Yogic Perception, II 



pp. vi-vii; 18-19 Part II : Table of Contents

chapter (mostly lectures)

author (lecturer)



Meditation and Contemplation in ... Europe

Karl Baier



Shamans in Nepal and paeninsular Malaysia

Diana Riboli



Transformation of Consciousness ...

Dagmar Eigner



Psychedelics, Culture, and Consciousness

John R. Baker



Altered States of Consiousness

Shulamith Kreitler



Meditative Traditions within Modern Psychology

Renaud van Quekelberghe



De-constructive Path to Inner Peace

Michael delMonte




pp. 481-2 Part II : authors & their affiliations





Karl Baier

Universita:t Wien in Austria


John R. Baker

Moorpark College in California


Dagmar Eigner

Medizinische Universita:t Wien in Austria


Shulamith Kreitler

Tel Abib University in Yis`ra>el


Michael delMonte

St Edmundsbury Hospital in Lucan, Dublin County


Renaud van Quekelberghe

Universita:t Koblenz-Laundau in Germany


Diana Riboli

Fotomara 93-93








Meditation and Contemplation in High to Late Mediaeval Europe

Karl Baier



pp. 321-5 contemplation and ecstasy according to the Mystical Ark by Richard of St Victor

p. 321

"The Regular Canons of St. Victor, an abbey outside the city walls of Paris, ran one of the most famous schools for higher education in the 12th century. They developed a new form of philosophy and theology, unifying the monastic mystical tradition and spiritual practice ... . ...

p. 322

Richard of St. Victor (?-1173) "must be counted as the most significant of the Victorine mystics ... ." [McGinn 2004, p. 398] He affected Thomas Gallus and Bonaventura, the English mystics Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton and the anonymous author of the Cloud-texts, as well as German and Flemish mysticism. ...


Benjamin major or De gratia contemplationis, also known as The Mystical Ark, is a comprehensive manual on contemplation.

[fn. 5 "Translation ... into English : Richard of St Victor, ... The mystical arc. ... Transl. and introd. by G. A. Zinn, Mahwah, 1979."]


In Benjamin major I,3-4 Richard develops a hierarchical system of different modes of cognition and correlates it to four basic cognitive faculties which he took from Boethius : sensus, imaginatio, ratio and

p. 323

intelligentia (sense-perception, imagination, discriminative rationality, intuitive insight). ...

p. 324

Contemplation is a free gaze of the mind into the visible manifestations of (divine) wisdom accompanied by astonishment/admiration ... . ... That is because what is revealed to the contemplative mind expands the established horizon of understanding ... and opens human cognition in an unexpected way ... towards an insight which exceeds its former capacity of understanding. [Benjamin major V,9] We feel astonishment/admiration, whenever we realize a new perspective ... .

p. 325

In contemplation the leading faculty of the mind is pura intelligentia, pure intuitive insight into sublime and divine things. [Benjamin major I,3]


Contemplation is followed by the highest level of cognition, excessus or alienatio mentis, which is treated primarily in the fifth book of Benjamin Major.

[fn. 15 "Evagrios Pontikos and Dionysios Areopagita discriminate in an analogous manner between theori'a and e'kstasis."]


"The alienation of the mind happens when the mind looses the remembrance of things present and, transformed by divine action, acquires a state of the soul, that is alien and inaccessible to human effort." ...

{"alienation figures strongly in the Sethian apocalypses, texts that describe a god ... utterly transcendent and divorced from creation" (AAG, p. 3).} {"Marcion simultaneously put forth ... the "alien God" ... and established the first Canon of Scripture used in a "Christian" Church (Jonas, pp. 145-146)." (IEPh"Gnos.")}


Richard uses ... for this process : ... the light of human insight is flooded with divine light and sees things beyond the limits of mere human comprehension. This state of mind is mainly brought about by a deep love of the Divine.


Richard distinguishes between different levels of ecstasy : a state in which only the activity of the corporeal senses is suspended,

one in which imagination has come to a standstill , and

a final absorption in which even intelligentia is no longer active.


All forms of ecstasy are accompanied by exaltation and intense joy."

