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Posts Tagged ‘Christian Meditation’

Who Says the Words?

“Who says words with my mouth?” This is probably the most profound question for introflective thought I’ve ever heard. It was posed to me through an ancient poem written by a 13th Century Persian poet, the Sufi philosopher Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, more commonly referred to as just Rumi today.

I heard this question, and I thought to myself, ‘Ok! I’ll play your silly game. Who does say words with my mouth?’ I shut my eyes, and went looking. I quickly found the mechanism for saying the words, but not the director. My modest and humble knowledge of brain housing group function and physiology assisted me in finding where the words were stored, but I didn’t find who strung the words together. I looked deeper.

I found myself standing on the stage of my mind. ‘You big dummy!’ I said to myself standing on the stage of my mind, ‘You are the one who says words with your mouth.’ However, if I am standing on the stage of my own mind talking to myself, then to whom is the me standing on the stage of my talking? This started a descending spiral of antilogic which I quickly abandoned.

Who does say words with my mouth? Who does see things with my eyes? Who does taste things with my tongue, and who feels things with my fingers? The mechanism The – I – That – Is – Me occupies perceives them, interprets them, and stores them in memory. These are all superficial functions. Where is the observer? I never did find The – I – That – Is – Me.

My own speculation is that the Observer is Consciousness. I also speculate that Consciousness is one of the Basic Constructs of the Cosmos, the others being Time, Space, Matter, and Energy. We all know that Humans, like everything else we discern, are made up of Matter, propelled by Energy, occupying Space, in Time. Consciousness is a little harder on which to grasp as it is that which actually does the discerning.

Carl Sagan proposed that Mankind is a mechanism for the Cosmos to gaze back on its self. I, myself, adhere to that proposal … and I’m really glad my own, particular belief system lacks the dogmatic restrictions which would prevent me from exploring the minds of ancient Sufi poets, and modern Atheist scientists.

I’ve provided a nice, jazzy, multi – media, Modern English interpretation of the poem Who Says Words with My Mouth? by Rumi for your enjoyment, below. And, just remember, you are spectacular.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y8YSw7fUWw]

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Finding the Inner Voice

I was talking to an associate once about meditation.  I was explaining to him about controlling the inner voice.

“You mean voices.” he said, ”I have a lot of voices talking in my head sometimes.’”

So, what we came up with during that sitting was how to find ones control voice among ones inner voices.  Getting a handle on your control voice will help you get a handle on controlling your thoughts, and, thereby, have better control over your life.

Here’s how you find your control voice:

1. Look at the palm of your hand.

2. Wiggle your fingers.

3. Say to yourself, with words inside your head, ‘This is the palm of my hand, and I have just wiggled my fingers.’

4. Mentally note where this voice is, and how to refer back to it.

Here’s another way to look at this feature of the mind.  It is focus, a trait and ability of the Human mind.  Aside from short confirmations, such as, ‘I’m going to enjoy this.’, focus does not need to talk in order to function efficiently.  In fact, it is probably better if it keeps its mouth shut most of the time.  All you want is the place from where the voice comes.

Learn to control it.  Get quiet, and relaxed.  Have that voice count your breaths.  Don’t allow any of the other stray voices, nor stray thoughts passing through your mind to interfere.  Practice this till you can do it for several minutes.

Following this phase, get quiet, and relaxed, then set your focus in a lawn chair out in the yard of your mind.  Let stray thoughts, and voices wrestle, and tumble, and fool around further out in the yard of your mind.  Observe them, but don’t acknowledge them, nor interact with them in any way.  Most of those stray thoughts, and voices will just leave.  This is a more Buddhist form of meditation.

Another thing to do is to allow your focus to rest entirely.  Set up a guard in your mind that intercepts those stray thoughts, and voices.  This guard informs those stray thoughts, and voices that you are busy at the moment, and asks them to come back later.  I actually use the vision of a theater usher in an ushers monkey suit and a flashlight that approaches stray thoughts, and voices, saying, ‘Shhh!  If you don’t be quiet, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.’  This is a more Christian form of meditation.

When you are skilled at controlling your focus, you can practice ‘contemplation.’  Contemplation, like meditation, is a form of mindfulness.  To practice contemplation, one picks a subject, or a phrase, or a system, or an object, and explores it with their mind, excluding  thoughts on anything else.  This practice is often referred to as Platonic Exploration, due to certain philosophical views Plato professed.  A contemplative session is also referred to as an ‘Edisons Nap,’ as Thomas Edison was adept at overcome engineering problems using this technique.

Till next time, remember, you have one of the rarest, and one of the most phenomenal material matrices located up there in your brain housing group.  Learn to get the best out of it.  You are spectacular.

