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Was Thomas Merton a great mystic?

Was Thomas Merton really a great mystic, as indicated above?

name lost in internet. Seems to be Mystic Marr...

“Seems to be Mystic Marriage of Christ and the Church” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I think of great Catholic mystics people like St. Faustina Kowalska come to mind. She was so busy suffering for others and having daily visions of Christ that she barely had time to write out her Diary.

Can bookish scholars/writers like Merton be mystics?

Maybe.

But I don’t think they can be great mystics. They might have an inkling of what the great mystics talk about.

Also, how do we know what a great mystic is? Need they be church approved and funded? Could there be other mystics who go unnoticed? Could the knowledge of these “wildflower” mystics, as I call them, surpass what the Church recognizes as a mystic or a saint?

I don’t know.

Ronald E. Powaski has written about the Trappi...

Ronald E. Powaski has written about the Trappist monk, peace activist, and writer, Thomas Merton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But my gut tells me that Merton, who was keen on study, talk and world travel, was not a great mystic. He might have been a great Catholic public figure. But that’s a totally different story.

I know everyone is different and it’s not a competition when it comes to serving God. But it seems there’s a sort of childish Catholic ‘cult’ mentality out there that I sometimes question.

Do some people need to believe in semi-mythical accounts for inspiration? Do they artificially elevate certain figures who really don’t deserve it? Are some religious people borderline fanatics?

Myself, I much prefer trying to get at the truth of things rather than following an overzealous, unthinking crowd.

 Five suspects arrested for allegedly shooting Reverend Father (sundiatapost.com)

 ‘Preposterous and insulting’: Cardinal fires back at Steve Bannon’s criticisms of the Catholic Church (businessinsider.com)

 DEFENDING THE CHURCH Cardinal Dolan rips Bannon over ‘insulting’ remarks (foxnews.com)

 Australia gay marriage debate highlights church divisions (rappler.com)

 Tensions as robber escapes from Police custody in A-Ibom (vanguardngr.com)

 Bishop Zubik Wants Dreamers To Have A Chance: ‘God Is Always There For The Underdog’ (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)

 Britain has more non-believers than ever before as Church of England Christians make up lowest-ever share (telegraph.co.uk)

 Man Arraigned For Role In Divine Child Church Fireworks Attack (detroit.cbslocal.com)

 Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘I oppose same-sex marriage, but I’d go to a gay wedding’ (pinknews.co.uk)

 Pope Francis flies to Colombia as the nation savours prospects for a peaceful future (euronews.com)

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The Disease – A poem written a few years before 9/11

The Disease

I’ve watched it grow
I’ve seen it sow
true minds into despair

souls of sorrow
ladened deep
burning horrid stares

I’ve seen it work
at lightning speed
to destroy mankind’s seed

through the air
it does its deed
this is its only care

sans partiality
sans decency
Yes, this is “the disease”

You over there!
you believe you’re clear
of this melancholy breeze?

Well let me tell you
if you please
it’s a fatal,
dreadful siege

For once contracted
once enacted
you’ll go on normally
“it’s okay”
“I’m just fine”
“yes, I think I am still free”

But then, alas!
the grippe is tightened
beyond all points of ease
and shipwrecked sailors on the sea of life
all drown
irrevocably

Yes I’ve seen this blight
‘cross this land
and winds are blowing high
no apple pie nor starlit nights
will save this rotting sky
all is darkened
all are dead
all are doomed to die

Lance it fast while time remains
avoid a fearsome plight
destroy this curse
and rest assured
your mark is
for the
light

Cast it out and let us pray
“Lord give us back our sight”
Cast it out to guarantee,
Truth shall conquer might


The Disease © Michael Clark 1997 to present. All rights reserved.

Satan on his way to bring about the downfall o...

Satan on his way to bring about the downfall of Adam. Gustave Doré’s illustration for Paradise Lost by John Milton. Paradise Lost Book III, lines 739-742 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This poem was written somewhere between 1997 and 1999. I’d just finished my Ph.D and was living in a top floor apartment in an old, run-down house in Ottawa, Canada.

