

I remember events by what I read "between the lines" about their meaning. 

This becomes significant when we ask how to cultivate happiness through finding meaning. The answer is to be more present with our circumstances and to be more aware of how we relate to them experientially with our whole being. We accomplish this through meditation and other contemplative practices. Meditative and reflective practices deepen our intuitive and empathic capabilities. With a deeper appreciation of our circumstances, we also find ourselves more content. And to be content with self and circumstances is to flourish.

"...See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Matthew 6:25-34

Joy is to behold the Divine in everything. ~Julian of Norwich, 14th century Christian Mystic

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Eucharist, Giving Thanks for the Good Gift

Alexander Coosemans
The word, eucharist is derived from the Greek eu-meaning “well” or “good” and charisomai, meaning “to grant or give.” Eucharist literally means, “good gift.” In the Christian tradition, the eucharist celebrates our intimacy with Jesus, as we symbolically assume his person, his character in body and in blood. The potential to be Jesus-like or Christ-like is God’s good gift to the world.

The ceremony of eucharist or thanksgiving long preceded Christianity. The Hebrew verb “barak” is used to express thanksgiving to God for being held in God’s provision and grace. When the ancient Israelite warriors and providers returned from long absences from home, a community dinner, complete with sacrificial lamb, was prepared to celebrate their safe return. Barak was offered as a blessing before the meal. This became the tradition of the Jewish Passover meal; the meal that commemorated freedom from hardship and safe keeping in community. This was the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples the night that he was arrested, at which he offered barak/thanksgiving and radically, assumed the role of the sacrifice – the good gift.

Gratitude is the ascending reflection of descending grace."~ Beverly Novak

Assuming a thankful state of mind and heart creates within us, a space, like a cornucopia or a chalice, to be filled with the goodness of Life, the grace of God. Often, to create ourselves as a receptacle of grace requires the "sacrifice" of our personal time, money, need and/or certainty of thought. Gratitude is a receptive posture, a mindful way of opening to our place in a larger story and feeling blessed just to be alive where we are. One comes into full Presence in gratefulness, with all the best of who she is eclipsing defenses, resentments and fears that can keep her from being her true, loving self.

May you be ever open to the glory of your most expansive being. May the cornucopia of your heart stand ready to be filled with the good graces of the universe, the fruits of the spirit. May worries and old defenses give way to love and forgiveness as you offer barak, “a blessing” for the eucharist, the “good gift,” of this perfect day.

Thanksgiving Blessings!

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hagia Sophia by Thomas Merton

The Expression of the Divine Feminine.

I. Dawn. The Hour of Lauds.

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden whole-ness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom,the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in word-less gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator's Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom.

I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this, 
my Sister, sent to me from the depths of the divine 

Let us suppose I am a man lying asleep in a hospital.
I am indeed this man lying asleep. It is July the second,
the Feast of Our Lady's Visitation. A Feast of Wisdom.

At five-thirty in the morning I am dreaming in a very 
quiet room when a soft voice awakens me from my 
dream. I am like all mankind awakening from all the 
dreams that ever were dreamed in all the nights of the
world. It is like the One Christ awakening in all the 
separate selves that ever were separate and isolated 
and alone in all the lands of the earth. It is like all minds 
coming back together into awareness from all distractions,
cross-purposes and confusions, into unity of love. It is like 
the first morning of the world (when Adam, at the sweet voice 
of Wisdom awoke from nonentity and knew her), and like the Last 
Morning of the world when all the fragments of Adam will return from
death at the voice of Hagia Sophia, and will know where they stand.

Such is the awakening of one man, one morning, at 
the voice of a nurse in the hospital. Awakening out 
of languor and darkness, out of helplessness, out of 
sleep, newly confronting reality and finding it to be 

It is like being awakened by Eve. It is like being 
awakened by the Blessed Virgin. It is like coming 
forth from primordial nothingness and standing in 
clarity, in Paradise.

In the cool hand of the nurse there is the touch of all 
life, the touch of Spirit.

Thus Wisdom cries out to all who will hear (Sapientia
clamitat in plateis
) and she cries out particularly 
to the little, to the ignorant and the helpless.

Who is more little, who is more poor than the helpless 
man who lies asleep in his bed without awareness and 
without defense? Who is more trusting than 
he who must entrust himself each night to sleep?
What is the reward of his trust? Gentleness comes to 
him when he is most helpless and awakens him, 
refreshed, beginning to be made whole. Love takes him
by the hand, and opens to him the doors of another 
life, another day.

(But he who has defended himself, fought for himself 
in sickness, planned for himself, guarded himself, loved 
himself alone and watched over his own life all night, is 
killed at last by exhaustion. For him there is no newness. 
Everything is stale and old.)

When the helpless one awakens strong as the voice of 
mercy, it is as if Life his Sister, as if the Blessed Virgin, 
(his own flesh, his own sister), as if Nature made wise
by God's Art and Incarnation were to stand over him and 
invite him with unutterable sweetness to be awake and to 
live. This is what it means to recognize Hagia Sophia.

