Saturday April 19, 2013 9:40 a.m.

This dark night of the spirit deconstruction of memory and the kind of selfhood that emerges on the other side that Constance Fitzgerald calls the pray-er of no experience may represent an evolutionary next step.

As we gradually move beyond a selfhood which is inescapably tied to the past we have people who are radically open to the future.

The skills that have been patiently and consistently cultivated in that persistent practice of letting go, what arises on the other side is a person who actually has access to the skills needed to model a new kind of perceptivity and relationality that is sorely needed if there is going to be sustainability in the world.

Fitzgerald –

It is my strong suspicion that the prayer of no experience,
effecting an essential change in selfhood, may be emerging with such
frequency as a response to a world driven by selfishness and self-concern. Any
hope for new consciousness and a self-forfeiture driven by love stands opposed
by a harsh reality: we humans serve our own interests, we hoard resources, we
ravage the earth and other species, we scapegoat, we make war, we kill, we
torture, we turn a blind eye to the desperation and needs of others, and we allow
others to die. We simply are not evolved enough to move into a different future
from which God comes to us.

We are not evolved enough to move into a different future. On the personal level it is our hanging on to memories and prior expectations that makes it hard for us to move on into the future. If this is true for individuals, how much more true is this for whole cultures. The old patterns of thinking are so entrenched. Old patterns kick in with such a vengeance that there is a fundamental disconnect.

There is a consensus of people stepping up and saying we have got to think differently.

We are aching for third force which connects the old and the new but allows a new possibility to arise.

Our ability to embody our communion with every
human person on the earth and our unassailable connectedness with everything
living is limited because we have not yet become these symbiotic “selves.”

A symbiotic self is one that can live in communion with everything. Beatrice Bruteau – what if true persons are circles?

We continue to privilege our personal autonomy and are unable to make the
transition from radical individualism to a genuine synergistic community even
though we know intellectually we are inseparably and physically connected to
every living being in the universe. Yet the future of the entire earth community
is riding on whether we can fi nd a way beyond the limits of our present evolutionary

We know intellectually that we are inter-dependent, inter-twined. But we cannot get there. We are so used to confusing the naming of something with the actual recognition of it. If we can speak passionately about something we believe we can live it. This is the tragic self-confusion of western intellectuals – that because you know the concept you can live it. Knowing about something can be actively dysfunctional.

Three-cenetered awareness: thinking/mind, feeling/heart, moving/body – until you are firing on all three cylinders, you are really not getting it. Knowing without heart recognition is not knowing; it is self-delusion.

As long as your head is the throne of your selfhood you are asleep. Your head remains the head of your selfhood because your ego is trying to preserve coherence and safety in an overwhelming word.

The job is not shame; nothing shamed was ever able to let go. The job is to build under ourselves a platform that is not in our head.

There is a strong sense in our era that we must manifest in a role which sometimes feels alien to us, but there is a necessity to bring something of that which is experienced on the inside as a body of presence. There is something that manifests in the body of presence that is work to be done.

Michael Brown – Deconstruct emotion as the foundation of story. When we experience fear as a sensation without judgment or by-passing, it begins to dissipate. Work with surrender of self at the narrative story constructed level in order to receive it back as a flowing energy field.

I am aware of the discomfort my insistence on dispossession of self might
evoke in many of you who rightly ascribe to the principle of personal autonomy
and the value of the individual.I am not denying the necessity of growing to
healthy autonomy nor of the danger of a selflessness that is unwilling or unable to
achieve a strong agency.

This is not a premature bail-out. Until we can plant our feet deeply in the ground and have agency there, we can’t really bear the beams of love. They simply fry us alive.

I value the life’s work of very fine scholars, many of
them women, who, at the end of modernity, have tried so hard and so successfully
through their scholarship and advocacy to claim agency for all women and for
disenfranchised groups. But our present situation in the world does not allow us
to stop at the call for or to cling unreflectively to the idea of such individual autonomy.
For if there is any insight that we have gained from postmodernity, it is that
radical interdependence can, must, and indeed does co-exist with individuals’
power to act. Then, what I am suggesting in this essay speaks of a useful and necessary
dispossession that does not deny or stand as obstacle to mutual relationship
of persons and community.

