Talk:Meditation/Archive 4

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edited the motivations for meditating

I removed the specific motivations of people to meditate. My reasoning for doing this includes,

  • the list was overly large and still not complete
  • the reasons are generally specific to the religious, or secular, context or tradition in which the meditative practice is done. therefore the reasons can easily be included later down in the article under the religious, or secular, sections.
  • many of the reasons describe one religion's motivation but not another's. i saw this as wood for the fire of conflict. like somebody recently edited something like, 'to become close to God', to, 'to become close to a God'. Even still then a Christian might come along and say that this does not reflect his story, then revert it, then somebody claims non-point of view, and next thing there's a discussion on the talk page and we all have to vote on whether it gets deleted.
  • this way the lede more closely reflects the scope of the article, and i feel like the paragraph now flows nicely to the monastic and religious historical practice

so that's why i did it.

p.s. i also put the one reference later down in the Christianity section makeswell (talk) 17:19, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

But I think you deleted the Perez reference about walking and made the walking very specific to one style, perhaps making it incorrect. Please double check these before deletion. I think you know the eastern styles so your edits "assume" things, so please double check. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 18:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Are you referring to kinhin? Which edit are you referring to? The kinhin edit may have been inaccurate in the way you've pointed out, so I changed it to be an example rather than the standard. I don't remember the Perez reference. makeswell (talk) 11:11, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Second discussion on suggested change to lede regarding position of The Catholic Church on meditation

I propose we remove the following sentence from the article,

This is the continuation of a long chain of discussion on this one sentence. Mostly people were concerned that the sentence is not point of view, after all it is The Catholic Church's point of view on the practices of other religious traditions. So several people have already voiced the opinion that we remove the sentence, rather than change it, which I am agreeing with at this time. I also am proposing that we remove it entirely from the article, because there is plenty of information elsewhere in the article on the same topic, and because there have been concerns raised about the weasel-wording of this particular sentence.

Please state below your support or opposition, with brief, policy-based support. Many thanks, makeswell (talk) 20:08, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Support, as the creator of this proposal, based on the reasons given earlier. makeswell (talk) 20:08, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Comment Make your mind up my friend. You proposed something above - and by the way we agreed on that. Now you propose something else as that is still ongoing. We are having so many elections and votes here that we are getting a perpetual vote machine. Next week: what will the vote be? Let it rest for a while before we jump the vote machine again. I think there is probably some Wiki-policy against multi-voting for ever. History2007 (talk) 20:16, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
We did mostly agree though not explicitly. I am writing this in order to generate more clear consensus so I don't have to argue with you about it at some later date. I find it very ironic that, as the only person who has opposed this change from the beginning, all the way through several pages of discussion, you now nay-say actual discussion on the topic.makeswell (talk) 20:24, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Chzz: Did you declare the previous discussion as a dead end? History2007 (talk) 21:13, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

I marked it as an archived discussion, as I noted at the top of it, so that we could clarify the consensus here  Chzz  ►  22:58, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Support. I don't think the sentence is entirely necessary. The article does go into detail about both western meditation practices and Catholic/Christian thought pertaining to meditation. Also, I can spot at least three weasels (possibly more) in the sentence. The examples are: "meditation tehniques" (doesn't specify what type of meditation techniques), "increasingly practiced" (there aren't statistics suppled in any potential next sentence to back up the vague wording. It could be an increase of 1% or 450,000%, for all it matters), and "some opposition" ("some" does not summarize all the opposition it receives, whether the opposition is solely from the Catholic church or whether it is from 1,230 committees solely made to protest against it). Backtable Speak to meconcerning my deeds. 21:08, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Support and Oppose. If the entire sentence is deleted. But not if it is stated that it is gaining ground with no opposition. How do you say much ado about nothing? I wonder if he meditated... History2007 (talk) 21:13, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Support dropping the sentence, for various reasons I've stated in earlier discussions. The current sentence is a somewhat secondary and not entirely balanced ad-hoc selection of facts about the current context of meditation. Why say those facts and not others, such as efforts to revive Western practices, such as Centering Prayer, after centuries of neglect? Let's scrap current sentence and start with a clean slate. If we want to say something about the current context of meditation -- which might be needed for a smooth intro -- perhaps we can find a way to say something about the most basic fact, which is prevalence of interest (trends and evaluations, as in sentence to be dropped, are all secondary to this more basic bit of context). Health Researcher (talk) 16:14, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but as the discussion on numbers above shows, it is anyone's guess how many people do what. So we have no hard and fast facts at all. And as you have pointed out centering prayer and so on may have come off the endangered species list recently, but the situation is unclear as to who does what. History2007 (talk) 16:20, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Personally I am still open-minded that the prevalence statistics might be citable (in the body and perhaps eventually in the lede), if they are accompanied by appropriate caveats. Part of the purpose of such an inclusion (if we can wordsmith text to where we like it) would indeed be to convey the idea that (as far as we can tell) nobody knows for sure. Even if we never manage to wordsmith it properly, I still think that for now we should go to a clean slate. Health Researcher (talk) 16:47, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree. And suddenly we are all running the risk of a heated agreement here. Better calm down. History2007 (talk) 16:52, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks to all, for keeping this discussion on-track. I highly recommend my favourite essay: WP:TIGER.  Chzz  ►  15:21, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

The End Everybody who has voted on this topic, for both the first and second times, has agreed to remove the (entire) sentence at this point. Therefore I will remove it at this point. In conclusion, this Meditation article has a lot of potential, as a wellspring of information across a broad spectrum of traditions, traditions that have historically been at odds with each other, and this sentence was a part of that. It seems that the sort of discussion we had would, and likely will again, occur on a page such as Meditation. I think that in the future we might try to manifest a NPOV and also show some sort of sensitivity to other people's religious beliefs and lifestyles. Thanks everyone. makeswell (talk) 14:10, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Yes, the page has "potential" but there is an old joke in marketing circles: you can not eat potential. So I would still try to get those who know the topic to add material that would teach me, and others, for I think there is a long way to go. I can email images of dollar bills to those who help, if that can be a motivation. History2007 (talk) 16:11, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Difference / comparison section

Dhikr singing: This looks quite different from Zazen

Once again, in my quest for free education here, can I talk those in the know to sketch a difference section that says how/if Hindu meditation is different from Buddhist meditation? They seem very similar to me on first reading, but what do I know? This would help clarify some things, I am sure. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 12:33, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Actually that's a really good idea, to have like an interreligious section about the interaction of these traditions. In the Buddhist section there's a brief sentence which points to the interaction between Christianity and Buddhism, and so I think that would be an appropriate place, alongside, perhaps, if you wish it, the Catholic Church section you've been working on.
Also, I think that there have already been some movements towards a sort of comparison of the religious traditions, especially the section about religious prayer. I think we will have to be cautious that we cite our sources in this section.
Lastly, there certainly are similarities between Buddhist and Hindu meditation styles. You may already know that Buddhism grew out of the Hindu and Vedic traditions in India. Later, Buddhism declined in India, which has been attributed (in something I read) to a re-integration of Buddhist and Hindu thought. Certainly these days we see a unity between the traditions, and The Fourteenth Dalai Lama himself has said that both share the same goal of moksha (in Hinduism) and enlightenment (in Buddhism). makeswell (talk) 22:34, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
There is something wrong here, we are agreeing too much - just kidding. But what I meant was that usually when there are discussions of similarity, there are also discussions of differences. There is a section called Similarities among disciplines, so now what is it that the Buddhists do that the Hindu, Jain or the Sikh do not? And how Jain meditation different from Sikh? The articles keep describing the approaches, but a discussion of differences is clearly missing. One obvious issue maybe group meditation vs individual, is that right? It seems to me that the group singing that takes place in Dhikr is not present in Hindu methods, is that right? History2007 (talk) 22:49, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
No. Hindus do sing in groups.[7] I am no expert but every example I have seen of Hindus chanting has been in groups. It seems that all religious traditions have some form of group song embedded in them. makeswell (talk) 16:03, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Taylor[50]:2 noted that to refer only to meditation from a particular faith (e.g., "Hindu" or "Buddhist") is not enough, since the cultural traditions from which a particular kind of meditation comes are quite different and even within a single tradition differ in complex ways. The specific name of a school of thought or a teacher or the title of a specific text is often quite important for identifying a particular type of meditation.
The quote above (italicized) from the main article deals with differences between traditions. That quote has been in the main article for a couple of weeks (and you can also follow the link and read Taylor's original online). It strongly suggests that any attempt to characterize differences should be done in a way that does not present a procrustean oversimlification. For example, it would be an oversimplification to say that "Dutch men are taller than American men", even though the average height of Dutch men is now 6 feet 1 inch. It would be more accurate to quote a scholar who says something like "the average height of Dutch men is taller than the average height of American men, although the range of individual heights varies greatly in both countries, and there is much overlap...". Similarly, most (or perhaps all?) generalizations about differences between how meditation is done in various traditions are only that -- generalizations. Often there are exceptions to general patterns (as per Taylor). These considerations mean that it is harder to write - and easier to get wrong - a "differences" section, than to write sections that focus simply on describing the traditions themselves. Is writing a comprehensive differences section really something we want to take on at this point? (occasionally, it may be better to stop when one is ahead, so to speak...) Health Researcher (talk) 16:13, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, well, as they say in the Kagyu, 'every man is a school'. makeswell (talk) 16:38, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
As another warning about the need to avoid procrustean generalizations about religious traditions, I would alert you to the fact that the West has often identifed Buddhism with somewhat austere practices such as Zen (and more recently, Vipassana - also with little devotion to a personality), whereas it has tended to ignore the "Pure Land" traditions which I believe numerically has had the most total adherents of any Buddhist traditions, and emphasizes devotion to a transcent person (a Buddha figure). According to Huston Smith (writing in Smith & Novak, Buddhism: A Concise Introduction, 2003, p. 187): "Pure Land Buddhism was overlooked, and... one of the reasons for the oversight is that when Westerners began to be interested in Buddhism, its Pure Land school looked too much like Christianity to seem interesting." Thus, because of the Western mind's interest in exoticism and novelty, Westerners have sometimes gotten misleadingly exaggerated views of differences between traditions. Health Researcher (talk) 16:30, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, and I like that story of Procrustes. makeswell (talk) 16:40, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Also, Countering systemic bias on Wikipedia. makeswell (talk) 16:42, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Hey! That's not true! I like Pure Land! :) [Also, there are elements of Pure Land in Tibetan Buddhism, for one, where Amitābha is considered as a deity in mantra recitation where prayers are made to him to be reborn in Dewachen.] makeswell (talk) 16:46, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Here's that quote from The XIV Dalai Lama, "...according to the Buddhist practice... the ultimate goal is salvation, or the Sanskrit word, moksha, or nirvana, that's the permanent cessation of all suffering."[8] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Makeswell (talkcontribs) 17:51, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Subsection length and WP:DUE