II. Early Morning. The Hour of Prime.

O blessed, silent one, who speaks everywhere!

We do not hear the soft voice, the gentle voice, the 
merciful and feminine.

We do not hear mercy, or yielding love, or non-resistance, 
or non-reprisal. In her there are no reasons and no answers. 
Yet she is the candor of God's light, the expression of His 

We do not hear the uncomplaining pardon that bows
down the innocent visages of flowers to the dewy 
earth. We do not see the Child who is prisoner in all 
the people, and who says nothing. She smiles, for 
though they have bound her, she cannot be a prisoner. 
Not that she is strong, or clever, but simply that 
she does not understand imprisonment.

The helpless one, abandoned to sweet sleep, him the 
gentle one will awake: Sophia.

All that is sweet in her tenderness will speak to him
on all sides in everything, without ceasing, and he
will never be the same again. He will have awakened 
not to conquest and dark pleasure but to the impeccable 
pure simplicity of One consciousness in all and through all:
one Wisdom, one Child, one Meaning, one Sister.

The stars rejoice in their setting, and in the rising of 
the Sun. The heavenly lights rejoice in the going
forth of one man to make a new world in the morning, 
because he has come out of the confused primordial dark 
night into consciousness. He has expressed the clear silence 
of Sophia in his own heart. He has become eternal.

III. High Morning. The Hour of Tierce.

The Sun burns in the sky like the Face of God, but 
we do not know his countenance as terrible. His light 
is diffused in the air and the light of God is diffused 
by Hagia Sophia.

We do not see the Blinding One in black emptiness. 
He speaks to us gently in ten thousand things, in
which His light is one fullness and one Wisdom.
Thus He shines not on them but from within them.
Such is the loving-kindness of Wisdom.

All the perfections of created things are also in God;
and therefore He is at once Father and Mother. As 
Father He stands in solitary might surrounded by 
darkness. As Mother His shining is diffused, embracing 
all His creatures with merciful tenderness and light. 
The Diffuse Shining of God is Hagia Sophia. 
We call her His "glory." In Sophia His power is 
experienced only as mercy and as love.

(When the recluses of fourteenth-century England
heard their Church Bells and looked out upon the 
wolds and fens under a kind sky, they spoke in their
hearts to "Jesus our Mother." It was Sophia that had 
awakened in their childlike hearts.)

Perhaps in a certain very primitive aspect Sophia is
the unknown, the dark, the nameless Ousia. Perhaps
she is even the Divine Nature, One in Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. And perhaps she is in infinite light unmanifest, 
not even waiting to be known as Light. This I do not know. 
Out of the silence Light is spoken. We do not hear it or see
it until it is spoken.

In the Nameless Beginning, without Beginning, was 
the Light. We have not seen this Beginning. I do not know 
where she is, in this Beginning. I do not speak of her as a 
Beginning, but as a manifestation.

Now the Wisdom of God, Sophia, comes forth, reaching
from "end to end mightily." She wills to be also 
the unseen pivot of all nature, the center and significance 
of all the light that is in all and for all. That which is poorest
and humblest, that which is most hidden in all things is 
nevertheless most obvious in them, and quite manifest, for it 
is their own self that stands before us, naked and without care.

Sophia, the feminine child, is playing in the world,
obvious and unseen, playing at all times before the Creator. 
Her delights are to be with the children of men. She is their sister.
The core of life that exists in all things is tenderness, mercy, virginity 
the Light, the Life considered as passive, as received, as given, as 
taken, as inexhaustibly renewed by the Gift of God. Sophia is
Gift, is Spirit, Donum Dei. She is God-given and God 
Himself as Gift. God as all, and God reduced to Nothing: 
inexhaustible nothingness. Exinanivit semetipsum. Humility as
the source of unfailing light.

Hagia Sophia in all things is the Divine Light reflected in them,
considered as a spontaneous participation, as their invitation 
to the Wedding Feast.

Sophia is God's sharing of Himself with creatures. His outporing,
and the Love by which He is given, and known, held and loved.

She is in all things like the air receiving the sunlight. In her 
they prosper. In her they glorigy God. In her they rejoice to reflect 
Him. In her they are united with him. She is the union between them. 
She is the Love that unites them. She is life as communion, life as 
thanksgiving, life as praise, life as festival, life as glory.

Because she receives perfectly there is in her no stain.
She is love without blemish, and gratitude without 
self-complacency. All things praise her by being themselves
and by sharing in the Wedding Feast. She is the Bride and the 
Feast and the Wedding.

The feminine principle in the world is the inexhaustible source 
of creative realizations of the Father's glory. She is His 
manifestation in radiant splendor! But she remains unseen,
glimpsed only by a few. Sometimes there are none who 
know her at all.

