Wednesday, April 10, 2013


[A long-time reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, has made this diagram of topics in this blog. Many thanks to him. He claims it is only what I have written but it is far more: a subtle interpretation that moves the work forward. Click on the diagram to enlarge it.]


Blogger Beth-Isolde said...

Thank you to the anonymous author of this diagram. A really helpful summary and a wonderful quick reminder whenever I wander from the path of Truth! Yes it does move the work forward. Bless you.

11:15 am, April 11, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie,

I have been thinking about the "choice" that was discussed in the commentary on the last post and here's what I wrote down,

"Similar to when Peter walks on water for a time - he's focused on the upward trajectory towards God. When his focus waivers, he slips but Jesus catches him. ONE CAN CHOOSE - has free will to decide - if one lives in a state of upward trajectory towards God, even if we occasionally slip and fall, or if we stop trying to live this way."


5:41 pm, April 11, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you think of a specific prayer one could recite while "[trustfully] freefalling"?

11:24 am, April 12, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Words are a barrier to trustfully freefalling! They provide a pseudo-safety net and limit the degree to which we open to God.

11:39 am, April 12, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a useful piece of work in itself - thankyou to the author. Is there any cross-referencing to help connect this diagram with your previous blogs?

12:38 pm, April 12, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Alas, no. Want to take a crack at it?!

12:39 pm, April 12, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Personal to 'Isabel' [also 'Samantha'?]

Thank you for your expressions of good will. I can only post comments relevant to the discussion.

4:27 pm, April 12, 2013  
Anonymous Matthew Carlisle said...

Hi Maggie,

When you spoke at Manchester Cathedral last year you said in response to a question that you used to pray the Jesus Prayer but that ultimately God smashes all our idols. I guess words like the Jesus Prayer are used as an anchor to settle the busy self-conscious mind. What to do then when thoughts are apparently the only show in town? Just sit there in faith trusting that God is at work at a level deeper than the thoughts? Do you think that deepening my/our breathing might help me/us settle into the silence?

6:17 pm, April 12, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Matthew, you have answered your own question. You have to trust that underneath all the noise of thoughts God is at work. The Jesus prayer is useful just as you describe; with me, it simply faded away (difficult to describe). If I were burdened with thoughts such as you describe, I'd use it again.

Yes, breathing helps; slow it down. Ideally for meditation, four breaths per minute [incidentally that is also the count for properly sung gregorian chant]. But don't be slavish about it! You can also count your exhalations until you get to ten and keep repeating the cycle. Different exercises are effective at different times in our lives.

The problem I see you struggling with is the desire for result. That creates a barrier to the silence establishing itself. And don't try to imagine or expect what that silence might be like (very subtle, this one).

You have to trust that if you persevere doing the best you can, you will suddenly realise, somewhere down the line, that you are no longer burdened by 'thoughts' without quite knowing how it happened!



6:31 pm, April 12, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you think Jesus waited until he was "about 30" to start his ministry?

10:11 pm, April 12, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Haven't a clue!

I suspect that the number has some significance but I don't know what it is. Perhaps another reader does?

11:59 pm, April 12, 2013  
Anonymous BR said...

I seem to recall at least one scholar (MacCulloch? Wills? Raymond Brown?) saying that "about 30" was a colloquial way of saying Jesus was an adult when he began his ministry.

6:55 am, April 13, 2013  
Anonymous AM said...

Are children capable of "ministry"? The answer is likely to be affirmative. So are birds in their morning songs, the flamingos in their gracious pink,or the water buffaloes with their wide nostrils. It seems age becomes irrelevant in the context of becoming hollowed flute for the "ruach" or "shekinah" of the Holy.

4:11 pm, April 13, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Right on!

6:11 pm, April 13, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about counting breaths as well as the reminder to not focus on results. I have given some thought to the 'upside down beauty of Christianity and its life-giving power through trustful freefalling'.

Question: The image in my mind as I go about life is walking a bit, trustfully freefalling, landing, walking a bit, trustfully freefalling, landing. Is this accurate?

6:24 pm, April 13, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

The less you use images in regard to it the better. The less you think about the process, the better! Just let it happen, out of your sight... until one day you will realise how much silence is now seated in you and you in it

6:56 pm, April 13, 2013  
Anonymous Matthew Carlisle said...

Thanks - that's really helpful

8:02 pm, April 13, 2013  
Anonymous Henry B. said...

