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A Discussion With Manatita on Spiritual Philosophy - Part 9

Updated on August 17, 2019
Sean Dragon profile image

Sean is a teacher who is writing about his spiritual adventures to help other people find balance and self-respect.

Source

A seeker’s life embodies two supreme realities: his conscious, constant and soulful self-giving prayer and his loving, devoted and unreserved God-becoming meditation.

— Sri Chinmoy

An Ongoing Adventure

In the eighth part of this spiritual adventure, my Brother, Manatita helped me, and I hope you too, with some questions about the main key to enhancing spiritual progress. In this ninth part, we will continue with some questions about the significance of meditation for the Spiritual life. I hope you'll enjoy it as I did.

Manatita
Manatita

Spiritual Adventure, Part 9

Ioannis: Another common question, mainly from people who first time hear about the Spiritual Path, is:

"What is the difference between prayer and meditation?"

Manatita: When I pray, I talk and God listens. When I meditate, God talks and I listen. This is one of the different ways that Guruji uses to explain it.

Prayer is an entreaty. We are asking for something. It can be both verbal and silent.

Meditation is silent expansion of the Heart when the mind is calm, vacant ... silent. Here we feel the vastness of the sky. Guruji describes it like being at the bottom of the sea. There it is all calm ... tranquil ... serene. On top, there may be a multitude of waves, but the sea is silent below.

There are three stages of sadhana (Spiritual practice), focus or concentration, meditation and contemplation. Contemplation is a silent communion with the Divine.

Source

Ioannis: I loved the example with the bottom of the sea! It is so accurate!

I would like to tell us some things about the importance of meditation for the Spiritual Path if you wish.

Manatita: Meditation is essential for the spiritual life. Humans would grow through life's experience, true, but meditation expedites the journey.

First, there is concentration. This is the ability to focus our attention on a single object, to the exclusion of everything else.

Concentration harnesses or gives us the intensity, which - with practice- we learn to utilise later on to calm, quiet and still the mind.

Truly speaking, exercise, singing, breathing, visualisations, chanting, prayer and the like, are only tools to quiet the mind. When the mind is quiet, then the higher experiences can begin.

The descent of the higher forces or Grace, is necessary for the transformation of human nature.

For this, selfless service, gratitude, receptivity and assimilation are necessary. Purity is the life-breath of God ... the inflow and outflow of cosmic energy and Cosmic Light. It is necessary for the higher forces to descend.

In the same way, selfless service expands the Heart and makes us ready for the Divine Grace. God's power or God's Light, enters mostly in a quiet and joyful way, when the mind is calm ... silent, vacant. It may also enter in a very powerful way. So the key is to be fearless, sincere and open to the Light with the Spirit of Surrender.

Do not push or pull; neither should we force or expect but surrender. Finally, God is in His Creation, and so we get nearer to God by serving man, with the Spirit of Love and freedom from expectation.

All this is necessary to enhance our meditative experience.

Meditation is subtle, but generally if one feels contented and happy with creation, he or she is making progress.

The inner and outer life are both God's and go together. So as we make progress, the fears, lust, ego and insecurity, doubt and jealousy... attachments and hatred, will all very slowly disappear. These are the true enemies of progress and not the world.

Jogyata on Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is vastness. It is deep, loving, peaceful ... full of Delight. The deeper we go, the more we love and serve the Supreme in man ... the more we come to realise that this Universe is nothing but God/Consciousness/Spirit.

The last stage is Contemplation which in itself has three stages and is direct communion or oneness with our True Source.

I have not experienced this, but I understand it to last for a few hours or days until such time as one is able to hold on consciously and ceaselessly to the power of God. (GOD REALISATION)

Begin the practice by sitting with the body relaxed and focus on a candle flame. With daily and regular practice, let’s say 20-30 minutes morning and evening, one would gradually improve. Hope this helps.

Source

Ioannis: I know the importance of meditation, I have experienced its "gifts", but I also know that is alien to most Christians or even considered dangerous by some Christian Churches, though it is mentioned in the Bible. I point to one verse in the Bible and a Psalm that discuss meditation:

"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all." (Timothy 4:15)

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:1-2)

Nevertheless, I have heard an Orthodox priest teaching young people saying:

"Eastern meditation empties the mind. Emptying our mind is actually a very dangerous thing because it gives the enemy room to fill it with his deception."

Now I hope that your explanation will help those with an open mind to understand. I hope and wish. Besides, I believe that the advice of my beloved Paul "pray without ceasing" simulate the last stage of Contemplation which you referred. The constant experience of the Divine in everything we do. What do you think about that?