Sophia is the mercy of God in us. She is the tenderness 
with which the infinitely mysterious power of pardon 
turns the darkness of our sins into the light of grace. 
She is the inexhaustible fountain of kindness, and would 
almost seem to be, in herself, all mercy. So she does in us 
a greater work than that of Creation: the work of new being
in grace, the work of pardon, the work of transformation from
brightness to brightness tamquam a Domini Spiritu. She 
is in us the yielding and tender counterpart of the power, justice
and creative dynamism of the Father.

IV. Sunset. The Hour of Compline. Salve Regina.

Now the Blessed Virgin Mary is the one created being 
who enacts and shows forth in her life all that is hidden in Sophia. 
Because of this she can be said to be a personal manifestation
of Sophia, Who in God is Ousia rather than Person.

Natura in Mary becomes pure Mother. In her, Natura
is as she was from the origin from her divine birth. In Mary Natura
is all wise and is manifested as an all-prudent, all-loving, all-pure person:
not a Creator, and not a Redeemer, but perfect Creature, perfectly 
Redeemed, the fruit of all God's great power, the perfect expression
of wisdom in mercy.

It is she, it is Mary, Sophia, who in sadness and joy, with the full awareness
of what she is doing, sets upon the Second Person, the Logos, a crown
which is His Human Nature. Thus her consent opens the door of created
nature, of time, of history, to the Word of God.

God enters into His creation. Through her wise answer, through her obedient
understanding, through the sweet yielding consent of Sophia, God enters 
without publicity into the city of rapacious men.

She crowns Him not with what is glorious, but with
what is greater than glory: the one thing greater than
glory is weakness, nothingness, poverty.

She sends the infinitely Rich and Powerful One forth
as poor and helpless, in His mission of inexpressible
mercy, to die for us on the Cross.

The shadows fall. The stars appear. The birds begin to sleep.
Night embraces the silent half of the earth. A vagrant, a destitute
wanderer with dusty feet, finds his way down a new road. A 
homeless God, lost in the night, without papers, without 
identifications, without even a number, a frail expendable exile
lies down in desolation under the sweet stars of the world and 
entrusts Himself to sleep.

Amen! and Amen! _/\_Peggy 

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Myers Briggs Types and Religious Preferences

My passion is personality and spirituality. I did a short research project once to determine if there was a correlation between Mystical Spirituality and Myers Briggs intuitor types. There is. All mystics are either NF or NT types, which explains why, when you peruse the psychology of religion literature on key word, "mysticism" you quickly run into "mystical intuition." Intuition brings the inner perspective. Its a sort of built in memory for patterns and large picture explanations. And if you add Feeling to that, the individual's experience of reality is further enhanced by the body's emotional memory.

For a mystic, everything is sacred, God, Allah, Brahman are without and within all that can be perceived and beyond that. All reality is holy creation. Everything that can be objectified by outer sensing and thinking is only a fraction of its true reality. This is because the spiritual or essential or energetic is as real to the mystic as the material/conceptual; maybe even more real, because it precedes everything of concept. Even physicists agree that all matter is energy, all form is formless.

Everything we read in ancient scriptures was thought of and written by a human mind, translated by another human mind and is read by all kinds of human minds, each with their unique styles of perceiving and judging. And this makes all the difference as to how those texts can be interpreted. The final interpreter is you, through the lens of your own perception and decision-making mechanisms; psychological preferences you inherited and cultivated through your cultural and social experiences in this life and in the lives of your ancestors.

Myers Briggs Personality Typing simplifies our  psychological biases down to 16 types, which can be further simplified to 4 essential perceiving-judging styles. The perceiving styles (or functions) are sensing and intuiting, the judging styles are thinking and feeling. Sensing and thinking deal with objectifiable concepts like matter and analysis. Intuiting and feeling deal with memory (insight) and emotion. Sensor-biased folk prefer outward perception and are often detail oriented; they are good at reductionist perceiving. People with an intuitor-bias are inwardly sensitive and see "beyond" details to patterns and large picture ideas. People with thinking - bias make decisions (judge) by concept and analysis. People with feeler bias prioritize decisions based on relationship. Remember that this is broad stroke categorizing and that we ALL use all these functions on occasion. Myers Briggs types simply tell us which we prefer to use.

For this post, I want to share a humorous article I found by Stephen De Grasse on Personality Cafe. Its not meant to be serious, yet it does contain some elements of truth. It's certainly accurate for me! Enjoy!

Religion and Type - An MBTI Perspective

by Stephen DeGrace


In the decades since its inception, Myers Briggs personality typing has revolutionised many areas of our lives due to its ability to comprehensively explain human behaviour and interaction. Today, the Myers Briggs-savvy amongst us are using the MBTI to pick the perfect career for them, and the perfect mate. The applications of Myers Briggs typing are truly far-reaching and transformative.