I was having a dreadful time with a professor who changed his mind about postdoc letters of recommendation, relatively close to scholarship deadlines.

Realizing this guy had a lot of power in the department, my gut told me that his withdrawal of support was tantamount to a pink slip.

Just as bad, some old friends and many professors suddenly chilled when I told my story. They assumed it was something about me. Nice trick of the devil. Turn the blame on the victim. Maybe the professor wanted it that way.

So this personal misfortune no doubt influenced the poem. However, in the larger sense I understood “The Disease” as a metaphor for ideas found in existential literature and social psychology: John-Paul Sartre’s bad faith, Erich Fromm’s mechanical man, Albert Camus’ The Plague and the NeoMarxist notion of false consciousness. 

In other words, I fit the professor’s creepy behavior within some of the stuff I’d read over the years.

The poem was written mostly as stream of consciousness. While typing it out on my primitive laptop, I remember thinking just how foreboding the lines were becoming (rotting sky…all are doomed to die) and not really knowing why.

Following my instinct, I didn’t delete the darker verses, but I did consider it.

"Satan rises from the burning lake" ...

“Satan rises from the burning lake” (1866) by Gustave Doré; a critical interpretation of the poem compares Ulysses’ final sentiments with Satan’s “courage never to submit or yield” in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After 9/11, it seemed the poem was larger than my personal misfortune. The foreboding parts could be taken as a premonition for 9/11.

As the new millennium drew near, not a few artists and sensitives were picking up something rotten on their radar.

The Muse sees.

At least, that’s one way of looking at it. Around that time I was reading John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno. So one could say I wasn’t intuiting anything at all.

A psychoanalytic perspective would reduce the poem to a subconscious mimicking of the literary greats and their treatment of evil.

That seems trite to me. Not that my personal unconscious had nothing to do with it. But I tend to think the personal and collective are synced. So my own development probably coincided with an expanded view.

That’s the Jungian take. And my PhD, which I had just completed, was all about Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity.

 The Greatest Quest: The Search for Meaning & Finding our Calling (elephantjournal.com)

 New Ken artist John Dorinsky bringing dreams to life (triblive.com)

 Embracing darkness and shadow that we might also be light and joy (beyondmeds.com)

 Is Playing an Evil Clown Harmful to Your Mental Health? (gizmodo.co.uk)

 War games: South Korea undertakes anti-terror exercises, in pictures (telegraph.co.uk)


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Participation Mystique – An alternative to secular materialism

Okay so it’s been a bit slow this summer. Most people take some time to relax during the dog days but for me it has been busy. Internet traffic – or at least, visits – tend to drop a bit while everyone is outdoors. So things slow down here a bit.

In a way, this has been a good thing. I’ve been spending more time on individual articles at earthpages.ca. I feel a bit like a rock band, hammering out all the elements in preparation for that first hit. It seems I’m getting closer. Every time I write something I get some feedback and can use that to better my product.

Product?

Well yeah. Earthpages is a free blog, for sure. But I do have bills to pay and will need to crossover sometime into a paid-for position. Either as a writer at some other venue or as head honcho of a thriving Earthpages. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m still having fun with it.

So here’s an entry I wrote at Earthpages.ca over the summer. Looking back I’m tempted to edit. But I’ll just wait ’till next time around.

Enjoy! — MC

Participation Mystique is a psychological and spiritual idea proposed by the anthropologist Lucien Lévi-Bruhl. It concerns the alleged mystical relationship that so-called primitives had with objects in their environment.

» Read More


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Further to that Mind Hack thing…

This article seems to fit with what I was talking about yesterday in “Hacking the mind… without technology?” To many this idea just seems too far out. But from the perspective of others, it’s all too real.


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Hacking the mind… without technology?

Vector drawing of the five kinds of Zener card...

Vector drawing of the five kinds of Zener cards used for parapsychology research. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Backstory

After finishing my doctorate on Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity at U Ottawa, I wasn’t overjoyed when the university library listed my thesis under the subject heading of parapsychology.

I was concerned that many years of serious study would be dismissed as fodder for fantasy fiction writers and sensational paranormal researchers.

