I have had many instructors through the years, in courses, workshops, retreats, and books. I laughed when they publish my book; there were 25 pages of citations. For me, besides the wisdom of so many sages from around the world and many different eras, I would have to say the Edgar Cayce readings and materials had a great impact on my evolvement. When I read “The Sleeping Prophet” by Jess Stern, it just blew me away; it put so many pieces of the puzzle together for me. Then there is the Cayce “Search for God” material, in two thin volumes and their concurrent experiment books, wonderful material.
I think as one seeks and processes, ultimately we find the final instructor is in ourselves. That venturing inward in contemplation and meditation and our experiences as we apply what we have learned in our lives. It has been a life long journey for me and as it became more focused in the last 10 years; I had not expected my personal quest to become a book. When people ask me how it came about I think my most succinct answer is; meditation, inspiration, and perspiration.
“He seeks out the wisdom of all the ancients, and is concerned with prophecies; He preserves the sayings of the famous and penetrates the subtleties of parables; He seeks out the hidden meanings of proverbs and is at home with the obscurities of parables. He serves among the great and appears before rulers; he travels in foreign lands and learns what is good and evil in the human lot. He sets his heart to rise early to seek the Lord who made him, and to petition the Most High; he opens his mouth in prayer and asks pardon for his sins. If the great Lord is willing, he will be filled with the spirit of understanding; he will pour forth words of wisdom of his own and give thanks to the Lord in prayer. The Lord will direct his counsel and knowledge, as he meditates on his mysteries. He will show the wisdom of what he has learned, and will glory in the law of the Lord’s covenant.” Ecclesiasticus 39: 1-8 (New Revised Standard Version)
“That is why anybody who has the gift of tongues must pray for the power of interpreting them. For if I use this gift in my prayers, my spirit may be praying but my mind is left barren. What is the answer to that? Surely I should pray not only with the spirit but with the mind as well? And sing praises not only with the spirit but with the mind as well? Any uninitiated person will never be able to say Amen to your thanksgiving, if you only bless God with the spirit, for he will have no idea what you are saying. However well you make your thanksgiving, the other gets no benefit from it.” (I Corinthians 14:13-18)
Whether we feel a leaning toward spirituality or science, ultimately either avenue is seeking the answers to the same questions: our meaning, our purpose, our being. Every single person has felt this yearning in one form or another. In Hamlet Shakespeare expresses this idea with his line: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt in your philosophy.” In his poem “Excelsior” Longfellow calls to this feeling of seeking, going ever upward, expressing that even when our physical bodies fail, our spirit continues.
Think of religion and science as two explorers who have landed unbeknownst to each other at opposite poles of a planet, trying to get to the center. Each traveler has only a basic compass and a radio to communicate with. Each thinks the other is somewhere out of sight, yet in the same hemisphere. Radioing to each other to meet at the center, one tells the other he must go south, while his compatriot advises that it is north that will lead them to where they want to go. Neither one is grasping the other’s viewpoint that each one, from his perspective, is correct. If they will both follow their own compasses, they will meet in the center.
The irony of both science and religious searches is that they regularly focus on external surface phenomenon. There is a degree as well as a need and purpose for this, but it is not the conclusion. Whether it is Newtonian physics that works on the surface versus quantum physics that works in the essence or dogma versus spirituality, the final leg of the journey is within. In both schools history has shown their paradigm-shifting illuminations have invariably been through an inward intuitive experience.
I think this idea was expressed by the stories for the search for the “Holy Grail”. As the knights dashed and broke themselves on the external world, finding of the grail was an inward journey. Curiously, the Cistercian monks are believed to be the authors of the Grail sagas. Their famous leader was St. Bernard, probably better known for his involvement with the Knights Templar, but also a close friend of St. Malachi of Ireland (St. Malachi is actually buried in Clairvaux, France at a Cistercian Abbey. St Malachi is probably better known for his Papal prophecies.
Further, meditation, which is generally considered an Eastern practice, was practiced by the Cistercians, called Lectio Divina, and St. Bernard traced it back to an early church father, Origen. To 20th Century Cistercian monk, Thomas Keating and Thomas Merton, have some very food writings on this.
The only “Siege Perilous” is to our egos.