This has naturally been a smashing success. You might think that with all this progress we have tapped out the MBTI for new applications. You would be wrong. Not only can the MBTI pick the perfect job and the perfect mate for you, scientifically performing vital tasks that used to be a matter of brute trial and error, it can offer critical guidance in other areas of your life as well. One such area which has not been sufficiently explored until now is the matter of choosing the right religion for you. In the past, people used to select their faith based on unscientific criteria such as their parents' religion, or if you're an NF which cult all your hippie friends thought was "groovy" that week. This has obvious drawbacks.

Not all religions are suitable for all people. In fact, just as with careers, particular types are best suited to particular religions. And particular religions are best suited to certain types. The result of the present state of affairs is that millions languish in religions that don't suit them, like square pegs in round holes. Similarly, churches are filled with dozens of people who don't fit in and just make trouble.

As a Myers Briggs type expert I am here to fill in this important void and publish a guide that will revolutionise society and contribute to human happiness by helping people avoid wasting years of their lives in religions that aren't right for them. The final draft is not ready yet, but as a service to society I am publishing a quick summary.

Religions by Type

Artisans (SP)

Artisans all have ADHD, and so should select religions which are dramatic, colourful and fun. Something a bit kooky and extreme would be a bonus. Es should select something that they can throw their energy and flair into without having to engage in any discipline and study. Charismatic Protestantism is an excellent example. I's can select something more involved.

ISTP: Select something hardcore, preferably where you get to smite the enemies of God. Extremist Fundamentalist Islam is currently a popular choice.

ISFP: Select a religion based on whether its art or music appeals to you. High Episcopalianism or Catholocism are good for theatre and classical music. Avoid anything tacky.

ESFP: Pentacostalism.

ESTP: You are hellbound anyway, so don't bother. Just sleep in.

Guardians (SJ)

Guardians want to live dry, regimented lives. Guardians should select regimented, controlling religions with lots of rules that they seek to impose on others. The ideal choice would be a religion that is illogical and inconsistent yet impossible to argue down due to the sheer energy and stubbornness of their proponents. In selecting a religion, Guardians should temper the ideal choice for their type by the fact that for Guardians, Mom and Dad's religion is ideal, provided it is a good Guardian religion.

ISTJ: Methodism, or some other form of Protestant Christianity, as long as it is dry.

ISFJ: Judaism, Conservative or Orthodox

ESFJ: Catholocism

ESTJ: Islam, mainstream

Rationals (NT)

These types are basically Godless and evil. Their choice of "faith" should reflect that.

INTP: INTPs are always right, therefore they should skip right to atheism, with an option on immortality as a simulation in a computer of unimaginable complexity at the end of time as proven by the laws of physics.

INTJ: Objectivism. Ayn Rand is your gal.

ENTP: You are also always right, yet like all EPs lack an attention span. Try agnosticism, and try not thinking about it too much.

ENTJ: Religion has its uses. Money, power and easy access to willing sex partners leap immediately to mind. Try starting your own cult. The exact type of cult should be determined by your background and aesthetic tastes, and by the exploitable pre-existing inclinations of the pathetic sheep-people who surround you.

Idealists (NF)

The correct religions for NFs are flakey "spiritual" ones, such as Wicca or Zen. If you are an NF, you should select the proper religion for you from the list below. If for some reason the correct choice for your type is not practical for you, try and compromise by wearing funky clothes, eschewing deodorant, and keeping lots of magic shit around your appartment, like Tarot cards. Smoking lots of weed is a nice touch as well.

INFP: Wicca, especially Celtic paganism. Also possibly Druidism, but not Asatru.

INFJ: Zen Buddhism.

ENFP: "Ecclectic paganism." No one expects you to have an attention span, so just go with the "smoking weed and buying magic crystals" option.

ENFJ: Hare Krishna

May you find meaningful joy and peace in your day, according to your very own style!

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus and Ecumenicus FB 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Meditation and Renunciation - The Art of Mind-Body Integration - The Mystical Perspective

These are instructions for you, instructions in opening a “spiritual” door….you will notice they are basically the same, even though they come from men who spoke quite different languages, lived centuries apart, and went their own way. The instructions can be summed up simply” practice renunciation and meditation.

Fundamentally renunciation can be understood as relating to a change in attitude. It is a shift from doing to allowing, from grasping the world to allowing the world to enter us. It is the meditative attitude carried into everyday life.

“Therefore if you desire to discover your soul, withdraw your thoughts from outward and material things, forgetting if possible your own body and its five senses…St John calls for the banishment of memory:

‘Of all these forms and manners of knowledge the soul must strip and void itself, and it must strive to lose the imaginary apprehension of them, so that there may be left in it no kind of impression of knowledge, nor trace of aught so-ever, but rather the soul must remain barren and bare, as if these forms had never passed through it and is total oblivion and suspension. And this cannot happen unless the memory be annihilated as to all its form, if it is to be united with God.’ (St John of the Cross)”

~Walter Hilton, The Scale of Perfection

To have renunciation is to be beyond various forms and colors. We have full appreciation of forms and colors but they are bound to disappear and we should not be caught by that. We do not give them up but accept that they go away; that is renunciation.

