Meditation for Thursday 7th October 2021
Many years ago I was told by the Jesuit mystical writer, William Johnson that he had always admired the Eastern way of meditation and thus spirituality. Bill died in 2010. Meditating for hours each day, often with the Zen Buddhist monks that lived close to his Jesuit Community at the Sophia University in Tokyo, he was convinced that the Western pedagogy for advancing spirituality did not work very well in our contemporary world. After 50 years of living in Japan he became convinced of the value of ‘not-knowing’ that emerged naturally from people who regularly practiced meditation.
The way of ‘not-knowing’ or ‘unknowing’ is a way of listening and looking without conclusions in mind. Zen author Toni Parker expresses this well…
“I have found that the meditative inquiry that arises out of the depths of not knowing has an amazing way of emptying the mind of ideas, thus revealing its ways of coming upon truth.”
(‘The Silent Question’ – T.Parker, Shambala, 2007. P11.)
In living the meditative life we are fortunate of living in the peace of ‘not-knowing.’ Such a state rather than being unsettling, allows us to discover our own truth and the freshness of discovery leaves our minds open to the wonder of freshness which otherwise would grow stagnant under the weight of knowing. This is not anti-intellectual but rather in western parlance being open-minded and being at peace with that awareness.
In Western culture the great, anonymous 14th century mystical work, ‘Cloud of Unknowing’ calls upon the reader to put all thoughts except love under a ‘cloud of forgetting.’
Not-knowing is a path of joyful curiosity and wonder that is nurtured by the practice of meditation and mindfulness. When we are faithful to our meditation practice we will begin to live more in the present moment; it’s only then that we will appreciate a ‘timeless- seeing’ that opens up for us the meaning of life and leads to happiness.
Now let’s meditate in the manner in which we are most familiar always keeping in mind that we meditate for the benefit of others as well as for our self.
For zoom programs offered by the Carmelite Centre go to www.thecarmelitecentremelbourne.org