Enriching your life in Christ through profound Christian Meditation
Tantric Christianity
Buddhist Techniques for
Christian Meditation
When I was little my parents needed some electrical work done on our house.  The
electrician was a likeable fellow and my dad and I watched as he worked.  At one point he
just laid the back of his hand (not the palm side) against the wire.  It wasn’t carrying any
current so nothing happened, but it looked a bit odd and my father asked why he did it like
that.  “Because if it IS carry electricity and I put my palm on the wire, my fingers will spasm
and grip the wire.  This way my hand just jerks away and the electricity won’t hurt me.”

Since I’m neither a doctor nor an electrician, I certainly wouldn’t want to recommend this
means of testing the wiring in your own home, but reading the Sedona Method, by Hale
Dwoskin, brought the incident back to me.  Hale’s not an electrician either (so far as I know),
but the lesson he teaches through seminars, books, and audio programs shares a similar
theme: how to avoid grasping at the things that cause us unhappiness.  

The Sedona Method was actually developed around 1952 by
Lester Levenson.  Lester was
a man who had wonderful success intellectually and financially, but was still deeply unhappy
and unhealthy, suffering from "depression, an enlarged liver, kidney stones, spleen trouble,
hyperacidity, and ulcers that had perferated his stomach and formed lesions".  According to
the
Sedona Method website, he was in such bad psychological and physical shape his
doctors sent him home to die.  Confronted with such a situation, and unwilling to ‘go gentle
into that good night’, he set for himself the challenge of rooting out the core reasons for his
disease.  His success was both remarkable and repeatable – his health was completely
rehabilitated in three months, and he was able to teach the process to many others before
his death more than 40 years later.  

It wasn’t until the early 1970s that Lester formalized and named this process – the Sedona
Method.  Several years after that he met and became mentor to
Hale Dwoskin, the man who
now leads the charge in making Lester’s legacy a lasting institution.  Hale has made the
method available in a number of formats (everything from books and DVDs to live lectures
and seminars) and applicable to a great many different needs.  Courses currently address
specific concerns such as emotional distress, pain management, social success, and, of
course, financial success.  

Upon originally hearing about this program and the claims made for it, I quickly dismissed it
as promising way too much.  But, in
the Sedona Method, Hale makes a good psychological
case for some of the same wisdom found in Buddhism and Christianity.  In each case the
argument is put forward that our suffering is largely self inflicted through our focus on the
wrong thing, or in misunderstanding the nature of our world.  Where we usually take the view
that we ARE our emotions, or that our reactions to the circumstances of our lives are real
and compulsory, both spiritual traditions and the Sedona Method point out that our emotions
(pleasant and unpleasant) are something that we
do, not something that we are.  This is
more than a difference in semantics; we have lots of choices about our behavior, but our
basic nature is pretty well set in stone.  When we come to grips with that personal nature
more honestly we can find we really do have more choices in how we respond to the
circumstances in our lives than we normally believe.

I sometime categorize the difference between
Tantric Christianity and the Sedona Method as
generative versus reductive.  Note that neither of these is intended dismissively.  Rather, the
practices I offer in
Tantric Christianity are specific in identifying and cultivating the behavior
the practitioner wishes to encourage, while the Sedona Method provides the means to
remove behavior (limiting emotion and beliefs) that stand in the way of positive experience.  

As mentioned above, there are just three questions to ask yourself to begin releasing your
unwanted or unhelpful emotions and beliefs.  Once you’ve identified one of these limiters
ask the following questions:

1.        Could I let this feeling go?

2.        Am I willing to let this feeling go?

3.        When?


Regardless of the answer to each of these questions (either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are just fine) move
to the next.  According to Hale, whether you answer affirmatively or negatively, simply asking
the question and treating your feeling as a
choice in behavior loosens its hold on you.  For a
more complete treatment of the questions and how the process works, see the
Sedona
Method website.

So, in the same way that our old electrician taught me how to make sure my physical  
reflexes didn’t trap me on a ‘hot’ wire, the Sedona Method shows a simple way of releasing
those emotional 'live wires' that trap and punish us.  This is useful in all elements of our life,
whether it is at work, at home with our families, and any time that we pray or meditate; one of
the strategies that I regularly hear from experienced meditators and those who use
Centering Prayer is, when some thought or emotion threatens their concentration, to simply
let that interruption go.  They don't squash or fight with the thought - they release it.  It's not
as formalized as the process taught by Mr. Dwoskin, but the impact seems to be essentially
the same.  

If I have any qualms about the method, it is that it refrains from providing any alternatives to
the behavior being released - there is no direction as to how we should fill the hole left by
the old behavior.  The assumption is that, once free from our shackles, positive behavior is
nearly automatic.  That may be the case, but it seems likely to me that the Sedona Method
and the techniques discussed in
Tantric Christianity are complementary approaches and
could nicely reinforce each other.
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