The Jain section used to be the longest of all a couple of months ago and much of that was moved to the main article to make it almost the same as the Hindu, Sikh, Taosist, etc. I did the same to Christian meditation, by moving material to main, so it was also almost the same length. Now Jain seems to be on an expansion trend, so I moved some material to main again - I hope you understand. But in fairness, now Buddhism is claiming much more real estate than Hindu/Tao/Jain/etc. Makeswell, since you are the expert on that would you like to move some to main to give an appearance of equal opportunity meditation, per WP:DUE? Thanks. History2007 (talk) 12:24, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I will certainly keep length in mind over the course of the next few weeks as I try to merge the Buddhism section of Meditation with Buddhist Meditation. I have long had in my mind the idea of merging the two, and you're right that the two should be combined; right now Buddhist meditation does not have, or merely links to material that is on Meditation#Buddhism. In the end we may find that Buddhism is still longer than the other sections, which is O.K. This may not remain the case as other sections are updated and expanded upon later. So we'll see. Right now, the Anapanasati section of Meditation#Buddhism might be shortened, but the metta section is already a single sentence, and more material needs to be added as well, particularly about Tonglen. So I'll certainly keep your suggestion in mind as I continue to edit Meditation. makeswell (talk) 16:30, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I think what you will find is that in this "jack of all meditations" article unless all approaches are given a fair treatment, and almost equal real estate eventually disturbances will bubble up. So why not try to follow WP:DUE beforehand, give everyone almost equal space and use the main articles for longer discussions. I think Wikipedia rules demand that and logic begs for it. History2007 (talk) 17:26, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I totally already agreed with you.makeswell (talk) 17:49, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Please give me some time, I am busy with other tasks as well. 65.32.180.165 (talk) 18:13, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I tend to agree with History2007, because I think that the tendency to grow endlessly is endemic to this page. There need to be limiting principles, even if they are not necessarily exactly what an individual scholar would impose on his/her writing. And, alas, even if they are at times restrictive and irrational (gosh, I guess I'm advocating being procrustean... about space limits, not about the meaning that is conveyed). In the past on this talk page, concerns have been expressed about giving space to any individual methods in some categories. For example, on March 16 2010, Gatoclass stated "once we let one in we no longer have any ground to exclude the rest" DIFF. Perhaps we can deal with individual methods that are used in secular healthcare or educational contexts. But I see this page as having to sail a very tight and difficult course between the scylla of oversimplification and the charbydis of unsustainable overinclusiveness of detail. Health Researcher (talk) 19:12, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

No worries about being procrustean, modern airlines do that everyday, on every flight. I hear they are now checking people's legs in as baggage, whenever they feel like it. But seriously, as an "overview article" the length needs to be managed in an equitable way among the different approaches and that is why "Main" directives were invented for. I wonder if the new Medusan airlines can just carry passenger heads and ship their bodies by land. It would save money. Another interesting question therein that you brought up now, I assume Plato, Aristotle etc. did NO meditation. Is that right? No Greek or Roman meditation? History2007 (talk) 19:35, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Meditation in ancient Greece and Rome?

Another interesting question therein that you brought up now, I assume Plato, Aristotle etc. did NO meditation. Is that right? No Greek or Roman meditation? History2007 (talk) 19:35, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Good question. Plotinus, a CE non-Christian Greek, is often listed among the great mystics of history, and they are often if not usually associated with some sort of contemplative practice. But I can't remember if there's any historical trace of any practice that may have been linked to him. I think one of the limiting factors (even today, as seen in TM) is that details of meditation methods have fairly often been treated as hidden (I think hiddenness may be etymologically connected with the word mystic/mystery). The WP Plotinus page states that he viewed "“The perfect life” involves a man who commands reason and contemplation.(Enneads I.4.4)", but I have no idea if there's evidence (as opposed to solid grounds for suspicion) that by whatever is translated as "contemplation" he meant something akin to what our page means by meditation. I wonder if anyone would know at a WP help-desk? Health Researcher (talk) 20:10, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
It appears that there is at least one scholar who claims that Plotinus engaged in meditation: Rappe, Sara (2000). Reading neoplatonism: Non-discursive thinking in the texts of Plotinus, Proclus, and Damascius. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521651585.  A book review in Religious Studies (2001), 34, p. 124, states the following:
"Sara Rappe’s study is among the first to analyse Neoplatonic texts by bring to bear contemporary philosophy of language. This controversial approach is brought to bear on the whole tradition of Neoplatonic writing, from Plotinus through to Proclus and Damascius. Addressing the strain of mysticism in these of many works, Rappe argues that Neoplatonic texts reflect actual meditational practices, practices that had as their aim the concentration of the mind, and the cultivation of a cognitive discipline. Unlike many English-speaking commentators, Rappe is very sensitive to the theological dimension of Neoplatonic philosophy. She is alive to its nuances and is able to set it in a broad intellectual context. Rappe’s book is a welcome addition to the existing literature. Its controversial conclusions will no doubt help to provoke much discussion."
Assuming there's also interesting stuff in the book (which I haven't perused), perhaps this merits a sentence or two somewhere, though I don't see justification for a whole section on ancient Rome/Greece (after all, every other section deals with the past or present of a still-living tradition). Health Researcher (talk) 21:49, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I think meditation in Rome has always involved a great deal of wine, and continues to date! But the Greek issue is interesting. Yet given that there is just one scholar that means not a great tradition. For geometry used to be secretive in those days too, yet they wrote about it and preserved it. My feeling (total WP:OR until I do searches) is that the techniques for "controlling attention" were only known to the Indians/Easterns and the Greeks did not learn about them. Just as the Indians did not learn about Greek geometry until somewhat later. But the Chinese may have been running on their own, both in meditation and mathematics. It will be interesting to search for that this summer. History2007 (talk) 22:05, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, here's another interesting quote for anyone who has time to followup up. It's from pages 83-84 of: Hadot, Pierre; Arnold I. Davidson (1995). Philosophy as a way of life: Spiritual exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Malden, MA: Blackwell. ISBN 0631180338.  :
No systematic treatise codifying the instructions and techniques for spiritual exercises has come down to us. However, allusions to one or the other of such inner activities are very frequent in the writings of the Roman and Hellenistic periods. It thus appears that these exercises were well known, and that it was enough to allude to them, since they were a part of daily life in the philosophical schools. They took their place within a traditional course of oral instruction.
I suspect a case could be made that the difference between the ancient East and the ancient West is not that the West lacked such exercises (at least Hadot seems of that view), but that the East was more systematic in codifying general principles for spiritual exercises (e.g., Patanjali, 3rd chapter of Bhagavad Gita, some of the Buddhist scriptures once they started being written down). Even in the East, there were often details left unwritten, which remained orally transmitted. Health Researcher (talk) 23:05, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I take it back. A tiny bit of codification from the Greek/Roman world seems to have survivied, although it is not derived from sources of comparable authority as the eastern codifications (in Patanjali, the Gita, or Buddhist scriptures). Here is more material from from Hadot (pp. 84-85):
Thanks to Philo of Alexandria, however, we do possess two lists of spiritual exercises.... With the help of these lists, we shall be able to give a brief description of Stoic spiritual exercises. We shall study the follwing groups in succession: first attention, then meditations and "remembrances of good things".... Attention (prosoche) is the fundamental Stoic spiritual attitude. It is a continuous vigilance and presence of mind, self-consciousness which never sleeps, and a constant tension of the spirit. Thanks to this attitude, the philosopher is fully aware of what he does at each instant.... We could also define this attitude as "concentration on the present moment".... Attention to the present moment is, in a sense, the key to spiritual exercises. .... We must also associate our imagination and affectivity with the training of our thought....