The transformation taking place in the prayer of no experience opens into a
profoundly different realm for which we do not have adequate words: the deconstruction
of even healthy forms of autonomy that no longer represent the deepest
possibilities of the person herself and the human with God nor the radical
need of the human community for a deeper synergy.What this prayer predicts
as possibility for what the human person and the human community are to
become is far beyond what a coalition of strong willed, autonomous, right thinking,
ethical people can ever achieve on their own.

Just bringing together a bunch of individual selves can’t make the passage without a different kind of insight and energy.

If the process underway in the prayer of no experience is silently dispossessing
us of our possessive selfhood, might this forfeiture amount to an evolutionary
leap toward selflessness?


I want to leave before you who are theologians in our sad, confl icted
Church this image of the self-dispossessed prophet whose face is turned in
radical hope toward the God coming from the future. When such prophets
overstep the horizon of their own time, their own life, in work, in words, in
scholarship, in teaching, in who they are as people of silent prayer, not only are
they, themselves, reborn on the other side of the boundary, but they are also
carriers of the evolution of consciousness for the rest of humanity. We can
hope that as more and more people make this dark passage to prophecy, this
movement of the human spirit will “activate different genetic potentials” surpassing
those operative in our present selfhood. 55

Synchronicity is simply our experience of symmetry at a higher level where things interpenetrate. Helminski – “Two stones cannot occupy the same space but two fragrances can.”

Like another Carmelite, Edith Stein, whom I mentioned earlier and who
died with her people in the extermination camp at Auschwitz, betrayed by the
state to which she had vowed a total commitment in her youth, I am suggesting
to you who are theologians the powerful infl uence of a spiritual generativity.

Synonym for the imaginal.

The evolution of spirit or consciousness of which Stein speaks happens not just
or mainly through a physical propagation but through a spiritual one in which
people “bear fruit by virtue of the atmosphere which radiates from them on their
environment and … also by means of the works which they produce in common
and through which they propagate their spirit.” 56

The nature of contemplative work is to work non-globally. “Deep calls to deep” (Psalm 42:7) That one deep calling to another is the resonation coming together in entrainment and creating bodies at another level, a different level of substantiality.

This idea of spiritual generativity
may sound far-fetched or ungrounded, until we consider what scientists
are discovering and speculating about the true nature of our world. For example,
as long ago as 1982 it was reported that “under certain circumstances sub-atomic
particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each
other regardless of the distance separating them, whether an inch, 100 feet, or
10 billion miles apart.” Scientist David Bohm’s explanation: there is a deeper
and more complex level of reality than we experience, an “implicate order or
unbroken wholeness” from which all our perceived reality derives.

“an implicate order or unbroken wholeness” = the imaginal realm.

If such a fabric of interconnectedness exists in nature, it is no stretch of the imagination
to apply it to consciousness. Genuine contemplatives have testifi ed to this long
before scientists. 57

Everything appears and intimately fuses in a resurrection body – I Corinthians 15. It is our resurrection body that meets the resurrection body of Christ.

In the resurrection appearances he is only there to meet those who need the appearance because they are in doubt.  The degree of physical enfleshment meets the degree of fear and loss that is binding.

Jesus –

‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

There are three levels on which to approach this statement:

1. exoteric  – the intellect hears this only at the level of the mind and it becomes exclusive. This only corresponds to a level of consciousness in the receiver

2. mesoteric (middle practice) – hear Jesus saying, “I am a path walk me.” No one has ever come to the Father as the loving source without waking the path Jesus has laid before us. Jesus has laid before his followers the steps you have to take if you are going to come to the father. You can’t just wish yourself or day dream yourself into heaven – here is the way to stop walking in this no matter what your tradition. All traditions are going to ask you to surrender, deepen, open and move into the world with radical compassion.

3. esoteric (inner) – at a certain level reality is totally holographic. You can enter it at any part and the part perfectly manifests in a small form the reality of the whole. Any spiritual teacher at that level provides the whole complete access to reality. You don’t have to augment your tradition. Every teacher is in every other teacher. Any way you enter which is in and of itself is whole and will connect with and draw from the Wholeness of the Whole.

What is the relationship between Centering Prayer and the Pray-er of no-experience?

Centering Prayer is the window that begins to pre-dispose you. In Centering Prayer you are disarming the mechanism that runs the egoic self. By disarming attention, and drawing attention back into no-experience wholeness, you are creating the disposition to be able to move into that prayer of no-experience. Every time you sit down and let go you are in the pray-er of no-experience.