Presentation on theme: "Moore and Monroe HMXP 102 Dr. Fike. Today’s Slide Show The Moore portion of this presentation will ask you to write in your notebooks at several points."— Presentation transcript:
Today’s Slide Show The Moore portion of this presentation will ask you to write in your notebooks at several points. Please get out your writing materials.
Write for 3 Minutes Sum up the point that Moore is making in "The Sacred Arts of Life." We will take a few minutes so that you can share your answers.
Question According to Moore, what are some means of developing “the everyday arts” (par. 2)? Again, write in your notebooks please.
Moore’s Answers Contemplation Arresting attention Pausing “a period of nondoing” (par. 5) “taking time” (par. 6) Stimulating the imagination (esp. in connection with sacred texts) Doing simple tasks Experiencing nature Epiphanies Discovering the “‘natural religion’” in all things (par. 14) Appreciating secular literature and art Paying attention to dreams Meditation
Moore’s Assumptions Par. 15: “I’m suggesting that we consider sacredness from the point of view of soul rather than spirit.” According to Moore, the ordinary arts enrich the soul. His point is based on the following assumption: there is “‘natural religion’ in all things’” (par. 14). Focusing on everyday things leads to a sense of “wonder” (par. 15). QUESTIONS: What does he mean by soul as opposed to spirit? How can there be religion in all things? What is natural religion? What is “wonder”?
An Opposite Assumption He speaks of repression in par. 2: "One of the most effective forms of repression is to give a thing excessive honor." What does he mean? Repression of what? What other things (not necessarily in Moore’s text) work against the enrichment of the soul? Again, write in your notebooks.
Segue The next slides explore some of Moore’s ways of exploring the sacred in the commonplace experiences of everyday life. –Imagination –Dreams –Meditation
Imagination Consider this relationship: –Consciousness –Imagination and dreams –The unconscious Point: Imagination and dreams are like a bridge or elevator between consciousness and the unconscious.
Active Imagination (Jung) You can write a dialogue between yourself and some part of yourself (e.g., a person you know or a character in one of your dreams). Suspend your rational disbelief and let the dialogue flow. In other words, let your imagination/fantasy outpace your reason. The result may surprise you: part of yourself that is removed from consciousness will speak. You can try this on your own when you have 30 minutes or more.
Re. Dreams Freud said, "Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious." Moore's section heading implies that they are the royal road to the soul. (Jung, by the way, states that “meditation... seems to be a sort of Royal Road to the unconscious” [CW 11, 827/507]). Moore mentions that "the soul is usually placed squarely in that place we would rather not visit...the place in ourselves that is most challenging,” and he advises us "to look straight into the image that gives us the most fright" (par. 19). Often this image appears in dreams. In your case, what is that place? You can use active imagination to explore it. What does it have to say to you? Write in your notebooks. (I will not ask you to share.)
Meditation Does Moore's text suggest the importance of meditation? What IS meditation? How is it different from prayer? Let’s discuss these questions.
Prayer vs. Meditation Prayer Your conscious mind is engaged. Your body is awake. You speak to God. Meditation Your conscious mind is awake but is disengaged and clear of thoughts. Your body is very deeply relaxed, even asleep. You concentrate on your breathing. You listen to… –God –The soul –Your Higher Self –The unconscious –Memory –Guidance –Spirits
Transition Par. 16: “Every issue, no matter how secular it appears to be, has a sacred dimension. If you press anything far enough, you will come up against either the holy or the demonic.” Do you care to explore this point? Monroe writes about both the sacred and the demonic.
Caveat Someone always says, “Monroe was dabbling in the demonic.” I encourage you to view his text from the perspective that this course fosters: he is reporting a genuine human experience. I encourage you to approach it open- mindedly.
Group Activity on Monroe Page 116: "If the human being has a Second Body, if that Second Body survives what we call death, if personality and character continue to exist in this new-old form—what then?" Re. page 120: "Was my niece's trancelike nightmare a coincidence?" If not, what might have caused it? What does this imply about children? Re. his experience on pages 120-21: "Could this be the borders of hell?" "If Locale II [the nonphysical realm] seems to have portions of hell and doesn't quite live up to our notions of heaven, what then? Where do we look for the guidepost? Where are the God and heaven that we worship? Have I missed something?" Re. his experience on pages 122-23: "Is this God? Or God's son? Or His representative?" Regarding pages 123-25: "Was this heaven?" And another: What is happening on page 122 when "He" picks out "someone from this living bridge" who "is never seen or heard from again"? Spend 7-10 minutes talking in small groups about any of these questions. Focus on what interests you. When we reconvene as a whole class, we will use your group’s views to start our discussion.
Monroe on Prayer Analyze Monroe's statements about prayer on pages 116-20. –Is he debunking prayer or merely showing his own lack of expertise at prayer? –Do we conclude that he knew how to pray the right way, that prayer did not work, and therefore that prayer is a hollow ritual? –Do we conclude that he prayed in the way he criticizes, that it (naturally) did not work, and therefore that prayer's efficacy is still an open question? –OR is it possible that his prayers were answered in the form of an alternative that worked? –What IS the right way to pray?
Very Important Statement Page 121: "In these worlds where thoughts are not only things, but are everything, including you, your poison or perfection is of your own making.... Your destination in the heaven or hell of Locale II seems to be grounded completely within the framework of your deepest constant (and perhaps non-conscious) motivations, emotions, and personality drives. The most consistent and strongest of these act as your 'homing' device when you enter this realm." Unpack what Monroe is implying in this passage about the power of thought and the purpose of life. –Does it have any bearing on your analysis of his statements about prayer? –Is every thought a prayer in some sense? –Does Monroe’s passage remind you of anything else from this class?
Possible Progression Thoughts words actions habits character destiny. Therefore, be careful what you THINK! We first made this point in connection with Lakoff and Johnson’s text on metaphor.
The Purpose of Life “The purpose of life is to realize that thoughts are things.” --Robert A. Monroe
Surprising Stuff The next slides contain things that will surprise you. –Bible passage –“Home” –Purgatory? –“Reality”
Biblical Precedent It is tempting to think that OBE is demonic, that Monroe was dallying with dark forces; however, OBE actually has a biblical precedent: I Corinthians 15:40ff. and 2 Corinthians 12:2ff. If you’re using the Bible to claim that OBE is demonic, how can you make this claim when Paul affirms the existence of an astral body and speaks positively of his own OBE? See the next two slides.
1 Corinthians 15:40 & 44 “There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.” “It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.”
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven [i.e., the highest heaven]—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise— whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” Here Paul is talking about his own experience in third person.
Dr. Fike’s “Take” Monroe implies that “’Cause the Bible Tells Me So” is an insufficient reason to embrace traditional mainstream religious notions and to deny such experiences as his own; but the Bible, besides including a wide variety of psychic experiences, explicitly supports his assumption that there is a second body and that it can project out of the physical body, have experiences, and return to tell the tale. His omission signals rank ignorance. But how can Christian students affirm biblical inerrancy; acknowledge such “gifts” of the Spirit as healing, miracles, and prophecy (I Corinthians 12:4-11); yet cherry pick the biblical text to exclude Paul’s direct affirmation of out-of-body experience? Suddenly believing what they believe just because “the Bible says so” starts to unravel.
“Home” In another one of his books, Monroe reports on his return to "Home" where he discovers that the lovely music and clouds and colors that he describes on pages 123-24 are like a film loop: the same thing endlessly repeats. "Home" is a sham. In one of his other books, he discovers that it is actually his own nonphysical and nonhuman place of origin.
Purgatory? Page 78: “This near area, quite understandably, is not a pleasant place to be. It is a level or plane where you ‘belong’ until you learn better. I don’t know what happens to those who don’t learn. Perhaps they stay there forever. The moment you disassociate from the physical via the Second Body, you are on the fringes of this close-by section of Locale II. It is here that one meets all sorts of disjointed personalities and animate beings. If there is some protective mechanism for the neophyte, it was not apparent to me. Only by cautious and sometimes terrifying experimentation was I able to learn the art or trick of passing through the area. I still am not precisely sure of all items in this learning process, and so have presented only the obvious. Whatever the process, I happily have not encountered trouble in these passages for several years.”
“Reality” What do you make of the fact that Monroe misremembers a pool he experienced in his childhood? What IS reality? If thoughts are things, then is reality malleable, and may even an incorrect memory be true in some sense?
Monroe’s Intention Monroe's chapter title suggests that he is setting out to debunk religion. Now that we have had a chance to discuss his ideas, do you find his chapter effective in this respect? Or do you find things in his chapter that actually support biblical ideas?
Conclusion Moore and Monroe, of course, are talking about things that are vastly different: finding the sacred in the ordinary (Moore) vs. traveling out- of-body to a realm of disembodied spirits (Monroe). There may, however, be some overlap in their positions. See if you can find any common ground between the two authors. On what do they agree? On what do they disagree? Why are Moore and Monroe an appropriate pairing for today’s class?
Some Possible Answers Monroe’s experiences take meditation (which Moore favors) to its logical extreme. It may be that Moore:soul::Monroe:spirit. –Is the distinction between psychology (soul) and the Greater Mind (spirit)? –Or is it possible that soul and the spirit are the same thing but that one is IN the body and the other OUT of the body? –Aren’t both soul and spirit aspects of wholeness? Neither author views religion conventionally. But both authors appreciate everyday life, though for different reasons and in different ways. END