Also, my thesis doesn’t defend nor debunk the alleged truth of synchronicity. Instead, it offers a postmodern analysis of how Jung advances and legitimizes this fringe topic within the larger scientific community. The library might equally have listed my thesis under sociology, psychology, philosophy and religion.

Despite my initial misgivings, I came to accept, almost embrace the library listing. I’ll be an expert on parapsychology, my young enthusiastic self thought. This could be my niche!

Today, I’m neither a zealot nor a hard-nosed skeptic about parapsychology. I just want to learn more and share any discoveries for the common good.

Mind Hacks? 

Over the years I’ve come to wonder if the mind might be hacked without any direct technological link. Could a person (or spiritual power associated with that person) influence another person at a distance?

I’m not talking about the art of persuasion. That involves words, maybe images and music; some kind of physical or symbolic contact. Nor am I thinking about those headline news pundits concerned about tech interface and implant abuse.

No, I’m talking about parapsychology, just as the library suggested.

Two examples

Usually when we’re fed up with something or someone, the Jungian shadow emerges.

For example, once on social media I made a comment that might have contained some truth but also wasn’t too polite.

More recently, just before the solar eclipse I posted a headline that wasn’t terribly positive.

In both instances it was like the shadow momentarily eclipsed my usual positive attitude—a kind of ‘eclipse’ of my normal way of doing things. Almost immediately after, my total self re-emerged and I began to make amends.

So what happened? Did my mind/brain short from stress overload and accumulated resentment? Or was I hacked by a disruptive spiritual power? To me, it felt like both.

And possibly both scenarios are right. Evil could seize upon opportunities of perceived weakness in our psychological armor. Like hacker bots sensing firewall vulnerabilities, the devil might watch, wait and pounce when ready and, oddly enough, when permitted by God.

This perspective probably wouldn’t fly with most psychiatrists. And that’s unfortunate because, in my opinion, psychology and spirituality demand better integration. Not just the hopeful ‘save the world’ stuff. But also the darker, less admirable elements.

Jung believes that ignoring the shadow prevents us from mastering its powerful, collective energy, which then erupts when we least expect it.

English: Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld ex...

Example of a subject in a Ganzfeld experiment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think?

Spiritually speaking, is no woman or man an island? That is, are we all subtly linked? The light and the dark?

Or is humanity only connected through more verifiable factors like family, friends, society and the media?

I won’t say only the shadow knows but I suspect it has a pretty good idea.

 How to Live our Wildest Fantasies in the “Real World.” (elephantjournal.com)

 Embracing darkness and shadow that we might also be light and joy (beyondmeds.com)

 War games: South Korea undertakes anti-terror exercises, in pictures (telegraph.co.uk)

 Someone broke down the color psychology behind your favorite Disney characters (mashable.com)

 ‘MEET ITS TRAGIC DOOM’ NoKo says it’s ‘on standby to launch’ in new warning (foxnews.com)

 Psychological abusers don’t go for the weak – they choose strong people because they ‘like a challenge’ (businessinsider.com)


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When We Cross Over – Do We Have Emotional Needs?

heaven knows what I want by Thomas Mues

Heaven knows what I want by Thomas Mues via Flickr

By Afterlife Phil G

From Cincinnati, a reader asks “Afterlife Phil G”: Is it possible that those who have died have any emotional needs, like belonging or comfort or just to know someone loves them? Here, Phil shares his insight and answer on spirit contact and the afterlife

HI Gloria, thanks for your questions about how we feel after crossing over. I think they want to be with us, help us, and guide us. I say this because I’ve just replied to someone who was almost involved with someone, but never quite got there, and now feels closer to this person than her actual husband, and she’s quite frustrated by it all. But I don’t think they want to be in a relationship like we picture it. I think it’s more a case of simply wanting to be with us, or help us.

My advice to her was to find a purpose in life, and perhaps let him help her find it. I know several who have done this, and found much joy and purpose in life, still connected with their special person who has crossed over, but with a purpose for their own lives.

