Thursday, February 5, 2009

Visions: The Soul's Path to the Sacred

I've been reading this book by Eddie Ensley, Visions: The Soul's Path to the Sacred. It is about the divine and human interactions involved in visions, from the trance-like vision we normally think of when we here this this, to the flashes of insight we receive from time to time, to the seemingly mundane ways God speaks to us through what we see, hear or even smell. He also talks about the vision of what others see in us. Ensley pursues this topic from his contemplative point of view as a convert to the Catholic church. His conviction is that visions bring healing for us. Visions has helped me  explore more of how God has spoken to me in the past and understand more of what He wants to say to me today.

The sub-subtitle describes the book pretty well: How the rediscovery of a lost dimension of spirituality is healing the hurting, changing the church, and bringing heaven on earth.
Everyone has visions, though we may not recognize them or may be embarrassed to talk about them. Visions are not magical, supernatural intrusions into everyday life; rather they are an innate human response to the sacred. -- Eddie Ensley
Ensley, a Roman Catholic contemplative of Native American descent, explores the role of visions in the human experience, specifically the Christian experience. His study of visions in Christian history (e.g., the writings of saints such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and church authorities' interviews with believers who have experienced visions and healings), his own people's traditions, and stories he has heard at retreats have led Ensley to believe that most people have visions. Indeed, he hypothesizes that the human brain is "hard-wired" for transcendence. He attributes modern theology's relative silence on the topic to the Enlightenment, which reduced knowledge to what was rationally comprehensible. Ensley demonstrates that into the 16th century, Christians considered visions an important part of their faith life, while Christians since the rise of rationalism have continued to have visions, but are reluctant to discuss them and lack training in how to interpret them. Ensley gives readers a broad perspective on their own experiences, providing meditations, prayers and writing exercises to equip readers to become receptive and responsive to their visions. -- Publishers Weekly

No comments: