A Place Setting [SSL87]

A Place Setting [SSL87]

It’s time for another Wednesday audio delivery of Spark My Muse.
This is Soul School Lesson 87
 [SSL87]

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Eps 79: How to Fly (at will) in Your Dreams–guest, Robert Waggoner

Eps 79: How to Fly (at will) in Your Dreams–guest, Robert Waggoner

Welcome to Spark My Muse!

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(on “Hump Day” aka Midweek) for a brief Soul School “lesson”–something for your interior world and common life.


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SHOW NOTES:

Today’s guest is lucid dream expert, Robert Waggoner. We discuss remembering dreams, overcoming nightmares, PTSD, trauma, grief, and how to lucid dream (gain consciousness and control of your actions and dreams themselves while you are dreaming).robertwaggoner

MIN 2

Scientific proof for lucid dreaming (discovered in sleep lab studies)

REM sleep (the brain state where dreams happen)

MIN 3:30

Robert’s dream life from childhood onward

Precognitive dreams – Dreaming something before it happens.

Robert feeling that dreaming maybe tapping into God in a timeless realm.

6:30

Half of people don’t seem to recall their dreams at all.

Keeping a dream journal

9:30

3 Reasons you don’t remember your dreams

12:30

Important reasons why we might delve into working with our dream life at all?

17:00

Using dreams for healing.

26:30

Mutual lucid dreaming

30:00

Dreams for healing phobias, anxiety, emotional healing, to aid in mediation, bad habits, obsessions, etc.

35:00

Meditation within the dream

Dream yoga, Michael Katz

Clare Johnson better meditation in waking life.

Caroline McCready, Robert’s co-author

39:30

Ask to feel a quality of the divine or unconditional love.

42:30

How to wake up within a dream.

The lucid experience.

The website: dreaminglucid.com

BOOKS author and co-authored by Robert:

46:30

Discovering your uncovered self.

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EPS 26: When Childhood Suffering is Transfigured into a Thriving Life

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INTRO TO THE EPS 26:

Melissa Wilson didn’t just survive mistreatment as a child, she worked to heal from it, redeem it, and establish a platform to help sufferers and advocate for those who are suffering now or wounded from the past.

Melissa converses with me about how she found healing and the joy of transforming her pain into a thriving website and podcast that shares stories of victory, triumph, and overcoming great odds.

Don’t let your past define you. Here are some ways you can move forward and even find a valuable mission in life.

MelissaWilson


SHOWNOTES with links

(These are approximate times in this audio broadcast.)

MIN 1:30

The Grass Gets Greener is Melissa’s project that has and continues to redeem and heal her past.

How did she begin to sense this path of helping and advocating for others?

2:00

Getting therapy and then being able to think about helping others.

10:00

How forgiveness played a huge part in the process of getting to a point of thriving and peace.

“If someone’s hurt us we forgiven for ourselves and not for the person who caused the pain.

13:20

The aspect of the continual forgiveness process.

15:00

Every story of surviving is important.

17:00

What helped her most in the process of healing and the first barrier that stood in her way was stigma.

18:00

The crisis event that sparked clarity to get therapy to heal.

20:00

How talking it out helped her and gave her confidence, and she even spent some time traveling in Europe alone.

22:00

How she developed social anxiety problems and then came to overcome them.

23:00

Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms and high adrenaline responses.

23:30

Finding a safe place and an outside perspective to find space from the trauma and grow in self-awareness.

25:00

The impact on relationships, trust, and bonding.

28:00

Rebounding and developing good friendship and meeting her now-husband as she got well.

31:00

On deciding what to make public.

33:00

Becoming who you really are and meeting new people at that point.

33:30

We attract people who are healthier because we are healthier.

34:00

“You have to connect with people who aren’t going to try to hurt you and who are going support you.”

35:30

Creating a family of choice, the core people who will help you be most well.

36:00

Connecting unawares with people who remind you of old pain.

36:30

You are most vulnerable on the road to recovery.

37:20

Feed your mind with the right stuff that’s going to inspire and motivate you and shift your mindset and body.

Here are resources that helped Melissa.


Esp 22: Why The Dark Night of the Soul is like Fight Club

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Shownotes
Doug Jackson, Returning Guest and All-Star, Explains the 3 Stages of Spiritual Development and Dispels the Biggest Myths.

Do you know St John of the Cross?

What you don’t know could hurt you…but good news, you are now in for a treat!

Listen and get a fascinating perspective of the darkest places on the spiritual journey with your guide Professor Doug Jackson. See the show notes below!

DougJackson

3:00

Historic context of 16th Century Catholic Revival-Era Spanish Mystic, St John of the Cross

4:30

3 stages of spiritual development 

How do we know if we are making progress and what can we expect?

St John (1542-1591) provides a roadmap for night travel.st-john-of-the-cross-zurbaran-detail-featured-w740x493

The Beginner Stage
(The beginner loves God for the self’s sake. The beginners thinks, “What’s good for me.”)

John H Coe

Doug explains the Dark Night of the Soul, the important next stage of spiritual development, in keen and helpful detail.

7:00

God starts at the first stage (in a place of joy and thrill in God) and allows us delight in spiritual things and feed on “mother’s milk” spiritually.

Next, God helps us get used to our baby teeth by moving us to love God for God’s sake.

John of the Cross takes the 7 deadly sins and show how they can happen to us in a spiritual sense.

8:10

God is weening us away from nursing and from spiritual milk. Like a baby, we may misunderstand and feel unloved or unnoticed, at first.

9:00

Commodified is the Dark Night of the Soul in Amercian Evangelicalism. The phrase itself is often used inexactly.

It’s not feeling sad or a string of bad things have happened for which we feel upset and confused.

BUT—It is that without cause we feel God has abandon us.

It is not a loss of faith, nor not depression, nor a felt distance because of sin.

It was also an analysis of depression 400 years before Freud! 

11:00

God withdraws sensible (sensory, felt) affects. The dark night of the senses. (first phase).

12:30

Maybe it feels like prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Maybe it feels that songs or sermons that had made an affect no longer do. This sense of loss will be different for each person.

13:30

Essentially, the delight in God disappears.

13:00

Mistakenly, we often may try to shock people back into spiritual infancy with a method, tactic, or suggestion that seems like it might cause feeling once again. (like a book, a conference, a service, etc)

14:10

The spiritual advice from John is to not abandon your spiritual practices (like prayer, fellowship, meditation, service, etc) continue to obey God and carry on until you pass through the night. They won’t be fun, but you continue for God’s sake, not your own.

Then you can come out on the other side to the stage of the Proficient. (Though the stages are actually more porous.)

15:00

The 2nd stage is where John says most of us get and hardly proceed from.

2nd dark night, is rare, and is horrible and includes a bewilderment and even a loss of faith in God and one comes out with a much richer deeper faith and far more settled and fuller understanding of God.

John Coe using 1 John 2:12-14 explains the stages as well.

18:00

John of the Cross found this understanding through terrible suffering and imprisonment and he saw the spiritual connection.

19:30

In the Dark Night of the Soul, spiritual answers are obscured and things are hidden from view.

Walking by faith and not sight.

22:00

If you can’t find the answers it doesn’t mean that something went wrong, it’s just that you can see right now. There will be a lack of certainty.

22:30

Stick with the basics in the dark night.

23:30

In the dark night we aren’t doubting our Faith, or God, but but we are doubting our understanding of God and our Faith.

The call is to obey God and persist in our ways as before. Eventually a dawn will come.

23:00

In this stage, we jettison things that are not core, central and true and come to understand God in a better way.

BE WARNED: Others may feel anxious to get you back in to where you were.

24:00

Backsliding is not the same thing as a Dark Night experience. The Dark Night is progression.

24:30

Prophets in the OT go through the dark night times.

25:00

Using a different lens to see what is already there.

26:00

Examples:

Elijah after Mt Carmel

Apostle Paul

Job

Jesus (wilderness and Gethsemane)

Jesus “learned obedience” and the the will of God was not pleasant

We all go through these types of dark nights

 

28:00

John of the Cross’s work was (and is) written for [spiritual] guides (leaders) so they can recognize what is happening and to know what not to do.

30:00

Some mystical-style theologians have been hijacked and grafted into a different (sometimes New Age) model of how the reality is ( i.e. “divided self”.)

30:30

The Devil – So what about the Devil which is a prominent feature in the writings?

A CAUTION:

John takes the readers’ Christian theology for already granted. The basic Christian theology was assumed because that was the background and beliefs of his audience.

32:00

Doug answers…Devil with a Big “D” questions. How do we come to understand John and what he is saying, if it is different than our understanding of The Devil and the spiritual world?