Manatita: The reverential fear God. It is a positive step, no doubt, but God is always one step ahead. They wish to taste sugar, but not become sugar, hence the idea of an empty mind. This is based on fear.

The drop flowing into the ocean does not lose its individuality but becomes the ocean. In the same way, Grace flows into a mind which is calm, serene, quiet and still.

Receptivity is paramount in the spiritual life. The higher forces cannot enter a turbulent or chaotic mind. For this silence of the mind is necessary.

The Christian saints knew of meditation, but some called it silent or ceaseless prayer. The great Saddhu Sundar Singh described it as an effort to lay hold of God Itself and the famous Desert Father St John Climacus describes it as an alter in the Heart.

Many of the Christian monastics are familiar with the Jesus Prayer and indeed repeated it until it became a prayer without ceasing.

The Desert Fathers and in particular Mark the Hermit and St Climacus, speaks of interior prayer thus:

"First you must observe the following three conditions. You must be free from all cares, not only from vain and unholy cares, but even from good things.

In other words, you should be dead to everything; your conscience should be pure and it should not denounce you in anything.

You should be completely free from passionate attachments; your thoughts should not be inclined toward anything worldly.

Then sit alone in a quiet place, close the door, take your mind from every temporal and vain thing, bow your head towards your chest and stay attentively inside of yourself, not in the head, but in the Heart.

Holding the mind there with your inner eyes, watch your breathing ..."

I have to repeat that the spiritual life is based on inner hunger. Let those who wish to reason, reason. They are God's children, not ours. We say in Yoga that the individual who thinks he knows, is as equally convinced as the one who knows he knows.

Ask them about Grace ... inner experiences ... ask them to describe it to you ... what it feels like. Ask them about God the creation ... of service and you will lose the shallow ones.

Paul said that not him, but Christ lived in him. He also said: “I die daily." Let us try to be like Paul. However, disciple yes, but do not push. Many are meant to be where they are; many are caught in the meshes of Kamini Kanchana -- lust and the desire for material opulence and collections.

So yes. The bible mentions it; the saints mention it. But we need to rise to this level of wisdom and we cannot run faster than Grace. The true contemplatives do only the will of the Father in heaven. They have no will of their own.

End of part 9.

To be continued… (link to part 10)

The Book

Manatita, The Lantern Carrier: An Esoteric Journey to Spiritual Philosophy
Manatita, The Lantern Carrier: An Esoteric Journey to Spiritual Philosophy
This article is an excerpt from my book "Manatita, The Lantern Carrier". A book dedicated to all the seekers of the Light which I am sure that it will lift you up!
 

© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis

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    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Remember before you throw that stone, Charlie!

      For me, you are my brother and I have the right to Love you.

      Sean

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      2 years ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      what a sick response. you are not my brother and Jesus does not love the things that are not of God

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Love and Peace to you, my brother Charlie. Remember that Jesus is Love!

      God Bless you!

      Sean

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      2 years ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      works of man the anti Christ. The only way to God (the real one, creator of all things) in this age is through Jesus Christ not some guru

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 years ago from london

      Well, my Sweet, Rochelle,

      You show your Love for me, as I show mines for you. This reminds me of the atheist. We say that there is no such thing. For they show Love for their children, friends, serve humanity in so many special ways! Love is within the breath of all breaths and Love is God.

      So you like me, my dear and I like you. I'm honoured. Don't feel that you should be 'told' though. It is not a God-lovers Spirit and again I always relate to you, as someone very, very close and dear to me. Remember this, but always act in harmony with your own inner Pilot or your relationship with Christ. God bless us all. Let us pray.

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      My dear rdsparrowriter, I believe that anyone of us has her or his way to communicate with God. This way is the most significant and effective! So I am glad to hear that you are trying just to be you!

      Thank you again and God Bless your efforts!

      Sean

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      2 years ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      Oh well thank you for the compliment :) Since I was told to share what I found interesting in this article. When I read it I remembered a childhood memory. When I was in School, we were taken to the chapel and was trained to meditate which I failed at it miserably. I couldn't sit the way we were told to sit as my legs were kind of too long so found it very hard. Added to that my mind was running riot although the chapel was very quiet. One thought after another. Although the Nun who guided us said to breath in and out while concentrating on it. I tried but failed at that one. I still struggle in focusing in just one thing except when I crochet I manage with God's grace.

      I try to meditate His Word by remembering a bible verse as it is already His Words written to us. If it is a special thing that He would like to show me or know, for Him to give me a very strong thought which won't shake off that easily.

      Really good information :)

      Just being me I guess :) Take care and May God Bless you!!