In fact your Plotinus assertion was correct and interestingly enough according to Hans Urs von Balthasar (Christian meditation Ignatius Press ISBN 0898702356 page 8), Augustine of Hippo tried to, and failed to achieve meditative ecstasy by following the teachings of Plotinus. So Augustine and others were probably aware of Plotinus but felt that his methods did not fly that well. History2007 (talk) 21:44, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

page needs a mindfulness section - secular meditation

Hey everybody, The page needs a mindfulness section, to summarize and link to the Mindfulness (psychology) Wikipage. This is a secular form of meditation, practiced in mainstream Western medicine and Buddhist sanghas alike. Therefore I think that the page will not fit the current schema and so we will have to somehow change the page. There are also other secular practices, such as body scan techniques, and probably others, so perhaps we should consider opening up a "Secular Meditation" section. I wanted to consult you guys before making this move, as it would restructure the page significantly. Somehow I want to include Mindfulness (psychology) in this page.makeswell (talk) 17:45, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean by "restructure the page significantly" but it seems to me that all that is needed is a paragraph in the current "secular meditation" section that describes MBSR and related methods, mentions that it is derived from Theravada Buddhism (though perhaps with a bit of modification), and also links to another page about mindfulness. Since there's already a lot in the Buddhism section, that would allow a bit more space in the Buddhism section (which could include a sentence saying see also those other sections). Health Researcher (talk) 18:52, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the Researcher, no restructuring is needed beyond some touch up. History2007 (talk) 18:56, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
I went ahead and restructured the page a bit. I hope you guys like it, and would honestly like it if you guys just went with me on this one, as it has started to make me nervous just editing Wikipedia when I'm worried about people coming to challenge and refute my edits. This is my first time really editing on Wikipedia, please see: Wikipedia:Please_do_not_bite_the_newcomers Honestly, when somebody first reverted my edit on this page, I got upset like, 'Who vandalized the work I did?!?' (lol). That's one of the points covered in that page about newcomers, along with the second bulleted point about being bold and allowing users to be bold. I hope you understand.
I got the statistics you guys were looking for about the number of people who meditate in the West, online here: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm makeswell (talk) 12:43, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Makeswell, it's great that you have a lot of energy for Wikipedia. BUT... your edit count is now 773, you have been editing for more than 10 months, and you have edited more than 100 different pages. I don't think you can claim to be a newcomer in the sense that the "please do not bite" page is describing. For example, the statement that "newcomers are often unaware that edit histories are saved" has long ago ceased to apply to you. Basically, you seem to be asking everyone else to let you do what you want to do (in terms of restructuring the page), because it might hurt your feelings if you weren't allowed to do what you want to do. Even though two other editors just told you they thought that restructuring was a bad idea. Do you think that experienced editors are thrilled when their edits are reverted? If you want us to give you special treatment after only 773 edits on 100+ different pages, when will you stop asking for special treatment? Will you still be asking for special treatment when you've contributed 7773 edits on 1000 different pages? I do appreciate all the time and energy your are putting into WP, and I wish I had as much time and energy. But I think this plea for special treatment was not one of your finer moments. Frankly, I think it would be a respectful gesture to your fellow editors to return the page structure to what it was before. Health Researcher (talk) 19:17, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

So the story is this:
  • He asks "everybody" if it is a good idea to restructure the page.
  • Two people say "probably not".
  • He says, ok, I did it, because I am a new comer, don't bite me.
I did not find the restructuring useful either, but was waiting to see what others said. But is it now time to restore it back? I think we should. I have a feeling that if these "spur of the moment" multi-edits continue we will have a Hurricane Katrina on our hands. History2007 (talk) 19:51, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
is it now time to restore it back?
Well, if we don't restore it back pretty soon, then it will become the "status quo". And if it becomes the status quo through the process we've just gone through, I think that's a bad precedent, for various reasons mentioned on this page. While I would prefer that Makeswell himself restore the previous structure, I don't get the impression that he's going to do so. So I would support someone else restoring it back. Health Researcher (talk) 22:24, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not going to drag this out, but the point is that I came here asking nicely, very nicely, that you two simply let editors be bold. This is in no way asking for special treatment as I would certainly show you the same courtesy. As I said, this was one of my first serious contributions to Wikipedia, which was reverted, and then this edit war with History2007 which was miserable, long, excessive, and in the end History2007 ended up completely acquiesing to the changes he had so staunchly opposed with maybe a couple sentences of opposition! History2007 you have recently been in another edit war on that Christian page about Rosaries or something, during which time you completely refuted the changes that were trying to be made while, as on this page, the person 'discussing' it with you made several new possible suggestions and compromises and you refused them. I would simply ask you to reflect on your behavior as the discussion on this page is not an isolated event. Really, it has taken all of my effort to keep from being mean to you.
I think it is completely beyond the good use of my time and ridiculous that I would have to come onto this talk page to defend a fact about my own experiences!!!! I ask you two to be nice, to let me edit, to not revert any of the work I have been doing, or at least not constantly and in many circumstances and without offering any alternatives and how do you respond? You nitpick my plea for cooperation! History2007 you have proceeded to rephrase my original statement, as if we couldn't read it for ourselves, in your own insulting manner. I am done with this, it is not fun for me nor is it in any way, shape or form worth the trouble I am going through to edit this stuff. You win this war, but you lose an editor and contributor, which is exactly the point of Wikipedia:Please_do_not_bite_the_newcomers.
By the way, your point that each section of this page needs to be shortened based on WP:DUE is stupid, because the sections are not points of view. They are not even close to viewpoints, they are very clearly content. Also, the page will surely change over time which is another reason why there does not need to be a section shortening. I am not going to be motivated by a rude and threatening attitude, so edit the Buddhist section yourself.makeswell (talk) 20:18, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Was there a section here about the "soothing effects of meditation"? I wonder how many Wikipedia policies this edit violated.History2007 (talk) 20:15, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Also History2007, your wielding of Wikipedia guidelines as your personal whipping stick to keep unruly editors in check is entirely inappropriate since the guidelines are just that, guidelines. This was a surprise to me (a new editor) to find out, after a discussion on the Wikipedia IRC Help channel. makeswell (talk) 20:23, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Makeswell, I haven't followed every interchange between you and History2007, but I do not have the impression that he places undue emphasis on WP policies. If you want to see what contentious editing is like, you could follow links from administrative noticeboards (e.g., WP:ANI, WP:AN3, WP:FRINGE), or the Arbitration Committee. For example, see Race and intelligence, now in arbitration. To me this Meditation page seems rather amicable and cheerful in comparison to many other pages at various times (e.g., Ghost, Wendy Doniger). A few pages on WP only draw editors that agree with each other. Meditation doesn't happen to be one of them, which is not surprising for such a high-interest page. Health Researcher (talk) 22:16, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Ah, no worries, I don't take those comments seriously. But you are right that this page has been fun, and I would say also educational for me. The education is mostly from the material you have found, and the laughs have been provided by edits of you know who. The don't bite me thing was really funny. So, let the games continue - it is fun and educational. The page is gradually improving too, with the definitions etc. In about 4-6 months it may reach maturity. History2007 (talk) 22:24, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the compliments. But hopefully at least part of the time the page can be fun in ways that all participating editors can enjoy together. I do sympathize with Makeswell's experiences, and he's put in a lot of work contributing to this page, though as I've told him, I disagree with some his recent actions. It ain't for nothing that just below the "Save" button - at least as it displays in my browser - Wikipedia puts the disclaimer, "If you do not want your writing to be edited... then do not submit it here." Which editor has never felt a bit attached to their contributions, even if the ideal is remain detached and free from "ownership"? -- Health Researcher (talk) 22:48, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Health Researcher, I really don't care about people changing my edits. I guess you're talking about how I was surprised when my edit was entirely reverted, aye? I wrote that just to show how much of a noob I was. It was relevant I felt, after reading Wikipedia:Please_do_not_bite_the_newcomers - because I did in fact feel frustrated and like I was being treated disrespectfully (see above paragraph by History2007), and this did make me both 1) not have the time to edit, and 2) not have the want to edit, especially because I was inexperienced. 2) is a central point of Wikipedia:Please_do_not_bite_the_newcomers. I do appreciate your effort to be kind Health Researcher, I do, but I also think that referring to someone's valid (right?) feelings by calling them a call for 'special treatment' and arguing with someone by telling them that they shouldn't feel scared, is not exactly being kind.
Perhaps I was not clear, but I think that hate breeds fear, and like the bold child who explores when he knows there is freedom and security about, I too would like to have room to stretch my fingers across my keyboard. Perhaps also I could've distinguished a bit my desire to be treated respectfully, and given some breathing room to move and edit, with the desire of mine to edit the structure of the page. In the end I just would like to cooperate on this page. I think that hindering editing is a hindrance to editing. So, take it or leave it. I look forward to working with, and not against, the both of you in the future. makeswell (talk) 13:39, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Also, feel free to revert my changes to the structure of the page. I just want the secular meditation to be next to, or somehow connected to, preferably on the same tier as, the religious meditative styles. Also, this NIH link http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm#meditation has the meditation usage statistics you two were looking for a while back. makeswell (talk) 13:42, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Also, in case you've not yet noticed, the Buddhist section of Meditation has been shortened as per request. makeswell (talk) 13:47, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Christian meditation - what methods? sentence unclear

