additionnixon

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About additionnixon

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  1. I like this so much, Bearded Dragon. It makes sense. And doesn't. And that's perfect.
  2. Well, that's a bit foreboding. I think I'll focus on finding and reading passages where it's mentioned before I engage with the passionately opinionated. A stranger brought up a Rumi quote to me today: "Silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation."
  3. Special thanks to dustybeijing and idiot_stimpy. You've both brought up ideas and practices that were transformative and foundational for me, but I somehow lost track of them on the way. It's already made a huge difference to just be content in knowing that I'm already here. It just sprung into my mind: one of the things that has become a sort of ideal for me, though I had kind of forgotten what it would mean to cultivate it, is what I remembered as "the art of non-action". It's known as wu wei? I never knew it as that, I just gravitated toward the concept. Anyway, I think this is the direction I was looking for, and I'm extremely grateful to everyone here for being so helpful.
  4. While all I have is my word to assure you that I'm not being intentionally unclear, I did explicitly state that I felt, "betrayed or abandoned by the God I had been praying to," in my initial post. Baiting implies that I'm being somehow malicious in my responses, which is evidently untrue, and all of my responses have provided further clarification. If there's something specific you're not understanding, please ask me that specific question. I am here because I unexpectedly found myself in a state of internal crisis. As a teenager, I made a conscious decision to remain alive for as long as circumstances allow; basically, I understood that I would not ever end my own life. I recently realized that, for a while, I've been mostly motivated by negative things; fear and avoidance of pain and isolation being two of the major ones. I think its important for me to be running toward something, rather than away from. Now I suspect that running is really going to get me nowhere. I'm fishing for insight, is all. So far, I'm impressed with and grateful for the responses I've received here.
  5. Sorry! I guess I misspoke about the "revolutionary" thing. I was talking about Qi Gong and Tai Chi stuff I had been browsing through. What I meant was the way different methods and techniques are presented was discouraging. Everything I had learned about Taoism up to this point had simply seemed to be a practice of complete simplicity, so stumbling upon a bunch of "ancient Chinese secret" stuff was a little upsetting. Not to say there's no legitimacy to any of it; I think my approach to the subject is what was essentially flawed. Thank you for your suggestions on Taoism and Zen. I'm certainly not looking to attach myself to a particular doctrine. I suppose I'm trying to recultivate my love for the present and all that it contains and is contained by. Thank you for your suggestion. My most profound moments in Christianity were actually the ones where I distanced myself from specific or lengthy prayers. Talking with God, the saints, etc. was never particularly inspiring to me. I felt most connected with the God Who dwells in darkness; with Whom my heart (or whatever) seemed to converse more freely and completely as my mind became still. Part of why I'm here is that I, to some extent, feel abandoned by Jesus. There's a lot of turmoil associated with those experiences, and I'm not ready to jump back into that. If I arrive at the center and I find that it is Jesus, I won't be disappointed, but I don't want to be distracted by cosmology, epistemology, and so forth as I search for a truth that, ultimately, can't be described. I think I know what you mean. And I think you're right. Maybe I just needed to be reminded of that.
  6. When I was about 20, nine years ago, I began a personal practice of prayer, guided by the book, Christ the Eternal Tao. Beginning with watchfulness, I learned to separate my identity from my thoughts. Repeating the words prescribed, "Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me", I gave my mind activity while retreating from a place where thought was the power I relied on to interact with the world. I sought to want nothing, and eventually, for a moment, I found something very much like what I was looking for. Over a few particularly eventful weeks, I experienced sensations that I can't really describe, except it felt like the way I was existing at those times was fundamentally different. My fluttering thoughts seemed to disappear, the darkness and silence became tangible and full of a rich reality. Existing itself felt easier and more natural, to the point where I wondered how I had considered anything else to be natural, and I found myself wondering why or how I ever exist in the heavy, painful way that I had previously considered the only way. I consider those moments to be the highest moments of my life. In addition, there were moments in prayer during which I felt a sort of ecstasy, and began mentally babbling sort of embarrassing things, but those events make far less sense and seem less grounded than those of peace and stillness. After these experiences, I never found those places again. I found different ones, which lasted for various lengths of time, from moments to weeks, from a temporary lightness of heart for a few weeks to a feeling of being purged from deep inside myself. I think partly, I never found that peace again because I have wanted it so desperately, and it even led me to feel betrayed or abandoned by the God I had been praying to. I now feel a deep need to return to the underlying reality, to mitigate this deep feeling of loss and find that rich silence again. To learn to love everything exactly the way it is, and for no reason than that it exists. I have mostly shed the ideas of the god I had felt obligated to create, I have mostly shed the resentment, as well. I think I've mostly shed the fear of closing my eyes and finding a silence that remains thin and insubstantial. I'm just looking for motivation now. I thought that maybe new techniques and new readings would help with this, and I've felt a connection to Taoism because of my past, but the way I see it being presented is discouraging. I don't really want something that considers itself "revolutionary", for example. I just want something simple, to facilitate the enjoyment of silence and the desire and ability to experience silence and stillness more deeply. That's all I want, I think. Something to help me focus on embracing existence at this exact moment. Does anything jump to mind?
  7. Insights from a Christian monk. Esoteric Christianity as a legit Path

