SILENT MUSIC: The Science of Mysticism by William Johnston

SILENT MUSIC: The Science of Mysticism

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An attempt at a Teilhardian synthesis of science, Christianity, and Buddhism at Omega (the future point of convergence), to be aided by meditation. Meditation can be secular -- concerned with ""human potential"" -- but if it is occupied with matters of ""ultimate concern"" it is religious. Johnston documents the evidence of brainwaves and biofeedback research, arguing that there are benefits to be had here. Moreover, the development of internal senses (""silent music"") is apropos given the threat of future shock (interior unity vs. exterior fragmentation). Yet, while Johnston writes that mysticism ""is no more than a very deep form of meditation,"" the book extends into an expansive theology. Not only can meditation offer body control and liberation of the unconscious, it can come to grips with the pain of maya and the human malaise (as depicted by Saint Paul) -- not to mention ""cosmic healing"" (Buddha refusing Nirvana until all have entered, Christ dying for the sins of the world). Johnston concludes with a panegyric on intimacy and friendship, which, for him, offer a dimension of being comparable to the mystic state of mind. The author is not a hack proselytizer of panaceas; he is an astute, learned theologian. But his exaltations of human relations bear the imprint of piety, and one wonders if the connections he tries to make can be made at all. Despite the experiences of Ignatius and Theresa, meditation has not been a Western tradition.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1974
Publisher: Harper & Row