What are these methods? In many methods of Christian contemplative practice, "meditation" is the middle level in a broad three stage characterization of prayer: it involves more reflection than first level vocal prayer, but is more structured than the multiple layers of contemplation in Christianity.[9] Without the methods being described this sentence has little to add to the article as a whole, so I'm leaving it here for safekeeping. makeswell (talk) 16:52, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Give me a break. This is a summary section. It can not define all methods. History2007 (talk) 17:04, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Jesus Christ is at the center, not only of a Christian's prayer but also of his entire life. The entire life of a Christian is directed towards Christ: directly in prayer and indirectly in the rest of his moral activity. His life is seen as a life in fellowship with man and God because of Jesus Christ who is man and God.
A Christian's prayer may be classified in three stages and described as follows:
(1) Vocal prayer: Praise and worship, and prayers of petition.
(2) Meditation
(3) Contemplation
(1) In praise, we give Jesus Christ something of our own selves. While in worship (from worth-giving) we give Jesus something of His own self. In a prayer of petition, we ask for God's intervention.
(2) In meditation we place in Jesus Christ the foundation of our hope for salvation.
(3) Contemplation starts out from a loving awareness of the presence of Jesus amongst us and continues in a discernment of Jesus' communication to us.
Alan347 (talk) 13:40, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, you are completely right. Those are the exact 3 steps. History2007 (talk) 13:45, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Interesting! I encourage you to add this material to the Meditation page itself, however you see fit. Also, something to think about: is this information consistent with the post you made, Alan347, near the bottom of this Talk page, so that meditation is both with Christ as the foundation for the hope of salvation, and also includes various methods such as meditation on The Bible, chaplets, and so on? Also, if you are able to cite this information, then all the better. makeswell (talk) 00:57, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes in Christianity, meditation is always about Christ as the foundation for the hope of salvation. For you see, we know we are sinners and yet we know Christ has paid the price for us and so we know we are no longer sinners. We also know that we are now in the New Covenant where the gift of Christ is the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to overcome sin in our life. This is the beautiful message of Christianity! Regarding the Bible, don't limit yourself to meditating on the Bible... there is so much more! Ask God for the Holy Spirit and start read it. Do that daily. It all starts from there. Start with the Gospel according to Mark it will present Jesus Christ to you! The Bible has been written for us to know Jesus Christ in his person. Alan347 (talk) 13:59, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Soteriology of meditation

An edit was made about the soteriology of Christian meditation, specially in the Eastern church. I modified that to be correct, for it represented an incorrect view of Christian soteriology in several ways. To begin with theosis is not a purely Eastern issue and is also held in the Western Church. Moreover, it presented a causative view of meditation and salvation: Christian spirituality specifically denies that, as the text and references I added now explain, and as clearly stated in the Epistle to the Romans 9:16. I think those editing specific topics are well advised to study said topics before expressing views on them. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 18:09, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Theological errors

There was another edit which again had serious theological errors, of a fundamental nature. I am sorry but saying that "theoria is currently held as one of the, mysteries of the Holy Rosary" is really incorrect. And the reference for it was Rosarium Virginis Mariae! That statement was really incorrect - I should know since I wrote the page for Rosarium Virginis Mariae. And given that the rosary is a Catholic devotion and has no dogmatic basis, the association reflects a total lack of understanding of Christian theology. And the repeated attempt to associate Christian meditation with ecstasy reflects a Buddhist view tying to recast itself in Christian terms. It is just incorrect from multiple angles. Again, I suggest that those trying to edit this topic, should study it in detail for several months before cutting and pasting random sentences in a few minutes - for that creates chaos, not content. Thank you. History2007 (talk) 21:40, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

History2007, I appreciate your concern and the wisdom you bring to this topic, and would be willing to work with you, rather than at odds with you. The information which was a paragraph, and is now perhaps no more than, "and the Eastern Orthodox approach to theosis via Hesychasm," was taken entirely from other pages on Wikipedia. I claim no real expert knowledge, but I do think that other pages on Wikipedia should be fairly equally represented, or if they don't deal in a NPOV way with the topic, edited themselves, wouldn't you agree?
I think we would both agree that you have only briefly mentioned the topic of Hesychasm, and then refuted it with two full sentences generally demoting the importance of ecstasy in Christian meditation. The first sentence states how the goal of Christian meditation is guidance from the Holy Spirit, which to me, as to many of our similarly uninitiated readers, may be somewhat vague. What exactly does, "guidance from the Holy Spirit," refer to here?
The third sentence of the new paragraph you have added addressing the topic of ecstasy, or theoria, demotes the importance of theoria in the place of the reading of scripture, this is clear. So, in the realm of Buddhist thought, this might be looked at as the classic distinction between study and practice, (see "The Importance of Practice" by Lama Gursam), but of course, we are not discussing Buddhism here, nor the Unio Mystica in general, for that matter. In Christianity your third sentence here seems to be pointing to the topic of a sort of disagreement between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church about whether, God is known (I suppose is the proper way of saying that?) through logic or through theoria. Theosis deals almost exclusively with the two opinions, and the difference between a sort of logic, or reasoned, approach to knowledge, and the direct experience of God, i.e. theoria, is mentioned and cited multiple times throughout Theoria. I would like to direct your attention especially to Theoria#Theological_Issues_between_Eastern_Christianity_and_Western_Christianity which deals with this topic, and also mentions St. Augustine, as you will see.
I'm sure that you will want to mention Theoria as fully as possible. I think that you have done an excellent job in many ways of doing that. I think that it may be helpful to our readers if we outline the differences in opinion, or belief, of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church on the topic of reason, or theoria, as ways of knowing. One of the biggest differences, to me it seems, is that the experience of theoria is the basis for being a theologian in the Eastern Orthodox Church, while this is not so in the Catholic Church. Likewise, theoria is the goal of Christian life in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and likewise again this is not the case in the Catholic Church. This is all understood from the reading of other pages on Wikipedia.
So, I have two questions for you, because perhaps I am mistaken here. Is, "the 'Christ of Scripture and the Scripture of Christ'," the same idea as reasoned knowledge, or is this different? Basically, is the reading of scripture considered the same here as reasoned thought and logic? If so, then perhaps we might include this quote in a larger discussion of the differences between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic beliefs and practices. If not, then I would just ask you kindly to discuss how this point is important. Is this the view of just E.P. Clowney, or does he represent a sort of movement, a shared opinion?
Then also, in reference to the following, "and St. Gregory of Sinai, one of the originators of Hesychasm, stated that the goal of Christian meditation is 'seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit, beyond the minor phenomenon of ecstasy'," would you please help here by clarifying exactly what is meant by, "guidance from the Holy Spirit," and how this figures into the practice of Hesychasm at large. I'm sure you will understand my confusion at reading this, when I had just finished reading, all throughout Wikipedia, how Hesychasm is associated directly with ecstasy, and how big of a role theoria plays in modern Hesychasm. Perhaps there is some difference between modern and pre-modern practices and views on theoria, or perhaps there is some historical disagreement, besides of course the one between the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church, that I'm simply not aware of.
Thanks for your time and effort in clearing this matter up for our readers, and I hope that we can achieve some sort of good result in time. I would love to leave this largely in your knowledgeable hands, and will hardly have the time in the coming weeks to work very much on this. May God be with you in all that you do. makeswell (talk) 14:44, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to put my original edit to Meditation on this page, here, for reference purposes,

