MUSINGS FROM MORTON

Morton T Kelsey was my teacher, mentor, spiritual director and friend from 1974, when I first studied under him in graduate school at Notre Dame University, until his death in 2001. Morton Kelsey bequeathed me his unpublished writings, lectures and notes, including his personal correspondence with C G Jung, letters including dreams that determined the future direction of his vocation.

MUSINGS contains selected insights, stories and data that focus on the importance of our encounters within the spiritual realm, specifically through the practicality, mystery and guidance one may gain in various ways through dream work.

MUSINGS FROM MY MENTOR MORTON

Morton T Kelsey

Morton T Kelsey, image source: Dale Matson

 

FIVE ESSENTIALS FOR MATURE AND GROUNDED SPIRITUALITY

1.  TRADITION– Build upon the foundations laid by others who came before us: cultural realities, roots that shaped those times, the life and teaching of spiritual leaders through the centuries, historic documents, historical human development, religious traditions, creeds, historical religion.

2.  MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE– Direct encounter with Divine Presence; symbols, active imagination, sacraments, deep rooted and ancient rituals, personal numinous experience of Divine Presence, prayer with and without images, transpersonal encounters.

3.  HONEST SCIENTIFIC REASONING– The scientific method is one valid way for accumulating knowledge.  Spirituality need never be mindless or superstitious.  When new data emerges, we must find a new hypothesis, always leaving room for new truth to emerge.  Even so, nothing is more sterile than pure thinking void of spiritual experience combined with psychological insight, an awareness of tradition and genuine compassion for other people.

4.  PSYCHOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE– There must be a balance of interrelatedness between psychology (who I am) and spirituality (Whose I am).  While psychology by itself is not enough, faith without self-knowledge is also inadequate for modern humanity in search of one’s soul and psyche.

5.  A CIVILITY THAT GENUINELY CARES– To love and care for others we must first take good care of ourselves.  In the words of Jesus of Nazareth, “Love others as you love yourself.”  It is impossible to love other people if we do not love and care for ourselves.  We cannot give what we do not receive.  We cannot reproduce what we do not model.  Our primary prerequisite is to grow and heal and serve out of the overflow.  We cannot guide others further than we are willing to grow ourselves.  Out of such responsible, accountable, conscious and proactively healthy self-caring we can then reach out and connect with others who may eventually choose to benefit from our hospitality, generosity and consciousness.  In this way we build more reliable networks of compassion and a depth of loyalty that withstands every storm that will come.

(Hal Edwards has paraphrased and updated Kelsey’s Five Essentials To Mature Spirituality, found in his book, Companions on the Inner Way, Crossroad, NY, 1983, p. 43ff.)

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LISTENING IS OUR KEY TO CONSCIOUSNESS AND COMMUNITY

“Real listening is a kind of prayer, for as we listen, we penetrate through the human ego and hear the Spirit of God, which dwells in the heart of everyone. Real listening is a religious experience. Often, when I have listened deeply to another, I have the same sense of awe as when I have entered into a holy place and communed with the heart of being itself.”


TEN STEPS TO LISTENING, BY MORTON KELSEY

“It is impossible for us to love other people unless we listen to them.”

 (Excerpts) Page 67ff.,

CARING: How Can We Love One Another?

by Morton T. Kelsey

1. CEASE TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF AND BE SILENT: Obviously, we cannot listen until we stop talking.

2. BE SILENT WITH THE OTHER PERSON IN AN ACTIVE WAY: open, active, receptive, alive, without letting your mind wander or daydream. Keep eye contact, let your body language tell the person you care.

3. LISTENING INVOLVES PATIENCE. It may take a period of time before the person trusts you enough to tell you what he/she really wants to let you know.

4. AFTER YOU HAVE LISTENED CAREFULLY AND REFLECTIVELY, YOU NEED TO REFLECT BACK WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD, and ask for more details. This is called feedback on what you have heard.

5. LISTENING IS A GIFT WHICH ONLY A FEW PEOPLE ARE BORN WITH, BUT IT CAN BE LEARNED. Having learned how to listen, don’t ever let it be rote.

6. LISTENING OFTEN INVOLVES SHARING OURSELVES. People who come to us need to know that we are wounded too. This sharing is mostly to put the other person at ease, and is never more than the person can bear to hear. The troubled person coming to be listened to should not become my therapist! We listeners are the wounded healer.

7. WE USUALLY MUST LISTEN TO THE MORE SUPERFICIAL LEVELS OF COMPLAINT BEFORE WE ARE LET INTO THE DEEPER AND MORE VULNERABLE PLACES. If we pass the first test of acceptance, then a dam breaks and the whole human pours forth. It is hard to hear this kind of pain, but if we do not listen to this dark side of others, we seldom see these people in depth. They remain for us like a child’s painting—with no shadow or perspective or depth.

8. BEYOND THE DARKNESS/SHADOW LIES A BEAUTY WE NEVER KNEW EXISTED. In this deepest level of the human psyche we discover that within another human being we have communion with God.

9. LISTENING REQUIRES A PRIVATE AND QUIET PLACE. Usually an hour at a time is enough for most people.

10. LISTENING USUALLY MEANS HOLDING MY OWN CONCLUSIONS IN ABEYANCE—until the other comes to his/her conclusions. Whenever I argue or interrupt, I probably have a sensitive spot in my own being that has been struck, and my attitude stops fruitful communication. I give unsolicited advice only when I see pitfalls the other hasn’t which might destroy the other person.

OUR ONLY TASK IN LISTENING IS TO ENABLE THE OTHER: to grow, to take responsibility for his/her own life, to form his/her value system, and to come to own full potential by his/her own choice.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF ONE’S SPIRITUAL WORLDVIEW

“We come to this encounter,

to a living relationship with the spiritual realm and its power,

not by thinking

but only as our spirits, our total psyches,

go into training.

If we can establish that we are capable

of receiving non-sensory data

within our physical world,

then there is little reason to deny

the reality of the data referring to

experiences of the Divine, of the deceased,

and of other non-physical realities.

For example:

I remember my mother telling me about a tragic vision

she experienced as a young woman.

She woke up, and there at the foot of her bed

she saw a man with whom she had just had a date.

He was calling for help.  She noticed the bedside clock said 2:00 a.m.

as she woke up and turned on the light.

The next morning she found that at 2:00 a.m. the young man

had committed suicide.

I never heard my mother tell a falsehood,

and this story really made an impression.

How often this kind of thing happens.”

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