I don’t know if they have emotional needs, but they absolutely have emotion. It’s like the end line in the film “Ghost” where Patrick says “The love inside, you take it with you” I feel is so true. I know in readings, it’s quite common where there’s a strong emotional bond (e.g. partners, or parents) for me to feel totally overwhelmed by their grief (on the other side) and it’s not uncommon for me to be in tears not able to adequately share the words, but totally share the feeling, with those sitting in front of me. So whilst I don’t feel they “blame” us, they most certainly hold the emotion of love, caring and so on.

I know they do try to help us. I don’t generally feel they NEED our acceptance or love, but certainly there are times when they do. My own father-in-law desperately wanted my wife to forgive him for not treating her better (he wasn’t bad to her, just didn’t accept her and support her as he should have). In suicide cases, I know there is a desperate longing from those who have crossed over, to be forgiven by those they leave behind – like they didn’t realise the devastation they would leave behind.

You ask about the range of emotion they feel. If I can hand over to my guys on ‘the other side’ for a moment: “We’re comfortable within ourselves (on the other side), but especially for those who have recently crossed, it’s like they have so much homework to complete and they need to tick things off the list before they can become calm. Like going to sleep. If there’s a whole lot on your mind, you can’t rest properly until you’ve done those things, then you can relax and go to sleep.

If we have a lot to do, a lot to say, it’s like when you want to tell a friend lots of things, and they want to hear about something else, but you can’t talk about that yet because you HAVE to deal with these other things first”.

I’ll leave out a few things that were for my reader, personally, but she asks about anger. Where there is anger from those who have crossed over, it generally subsides after a while. I rarely find they hold the anger.

Do they have needs we can meet? Acceptance. I think they can TRY to influence us, help us, guide us, but they can’t MAKE us do anything, and I think they derive enormous satisfaction that we first of all listen, and secondly accept they’re there. The ‘asking for proof’ that I suggest (on my website on spirit contact afterlifephilg.com) only works for a while, because after a while, you KNOW the difference between your own thoughts and theirs, and it gets tiresome to them to keep proving things – and that shows them you don’t accept what they share. I know that annoys them after a while! So I think our greatest gift to them, that they want, long for, perhaps not need, but strongly desire, is an acceptance of them, their actions in the physical world whether they were good or bad, their presence in our lives now, and their willingness to help us where needed.

Negative feelings? I think I’ve already touched on that, but I think the negativity floats away. Like when you meditate, as you relax, no matter how much ‘negative’ feeling you have, if you relax long enough, you just give up on that feeling and let it go, so in that sense, I think they probably have those feelings to start with, but let them go.

I hope this helps you, and my readers, have a greater understanding of how to accept and deal with loved ones who have crossed over. For more information visit my website on spirit contact (afterlifephilg.com) and especially have a look at the CD “Contacting The Afterlife”.

About the Author:

“Afterlife Phil G” hails from Australia. In 2002 he made an accidental discovery – that ordinary people like you, can contact Family and Friends in the Afterlife – and verify the experience really happened. More available from his website: afterlifephilg.com

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comWhen We Cross Over – Do We Have Emotional Needs?

Note – Since this article was first published, there have been some changes to articlesbase.com. I have simply left the original links intact. — MC

 Casey Affleck acts under a sheet in ‘A Ghost Story.’ Silly or profound? (tbo.com)

 Stars believe WHAT?! (foxnews.com)


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The Lorelei – Review

Title: The Lorelei
Genre: Action/Thriller, MysteryHorror, Fantasy, Drama
Production: Onview Films
Directors/Writers: Mol Smith
Stars:  Kemal YildirimLorie-Lanie ShanksSophie Townsend » See full cast & crew at IMDB

This is your shadow on my wall

~ “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town” by Bowie/Eno from Outside

The legendary Lorelei is a dark enchantress who lures fisherman and sailors to their death. In geography she is a steep rock over 4oo feet high on the bank of the Rhine river.

Her legend survives in countless songs and stories. So Mol Smith’s The Lorelei continues a long tradition of blending feminine beauty, danger and death—in French and in the arts, she’s la femme fatale.