By theosis, certain ascetics of the Hesychast tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church reach a point where they see God, they behold him, they are in a state of union with God known as theoria and as Unio Mystica, according to the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church (but not the Roman Catholic Church). In the Roman Catholic Church theoria is currently held as one of the, "mysteries of the Holy Rosary".[10] Those in the Eastern Orthodox Church consider this state of beholding God to be witnessing the Tabor Light that was revealed on Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration of Jesus.

I whole-heartedly concur that the mysteries of the Holy Rosary bit should have been removed, as you did. I am glad you did this. This information was taken directly from elsewhere on Wikipedia which is why it is nice to have an expert such as yourself to review these edits. I do especially like that last sentence, now that I'm looking at it, because it includes the internal links to other Wiki-pages, namely Tabor Light, Mount Tabor, and the Transfiguration of Jesus, as well as dealing directly, in a concrete way, with a difference between the two churches. It was likewise sourced from internal Wiki-info, so perhaps, in the coming week, I (or you) might be able to find some sort of reference for it, as a key piece in distinguishing the views of the two Christian churches on the experience of theoria. I hope this helps. makeswell (talk) 14:58, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

I think this is turning into a Sunday school lecture than a discussion on the article. I wonder why some people (present company excluded of course) insist on making edits on topic that they know ZERO about. This is a summary section, not a discussion Christian theology. Anyway, have you considered enrolling in a seminary for a while? The answers are there.

Regarding the Christ of Scripture that was just a direct quote and noce wording to refer to Christology. I added a link now. But that point is being made again and again and is central to Christian meditation, as the Vatican document was repeatedly emphasizing too: Christian meditation has to be Christocentric.

Regarding Hesychasm it is mentioned in the summary here and there is a WHOLE article on it within Wikipedia. But the problem with your edit and the Tabor light emphasis was that it is not representative of mainstream Christian beliefs. It may appeal to people who want to see a world in which Christian and Buddhist/Eastern meditations merge and eventually the Pope and the Dalai Lama make friends and go to a Lady Gaga concert together, but the reality is far from that.

Regarding Holy Spirit, here is a piece that is too long to go into this article and is REALLY beside the point in this article, except for the brief reference I left from the originator of Hesychasm. So this is it:

Christian authors have contended for long that prayer involves the action of the Holy Spirit, e.g. referring to the Gospel of Luke 6:13, John Tillotson argued at length that the efficacy of prayer depends on the Holy Spirit.[11] Moreover, Christian teachings suggest that the person praying needs to be "guided by the Holy Spirit" as to what needs to be prayed for.[12] The Catechism of the Catholic Church re-iterates this teaching:
"Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man." [13] "The Holy Spirit who teaches the Church and recalls to her all that Jesus said also instructs her in the life of prayer, inspiring new expressions of the prayer: blessing, petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise." [14]. "Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him". "The father gives us when our prayer is united with that of Jesus 'another Counselor, to be with [us] for ever', the Spirit of Truth." [15] "The [Holy] Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sights too deep for words." [16]

So Catholics, Anglicans and Eastern Christians all agree on that. But again, this must remain a summary paragraph on Christian meditation, not a treatise on Christian theology itself. History2007 (talk) 15:29, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

No. I've never been to a seminary. That does sound interesting though, perhaps some day I'll go to one.
Yes. What you say of the Holy Spirit guiding man in prayer is coherent with what I have seen and read about Christian prayer.makeswell (talk) 17:47, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
You say that, "Christian meditation has to be Christocentric," that, "Christian... praying needs to be 'guided by the Holy Spirit'," how, "the reality is far from," a, "world in which Christian and Buddhist/Eastern meditations [have] merge[d]," and, reference the section wherein E.P. Clowney writes in his book, "Christian Meditation", "The meditating Christian... will not dare to read as though he were rubbing Aladdin's lamp, using the Bible as a 'mantra' to induce an ecstatic experience or to compel a visitation of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." I think this is all a fairly obvious point you've made, that Christian prayer must be a part of the Christian life. The point is further enumerated in the following quote, taken directly from Hesychasm.

"Orthodox Tradition warns against seeking ecstasy as an end in itself. Hesychasm is a traditional complex of ascetical practices embedded in the doctrine and practice of the Orthodox Church and intended to purify the member of the Orthodox Church and to make him ready for an encounter with God that comes to him when and if God wants, through God's Grace. The goal is to acquire, through purification and Grace, the Holy Spirit and salvation. Any ecstatic states or other unusual phenomena which may occur in the course of Hesychast practice are considered secondary and unimportant, even quite dangerous. Moreover, seeking after unusual 'spiritual' experiences can itself cause great harm, ruining the soul and the mind of the seeker. Such a seeking after 'spiritual' experiences can lead to spiritual delusion (Ru. prelest, Gr. plani)—the antonym of sobriety—in which a person believes himself or herself to be a saint, has hallucinations in which he or she 'sees' angels, Christ, etc. This state of spiritual delusion is in a superficial, egotistical way pleasurable, but can lead to madness and suicide, and, according to the Hesychast fathers, makes salvation impossible."

Now, the above quote does not reference other religions specifically, but does indirectly because it says that prayer must be a part of the Christian life, or, as you so succinctly put it, Christian prayer must be Christocentric.
In the end I think that all of the points I will make will revolve around the use of the word, "ecstasy," to describe the direct experience of God, union with God, knowing God, beholding Him, seeing God, seeing the Tabor Light, the uncreated Light, the essence of God (in distinction to his existence), and so on. All of the phrases recently employed to describe theoria are found within Wikipedia on the pages of Theoria, Theosis, and Hesychasm. Following is the paragraph on Meditation around which this conversation is revolving.

Some mystics in both the Western and Eastern churches have associated feelings of ecstasy with meditation, e.g. St. Teresa of Avila's legendary meditative ecstasy and the Eastern Orthodox approach to theosis via Hesychasm.[17][18] However, St. Augustine failed to achieve meditative ecstasy via the teachings of Plotinus[19] and St. Gregory of Sinai, one of the originators of Hesychasm, stated that the goal of Christian meditation is "seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit, beyond the minor phenomenon of ecstasy".[20] According to E. P. Clowney it is the search for wisdom, not ecstasy that marks the path of Christian meditation, a wisdom sought in the "Christ of Scripture and the Scripture of Christ".[21]

