The Ancient Road Rediscovered: What the Early Church knew

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And of course the examination of conscience to which the pilgrimage invites us involves looking into our lives as citizens, which cannot be divorced from our lives as disciples.

The Ancient Road Rediscovered

I would also hope that a daily meditation on the martyrs, which is inevitable in making the station-church pilgrimage in Rome or at home, is a reminder of the centrality of religious freedom to any meaningful scheme of human rights, and a fundamental building block of the just society. The pontificate is still in its early days. It would be a shame if that opportunity were squandered by Catholic internecine sniping — or by politicians and media personalities instrumentalizing the pope. Are people on the left too gleeful and those on the right too worried?

Are there new discoveries for you still there? Any recent ones? But as for new things, sure; the city is inexhaustible, historically and aesthetically — and even in Catholic terms. Just this past Tuesday morning I attended Mass in one of the chapels I had never seen before, down in the Vatican grottoes, with my friends Msgr. Christmas without Good Friday and Easter is mere sentimentality.

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Comments on the website or technical programs? I got into Hinduism; I got into Buddhism. Not that I was converted. Once you are a cradle Orthodox, you can never be anything else. You cannot imagine being a Hindu. Religion gives us our sense of identity. Are you Catholic or are you Protestant? I am an atheist.

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So I was Orthodox, but I was not a practicing one, because it was part of my own identity. As I was exploring Hinduism and Buddhism, I was fascinated. I was fascinated because, for the same reasons that Western intellectuals are attracted to Hinduism and Buddhism since the late 19th century… In other words, American intellectuals, Western intellectuals, from Yeats to T.

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I was also of the same kind of persuasion that if you really wanted to understand, to search for some kind of deeper understanding of reality, you have to go to the yogis of India or to the lamas of Tibet. Also I started reading about Native American shamanism. So this is the cultural baggage that I think we need to overcome, and I think Orthodoxy has a very important mission to play in what I consider as the emerging synthesis of religion and science, in spite of what Mr.

Dawkins is saying.

I was very curious to meet him. So I said I would like to meet him.


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I went there and I thought I was going to meet a ferocious sorcerer. Instead, he was a very human kind of a guy, with a down-to-earth kind of approach to life. During our conversation, I realized that he was possessor of uncommon knowledge, and I… Some night… Again, here is another of those things. He looks much more interesting. But I was a sociologist, and I was in the middle. I had the justification of investigating somebody like him.

In spite of all wise advice, I went ahead. At that time, my wife was worried that I was throwing my career away, that I was dealing with crazy stuff, but I went ahead, not because I was too courageous—I was not. I felt secure. So, I had tenure; therefore they could not fire me if I did this research.


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I came up with a trilogy before that. Things happened, and I saw things that could not be explained in any other way as paranormal. Paranormal: unusual phenomena, of healing, of clairvoyant sight.

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I thought that science needed to investigate these phenomena because it can open up possibilities to expand our understanding of reality. I was beginning to realize that there is more to life than this physical universe. I am not questioning the origin of his experiences, but the fact is that from my point of view, an individual could not possibly tell me what the problem was of someone 7, miles away is about her health, and be right on the mark, something that medical doctors could not possibly find.

And I have witnessed that time and again, to the point that I came to the conclusion that Sorokin was right. Sorokin, you remember, who said that there is that supra-conscious, and some of these phenomena that we associate with it, like calculating boys, people who have kind of a computer mind and they can tell you the square root of something that would take hours of research to find out and they came up with it, individuals who cannot even add two and two, like Rainman , Dustin Hoffman, remember? Well, it was based on a true story.

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Why not? Because of the 19th century paradigm that is dominating our textbooks. We are all subject to cultural conditioning, and once our mind is conditioned in a certain way, we cannot see things that are outside of that conditioning. It takes a lot of work, a lot of experiences, to go beyond this framework. So I thought this was something that was worth exploring.

I had a psychology professor who was wondering or worrying about my career. He was like a kind of a mentor to me. And the thought that this kind of work they are doing is really not wise.

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I ought to be interested in these phenomena. He was very impressed. Because the virus takes about three months to incubate, but there was no medical instrument to detect it. And he saw it. So guess what, next year Leonard comes to Cyprus to find out how on earth did he know?

So these are just a few of very many. Was he working with angels or the devil? What I know is what I have observed, and that what he was teaching was not really that much different from what Orthodoxy is teaching, but with some other stuff. Well, I have witnessed a lot of this phenomena, and I could no longer believe the textbooks that were telling us that those things were impossible or childish. Then, of course, in order to convince myself that I was not into some kind of illusion, I wanted to meet other anthropologists who had similar experiences.

Have you ever heard of him? He wrote the book, The Way of the Shaman. Michael Harner, like me, went to study a tribe in the Amazon, and he wanted to study their medicinal culture, because anthropologists—medical anthropologists—believe that tribal people may have secrets about how to cure diseases that we need to know before the forests disappear, because the forest is really our great pharmacy. Are you willing?

And what did they do to him? They gave him some heavy drugs. Forest mushrooms. So Michael Harner comes back to New York as a bona fide shaman now.

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