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I'd prefer to answer questions from seekers rather than those wishing to get into in an academic debate. I do, however, have a considerable degree of scholarly knowledge that may be applied to the inherent complexities - or simplicities - of the contemplative life. But the key word here is "applied."
I tend to agree with these sentiments as expressed by the woman writer on mysticism, Evelyn Underhill:
"Now meditation is a half-way house between thinking and contemplating: and as a discipline, it derives its chief value from this transitional character."
Source: Practical Mysticism: A little book for normal people (1914), p. 46.
Moreover, I strongly believe that all persons possess an essential individuality--not just a superficial, conceptual or constructed sense of individuality. So if you're looking to lose your essential self in 'nothingness,' please ask another expert. I don't believe in that idea.
I began to meditate in the 1980s. I did hatha yoga and studied and taught Tai Chi. I then lived in India for two years where meditation was a way of life. Although my methods have changed over the years in keeping with my personal development, I still consider myself a contemplative person.
My table from "Religions and Cults" at earthpages.org is reproduced with permission in L. Lindsey, S. Beach and B. Ravelli, Core Concepts in Sociology, 2nd ed., p. 157
World Wide Web:
My online article "Letter to God" coauthored with Buddhist monk, E. Raymond Rock, appears on several different spirituality-based websites, including http://tinyurl.com/db7a5o
I've interviewed, as a Christian, a self-proclaimed mystic: http://tinyurl.com/cawykr
My articles appeared at the former New View magazine nuvunow.ca and are published at earthpages.org.
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
M.A. in Comparative Religion
B.A. Hon. in Psychology/Sociology
For more info, please see my CV and letters of recommendation and my blog at michaelwclark.com.