Another big theme would be experience v. giving up any claim to experience

10:23 pm, April 13, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...

Good one, thank you, Henry.

10:25 pm, April 13, 2013  
Anonymous MS said...

How would you define "experience", Henry?

12:31 pm, April 14, 2013  
Anonymous MS said...

Perhaps 'giving up any claim to experience' would allow for the reversal of how we view cause and effect?

6:19 pm, April 14, 2013  
Blogger Maggie Ross said...


'Experience' is the interpretation our self-conscious minds gives to what happens to us. It's inevitably distorted and reified because it is a function of the left hemisphere.

'Giving up all claims to experience' is the first step in the work of silence, which leads us to wait in liminality for the transfiguration in the deep mind of the contents of the self-conscious mind, which then is returned with a new perspective. This is a repeating spiral and of course it is not linear as I have just described it (this is the limit of language) but polyvalent.

In a technological culture the communication between the self-conscious mind and the deep mind tends to get cut off so we live only in the self-conscious mind.

The questions and comments in this post and the last post all have to do with problems that ariseā€”to 'free fall' so that the new material from the deep mind can be given to us is very simple, but quite difficult because there is so much static in our lives.

To receive the direct perceptions of the deep mind (where, in Christian terms, our shared nature with God is realised) we need to 'relinquish all claims to experience', that is, let go all our ideas, words, and so forth so the transfiguring process can take place and illuminate the self-conscious mind. Ultimately and ideally we re-centre from the self-conscious mind to the deep mind, so that the deep mind is always informing the self-conscious mind in our daily round.

7:12 pm, April 14, 2013  
Anonymous AM said...

There's so much to munch in silence with all the comments and responses here as well as in the previous post. :-)

2:24 am, April 15, 2013  
Blogger happy pearl said...

I don't pretend to be any sort of authority on "silence." It's a recent growth thing with me, but is becoming more and more part of me and the few others who are exploring this world with me. I find that the most necessary part of it is faithfulness. Allowing for silence means a constant turning and returning, mostly with no tangible "payoff." It's only afterwards, with hindsight that we are becoming aware of God's work in us and in our little world, and they are little things - a slight shift here, and different attitude there, an awareness of something of God not perceived before; (a bit like the end of Exodus 33, where Moses is only allowed to see God's back,and afterwards. His eyes are kept closed while God passes). With all this however, the practice becomes worthwhile for its own sake, but it takes a while for that to be understood. In the meantime, faithfulness is where it's at!

8:54 pm, April 16, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie,
Your comments about"giving up all claims to experience" echo Thomas Merton's words about the life of prayer.In his book Contemplative Prayer he writes that" the activity of the Spirit within us become more and more important as we progress in the life of interior prayer...But more and more our efforts attain a new orientation: instead of being directed toward ends we have chosen ourselves, instead of being measured by the profit and pleasure we judge they will produce, they are more and more directed to an obedient and cooperative submission in grace, which implies first of all an increasingly attentive and receptive attitude toward the hidden action of the Holy Spirit."
I have yet to take this leap of submission, the older I get the more I realize one has to let go of a lot of things before one can begin to take flight.
Love the comments on your blog, a real communion of saints in the truest sense. Thanks

1:26 am, April 17, 2013  
Anonymous AM said...

Kevin, your comment is more ironic than paradoxical, especially when you mention about "real communion of saints in the truest sense." Who knows what's "real," who the saints are, and what's true? Again, a case of interpretive reading of an EXPERIENCE, virtual as it is. Pardon my bluntness...

2:19 am, April 17, 2013  
Anonymous AM said...

Kevin, thank you for your comment. It is helping me a bit seeing the connivance between 'interpretation of events' or experience-as-interpretation and the strangling effects of statics in our personal and ecclesial lives. They mushroom during moments of interpretation where categories and classifications are born - cleric and lay, saint and sinner, women and men, white and black, active and contemplative, ministry and secular work, ordained and non-ordained, true self and false self, monastic and non-monastic, spiritual director and spiritual directee, priests and nuns, Catholics and Protestants, etc.

2:57 am, April 17, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie,
Just wanted to respond to AM. When I mentioned "a real community of saints in the truest sense" in a previous entry I was hoping to convey that this forum seemed to support a sharing of diverse perspectives. Sorry for any confusion that I may have created. Your bluntness is appreciated. Take care.

12:09 am, April 18, 2013  

Post a Comment

<< Home