John Main: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) Review

John Main: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters)
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John Main: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) ReviewIf you are a practicing Christian and would like to gain insight into your faith, this book is essential reading. If topics like meditation, and mantras frighten you, do not read this book. If you would like to see where Eastern Wisdom meets with the Wisdom of the West, then consider reading this. Main, according to the back book jacket, "pioneered the practice of Christian meditation. His genius was to recover a way into the contemplative experience for ordinary people within the Christian tradition." That's what I enjoyed most about this book- Main always is, first and foremost, a Christian. I have always been interested to, and sympathetic towards Buddhism, particularly in their tolerance of different faiths and interest in working with different religions towards similar goals- helping others, and trying to prevent violence throughout the whole world through education and understanding. Unfortunately, I agree with the Dali Lama that we should stick to the religious systems of the cultures we were born into because they connect with us in deep psychological ways. Thanks to John Main I need not feel isolated within the Christian community. Main understands the need to connect directly with the divine through meditation and that is what he emphasizes in these essential writings. Here are some examples of his wisdom: "The first step in conversion is allowing ourselves to be loved." "We come to know and love God because we allow him to know and love us. This is the alchemy of love." "The saint is not superhuman but fully human." "To be silent with another person is truly to be with that other person. Nothing is so powerful in building mutual confidence than an easeful and creative silence. Nothing reveals inauthenticity more dramatically than silence that is not creative but fearful." "Real prayer is not our prayer but the prayer of Jesus himself. That prayer is, even now as you read this, flowing in our hearts. Our prayer in this vision is our life force." "Learning to pray is learning to live as fully as possible in the present moment." "It requires nerve to become really quiet." "The experience of poverty is only the beginning." "In meditation we declare our own poverty." "The essence of all poverty consists in this risk of annihilation. This is the leap of faith from ourselves to the Other. This is the risk involved in all loving." "By stillness in the spirit we move in the ocean of God." "Our theories can make us impotent and self-important, like people with a car manual but no car." The words of John Main end with something the Dalai Lama and all people all over the world can understand and agree with- "The reality is that we are not isolated. We are one with the One. We are one with all." The 3 sentences before these powerful closing sentences remind us how Main is well within the Christian tradition in saying what he does: "Because of the incorporation of the whole- an incorporation that has both material and spiritual dimensions- every experience in the human family influences the whole. This is why St. Paul calls the early Christians to 'weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.' Violence, injustice, and all suffering anywhere within the Body of Christ affect and implicate us all." How many Christians you know say these things? If they had any maturity, they would. They would realize as Main writes that "Much of our religious response is indeed based primarily upon our beliefs. But I have come to feel that what we 'believe' is not really that important. Belief is like the tip of the iceberg. What matters is faith. For the Christian this means our deep commitment to Christ to the power of self-transendence, at the very bedrock of our being." Read this book. It may change your relationship to God. And that would be a great thing.John Main: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) Overview

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