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Thank you, my dear rdsparrowriter! That "interesting" coming from a poet like you is significant for me!

      Admiration!

      Sean

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      Rochelle Ann De Zoysa 

      2 years ago from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

      Interesting :)

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very nice observation, Eric Dierker.

      You will get tired but you can never empty your Love or your Thoughts. That's the reality (or Problem?).

      So, keep sharing Love and pouring Thoughts.

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Thank you, my Brother, Eric for your amazing comment! Wise and full of love once again! You are so true.

      God bless you!

      Sean

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sorry for the late response. I needed to meditate on it ;-)

      I dove into meditating verses thinking a bit back. The distinction is extremely interesting. Paul uses the word "think" although that maybe be a word evolution and re-interpreting thing. Perhaps back a while in that region meditate had a more God centered deep thought meaning.

      I have been told so often "Dierker you think too much" that I have lost count. But though I meditate quite often no one has ever said "Dierker you meditate too much".

      My analogy often comes down to this notion. If we are constantly emptying our hearts out pouring love then are hearts are empty enough to receive more love, if we empty our minds of thought then there is room for more loving thoughts.

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Thank you, my brother, Venkatachari M. Thank you because you always enrich our work with your wise comments. You are walking with us...

      Hari Om!

      Sean

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Thank you, my brother, Maurice! I am glad to have you here.

      "Make your Heart a crystal of Love and let it fill your world with His Light." - Sean Dragon

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      We all meet in Love, my brother, Eric, and I am happy that I found you in this Sangha! I am waiting for your comment after reading. I am afraid that I am becoming addicted to your comments. Ha! Ha!

      Much Love to your son!

      Sean

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very beautiful and insightful discussion. I love this series very blissfully.

      The three steps of prayer, meditation, and contemplation are very important in seeking the God or the True and Eternal Bliss. Prayer makes you disciplined, meditation brings consciousness. Both of these lead to awakening and contemplation.

      I smile at Eric's remark. He is also an enlightened soul. But, takes our test. Keep it going, my bro Eric.

      And, thanks to you both, Manatita and Sean, for this enlightening, in-depth discussions.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 

      2 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Way to go! Best yet I think.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Just call me when our Sangha congregation meets. Your purity in spirit makes you two very special in love. Today in Scrabble my son and I spoke of the big "in". I am all in with you guys and I refuse not to be "in" love. OK now I will read this.

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      You know my Brother, Manatita, I feel like someone who was away ahead on the Path, just stopped to wait for me to walk for a while with me in order to strengthen my steps again. The amazing thing is that I had been told to look for the Lantern! Thank you!

      Gratitude!

      Sean

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 years ago from london

      Haha Eric. Not at all. To thine own self be true. If you find anything useful here, then use it. If not, then let it go.

      We all must walk our own Path and even those who chooses the same Master.

      Guruji says thst his religion is Love of God. Frankly, if you are getting the fundamentals right, the foundation ... the core of the teaching ... if your aspiration is intense, you will see the Christ tomorrow.

      Masters do not like to come from the pure to this gross or impure Consciousness. We need to rise a little to meet them.

      But hey, this is just one view. Whatever makes you strong is cool. What weakens you, reject like poison.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      2 years ago from london

      Thank you Bro.

      Runs ever so quickly for me. Another great series of questions

      Gratitude.

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Happy to have you with us, my dear Sister Chitrangada Sharan! Thank you for your kind comments!

      I also want to thank you for the beautiful photos you share!

      My Love to you and your family!

      Sean

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Oh! No, my dear brother, Eric! Speaking of my behalf - and I believe my Brother Manatita will answer you too - I don't know if I am on the right path for me, I am still seeking for it. I know though for sure - because my Spiritual Teacher has shown me - that there is one Crest but many paths which lead to this! So I don't believe that you have to compare your path with another's. Two people may walk completely different ways, but they could be each one on the righteous path! The Love of your Heart will lead you to the Crest.

      You have my prayers to accompany you.

      Much Love!

      Sean

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for sharing another wonderful, spiritual discussion.

      Meditation is so well explained here by Manatita, and how it is different from prayers.

      A very absorbing and engaging series. Thank You!

    • Sean Dragon profile imageAUTHOR

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      2 years ago from Greece, Almyros

      Thank you, my brother, Bill! Thank you so much. It means a lot to me your kind comment.

      Peace on your Golden Heart!

      Sean

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I have not read yet. I go straight to my question of truth and love.

      What happens if I disagree with you two? Does it mean that my path is is not righhtious?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always a fascinating read, my friend. I enjoy sitting at the feet of you two, listening and learning. Peace be with you always.

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