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A good declaring of some certain deceits that may befall in this work.

"....the devil hath his contemplatives as God hath His.

This deceit of false feeling, and of false knowing following thereon, hath diverse and wonderful variations, after the diversity of states and the subtle conditions of them that be deceived: as hath the true feeling and knowing of them that be saved. But I set no more deceits here but those with the which I trow thou shalt be assailed if ever thou purpose thee to work in this work..... And therefore I tell thee this, for thou shalt be wary therewith in thy working, if thou be assailed therewith.

Cloud of Unknowing - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

There may be much of value here but i have trouble finding it.  "Trust" and "verify" are both sound advice and both slippery slopes.  Trust and be trustworthy but don't be destroyed by betrayal is, i guess, where i have to come down.  Smart people, organizations, and institutions have all let us down, often with really tragic.  This has been going on since the first human being felt the need to ask another human being to "just trust" him.  Whatever reality lies behind the story of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the fact the story is placed in a "garden" not a forest or savannah, is significant.  We learned to distrust each other by accepting bad advice, either ill or well intended.  The wisest people i know  of were the Taoist sages and they were very reluctant to give advice to others on how to regulate their lives.  The monk said it himself: learn from God rather than from any man.  I believe that all institutions are man made, though they end up controlling us, none can ask us to forego our powers of descretion.

Stories of cult mass suicides, exorcisms gone bad, non Indians dying in sweat lodges, should teach us all discretion, moderation, in seeking and traveling our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual paths.

"Holy Mother Church," like most mothers, has had to admit many mistakes, should have admitted many, many more, and will admit many, many, many more in the future.

I have made and will make many mistakes, people i trusted for advice made many mistakes, our institutions make many mistakes, and God remains behind the cloud of unknowing.

I should mention that i am 81 years old.  If i were 11 or 21 (or 31?) i would have to pay more attention to the monk's pleadings.  He reminds us at the very beginning (and again at the end): Don't read this book!!
But today it is sold in religious book stores, and, yes, in monastery book stores.  We are now being trusted much more than in the 14th century to exercise our own moderation.  Are we worthy of that trust??

In Jack Kornfield's book. After the Exstasy, the Laundry, there is a chapter titled "The Dirty Laudry" which is well worth reading by all seekers and gurus.  One very good section is called: Confusing Charisma with Wisdom.



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