McGinn 2004 = B. McGinn : The Presence of God : a History of Western Christian Mysticism, Vol. II : "The Growth of Mysticism". Crossroad Publ, NY.

AAG = Dylan M. Burns : Apocalypse of the Alien God : Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism. Univ of PA Pr, 2014. https://www.worldcat.org/title/apocalypse-of-the-alien-god-platonism-and-the-exile-of-sethian-gnosticism/oclc/981567256/viewport 

Jonas = Hans Jonas (1958, reprinted 2001). The Gnostic Religion : The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity. Boston : Beacon Press.

IEPh"Gnos." = INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY, article "Gnosticism". https://www.iep.utm.edu/gnostic/#SSH2b.ii 


pp. 326-30 contemplation and ecstasy according to the Ladder to Paradise by Guigo II

p. 326

"It was the Carthusian Guigo II (?-1188 or 1192/93), who, influenced by the Victorines, elaborated ... the most influential ... Scala Claustralium (ladder for monastics), also known as Scala paradisi (the ladder to paradise) and Epistola de vita contemplativa (letter on the contemplative life) contains one of the most concise analyses of spirituale exercitium (spiritual exercise) written in the High Medieval Ages.

The abbot of La Chartreuse unfolds and elaborate understanding

p. 327

of meditation and contemplation which integrates the two ... . ...


It was only in the 11th century that the tradition of the Desert Fathers was revived and the new order of the Carthusians ... took part in this reform movement ... . ...

[fn. 20 "C. W. Bynum, ... Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1984, 16-17 sums up ... : "... Hagiography ... focuses increasingly on inner ... experiences (often accompanied by ... trances, levitation, and stigmata) ... . ...""] 


This led to an interiorization in ... Guigo's ... mystical understanding ... :


"... Meditation ... searches for some hidden truth under the guidance of one's own reason.

... Contemplation is a certain elevation of the mind above itself, being suspended in ... tasting the joy of eternal sweetness." ...  

p. 328

Using ... a very free way the meditating monk wove a web of allusions and quotations which were meant to ... deepen it. ...

p. 329

Guigo ... describes the experience of ... loving presence as sweetness (dulcedo) ... . ... In our text dulcedo is an ecstatic bliss ... .

[fn. 26 "R. Fulton "Taste and see that the Lord is sweet" (Ps. 33.9) : "The Flavour of God in the Monastic West", in THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 86 (2006) 169-204."]

p. 330

According to our abbot and many other medieval authors, the ... encounter takes place in the acies mentis, the peak{-experience} of the mind. This word {read "phrase"} and its many synonyms like apex mentis, synderesis, radix animae and abditum mentis signify the very core of the human person which was considered to be the 'place' of the mystic union ... ."


p. 332 spiritual handbooks written in the vernaculars

"Spiritual Handbooks (called speculum or rosetum) ... usually contained compilations of monastic mystical theology ..., descriptions of visions and edifying stories about saints and miracles. These books were ... written ... in the vernaculars and contributed to the transfer of Latin theology and monastic spiritual literature into the common language of the people."

[fn. 32 "Steinmetz 2005:82

and M. G. Sargent, "Minor Devotional Writing", in : A. S. G. Edwards : Middle English Prose. A Critical Guide to Major Authors and Genres, New Jersey 1984, 147-175."]

Steinmetz 2005 = K.-H. Steinmetz : Mystische Erfahrung und mystisches Wissen ... . Berlin, 2005.


pp. 333-4 New Mysticism

p. 333

"Part of the New Mysticism was a revival of Denys the Areopagite. Thomas Gallus (the last important theologian from the school of St. Victor) and others reinterpreted his apophatic theology in the light

[p. 334, fn. 37 "D. Turner, The Darkness of God. Negativity in Christian Mysticism, Cambridge 1995. pp. 186-194."]

p. 334

of a dichotomy between intellectus and affectus, intellect and love. ...


The apex ... is now qualified as an apex affectionis, the centre of a pure selfless live ... (amor castus) which ... transcends all bounds of knowledge ... in mystical darkness."


pp. 335-6 imaginative meditative techniques

p. 335

"The meditator ... participated in a dramatic event ... which ... included the performance of certain postures and movements, talking with the imagined persons, touching them, smelling the odors of heaven and hell ... .