So, I think the point has been made that Christian prayer must be Christocentric, and that the goal of Hesychast practice, "is the experiential knowledge of God,"[22] and not the experience of ecstatic states.
The way that these points are expressed on Meditation might confuse and misconstrue the facts, for those readers who are not well-acquainted with the subject. First, in Meditation ecstasy is identified with theoria in Hesychasm, and then second, ecstasy is contrasted with, "'guidance from the Holy Spirit'," and thirdly contrasted with, "a wisdom sought in the 'Christ of Scripture and the Scripture of Christ'."
It is written on Hesychasm that, "The Uncreated Light that the Hesychast experiences is identified with the Holy Spirit. Experiences of the Uncreated Light are allied to the 'acquisition of the Holy Spirit'. Notable accounts of encounters with the Holy Spirit in this fashion are found in...." So on Hesychasm the Uncreated Light experienced by the Hesychast during the Unio Mystica is considered by them to be the same as the Holy Spirit. At the same time, on Meditation, there is currently a quote which says that the aim of Christian meditation is seeking, "guidance from the Holy Spirit beyond the minor experience of ecstasy," where ecstasy is identified with the Unio Mystica. So on one page the Unio Mystica is identified with an, "acquistion of the Holy Spirit," and on another page, "guidance from the Holy Spirit," is contrasted with, and said to be more important in Christian meditation, than the experience of the Unio Mystica. This may be confusing to the uninitiated reader of Wikipedia for whom we are writing/editing.
So perhaps we might change this quote. Since it is consistent amongst Christian writers, as you have written on this Talk page, that prayer must be done with, for, and by God, the Christian God, then perhaps also it is important enough to mention on Meditation. Perhaps then we simply communicate the idea that prayer, and theoria, need to be Christocentric - perhaps with a quote which you have already provided us, "Christian prayer is a communion of love with the Father, not only through Christ but also in him". Perhaps, on the other hand, this idea is already expressed in the following quote from E.P. Clowney as well, already present on Meditation#Christianity, "The path to salvation in Christian meditation is not one of give and take, and the aim meditation is to bring joy to the heart of God. The initiative in Christian salvation is with God, and one does not meditate or love God to gain his favor.[88]" Somehow, I propose that we change this quote, so that it properly reflects the positions of the Hesychasts in how they interpret their experiences of the Unio Mystica.
In the third sentence of the aforementioned paragraph on Meditation, there is a small quote taken from a book by E.P. Clowney known as "Christian Meditation". In the section of E.P. Clowney's book which surrounds this quote, he seems to be attacking something other than theoria, and he mentions how, "the Christian does not launch a voyage in inner space nor does he center on abstract infinity."[23], which he then follows with a sort of distinction between Christian prayer and the use of mantras or the repetition of the word OM in other cultures. This seems to be a valid point in two ways, just sort of by the way, because 1) Christian prayer is done for the glory of God, and not otherwise, though some may think that Christian and non-Christian repetition of prayer are of one and the same substance, and because 2) I think that really it is important to Christians how they use the Bible, that the Bible must be read and that Jesus himself is found through reading of scripture. Perhaps we might include a sentence about the importance of Bible study. To the topic at hand, it seems that E.P. Clowney is referring to ecstasy in a different way than how it is used in other contexts to refer to theoria. I don't believe he directly mentions theoria by name, or even something akin to 'union with God' in this whole section "The Lord of Wisdom" in his book "Christian Meditation". So, I fear this may be somewhat confusing for our readers, who may come to believe that somehow reading scripture is not compatible with the states of theoria and union with God achieved by those Christian ascetics in the Hesychast tradition (and other traditions, as you've pointed out).
I would like, in the end, to somehow really just say what this state means to these people. I've listed a number of names which all have roughly the same meaning, denoting union with God, perhaps something like, as it says on Hesychasm, "The Hesychast usually experiences the contemplation of God as light, the Uncreated Light of the theology of St Gregory Palamas. The Hesychast, when he has by the mercy of God been granted such an experience...." makeswell (talk) 20:27, 14 August 2010 (UTC)


The comment to which I responded was deleted!
Yes, that expresses the same set of ideas, but in many more words. I was not aware of the madness/suicide part, but the warnings against the "pursuit of ecstasy" during meditation are the same, and coincidentally (or not coincidentally) are similar to those issued by the Catholic Church regarding "euphoric states". Overall, based on the multiple expressions of the same idea we have seen here the long and short of it is that:
  • Christian Meditation does try to control attention, either as in Hesychasm through repetition of a phrase or as in the case of Teresa of Avila non-repetitively by reading suitable Bible passages.
  • But, the goal of Christian meditation is not reaching a state of ecstasy, but focusing on the life of Christ, and the love of God.
This same idea has been stated in 5 different variations here so far, and is a difference between Christian meditation and the meditators who search for Nirvana. History2007 (talk) 19:45, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Makeswell, I am NOT going to respond to your questions here in this form. You pose a question, get a response in agreement, then delete the question? Hello? Hello? Hello? How do you expect people to discuss things with you when you create total chaos? You have created enough chaos here, both by inserting "completely incorrect" material without due research, then changing questions to which others have responded. This is WP:Disruptive editing and I can NOT participate in your continuing it. This is a warning to you to stop disruptive editing. History2007 (talk) 21:13, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I rewrote the first post entirely at the same time you responded to it, thus it did not appear on this page when you returned. I made a comment on your Talk page about this apologizing for any inconvenience this may have caused, "I've completely re-written my response (including the part you've just responded to :( on Talk:Meditation. I'm sorry! I hope this doesn't cause you much trouble anyways. Good luck! makeswell (talk) 20:31, 14 August 2010 (UTC)." Nothing was removed from the first version, the only difference was that a question was rephrased as a statement, which also turned out to be consistent with your response. There were numerous additions to the second Talk page post.
Also, please do not accuse me of disruptive editing for contributing information which came from another page on Wikipedia, as discussed previously.makeswell (talk) 03:07, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Please direct your comments towards creating some affirmative consensus on how to handle the topic of theoria on Meditation. Thanks.makeswell (talk) 15:48, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

History2007, You have twice questioned my ability to edit this page, because of a lack of wisdom on the topic. You have been very rude, culminating in, "I wonder why some people (present company excluded of course) insist on making edits on topic that they know ZERO about." You removed my edit and replaced it with your own, and then proceeded to insult me and then drop out of the conversation when I responded with patience, addressing your concerns extensively, and asking you for your input on how we might reach consensus.

I rewrote a post on this Talk page at the same time you responded to the first version. I proceeded to apologize to you on your Talk page, for this one-time and accidental mistake of mine, and then you continued to accuse me of WP:Disruptive editing along with the inclusion of information which was taken from elsewhere on Wikipedia, yet you deemed false or poorly cited, and we had already agreed upon removing it. This is not Disruptive editing, nor, anyways, would it mean that you need give me a, "warning," and refuse to cooperate with attempts to reach consensus.

You, History2007, have removed my edit and refused to discuss with me how I might include such an edit on this page. You have insulted me numerous times. You are effectively blocking me from editing on Meditation, and that, more than anything else, is WP:Disruptive editing. Because you are not responding to me, I have taken the only course of action available and re-posted the information which was removed, in a different form this time, and with citations, in a way which does actually well-encapsulate the important points of the more-detailed pages of Theoria, Theosis and Hesychasm, among others. Have a nice day. makeswell (talk) 00:57, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Incorrect edits again

Another confused edit to the Christian meditation section was deleted. It should be made "clear" somehow that copying and pasting sentences to make a point results in incorrect information if the subject matter is not understood. These incorrect edits all aim to make an incorrect point and run against WP:POINT and are repeated cases of WP:Disruptive editing as mentioned above, given that the same point is being crafted through the combination of sentences, again and again. An example of correct information was the one presented by Alan, this new information was confused, as stated in summary. Second warning is hereby issued to Makswell regarding WP:Point and disruptive editing. History2007 (talk) 00:54, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

My edit,

The Holy Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church have experienced theoria, literally, the vision of the Triune God.[24] The hesychastic way of life, the purification of the heart and unceasing noetic prayer, are considered essential in the Orthodox Church for the salvation of man.[24] It is believed that the Tabor Light witnessed by Peter, James, and John, at the Transfiguration of Christ, is the same as the Uncreated Light witnessed during the beatific vision of God's glory.[24] Visions may last for hours, days, weeks, and even months at a time.[24] This experience is granted through the grace of God,[24] and the Carmelite nuns, in particular, say how they must wait for the experience, rather than calling upon, or beckoning, God.[25]