~Shunryu Suzuki, Wind Bell 1968

~From Arthur Deikman, Personal Freedom and in Symposium on Consciousness

Art: He Qi

To discover the mystical, the inner viewpoint, one must leave outer viewpoints aside. The process of meditation or contemplative prayer, is inherently designed toward subjective experience and away from objective ideation. Objectification, even of the self, is imperative for a mind acting in the world. In Western culture we are taught and affirmed through the use of the objective, outwardly directed mind. But below the radar of thinking and outward sensing, we bring to our worldly experience, insight, memory, feeling, intuition, all inward sensing mechanisms that influence our thoughts and behavior, yet usually go unrecognized and invalidated.

Hydrogen atom through quantum microscope
In physics, the diagram of an atom is an imaginary objectification of particles and space that assists the scientist in working with energy, which cannot be seen. In the consciousness of human minds, form takes shape out of formlessness, matter out of energy. We can work with what we can objectify, i.e. (thought and) matter.  But we forget that these are mental concepts and impart an assumption of longevity and intense value to material reality.  So which is the longer lived? Energy, of course. All matter, all form is fleeting, including thoughts and concepts which create form.

Meditation is the practice of BEING. It is the practice of the simultaneous PRESENCE of objectivity and subjectivity, of form and formlessness, the body and the mind, the storehouse of subjective experience and the administrator of the body in the physical world. To achieve the convergence of, the integration of, a perception of body experience with mental awareness, one must allow that which is formed  - even the concept of time - to yield to formlessness, one must allow active mind to give way to receptive mind. Renunciation is this yielding: of doing for being, of thought for no thought, of outward sensing for inward sensing, of objectivity for subjectivity, of some thing for no thing. This is the creation of a vessel (form) into which the spirit (formless) may be expressed, the womb in which new life is birthed. It is simply the wisdom we carry within us.

Peace and well-being are yours already. You can access them anytime you wish…to be still and know.

_/\_ Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pray Continually, Give Thanks Always, Be Joyful!

Ātmā (Universal Consciousness) is the ruler of the entire universe pervading all the beings. Since Atma's constitution is ‘SAT(Existence)– CHIT(Consciousness)–ĀNANDA’ (Bliss/Joy), the motivating force of all beings is the urge to exist, to know and express and also to derive joy. Due to the veil of ignorance put up by Guṇa(s) of Prakṛti (desire and attachment to material nature), beings do not recognize the Ātmā within (Gīta 7.13). They see themselves as mere physical beings and strive to ensure existence, expression and joy for their physical entity.

The finest point of the knowledge one gains is the realization that one has no existence without the existence of the whole and therefore he has to strive primarily for the existence, expression and joy of the whole. This is what is called Dharma; the meaning of Dharma is ‘that which ensures existence (of the universe collectively)’ or in other words, that which conforms to the principle of SAT–CHIT–ĀNANDA.

The ultimate aim of beings is to merge with this principle, that is, Ātmā, shedding all the physical bondage, because the trinity of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss is the driving force in all beings and we invariably see in them a desire for perpetual existence, unbridled expression and eternal bliss. This is within every one of us all the time; but we don’t recognize it since we are oriented outwardly due to improper knowledge level (Gīta 7.27).

Freud’s ‘Ego’ is a product of the efforts to uphold ‘Dharma’; ‘Id’ indicates total absence of knowledge except the basic urge to exist which acts involuntarily for obtaining what is necessary to satisfy that urge. His ‘Super Ego’ is the eternal principle of ‘Dharma’ which acts in every person as a reflection of Ātmā.

 S. Karthikeyan @ India Divine Excellent full article!

Below is my favorite scripture. I have always felt that it sums up my participation in Life through Christ, who is my enlightened thought and Jesus, whose hands and feet of flesh I wear. I see these tasks more circular than linear, like Life, itself. When we open our consciousness to Divine grace, trusting that "all will be well," when we cultivate our being in this existence as prayer, receptive to many possibilities and attached to none, joy becomes the beautiful byproduct and also the impetus to remain in a prayerful existence of thanksgiving.

Rejoice always (be ananda/joy/wonder/awe), pray continually (make contemplative practice [mindfulness] your sat/existence), give thanks (remain in a receptive, open, nonjudgmental state of chit/consciousness) in all circumstances; for this is God’s (Atma) will for you in Christ Jesus (the possibility within you).

~1 Thess 5:16-18

Follow your bliss with an open heart and no "should bes!"

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Welcome the R.A.I.N.

~Bringing the fruits of contemplative practice (mindfulness meditation/prayer) to our busy day.

Taking these four steps in a moment of annoyance, anxiety or fear will help release the body from autonomic (flight, fright, freeze) systems that generate the negative feelings and a reactive mind. [This is really an abbreviated, in the moment, version of your sitting practice. In Christianity, Welcoming prayer achieves the same outcome.]

R.A.I.N. is an acronym developed by Michelle McDonald, a senior mindfulness teacher, to summarize a powerful way to expand self-awareness and bring the self to presence in the moment.