The paradigms for the most popular forms of imaginative meditation are to be found in the Meditationes Vitae Christi (~~ 1300) and in Ludolf of Saxony's Vita Christi (after 1348) one of the most widespread spiritual books of the Late Medieval Age. ...

Fanon Duffy comments [2005, p. 237] on this : "The enormous imaginative power of this form of meditation, and its spread into the world of the

p. 336

... laity, is evident from the accounts Margery Kempe has left of her visionary experiences, which seem in places to be little more than literal-minded paraphrases of the Meditationes Vitae Christi or of Richard Rolle's almost equally influential Meditations on the Passion, works read to her by the spiritual directors she found in such abundance in fifteenth century East Anglia.""

Duffy 2005 = Fanon Duffy : The Stripping of the Altars : Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580. New Haven.


p. 336 contemplation of eikones

"In the daily life practice of lay people as well as in the monasteries, visualization was often replaced by contemplating pious paintings, drawings and woodcuts, which were created especially for this purpose. Images should serve as simulacra of {and as stimulants to} visionary experience."

[fn. 42 "J. Hamburger, "The Visual and the Visionary : The Image in Late Medieval Monastic Devotions", VIATOR ("Medieval and Renaissance Studies") 20 (1989) 161-182 ... and K. Kamerick, Popular Piety and Art in the Late Middle Ages. Image Worship and Idolatry in England 1350-1500, New York 2002."]


pp. 338-42 the Cloud of Unknowing 

p. 338

"The Clowde of Unknowying, written between 1375 and 1400, ... is suitable to exemplify the ... anonymous author ... probably a Carthusian. ... The text is an introduction to contemplative prayer ... as the highest form of ... spirituality. ...

[fn. 51 "Introductions and interpretations : W. Johnson, The Mysticism of 'The Cloud of Unknowing'. A Modern Interpretation (RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE 8) St. Meinrad 1975 ...; R. W. Englert, Scattering and Oneing. A Study of ... the 'Cloud of Unknowing' (ANALECTA CARTUSIANA 105), Salzburg 1983."]

p. 339

The first stage of vita activa consists of works of mercy and charity.

The second stage of vita activa which is at the same time the first stage of vita contemplativa is goostly meditacion.

The second stage of vita contemplativa attends to the specyal preier. ...

p. 340

But the author ... criticizes the literal understanding of images ... . He makes jokes about different kinds of hysterical behavior caused by a wrong practice of affective and imaginative meditation ... . ... The very

p. 341

heart of spiritual life is only reachable through a radical abandoning of the imaginative ... . ... The step from meditation to contemplation means starting to practice a form of prayer which aims at a wordless silence ... . ...

p. 342

Through the proposed way of contemplation one should leave behind distinct considerations of the self ... under a "cloude of forgetyng." What should remain is ... is an empty mind surrendered to "nakyd" i.e. self-forgetful love ... . In order to reach out towards union ..., one must beat upon the cloud of unknowing ... with the 'sharp darte of longing love'. ...

If the practitioner reaches this point he enters a nothing (noucht) which is everything (Al) because in it one learns to comprehend all things at once without discriminative knowledge."


p. 343 Devotio moderna : Gansfort's influence on Ignatius

"Wessel Gansfort (1419-1489) ... constructed an ordo scalaris rationalis ..., whose twenty-four steps are based on the structure of the human mind ... . ...

The Devotio moderna influenced Ignatius of Loyola whose ejercicios espirituales ... became the most powerful model of ... meditation ... ."


p. 344 ekklesiastic suppression of Free Spirit, of Illuminism, and of Quietism

"practitioners of contemplation had to face serious repressions. The points of criticism remained the same through the ages : ... denial of salvation through the mediation of the Church and its sacraments.

The inquisition persecuted several groups which were connected with the practice of contemplation. It started with ... the "Free Spirit" (condemned in 1311),

followed by the Alumbados (condemned in 1525). ...

With the condemnation and imprisonment of leading Quietists at the end of the 17th century, the contemplation movement which had started in late Medieval Europe came to its end."