is on an entirely different topic, and includes much different information that the post by Alan347. Your original qualm with my first edit was that theoria is not a mystery of the Holy Rosary, which I went along with.
Then you began writing about the Christocentric nature of prayer, which does not address, nor conflict with, what I have written about theoria.
You have not addressed my writing in any of your posts, except for saying that theoria is not a mystery of the Holy Rosary, with which I went along with, and therefore have given no reasons as to why you have removed my writing on theoria. Please do so, so that we may reach consensus.
Please respond to the content of my edit, which you have removed.
makeswell (talk) 01:30, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
My summary did say that the edit came from a source that criticized the Latin Rite, and also included Carmelites, which are Latin Rite. A statement that goes against the majority of Christians and includes a major part of them is incorrect and does not belong in a summary section anyway. There are fundamental errors in these edits, every time. It is like my trying to edit an article on Turkish grammar to make an incorrect point by cutting and pasting sentences, while I do not speak Turkish, and ask why my grammar is incorrect. The comparison was that Alan's edits showed an understanding of the field and were correct. These edits you have made are an EXACT case of WP:POINT in that they somehow try to make the same incorrect point again and again, every time tripping over another theological error. History2007 (talk) 01:38, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
The information I included is not about the Christocentric nature of prayer, it is about the information discussed extensively on Theoria, Theosis, and Hesychasm, all of which I have read.
Your post above is not clear to me. I do not know the history of the Latin Rite or its relevance to Carmelites. What error are you talking about?
Alan's edits don't even contain the word, "theoria." makeswell (talk) 01:51, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
This is the edit summary you are referring to, by the way, "Sorry: Once again, confused and incorrect info, minority view that criticizes "Latins" mixed with Carmelites!" makeswell (talk) 01:55, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
What are you even talking about with WP:Point? Are you referring to my reference that the Carmelites say that they cannot call upon God, but must rather be open to His reception? Please be clear. makeswell (talk) 01:59, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
As I said above, trying to explain these basic concepts such as Latin Rite, Carmelite etc. is like giving a tutorial class on Christianity and is not the task here. In general, editors who wish to edit topic on Christianity, Islam or Judaism should study those topic in detail before they edit those sections. If someone who doe snot know physics goes to edit a page on an advanced topic in physics and asks for a tutorial on physics to make the edits, they will not get far anyway, if the "point" they are making is inherently not right. The same applies here. History2007 (talk) 02:01, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
First of all, this is not advanced Physics. Second of all, this information is all sourced. Third of all, I've read the Wikipedia pages (Theoria, Theosis, Hesychasm) about this topic. Fourth of all, anyone has a right to edit on Wikipedia. You're claim that I have no right to edit on this page, and your removal of my edits, whether it be because I supposedly, according to you, don't have the qualifications and experience to edit on this page, or, whether, it be, as you've said above, my previous edits in Buddhism which disqualify me from editing on this page, either way, it is a general hindering of my efforts to edit on Wikipedia, about a topic which has not otherwise been addressed. You have removed my whole edit, and not told me why. This comes on the heels of your total dismissal of our previous conversation. This material is both A) talked about extensively on other pages on Wikipedia, and B) cited. I don't see how you can just wholesale remove the entire edit without any qualifications whatsoever. I mean if you have a problem with a specific portion of what's been written, then by all means, go for it. There is no way, quite frankly, that the entire edit was false. There's just no way. It is totally the same as is written on other pages on Wikipedia. If you don't disagree then do something but the way you're responding, it's as if you are specifically trying to halt my efforts to write on here. makeswell (talk) 02:11, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Actually, I only suggested that editors in general should study a topic before they edit it. E.g. one should know who the Latins and the Carmelites are before using those terms. You said you did not know them. Period. History2007 (talk) 08:49, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

mentioning Theoria

The following is what I would like to include on this page, in order to summarize and link to the topic covered most especially on the pages of Theoria, Theosis and Hesychasm,

"The Holy Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church have experienced theoria, literally, the vision of the Triune God.[24] The hesychastic way of life, the purification of the heart and unceasing noetic prayer, are considered essential in the Orthodox Church for the salvation of man.[24] It is believed that the Tabor Light witnessed by Peter, James, and John, at the Transfiguration of Christ, is the same as the Uncreated Light witnessed during the beatific vision of God's glory.[24] Visions may last for hours, days, weeks, and even months at a time.[24] Carmelite nuns say how they must wait for theoria, recollecting their previous experiences, rather than calling upon or commanding God.[26]"

We might also want to add a sentence, or reword the above somehow, in order to mention theosis a.k.a. deification, or union with God. If you have any opinion on this topic - support, criticism, or other - please feel free to share it on this page. makeswell (talk) 03:40, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Aside from the repeated theological errors (and the ensuing clean up efforts) that have accompanied the series of edits on this topic, one needs to ask (and the burden is on you to prove) that theosis deserves to be in the "summary section" for Christian meditation. This is a summary section and should only discuss "items of prominence". You have not even approached that point yet. History2007 (talk) 15:15, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
Okay. Briefly then, Theosis on the Orthodox Wiki, and a quote from that page, "For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation." makeswell (talk) 23:36, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
"For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation."? But excuse me, what does that have to do with meditation? Are we confusing issues of soteriology in meditation again? I thought those errors were clarified above. Next question: How many sentences about meditation do the Wikipedia pages for theosis and theoria include? You guessed it: zero. Does that provide a hint that there is no "main stream" correlation between these items? And in the book "Christian Meditation" by Hans Baltahzar, a VERY respected theologian there is hardly any joint discussion of theosis, theoria and meditation. And the same is true of the comprehensive book "Christian Meditation" by Clowney. Both books are referenced in the article. Had there been a "mainstream prominence" to theosis in Christian meditation, those books would have discussed it. They do not. I think the case is closed really. History2007 (talk) 01:09, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Soteriology comes from Soter logos that is translated as: talk about salvation. Meditation comes from Med attain explained as an attainment of a middle ground in prayer with God (1st ground is vocal, 3rd is contemplation). As spirit exalting as meditation can be it is not salvation. Neither is, for that matter contemplation, which is more than meditation but does not exclude meditation. From a Christian perspective, salvation is assured at the moment a person gives his heart to Jesus because Jesus has paid the price for any transgression. Salvation also happens kairologically; that is at each moment in time the Christian knows that Jesus is saving him. Salvation is one thing, meditation is another.Alan347 (talk) 09:01, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Alan, you are right: "Salvation is one thing, meditation is another." Well said. Let us just leave it at that. History2007 (talk) 12:24, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
This is a different topic. Before, we were discussing whether theoria is notable enough to be included on this page. On that topic, I would also like to mention that in the Orthodox Church, one must have experienced theoria in order to be considered a theologian, as mentioned in the first sentence of Theoria#Theological_Issues_between_Eastern_Christianity_and_Western_Christianity and here as, "Other Fathers too speak of this holy state of the soul, since life in Christ is a common experience of all the saints," and here as, "In Patristic tradition, theologians are the God-seers." Due to the aforementioned importance of theoria amongst the Eastern Orthodox Church, it does follow that theoria is noteworthy enough to be included in Meditation.
Next, on the topic of theoria being necessary for salvation, or not, I think both that a) this is somehow mentioned in several locations and b) I was a bit too hasty in writing that, "The hesychastic way of life, the purification of the heart and unceasing noetic prayer, are considered essential in the Orthodox Church for the salvation of man."
I propose that we just remove this sentence. There is considerable mention of the role of theoria in reaching union with God, and the role of union with God, divinization, theosis, with salvation, as, for example, on Theoria, "Theosis is expressed as having "Being with God" and a relationship (God is Heaven, God is the Kingdom of Heaven) that is infinite and unending, glory to glory," and also here as, "Theosis-Divinisation is the participation in the Uncreated grace of God. Theosis is identified and connected with the theoria (vision) of the Uncreated Light (see note above)," and here, as, "The primary work of the Church is to lead man to theosis, to communion and union with God." This however, does not matter, because it is not within the realm of meditation how exactly theosis and theoria lead to union with God, and how union with God is salvation, or what-have-you, as has been already noted by other editors. My intention with posting that second sentence was to include a link to Hesychasm and the Nous, and to give a sort of mention of what Hesychasm means, namely, "the purification of the heart and unceasing noetic prayer."
As I wrote above, I propose that we simply remove the sentence. What's more, I would suggest that we add a quote, so that the paragraph-to-be (on Meditation) becomes,

"The Holy Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church speak of the experience of theoria, which means the vision of the Triune God.[27][24] "St. Symeon the New Theologian, speaking of inner stillness [inner stillness means hesychia and theoria here][28] and describing its holy atmosphere, says: 'Hesychia is an undisturbed state of the nous, calmness of a free and rejoicing soul, a heart's untroubled and unwavering foundation, vision of light, knowledge of the mysteries of God, a word of wisdom, depth of conceptual images of God, rapture of the nous, pure converse with God, a vigilant eye, inner prayer, union with God and contact and complete deification, and painless repose in great ascetic labours'."[29] It is believed in the Eastern Orthodox Church that the Tabor Light witnessed by Peter, James, and John, at the Transfiguration of Christ, is the same as the Uncreated Light witnessed during beatific vision of God's glory.[24] Visions may last for hours, days, weeks, and even months at a time.[24] Carmelite nuns say how they must wait for theoria, recollecting their previous experiences, rather than calling upon or commanding God.[30]"

