Questions on Moore's "The Sacred Arts of Life" and Monroe's "'Cause the Bible Tells Me So"
1. What is Moore's definition of "soul"? He says, "I'm suggesting that we consider sacredness from the point of view of soul rather than spirit." What is the difference between "soul" and "spirit"?
2. When he speaks of repression in par. 1, what does he mean? "One of the most effective forms of repression is to give a thing excessive honor," he states. What does he mean?
3. In a sentence, sum up the point that he is making in "The Sacred Arts of Life." Include some of the following terms in your answer: pausing, taking time, imagination, epiphanies, contemplation, and natural religion.
4. Exercise on active imagination: Pick a person (someone whom you know or not--it does not matter) and write a dialogue in which you and that person discuss something important to you.
5. Do you agree that there is "'religion' in all things"?
6. Moore mentions that "the soul is usually placed squarely in that place we would rather not visit...the place in ourselves that is most challenging," and he advises us "to look straight into the image that gives us the most fright." In your case, what is that place? Use active imagination to explore it. What does it have to say to you?
7. Does Moore's text suggest the importance of meditation? What IS meditation?
8. Freud said, "Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious." Moore's section heading implies that they are the royal road to the soul. How might this be true in your case? Is there a connection to any of the previous questions, especially number 6?
1. Here are some questions that Monroe asks in his text:
2. Analyze Monroe's statements about prayer on pages 116-20. Is he debunking prayer or merely showing his own lack of expertise at prayer? Do we conclude that he knew how to pray the right way, that prayer did not work, and therefore that prayer is a hollow ritual? Or do we conclude that he prayed in the way he criticizes, that it (naturally) did not work, and therefore that prayer's efficacy is still an open question?
3. The most important statement in the chapter appears on page 121: "In these worlds where thoughts are not only things, but are everything, including you, your poison or perfection is of your own making.... Your destination in the heaven or hell of Locale II seems to be grounded completely within the framework of your deepest constant (and perhaps non-conscious motivations, emotions, and personality drives. The most consistent and strongest of these act as your 'homing' device when you enter this realm." Unpack what Monroe is implying in this passage about the power of thought and the purpose of life. Does it have any bearing on your analysis of his statements about prayer? Is every thought a prayer?
4. What do you make of the fact that Monroe misremembers a pool he experienced in his childhood? What IS reality?
5. In another one of his books, Monroe reports on his return to "Home" where he discovers that the lovely music and clouds and colors that he describes on pages 123-24 are like a film loop: the same thing endlessly repeats. "Home" is a sham.
6. Monroe's chapter title suggests that he is setting out to debunk religion. Do you find his essay effective in this respect?
7. Moore and Monroe, of course, are talking about things that are vastly different: finding the sacred in the ordinary (Moore) vs. traveling out-of-body to a realm of disembodied spirits (Monroe). There may, however, be some overlap in their positions. See if you can find any common ground between the two authors.
8. It is tempting to think that OBE is demonic, that Monroe was dallying with dark forces; however, OBE actually has a biblical precedent: I Corinthians 15:40ff. and 2 Corinthians 12:2ff. How can OBE be demonic when St. Paul speaks positively of astral projection?
Note that this selection contains two dangling modifiers: