A friend living here in Fairfield, Ia. was a student at MIU in the early days. 
In sharing this account below of the Trappist Monks having learned TM back in 
the 1970's, some of the monks from Spencer, Mass. then visited MIU in Iowa in 
the early days wanting to see what was going on. They came to a class studying 
comparative religion. This friend was in the class, the monks in talking with 
the class observed that the TM mantras as they are used as sound in TM work 
better than using "Jesus" as a mantra.  .. evidently too much meaning going on 
with using "Jesus" for attempts at effortless transcendent meditation. 

 Chanting maybe different than, meditating TM? 




 The meditating Trappist monks..

 The historical ‘separating’ of spiritual mystics from the creedal orthodoxy of 
institutional ‘churches’ (Catholic, Lutheran, or Anglican) evidently is also 

 In the early 1970’s as a ™ teacher I was able to visit and ‘check’ the 
meditations of Cistercian trappist monks in Spencer, Mass  who after having 
studied the spiritual experience of the ‘desert mystics’ and so many others of 
the early Christian era found in themselves a lacking in spiritual depth of 
experience where they then reached out for methodology outside their own 
confines of practice.  These Spencer, Mass Trappist monks were earnest, 
scholarly and dedicated spiritual seekers who set about finding better method 
than what they had in their order. (At one point one of these monks exclaimed, 
“Thank God for Vatican II!”).  Of course Thomas Merton, also a Cistercian in 
the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, had done the same thing a generation before in his 
visiting with Buddhism or Eastern practices and writing about his experience.  

 The Spencer, Mass. monks proceeded then from their experience in learning to 
meditate with ™ to abstract instruction from the ™practice and share with 
others what they subsequently re-branded as “Centering Prayer”, a meditative 
technique for lay people with features taken from ™.  Centering Prayer now is 
widely taught as church adult education classes taught and supported by these 
monks in courses with video and lectures as a transcendent meditative practice 
for lay Catholic religious people. In a type of movement Centering Prayer now 
has also crossed over as progressive spiritual practice methodology to 
Protestant churches.
 A couple years ago I visited the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky where I found 
the legacy of Thomas Merton supporting a thriving monastic community serving as 
a Merton pilgrimage site, with a modern museum and a bookstore doing active 
business vending in so many books by and about Thomas Merton. 

 By contrast a few weeks ago I visited New Mallory Abbey near Dubuque, Iowa.  
In the 1980’s I had opportunity to visit and stay at New Mallory in their guest 
house quite a lot. I was excited recently to be able to return and visit back 
there and also see their bookstore.  In their bookstore  surprisingly I found 
not a book on Centering Prayer and one by Thomas Merton on a bottom shelf, by 
contrast. A little puzzled after this visit there to New Mallory I asked around 
about this seeming ‘edit’ and obvious blank and was told that some in the 
Church feel those teachings are heretical to the Holy Father Church. Even 
within the Church today?  Evidently dangerous for being out of control 
(unorthodox) the mystics in cultivated spiritual experience and by their 
critique in transcendentalism are still ‘separated’ from the orthodox. 

 “They who believe their practice is best are devotees
 They who believe their technique is the only are zealots.”
 -Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

 Re Separatists, In Quiet, European ancestral genealogy of transcendentalism


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