Don’t rehabilitate [John], or superimpose our ideas on his work.

Don’t judge or put parts on trial for the embarrassing and difficult sections of St John of the Cross.

34:30

Approach the text thus: “Eat the meat of the fish not the bones”

35:00

If the language bothers you, then let it lie fallow and see what is going on in your own heart as you read.

35:30

We can learn from old text.

36:00

On intellectual honesty and intellectual humility

37:00

On why the devotional classics become that way.

37:30

On the reading of old books (C.S. Lewis) (click to read)

We have different blind spots now. Different mistakes in different times.

38:30

Our cultural and worldview will effect our beliefs.

39:00

How do we get through the Dark Night?

It is up to God as a Grace. Our only job is to remain faithful.

Father Francis Kelly Nemeck

41:00

The promise is (found in Scripture and from those who’ve gone ahead of us in the Faith) that we come out (into dawn) and see the value of what we went through.

God says to Job: I’m God and you are not.

Job says, “Now I have seen you. I spoke out of turn.”

42:00

A word of hope for those in the dark night.

1. Those in the dark night bless those around them and their pride does not effect this because of the Night itself. We are spiritual protected.

43:00

In the Dark Night we don’t get to be proud of our humility.

Be faithful know that God is using you and wait it out.

43:30

Modern example Mother Teresa. She lived most of her life with a sense of abandonment by God.

“If I ever become a Saint I will be a Saint of Darkness, facing the dark to guide souls to the light.”

44:00

People were drawn to her service and work for God even though she felt God’s silence.

45:00

On her critics who say she stopped believing in God.

Christopher Hitchens wrote slanderously about her and others in his book “The Missionary Position”. He said she did have the courage to admit publicly that she didn’t believe in God and never had.

46:00

Mother Teresa–her fruit shows otherwise (it’s sow belief and faithfulness).

Apostasy is a deliberate walking away from God which is a danger of misunderstanding the Dark Night. This is why trained and wise spiritual guides are essential.

47:00

C.S. Lewis character Screwtape urges: “Use the word “phase” to tell him he had it all wrong”

In a genuine Dark Night, we may think we have abandon God or want to and then find ourselves incapable of it.

48:00

Doubt in God is like holding a volleyball underwater with just one hand and senses all the force and then thinking there is no volleyball because it cannot be seen.

“We aren’t working without a net and we won’t fall out of the arms of God.”

49:00

If you are in the Dark Night…(it helps) remembering “it’s a thing, a documented thing”.

49:30

Walking in the footsteps of those who’ve gone before.

51:00

What to do if you are in the throes of it all. best advice.

Richard Foster’s advice in the Celebration of Discipline. The chapter on solitude.

Don’t try to explain this to people when you are in it.

(It’s like Fight Club) “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about fight club”

Most people will not get it. It can hurt our spiritual reputation. God is drawing us into obedience and faith in the absence of feeling. We carry on

Spiritual Director or guide is very important.

“The Dark Night of the Soul” (click to get it free)

“The Way of Spiritual Direction”

“The Spiritual Journey: Crucial Thinking and Stages of Adult Spiritual Genesis”

Henri Nouwen “The Way of the Heart”

55:00

Protestantism running thin in certain areas.

Psychology tainted some spiritual experience as pathology and than co-opted with modern Christianity.

57:00

Baptists were not systematic theologians early on because of the persecution from the Mother Church (in Rome).

58:00

Puritan writers like Jonathan Edwards take God as Physician of the Soul very seriously.

59:00

The one sermon that did in Jonathan Edwards in our time.

“The Religious Affections” To teach that the Great Awakening was just an emotional experience or demonic experience. He writes on how to understand what is of God.


60:02

On taking your time understanding the Dark Night. God is trying to bring us into greater maturity and Christ likeness.


Have you ever gone through a Dark Night of the Soul?
If you’ve reached the dawn, what was strengthen or changed in you?

Blessings in your night travels. If you aren’t in a Dark Night, it’s coming. Stay Calm and Carry on.

If you have any questions or you would like to drop me a line about what you are going through, please use the contact page. A helpful (worldwide) listing to find qualified guides is here.

 

Episode 16 – It’s Apophatic, not Apathetic, Prayer

Shownotes Episode 16 – Apophatic prayer explained in a conversation with Dr. Laurie Mellinger.

LaurieMellinger

Laurie Mellinger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and Christian Theology
Dean of Academic Programs
B.A. Millersville University; M.A.R. Evangelical School of Theology; Ph.D. The Catholic University of America


Get your spiffy guide to the ancient Christian prayer practice of praying using Scripture called Lectio Divina (latin for “sacred reading”). It’s the perfect go-to reference and resource to get started with the four movements of Lectio that lead us to praying without words and listening to God.

A donation of 50¢ or more will get you this essential Lectio Divina resource.
Click HERE to download it now!


Encountering and examining Apophatic (contemplative) Prayer

Conversation Notes

MINUTE 2:00 Apophatic not to be confused with apathetic

3:00

2 main ways of understanding God

Via Eminencia -The way of eminence

The highest of something we know as humans and elevating it. Power, strength “The most powerful”, omnipotent)

Via Negativa – The way of negation (Denying the limited or bad we can observe. God is Immortal (NOT mortal).

5:00

Katophatic (or cataphatic) vs. Apophatic Prayer

Katophatic  – What we can see and say in prayer.

Apophatic – We we cannot see and bri; and without our senses.

6:00 Meditation and how it relates to apophatic prayer

6:30 What is Lectio Divina

Reading scripture and prayer as we seek relationship with God

The four movements of this form of prayer.

12:00

Eastern vs. Western styles of Meditation

Experiencing vs. Word-driven forms

15:30

Contemplation 2 going definitions

1. To observe

2. Contemplative to look at with continued attention.

16:00

Contemplative vs. Discursive prayer

18:00

Breath prayer

21:00

Apophatic prayer as a way to pray without ceasing

22:00

Allowing God to be in every moment, even with every breath.

Laurie’s experience with the Jesus Prayer

Being carried along through pain knowing experiencing that God was with her.

Celebration of Discipline-Richard Foster

24:00

Prayer as a habit that changes you.

…Like holding hands as you walk…

25:00

What happens after the questions like: “I’m I allow to do this?”

The distractions and a flood of thoughts become the hardest part.

How to help that…

Examples: “eye floaters”, “balloons”

27:50

on being patience with yourself

28:00

Brian McClaren getting distracted and quoting from the dessert fathers.

28:30 Turning our face back to God

Patience

Persistence

Presence

29:30

The discipline of being attentive to God allows us to be more present and attentive with others as well. 

30:00

People crave presence and can even be (un)used to it.

31:00

Learning how to listen. Simone Weil.

Mindfulness

34:00

How we are over-stimulated. Children get overstimulated and need naps which means they get silence and solitude and lack of stimulation. Silence and solitude are restorative.

37:00

The demons we encounter in solitude or in the desert.

38:30

A clean and swept room, removed of clutter makes us more aware of new things that might be wrong.

39:00

New Testament Professor Douglas Buckwalter

41:00

Spiritual formation is not doing disciplines.

One kind of prayer isn’t better (per se), but God is forming and reform and transforms us back into the image of Christ. God must reform us. In God’s presence we will feel more loved and acceptance and he might put his finger on something to take care of.

Luke 11:24-26

24“When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25“And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 26“Then it goes and takes alongseven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

43:30

on…The messy interior work needed to be more like Jesus.

Letting God dig around.

43:30

Helpful and practical advice for getting started with apophatic and contemplative prayer.

Practice reading the Bible and using the text to help you pray and wait.  (Lectio Divina)

“That waiting (in prayer) is the entry into apophatic prayer.”

Breath Prayer

Centering Prayer (using a word to focus)

“Be patience with yourself. Just do it and God will meet you there”

Using a candle to bring our attention back.

47:00

Good focus is ill-fitting at first until you commit to the process.

Leonard Sweet

(paraphrase) “If you are still counting the steps, you aren’t dancing yet. You are still learning to dance.”

47:30

Prayer can become flow.

48:30

Union with God – The traditional understand of the goal of apophatic prayer.

50:00

God invites us corporately and individually as human beings into that (triune) relational and our participation in that relationship is what I mean by union with God.”

Sensing the presence and love of God more fully, and more and more fully. This is union with God.

51:00

Western goal in Christianity is often understand (first) as Salvation in terms of Penal Atonement and payment for sin. It is a more judicial angle compared to what Eastern Christians do. It’s much more about relationship restored.

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