From the opening frames of this Indie film, set and shot around Oxford, I knew I would enjoy it. But not just because the story takes place at Oxford.

Rebecca

After a scenic introduction, The Lorelei quickly moves into a well-paced murder mystery. Holy smokes, the British are good at that, aren’t they?

Canadians have been watching British TV murders for years. Like Rock and Roll, the Brits have a knack for murder mystery. And director Mol Smith is no exception. Smith is actually based in Oxford, and it shows.

I don’t want to write a spoiler. And regurgitating story lines can be tedious, like a high-school project I’d rather avoid. On the plus side, holistic thinkers like me often pick up on things outside the main plot line.

Elizabeth and Martin

So let’s just say there’s a murder at the outset and a supernatural element adds to the mystery. But that’s only the beginning.

Enter the affluent victim’s daughter, a private detective, a cop, along with a Madame and her “girls” who fund their education by selling sexual services.

The main characters’ lives intertwine with several twists and turns that, if outlined here, would ruin the film. But I will comment on the performances.

Mel Mills (Martin) and Tessa McGinn (Elizabeth) also appear in the Mol Smith’s Abduction. I enjoyed Abduction on a metaphysical level but for me The Lorelei is far more immediate. And the interaction between Martin and Elizabeth seems more real and grounded.

Daniel

Mills and McGinn also make a bold statement that so many millennials just don’t get: Seasoned and mature individuals can be just as sneaky, sexual and sexy as anyone else.

I liked this aspect of the film. Our contemporary “script” for normality implies that middle-aged people should behave like stale bread or sour wine. No sexual attractions nor thoughts. Just turn it all off.

Thankfully, Madonna, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and a few other celebrities have shown that, for most creative people, that’s a sham. And repressing rather than expressing, redirecting or maybe transmuting sexuality usually turns out badly. If anything, repression leads to stagnant, judgmental and potentially abusive personalities.

Sarah

So I give The Lorelei full marks for representing its mature characters as full human beings, and not just as packages past their shelf life, as many folks – young and old – tend to see it.

Ageism sucks. And it rarely hits the radar these days.

As for the younger actors in this film, I find them charming. Sophie Townsend plays Sarah, a luminous young woman making her way through uni, as the Brits say, by taking clients on the side.

Sarah could be in an early Beatlemania film. Or maybe she reminds me of a young, female incarnation of David Bowie. I don’t know. But something about her spirited demeanor and slightly retro look won me over.

Sarah and Rebecca

Lorie-Lanie Shanks as Rebecca comes out strong, fulfilling that “rich English babe” stereotype to a tee. Rebecca seems to have an ambiguous sexual preference, which only adds to the uneasy tension between her and Sarah.

Shanks would be perfect in an Agatha Christie movie. Murder on the Orient Express, Fantasy Island, or something like that. That highbrow woman with a poisonous snake in a wicker box for anyone who crosses her.

Kemal Yildirim, also in Abduction, plays the private detective Daniel with a characteristic depth and detachment that invites viewers to wonder what’s going on inside his head. Daniel’s low key ambience is captivating. We can never really know what the quietly intelligent gent is thinking.

Likewise, the alluring Hive Queen in Abduction, Amelie Leroy, appears as “Trouble” in The Lorelei. Leroy’s deceptive character effortlessly switches back and forth among English, French and maybe something else. Trouble charges up the film with loads of presence, awareness and jungle-edged sexuality.

Trouble

So we have a supernaturally tinged mystery, enigmatic leading characters and a solid supporting cast. Together, they forge an unforgettable foray into the fictional underbelly of Oxford life.

At least, those on the outside must assume it is fictional. From what I’ve seen in the far corners of student life, there might be more truth to this fiction than most are willing to admit.

“We don’t get murders in Oxford, you get it?” exclaims Martin. It’s all about image. Elitism. High class. And sex workers? That would certainly rub most Oxford Deans the wrong way.

The Lorelei, true to its name, busts the myth and does so very well. Along with its great, gooey makeup art and delightful soundtrack, this is a film to absorb on many levels.

MC

All Images © Onview Films UK. Used with permission.