A reader writes:
Another example of someone in the church teaching meditation practices is Fr. Pat Hawk at the Redemptorist Renewal Center outside Tucson, who teaches Zen meditation practices. Zazen, the principal practice, is best described as "just sitting" in order to empty/quiet the mind and focus on only what's "now". The Center actually has a Zendo (sitting room) for Zen retreats and weekly "sittings". As Brad Warner entertainingly lays out in "Hardcore Zen", Zen practice is not reliant on religious belief of any kind, so there is no conflict with the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church / Redemptorist Order. I suspect in this regard and in actual practice Zazen and TM bear great similarities.
I came into Christian Meditation many years ago while trying to reconcile my evangelical upbringings and beliefs with what I saw happening to the evangelical church. Keating, Pennington, and of course, Merton, were/are spiritual guides in a transformation of belief that positively would not have been found in the evangelical tradition. It was what I was looking for, a transcendent moment with the eternal that all of the Bible study and theology reading and headiness cannot bring. I dare say, it saved my faith.
The video from the priest echoed much of what I have found; I am a better person, and I like myself more, when I am practicing centering prayer. I feel more of the essence of what Christ is in this world, when I see it through scripture and prayer. At least the Catholic church has people who have begun a new tradition of contemplation, we evangelicals have nothing like this, and it speaks to the core of a group of Christians who are that in name only.
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