R = Recognize: Notice that you are experiencing something, such as irritation at the tone of voice used by your partner, child, or co-worker. Step back into observation rather than reaction. Without getting into story, simply name what is present, such as “annoyance,” “thoughts of being mistreated,” “body firing up,” “hurt,” “wanting to cry.”

A = Accept (Allow): Acknowledge that your experience is what it is, even if it’s unpleasant. Be with it without attempting to change it. Try to have self-compassion instead of self-criticism. Don’t add to the difficulty by being hard on yourself.

I = Investigate (Inquire): Try to find an attitude of interest, curiosity, and openness. Not detached intellectual analysis but a gently engaged exploration, often with a sense of tenderness or friendliness toward what it finds. Open to other aspects of the experience, such as softer feelings of hurt under the brittle armor of anger. It’s OK for your inquiry to be guided by a bit of insight into your own history and personality, but try to stay close to the raw experience and out of psychoanalyzing yourself.

N = Not-identify (Not-self): Have a feeling/thought/etc., instead of being it. Disentangle yourself from the various parts of the experience, knowing that they are small, fleeting aspects of the totality you are. See the streaming nature of sights, sounds, thoughts, and other contents of mind, arising and passing away due mainly to causes that have nothing to do with you, that are impersonal. Feel the contraction, stress, and pain that comes from claiming any part of this stream as “I,” or “me,” or “mine” – and sense the spaciousness and peace that comes when experiences simply flow.

~RAIN explanation by Rick Hanson, PhD

If you like a more explicitly spiritual context for your practice, below is the Welcoming Prayer method as described by Contemplative Outreach, the premier organization for the fostering of transformation in Christ through the practice of Centering Prayer.

The Welcoming Prayer Method

Focus, feel and sink into what you are experiencing this moment in your body.

“Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.

Let go by repeating the following sentences: “I let go of the desire for security, affection, control.” “I let go of the desire to change what I am experiencing.

With a prayer, a pause of peace and serenity, for you,
_/\_Peggy @ ECUMENICUS

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Looking Inward: Jung, Perception and What is it?

A recent article on The Mind Unleashed by Gary Bobroff offered 5 ways Carl Jung's psychology 
leads us to our inner life. They are: dreams, personality types, archetypes, synchronicity and the "realness" of the unconscious. The essay develops a short explanation of all five and concludes with this statement about the reality of what lies beyond our conscious awareness:

"...there is more to the psyche than just the conscious mind. With this in mind, engagement with the inner voice is pursued not as a form of inner housekeeping, but rather in the humble service of the development of a relationship with an intelligence present within us but greater than our own. Committing to that service means relating more deeply to our inner nature; its only end-goal is the whole-bodied, whole-hearted, full blossoming of who we really are."

I have done quite a bit of research on the mystical or wisdom tradition and its correlation with personality type. My conclusions, completely supported in psychology of religion literature, is that wisdom and mysticism involve  the integrated awareness of both the outer, sensing thinking and the inner, intuiting feeling mind; the latter being an absolute necessity for a balanced appreciation of subjective reality. Mystics are always intuitive perceivers (NF or NT on a Myers-Briggs).

Mr Bobroff goes on to describe Jung's idea of synchronous awareness, prompting my thoughts of the vast realm of subjective reality and our, often limiting and delusional, attempts to objectify what simply cannot be fully defined. That which is beyond objectification and for which words and ideologies must allow accessibility to more expansive interpretation than dogmatic precision seeks to impose.

"Jung’s psychology is only really understood when it is a lived experience, and nothing exemplifies this more than the mystery of synchronicity. Jung coined the term synchronicity to refer to extraordinary moments when outer happenings reflect inner states. What we see in such a coincidence of events is a MEANINGFUL INTERPLAY alive in our reality."

In all cases of spiritual/psychological/social development, we must understand that our identity (and this is way oversimplified I'm sure) exists in relationship with our self, our higher power (that which is beyond the self), and others (people and planet) outside of our self. These relationships can be objectified, as if they are separate from our self, but they are not. What we think, see, hear, smell, touch, taste does not the whole experience compose. There are other perceptions and interactions at work in relational reality beyond what can be objectified. These are interactive energies of memory, emotion, presence, and others I don't even know how to name. These are ancient mechanisms for survival and attunement that are complex, to say the least.

Christof Koch, a researcher of consciousness, proposes that "Any system that possesses some nonzero amount of integrated information experiences something. Let me repeat: any system that has even one bit of integrated information has a very minute conscious experience."

Can you imagine how many integrated systems are operating for you to be reading and understanding this right now?

Spirit is by definition, unseen. We are so stuck on the idea that what is true must be see-able, or thinkable, when in reality all we see or think defines no more than a point in space. One point, no matter how big or small, in an unknown - unknowable eternity of "what is it?" It "is" a point we conjure, alone or together; an object or concept nidus to be agreed upon or argued over. Everything our sensing "sees" is relative, in many ways, not the least of which is how aware we are of our inner world.