    I grew up Orthodox Christian, and I wouldn't be surprised if I had met this man or at least been to his monastery. Also, this Christianity is only esoteric depending on where you're from. In much of the world, it still has a large presence, and many Orthodox (and non-Orthodox) Christians practice the Jesus Prayer he's describing. It's global population is equivalent to about two-thirds of Protestantism, only Protestantism represents thousands of competing belief systems, whereas Orthodoxy holds to a relatively unified doctrine. That being said, I think genuine pursuit of spirituality is always esoteric in most widely-subscribed-to religions. In fact, I don't think it would be difficult to find writings in some of the most respected Christian writings (most written in the first millenium are shared by the Catholic and the Orthodox) that would appear blasphemous and heretical to many people. Here's one that comes to mind, from the influential 4th century bishop Athanatius: "God became man that man might become god" (My teachers always noted very emphatically that the second "god" should be lower-case). This is even what Eucharist (Communion) is about. Becoming god. Christians who don't know where their religion came from, or who obsess with technicalities, frequently call authentic Christianity blasphemy. I would say this man remains anonymous simply to avoid drama and confusion. He may even be an Abbot. While Catholic and Orthodox tend to diminish the importance of a personal relationship with God as an attempt to dismiss Protestantism and strengthen the focus on the Church as the Body of Christ, it still comes down to a personal relationship with God, and deification. Christian texts have an enormous number of references to the heart, some of them technical. One well-loved monastic book is the Philokalia, which Orthodox Christians are always cautioned to read only under competent spiritual guidance. There are also contemporary books about finding the heart and praying in it, and there are accounts, such as one of a Romanian priest (very recently passed away, Fr. Roman Braga, I think) who was put in a prison camp, in which people discover "a universe inside" themselves. The more recent Russian classic, The Way of the Pilgrim, is very well-known in Orthodoxy, and speaks a great deal on The Jesus Prayer and unceasing prayer from the heart. Anyway, I'm not here to tell people about Christianity as much as I am to learn about Taoism. If anyone is so inspired, please read my profile and start a conversation.
  8. Taoist Practice and Experiential Knowledge

    Hello, my name is Adam. I live in Tucson, Arizona. I'm around thirty years old. I grew up as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, and first encountered Taoism through a book titled Christ the Eternal Tao, written by an Orthodox Christian priest-monk by the name of Damascene. It was Hieromonk Damascene's book that gave me an entirely new and rare perspective on and understanding of Christianity by explaining Taoism, Christianity, prayer, and meditation in terms of one another. It led me on a seven-year search for experiential knowledge of God, with some small moments of discovery and a great deal of despair. After a three-year hiatus from nearly all spiritual practice, I'm in a place where I feel I need to pick up the pieces and renew my pursuit of a deeper connection with myself, others, and our world. Taoism seems like a natural place for me to start again. What appeals to me is that Taoism seems to have an approach that encourages one to submit to reality, rather than attempting to impose a false interpretation on it. In my mind, even the best interpretations are false, if they don't acknowledge how insufficient the mind is in its perceptions of reality. For this reason, I'm more interested in core practices of Taoism, rather than any mythology that surrounds it (I'm not sure what forms of Taoism exist, or which of them contain beliefs I would consider extraneous, but in America it seems to have been brought under a superficial, pan-Eastern umbrella that contains a lot of superstition and misinformation). I'm really looking for something to encourage and revive my desire to experience the world and myself through meditative practice, directly and intuitively. My experience with meditation is almost exclusively derived from the practice of the Jesus Prayer, in which one begins with mindfulness, watching the thoughts; then follows the breath, repeating the words, "Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." I've dropped this last part, and usually just repeatedly guide my mind toward silence. My current practice, then, is just silent, imageless, wordless meditation, following the breath. I hope that isn't too much information for an introduction. Perhaps someone can direct me to a place where I can take this story and find someone experienced who can relate to my general attitude. I would greatly appreciate any input and perhaps resources. I've begun reading the Tao Te Ching, I'm just not sure what translations are considered more authentic, so I've been reading the one here: http://www.taoism.net/ttc/complete.htm Thank you in advance!