A Modern English Interpretation of The Lords Prayer

I grew up with The Lords Prayer.  I should say I grew up with The Lords Prayer at arm’s length.  I was born, and raised in a Jehovah’s Witness household, though now I follow a religious philosophy that can only be described as freestyle Eastern Orthodox Christianity … I’m very fond of Sufi poetry and Carl Sagan.  In the household of my childhood, it was kosher to read The Lords Prayer in passing, as part of the Bible in its entirety.  However, to pray The Lords Prayer, or to contemplate the depth of its message, was expressly forbidden … idolatry, and all that.

What happens when you tell a boy not to do something?  What happens when you harp into the ground at some kid that chewing tobacco and smoking a pipe is evil and bad?  He’s going to hide his tobacco pouch in his gym shoes, and stash his pipe outside in some old tree stump, sick and woozy as both practices make him.  So it is with The Lords Prayer.

I had difficulty grasping the meaning, and the message behind The Lords Prayer.  You know, my father went around the country selling pumping jacks to oil companies.  My ancestors fought horrific wars to get rid of kingdoms and lords, and such other nuisances.  As far as evil goes, there’s that chewing tobacco and pipe smoking dynamic creeping right back up to the surface once again.  Furthermore, if you loan someone $10 because they forgot their lunch, you’d be buying their lunch every day if you didn’t expect them to pay you back … you‘d go broke.

I had difficulty grasping the meaning, and the message behind The Lords Prayer.  I had difficulty grasping the meaning, and the message behind The Lords Prayer, till I examined The Lords Prayer critically, in its historical context.  The concepts, the message behind The Lords Prayer were not originally expressed in English by a 20th Century Hillbilly, with a lexicon of around half a million words from which to draw.  The concepts and message behind The Lords Prayer were originally expressed by a 1st Century Judean Heir Apparent being financed by remnants of the Persian Empire, and more than likely several other political entities, including Ethiopia.

This 1st Century Judean Prince expressed himself in Aramaic, a member of the Semitic Language Family.  The language as it was spoken was almost entirely influenced by Ancient Hebrew, which had been a static language for about 200 to 300 years before The Lords Prayer was first uttered.  Mutations of pronunciation, variances in emphasis, and slight differences in the funny way Hebrew and Aramaic shove words together … called ‘constructs’ … classify Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic as two different languages.  Ancient Hebrew had a lexicon of about 10,000 words, Aramaic may have had a few thousand more, if it was lucky.

Jesus, Jesus Ben-David, the 1st Century Prince to whom I’ve been referring, was attempting to express concepts and ideas of which the language he was using simply could not facilitate.  He wasn’t speaking English, He wasn’t speaking Greek, and He wasn’t speaking Latin … He was speaking Aramaic, a language of goat herding philosophers who didn’t normally have to say a lot of things to a lot of people.  Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, resorted to the use of  parables, and idioms in His teachings.

The Lords Prayer is idiomatic in its entirety.   Unfortunately, the ancient translators of The Lords Prayer simply exchanged Aramaic words for English words, then rearranged the words so they’d sound pretty in a sentence.  The idiomatic context of the verbiage was ignored entirely.  Luckily, we have a modern language which is directly descended from ancient Aramaic, which we find in modern Syriac.  Serendipitously, Syriac has retained the tradition of idiomatic expression from its roots in antiquity, to the extent that many of the idiomatic expressions used in the language today are very ancient.

So, following is the end result of a life time of exploration, and contemplation.  I would like to point out here that I am fluent in Hebrew, but speak about three words of Aramaic.  I’ve had to rely on others interpretations of the idioms being scrutinized, as well as my own common sense and humble knowledge of the subject in general.

A Modern English Interpretation of The Lords Prayer

Our Father Who Art in Heaven,
Cosmic Entity, Providential, our Originator and to  our Kindred,

Hallowed be Thy Name,
Whose Very Name fails to describe Your Completeness,

(NOTE: In Ancient Israel, to know the name of something was to have control over it. This concept has a basis in reality. Try this experiment. The next time you see your buddy Bob walking down the street, holler at him.  Say, ‘Hey, Bob!’ Your buddy Bob will stop his progress, turn to you, and say something like, ‘Yes, Jerry! What can I do for you?’ Now, if your buddy Bob was busy doing something important, and you interrupted him for trivial, superfluous reasons, old Bob would probably not be very happy with you. In Jewish Tradition, one does not directly utter the name of God, as ones plight might not be nearly as critical as one thinks it is.)

Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven,
When we come to live according to our true nature and purpose we will be in harmony with You,

Give us this day our daily bread,
Let us focus on the present,

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,
Let us not focus on past events,

And lead us not into temptation,
Nor let us focus on expectations of the future,

But deliver us from evil,
But let us harmonize with our true natures,

For Thine is the Power, and the Glory of the Kingdom of Heaven, both Now, and Forever, and unto the Ages of Ages,
For You are all of Everything in all of Time and in all of Space.

Amen!
There it is!


A young woman named Mary praying The Lords Prayer in Aramaic at St. Serge and Bacchus Church in Maaloula, Syria.