"We see only so much of the world as we have apperceptive (introspective) organs for seeing. We see things not as they are but as we are–that is, we see the world not as it is, but as molded by the individual peculiarities of our minds."
The Psychology of Prejudice, Current Literature GTW Patrick, 1890

There is always more. Everything I can discretely perceive with my mind or outward sensing is but a moment manifestation of something beyond the manifestation of "what is it?" Something life giving, as manna to the Israelites. Something life-informing, like the room around me. But not something that lasts forever. "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

Experience is beyond the objective. It rises and falls into awareness on a sea of subjectivity that is eternal and undefinable. Consciousness is perhaps the best word we have for it right now. Ultimate reality? Absolute Truth? These are all words that are never limited by definition. Like God. Like grace. Like possibility. These are symbols, like every single word we use, they both inform and confound, because subjective experience is built into them...and also beyond them.

Perhaps we should remember to ask, "What is it?" more often. The word manna, literally means, "What is it?" In story it seems to be the substance from which the desert wanderers made bread. It is that which kept them alive, but spoiled in a day and had to be refreshed with the new days supply of "what is it?" Manna, we are told, was the white stuff that appeared like dew on the ground each morning and was gone by noon. The "what is it?" sustained an entire people for 40 years. I think it was more than bread makings. Much more.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

Postscript: One of the hallmarks of intuitive inquiry is asking one's self, "What does this mean?" Intuition always looks beyond physicality or superficial circumstance for meaning and value. Both are subjective, remembered, experiential additions to objectified reality.

Taking pause, being quiet, allowing space between the event and the interpretation will assist in bringing intuitive wisdom to the experience. Be still.

Sending all of you joy and peace!

Mind Unleashed article at this link: Five Ways Carl Jung Led Us To The Inner Life

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday


Beloved, you have kissed
My eyes awake
I am consumed
In a blaze of your being
My embers fly
At a cost I did not,

Take me.
I yield willingly, joyfully, urgently
Fuse my essence into yours
Make us something not of this world.
Such a radiance you draw from me
desire as I have never known.
A passion visceral and potent.
Constant as the sun
Fervent to be light.

Stop! I am assaulted by senses of
such woeful orthodoxy
Beat me bloody numb with pain.
Forces of longing and judgment
Ebb and flow as
Fists of turbulence
Sculpt a deep, deep well within
The battleground of mind and flesh
In murky waters of my soul
Devastation like nuclear holocaust
Strips my peace
And feigns to turn my heart against me
All in the name of love.

Who would set a blaze so mighty
That ravages the soul in eternal battle?
Love’s enduring light is wrapped in violent opposition
Powers that resist a blessed consummation
Lest it loose a light so
Great that love is all
All is love.

Neediness be gone!
My heart cannot sustain the fight.
Open my wounds and lay them bare before the fray.
Flush them with sunlight in streams flowing with surrender
Post my longing to a pole
Stretch it wide, wide with time
and pierce me through and through
with swords of eternal light that
Rend my flesh to ash and earth
Restore my truth
My rest
My life.

I cannot live without love.
Death is more than dying flesh
Conforming suffocates life slowly.

© Peggy Beatty, September 11, 2010
                                             ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Psalm 22. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

Alain Villeneuve

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday

As I think on the symbolic events of this week: the parade, the betrayal, the arrest and trial, the killing and the living again, all around me earth is coming to new life. Out my window, the trees are fecund with lime green buds and fragile flowers, dripping their sweet honey, enchantment to bees and butterflies. Daffodils and crocus have risen from brown earth in glorious colors of  



                                   They wave and dance in the cool March breezes. 

A late snow has come in the darkness of the night. Smooth and sensuous, he kissed each blade of grass and tender bud with sly allure, crooning a lullaby to sing sweet Spring back into her dream sleep. But she will have none of it! Twirling with gusto, she laughs and opens her ruby red lips to drink in the tune, liquid music warmed by dawn’s light.

Arrest? Trial? There will be none for this Lady. She dances on, her parade never ends. She moves through darkness and light with love and assurance. Like a phoenix rises from ashes, she is never laid to rest for any longer than the cycle of Holy Life permits. She does not question, when accused. She has no need to defend herself against that which will ultimately amount to a short term setback. She surrenders and rises again. She can do nothing else. It is who she is.

Life wins! Love wins! The sacred relationships of Life are perpetually on parade. They march forward in one grand chorus of interdependent harmony. And I am just a note, or perhaps a rest, on the score of such miraculous music.

As sleep restores our bodies, so does Life go to her Winter’s rest. This is part of the song. The darkness is an inherent characteristic of the light, and the light, is ever and always, the essence of darkness expressed. Spaces and notes.

