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Non-Christian Meditation | Physically Spiritual S2 E15

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

The United States has arguably never been less Christian, but spirituality is everywhere. The Second Vatican Council states that “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions.” But, does this mean that we should try every practice we hear about on podcasts and talk shows? This episode of Physically Spiritual explores non-Christian forms of meditation.

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Headings

4:30 The Christian Worldview

9:30 Incompatible Ideas

24:00 Church Documents

37:00 Yoga

44:00 Mindfulness

51:00 Transcendental Meditation

55:30 Principles for Judgement


Notes


Mitochondrial Biophotons - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21425483/ - https://cellandbioscience.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13578-019-0289-8 - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1011134413002881 -


Unites States Bishops - Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy - https://www.usccb.org/resources/evaluation-guidelines-finaltext-2009-03_0.pdf


Vatican II - Nostra Aetate (DECLARATION ON

THE RELATION OF THE CHURCH TO NON-CHRISTIAN RELIGIONS) - http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION - http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html


Article on Spanish Bishop’s Document - https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/42338/spanish-bishops-say-that-zen-meditation-and-mindfulness-movement-are-not-christian-prayer


“The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.” Nostra Aetate, 2. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html


“The ever more frequent contact with other religions and with their different styles and methods of prayer has, in recent decades, led many of the faithful to ask themselves what value non-Christian forms of meditation might have for Christians. Above all, the question concerns eastern methods. Some people today turn to these methods for therapeutic reasons. The spiritual restlessness arising from a life subjected to the driving pace of a technologically advanced society also brings a certain number of Christians to seek in these methods of prayer a path to interior peace and psychic balance. This psychological aspect is not dealt with in the present letter, which instead emphasises the theological and spiritual implications of the question. Other Christians, caught up in the movement towards openness and exchanges between various religions and cultures, are of the opinion that their prayer has much to gain from these methods. Observing that in recent times many traditional methods of meditation, especially Christian ones, have fallen into disuse, they wonder whether it might not now be possible, by a new training in prayer, to enrich our heritage by incorporating what has until now been foreign to it.” LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION, 2. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html


“With the present diffusion of eastern methods of meditation in the Christian world and in ecclesial communities, we find ourselves faced with a pointed renewal of an attempt, which is not free from dangers and errors, to fuse Christian meditation with that which is non-Christian. Proposals in this direction are numerous and radical to a greater or lesser extent. Some use eastern methods solely as a psycho-physical preparation for a truly Christian contemplation; others go further and, using different techniques, try to generate spiritual experiences similar to those described in the writings of certain Catholic mystics. Still others do not hesitate to place that absolute without image or concepts, which is proper to Buddhist theory, on the same level as the majesty of God revealed in Christ, which towers above finite reality. To this end, they make use of a "negative theology," which transcends every affirmation seeking to express what God is and denies that the things of this world can offer traces of the infinity of God. Thus they propose abandoning not only meditation on the salvific works accomplished in history by the God of the Old and New Covenant, but also the very idea of the One and Triune God, who is Love, in favor of an immersion "in the indeterminate abyss of the divinity." These and similar proposals to harmonize Christian meditation with eastern techniques need to have their contents and methods ever subjected to a thorough-going examination so as to avoid the danger of falling into syncretism.” Ibid. 12. - http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html


“Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations.

That does not mean that genuine practices of meditation which come from the Christian East and from the great non-Christian religions, which prove attractive to the man of today who is divided and disoriented, cannot constitute a suitable means of helping the person who prays to come before God with an interior peace, even in the midst of external pressures.” Ibid. 28. - http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html



Yoga


Yoga - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga


Pietra Fitness - PF is Not Yoga - https://pietrafitness.com/pf-is-not-yoga

SoulCore - https://soulcore.com/what-is-soulcore/


An example of an attempt to integrate Yoga and the Catholic Faith - https://thejesuitpost.org/2016/10/ignatian-yoga/


Catholic Yoga Alternatives - https://aleteia.org/2018/07/07/5-alternatives-to-yoga-that-catholics-can-try/



Mindfulness


Mindfulness - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness


At 46:45 I stated the Dr. Botaro “adopted the MBSR program”. I think this is an oversimplification of his approach taking into account techniques he teaches like the “Sacramental Pause”.


The Mindful Catholic - https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Catholic-Finding-Moment-Time/dp/1635820170


Catholic Guide to Mindfulness - https://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Guide-Mindfulness-Susan-Brinkmann/dp/1976532795/


Dr. Greg Bottoro, Mindfulness and the Catholic Mystical Tradition (Pro) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1341zAc1Xw


Dan Burke, Mindfulness and the Catholic Mystical Tradition (Con) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS-lqFRq6Sg



Transcendental Meditation


Transcendental Meditation - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendental_Meditation


“Therefore, one has to interpret correctly the teaching of those masters who recommend "emptying" the spirit of all sensible representations and of every concept, while remaining lovingly attentive to God. In this way, the person praying creates an empty space which can then be filled by the richness of God. However, the emptiness which God requires is that of the renunciation of personal selfishness, not necessarily that of the renunciation of those created things which he has given us and among which he has placed us.” LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION, 19 - http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19891015_meditazione-cristiana_en.html


The Method of Centering Prayer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FWvxwfN_CE


Is ‘Centering Prayer’ Catholic? - https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/is-centering-prayer-catholic


Is Centering Prayer Catholic? - https://www.amazon.com/Centering-Prayer-Catholic-Thomas-Keating/dp/0692518487


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Please leave a review, like, follow, and subscribe to help others find the Podcast!

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