I am honored to be a part of this conversation, despite any inability I may have displayed in my attempt to edit Wikipedia for the clarity of others' attempts to find God within and without. Thank you for your comments, and I hope we may reach some sort of consensus. makeswell (talk) 03:17, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Again, as I said, the changes that are being repeatedly proposed are like my trying to edit the Turkish grammar page, not speaking Turkish. I do not know why I would try to do that, and waste the time of other editors who speak that language. In any case, your recent repetitive comment has not changed anything really. This is a cyclic discussion now and must end. History2007 (talk) 05:55, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Searchtool-80%.png Response to third opinion request:
With regard to the most recently reverted edit, I would support it (ie. the deletion of your text above, makeswell) mostly on the grounds of WP:WEIGHT. Links to the Theosis and Hesychasm articles are already provided in the preceding paragraph, and that seems sufficient mention of these topics in the context of this already lengthy article on the general topic of Meditation. So going further into detail about Eastern Orthodox, etc., practices and views here would not seem to improve the quality of the article, in my opinion.—Wikiscient (talk) 19:21, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
( the most recently reverted edit)
Thank you Wikiscient. I hope this ends this saga. There are a few unreferenced sections in this article, and I do not know why this marathon debate needs to take place any more instead of fixing those. History2007 (talk) 19:30, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that theoria does not need two full paragraphs to describe it on Meditation.
Originally, History2007 wrote the paragraph which is currently on Meditation at the same time he removed my own writing on theoria on Meditation, as shown here. Next, I raised several concerns with his new paragraph on Meditation, which are both shown above on this Talk page as well as, for easy reference, in a briefer form below. Then, History2007 accused me of disruptive editing for rewriting a post on the Talk page at the same time he wrote his response. I apologized for this before he mentioned it, and then he wrote, "Makeswell, I am NOT going to respond to your questions here in this form," and proceeded to not respond to my concerns about his paragraph. Finally, I wrote a note to him on Talk:Meditation and posted the paragraph above on Meditation, which we are now discussing. This paragraph he completely removed within ten seconds of its creation and again refused to talk about it on this Talk page.
That was a long story simply to demonstrate the point that the paragraph currently on Meditation has multiple issues, and that History2007 has, "repeatedly disregarded other editors' questions or requests for explanations concerning edits or objections to edits," about that paragraph while simultaneously reverting any new edits to the page and not providing reasons when called for.
Briefly, the concerns I raised with the still-flawed paragraph on Meditation about theoria, the one available here, [[Meditation#Christianity, are,
1) it compares ecstasy to theoria, and then in the third sentence includes a quote from E.P. Clowney's "Christian Meditation" where he compares ecstasy to non-Christian meditation, yet of course theoria is not the same as non-Christian ecstasy.
2) "seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit" is said to be more important and compared to ecstasy, where ecstasy means theoria, yet on the page Hesychasm it is written, The Uncreated Light that the Hesychast experiences is identified with the Holy Spirit." This is both unclear, and overall, is NPOV because theoria is integral to the Hesychastic way of life, so how can the, "goal of Christian meditation," be other than the practicing of Christian meditation i.e. theoria?
3) in general the wording of, "associated feelings of ecstasy with meditation," is bizarre considering how it is mentioned as union with God, visions of the Tabor Light, or beholding God, elsewhere on Wikipedia. This is a minor point, but deserves mention nevertheless.
4) Overall this paragraph has one brief sentence about theoria, and then continues to refute the importance of what it terms, "ecstasy," in the following two. Even if theoria itself is worth mentioning briefly, how much less mention should the unimportance of theoria have on Meditation?
Perhaps I should have waited for a third opinion before adding a new paragraph to Meditation. I had actually asked for a third-person opinion before writing that new paragraph, at the time when I had raised the concerns noted above.
I would 'rest easy' if the revert of the proposed paragraph stood so long as the paragraph currently on Meditation is changed. I would like to, as I have written on the Talk page elsewhere, address the concerns of 1-4 above. I feel that point 4 is especially relevant to this discussion. It seems fine if, in the end, we simply remove the second two sentences of the paragraph about theoria on Meditation, so that it essentially becomes a brief link, "Some mystics in both the Western and Eastern churches have associated feelings of ecstasy with meditation, e.g. St. Teresa of Avila's legendary meditative ecstasy and the Eastern Orthodox approach to theosis via Hesychasm.[88][89]" makeswell (talk) 04:52, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
p.s. Sorry this is so lonngg!!!!!! :/ makeswell (talk) 04:52, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
The third opinion did not agree with you. This discussion must end. Your continued attempt to recast/repackage the same rejected edits again into a new form runs against WP:Point, as well as WP:disruptive editing. And your discussion above is again ripe with theological errors, as the reasoning presented before on this issue, as mentioned above several times now. History2007 (talk) 05:10, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
History2007 please give support for your claim that, "your discussion above is again ripe with theological errors." These are the same points as were made before, to which you refused to respond.
Please also note that it is impossible for these to be the same, "rejected edits," as before since this is an entirely new topic, and relatedly, that the discussion of the proposed paragraph above did not bear directly on the treatment of the paragraph currently on Wikipedia Meditation. makeswell (talk) 06:28, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
The errors originate from a set of base theological assumptions which were already pointed out above. Some of those have now been acknowledged as errors, others need further study. Just study them again until the theology becomes clear. It would be undue burden to present a personal course in theology here. History2007 (talk) 14:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
This does not seem the place really for a dispute about some finer points of theology. The focus here should be about how best to briefly convey a sense of Christian views and practices of meditation. Right now this section has:
  • a paragraph with some examples of Christian practices
  • a paragraph with another example, meditation in relation to prayer, the approval of a couple of saints, and a lot of references
  • a paragraph mostly about Protestant salvation
  • a paragraph about how religious ecstasy is not to be considered the main aim of Christian meditation
Frankly, I think the whole section as it stands would be greatly improved by simply replacing it with the lead section of the current version of the Christian meditation article! With maybe an actual list of examples of the various types of practices/techniques/etc (how 'bout mention of Quaker worship meetings too, for example?). Readers can pursue the finer points concerning all of the above by pursuing links to respective articles -- there is no real need to either mention in any detail or dispute in any detail those points here! Wikiscient (talk) 14:38, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I think your suggestion of using the lead section of the main Christian meditation article is a good idea. However, I think introducing a list of practices will be an invitation to further debate in the next months because items of no relevance (Heaven forbid pre-game concentration in baseball games on Church property) will soon find their way therein and will need to get cleaned up again. However, given that the Christian meditation received a good article rating just using the first section does make sense. The current patch work nature of this section is party due to edits which aimed to insert an "assumed correlation" (often expressed in error prone terms) between Christian meditation and other non-Christian practices, and each needed to be clarified. The whole issue of salvation etc. came from there I think. The series of edits started with a top level edit about the Pope and Dalai Lama being good friends! Anyway, if you agree, we can just use the first section as you suggested, totally unchanged and leave it at that. And let it not be reshuffled for at least a few hours. As stated above, this is intended to be a summary item, and the beauty of hypertext is that the user can click and get further information elsewhere. History2007 (talk) 14:53, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Stop talking and start praising, worshiping, meditating and contemplating. All we need is Jesus to get to heaven. Heaven is a beautiful place full of Glory and Grace. I want to see my Saviour's face! heaven is a beautiful place. Alan347 (talk) 03:04, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree most with Alan at this point. If you guys want to do that then I don't care. makeswell (talk) 00:52, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
I like the lede from Christian Meditation.
I think you might have problems with just one of the sentences in the lede, "Unlike eastern meditations, most styles of Christian meditations do not rely on the repeated use of mantras, but are intended to stimulate thought and deepen meaning." For example, one of my Buddhist teachers has memorized and thought on the work, Nagarjuna's "Letter to a Friend" and then taught us on it. makeswell (talk) 01:30, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

So Alan is right. And we will do that. Let it be. Regarding problem in that lede, there is none. That quote came directly from the source, and is again a key item in differentiation. But we have had that discussion a few times now. What your teacher does is a personal survey issue. I think something to remember are numbers that give context. There are at best around 1 million Eastern Orthodox in the US, and some people would say half a million. And not all of them practice Hesychasm and follow a Hesychastic way of life. So although that may sound like something similar to eastern methods etc. it still represents a really small fraction of Christians, compared to those who would perform meditationsusing the chaplets that Alan mentioned above - all of which are non-Hesychasm type. As an example, as in the Rosary article, tens of millions of "free" rosaries get shipped every year as donations, and who knows how many more are purchased. So the number of people meditating using chaplets is just another ball game. History2007 (talk) 09:35, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Just to be clear: my WP:3 opinion is entirely "non-binding" here! I do think though just pasting in the lede from Christian meditation and starting fresh from there will at least help move this one forward. Cheers and happy editing all around! Face-grin.svg Wikiscient (talk) 07:50, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your help. History2007 (talk) 07:58, 1 September 2010 (UTC)