Let this be my covenant: to honor the dance of the darkness and light. As in nature, so within the temple of my heart and mind. May I reverence who I am in this sacred Love relationship in ways that steady my soul to extend generosity and compassion to all else. May I surrender my leaves in Autumn and stand stoic and strong through the Winters of Life, as the trees brace themselves against the promise of a blazing winter’s sunset. And may I come to Life over and over again, singing Hallelujah!



                as beautiful Spring insists on flowering her way to the lazy days of Summer.

Let this be my resurrection song!!

Sending you love and always, peace in the darkness and joy in the light!

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Merton's Sophia Wisdom and Natural Contemplation

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874
I am researching the idea of Sophia Wisdom in the writings of Thomas Merton. In his later years,
Merton became quite occupied with Wisdom as an aspect of Christ. Drawing on scripture, such as the Song of Songs, and his extensive study of the Holy Spirit in Eastern Orthodox mysticism, Merton came to find a deep, inherent aspect of humanity that is "eros," a notion far beyond the superficial idea of genital erotic love, and applicable to loving relationship, spiritually expressed in unity with humanity and nature. This is Sophia Wisdom, to know this passion for Divine unity with all of life as "Christ-graced" transformation.

Merton says, "If we believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, there is no one on earth in whom we are not prepared to see, in mystery, the presence of Christ." (New Seeds of Contemplation) This expression is enlightened mind, the very essence of the concept of "the mind of Christ." (Paul - 1 Cor 2:16)

In his exquisite book called "Sophia, The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton," Christopher Pramuk shares many great quotes by Merton from various sources, but one in particular is a collection of notes from a class Merton taught on Mysticism, Introduction to Christian Mysticism, at Gethsemane in the 1960s. Here, Merton has compiled a wonderful collection of writings from the church fathers, Roman and Orthodox mystics through the ages on mystical theology, the cosmos, the oikonomia (cosmic household - BTW, the origin of the name of this Blog, Ecumenicus), the Wisdom inherent in humans - "multiformis sapientia" - that which apprehends the wisdom and glory of God:

1. in the spirit of Scripture and not in the letter;
2. in the logoi of created things, not in their materiality;
3. in our own inmost spirit and true self, rather than in our ego;
4. in the inner meaning of history and not in its external (history of salvation, victory of Christ);
5. in the inner sense of the divine judgments and mercies (not in superstitious and pseudo-apocalyptic interpretation of events). (New Seeds of Contemplation, 122 via Sophia by Christopher Pramuk, 142)

I'd like to share with you a slice from Introduction to Christian Mysticism that speaks to the idea of natural contemplation (theoria physike), a practice first mentioned by Evagrius Ponticus (345-399 AD), Christian monk and ascetic, meaning understanding natural order of being from both spiritual and material aspects. Merton holds the ability to unite these paradoxical aspects of the human perception of reality as the essence of Sophia Wisdom. It is in this light that humans realize both their spiritual identity in Divine Being with God and their enfleshed, material identity, each one integrally a part of Divine reality.

"Hence theoria physike (natural contemplation) is a most important part of man’s cooperation in the spiritualization and restoration of the cosmos. It is by theoria that man helps Christ to redeem the logoi of things and restore them in Himself.

This theoria is inseparable from love and from a truly spiritual conduct of life. Man not only must see the inner meaning of things but he must regulate his entire life and his use of time and of created beings according to the mysterious norms hidden in things by the Creator, or rather uttered by the Creator Himself in the bosom of His creation.

The vision of theoria physike is essentially sophianic (Sophia wisdom). Man by theoria is able to unite the hidden wisdom of God in things with the hidden light of wisdom in himself. The meeting and marriage of these two brings about a resplendent clarity within man himself, and this clarity is the presence of Divine Wisdom fully recognized and active in him. Thus man becomes a mirror of the divine glory, and is resplendent with divine truth not only in his mind but in his life. He is filled with the light of wisdom which shines forth in him, and thus God is glorified in him.

At the same time he exercises a spiritualizing influence in the world by the work of his hands which is in accord with the creative wisdom of God in things and in history. Hence we can see the great importance of a sophianic, contemplative orientation of man’s life." (Thomas Merton, An Introduction to Christian Mysticism)

This is a mystical way of perceiving, to hold the duality of spirit (what is unseen) and flesh (what is seen) together in the coincidence of opposites, Heraclitus (535–475 BC), the Coincidentia oppositorum (Nicholas of CusaDe Docta Ignorantia,1440). In Hinduism this is advaita vedanta, nondualism. In a psychological sense, this is to use both the sensing - thinking mind and the intuiting - experiencing "body" together to fully assess ones reality. This is more than knowledge. This is Wisdom. And it is (attained through) "contemplative orientation."

Mertons book, Introduction to Christian Mysticism is available free at this link.

May you find within you, that silent place where Sophia whispers love and unity, a song of songs from the Beloved to the Beloved. Peace. _/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

I am blessed to be hosting a retreat with Madonna Sophia Compton on The Divine Feminine: Sophia Wisdom, Origins and Expressions on March 19th. More info here: Lavender House Events