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Dialogue with the self

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Presentation from the Duluth Benedictine Oblate Meeting on Sunday, March 13, 2016. Focus on various ways of thinking about the self. The group's discussion explored how different ways of seeing the self affected one's worldview, and vice versa.

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Dialogue with the self

  1. 1. Dialogue with the Self Duluth Benedictine Oblates March 13, 2016 Sister Edith Bogue 1
  2. 2. Schedule • Midday Prayer – Common Prayer • Announcements • Conference • Discussion • Refreshments – Common Table 2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism#/media/File:Abendmahl-1547-LC.jpg
  3. 3. Announcements • Palm Sunday March 20 at 11am • Easter Triduum Liturgies – Holy Thursday March 24 at 4:30pm – Good Friday March 25 at 3:00pm – Easter Vigil March 26 at 8:00pm – Easter Sunday March 27 at 11am • Rape Culture, Spiritual Violence & Visions of Healing – Lecture with Gina Messina-Dysert Thursday, March 31 at 7:30pm – Mitchell. (Theologies of Women lecture) • RETREAT!! with Susan Stabile – April 9, probably 9am to 3pm3
  4. 4. DIALOGUE 4
  5. 5. Dialogue • Dialogue challenges us with multiple viewpoints. • Dialogue increases and alters our understanding. • We need dialogue to think well. • What means do we have for intentional dialogue with our selves? 5 Greynun.org,"ContemplativeDialogue"
  6. 6. WHAT IS SELF? 6
  7. 7. Our Constant Dialogue • Silently or aloud, we talk to ourselves – Instructions – Encouragement – Chiding and worse – Memory – Questions • Who is it that we are talking to? • Who is "real" in that dialogue? • These big questions asked in many ways. 7
  8. 8. A Word on Words • Dozens of ways of thinking about self • Theology – the logos (understanding, meaning) about God including revelation – Christology: the logos about Christ – Christian anthropology: the logos about anthropos, "man" or what it is to be human 8 http://www.bu.edu/sth/files/2013/09/spirituality.jpg
  9. 9. A Word on Words • Philosophy – love (philos) of wisdom (sophia) by way of the intellect – What does it mean to be human? – What can we know about transcendence – (Modern) Knowing empirically alone • Psychology • Sociology • Biology • Anthropology • Humanities • History • Medicine • … 9 https://philosophyreligion.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/discussi on-2-wordle.png
  10. 10. Buddhist "No Self" view "Wisdom meditations direct the meditator to experience his or her conditioned existence directly so as to penetrate the insights of selflessness (anattā), impermanence (anicca), and universal suffering or dissatisfaction (dukkha). Watching, without identification, the arising and dissipation of physical, emotional, and mental formations, the meditator sees with direct experience that there is no self and nothing to cling to. Ultimately the goal of insight practice is to attain nirvana, or absolute awakening." Buddhist Meditation, Christian Contemplation, and Their Various Uses by Peter Feldmeier 10 BuddhistMeditation,ChristianContemplation,andTheirVariousUseshttp://www.rk- world.org/dharmaworld/dw_2015octdec_buddhist-meditation-christian-contemplation-and-their-various-uses.aspx
  11. 11. Sufi Mystic • “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” - Rumi • “The happiness of the drop is to die in the river.” - Al-Ghazali 11 https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/3e/16/a8/3e16a8a62f87d8ccfc749391ff03052f.jpg
  12. 12. Psychology • Temperaments – Recognized from ancient times – Thought to have physical basis (sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric – all body fluids) – Modern: also recognized & biological • To what degree is personality fixed? • Illness model vs health / growth model – Avoid depression vs become happy 12
  13. 13. Christian / Catholic Anthropologies • Human beings made in God's image – Do we still retain any original goodness? – Or are we totally fallen? – Are some people predestined for salvation and others not? How would we know? 13 http://biologos.org/files/modules/creation_of_adam-3.jpg
  14. 14. Christian View of Self • God as relationship – Trinity – Creation: God's desire for relationship – Personal God – relationship to each of us, loving us one by one. 14 http://biologos.org/files/modules/creation_of_adam-3.jpg
  15. 15. BECOMING 15
  16. 16. Divided Self / Fixed Self • Psalm 1: – "The one who delights in the law of the Lord" – "Not so the wicked, not so!" • "For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin.* 15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:14-15) • Carol Dweck: When we believe in a fixed self, it is true. When we believe in growth, it occurs. 16 https://farminc.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/psalm1.jpg
  17. 17. Christian Science: All spiritual • Reality is purely spiritual and the material world an illusion. – Wilson 1961, p. 127; Nicholas Rescher, "Idealism," in Jaegwon Kim, Ernest Sosa , A Companion to Metaphysics, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009 [1996] • Disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder; the sick should be treated not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health. – Wilson 1961, p. 125; Margaret P. Battin, "High-Risk Religion: Christian Science and the Violation of Informed Consent," in Peggy DesAutels, Margaret P. Battin and Larry May (eds.), Praying for a Cure: When Medical and Religious Practices Conflict, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999 17
  18. 18. Heaven • "See God face to face" • See ourselves as we really are. • Understand fully, not "in a glass, darkly" • Our self in eternity is a self in relationship – Heavenly banquet – Choirs of angels 18
  19. 19. St. Benedict • Names human frailty often – "Sleepy" should be helped – Bear with one another's weakness of body or behavior – Long penitential code, but all designed to help the wayward person amend. • "Never despair of God's mercy" 19
  20. 20. HOW TO DIALOGUE? 20
  21. 21. Forms of Prayer • Lectio divina as listening for God's word in my life. • Imaginative prayer – Ignatian tradition • Spiritual direction – Modern form of the ancient desert Abbas and Ammas who spoke "a word" that suited the needs of a person – Not a "boss" but a mirror, a suggester 21
  22. 22. Monastic Contemplative Tradition • Grounded in Scripture • Begins with Lectio – Reading. Read a passage slowly many times. Read it silently, read it aloud. Try memorizing the passage. – Meditating. As words or phrases stand out, focus on them. Dialogue with. What do they remind you of? – Praying. Do you find yourself asking God questions? Do people or situations come to mind? Allow the connections to become a natural conversation with God. – Contemplating. This is a gift from God. It may not happen and it is not the “reward” for a well- done lectio divina! It is the delightful “aha- moment,” a sense of timelessness, an inner awe at the beauty or love or wisdom or of God.
  23. 23. Prepare Lunch Using Speech Only as Necessary “One of the practices that all of us should undertake from time to time is actual physical silence. We need to practice NOT saying even the good thoughts that we have, NOT communicating them to anyone. Part of this practice will show us the places and the people that stimulate us to communicate. Another part of this practice will show the strength of our desire to communicate and the strength of our own will to resist that desire.” Abbot Phillip Lawrence, Abbey of Christ in the Desert
  24. 24. Other Dialogues • Lectio groups – hear how God is speaking in the lives of others. • Small groups or 12 Step Groups in which people listen, do not cross talk, but may give advice. • Need to seek it, and not avoid it. 24
  25. 25. Intentional Dialogue • Journaling in many forms – with prompts, with scripture, with The Rule, in art, in song. • Conversation with trusted peers – listen for God's word coming through them. 25
  26. 26. “Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identify, our own destiny. We are free beings and sons of God. This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in (God's) creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth. To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity.” Thomas Merton New Seeds of Contemplation Drawing by Thomas Merton
  27. 27. DISCUSSION 27
  28. 28. Dialogue with the Self Duluth Benedictine Oblates March 13, 2016 Sister Edith Bogue 28

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