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Hello Mystic Maze. The approach I've been taking isn't entirely removed from experience. My problem with calling the "I" God is that it's not a different subject of attention that what we find in the Ego, so if the "I" is God, then the Ego is God as well, and I think we both know that that's absurd. Also, there's just nothing about the experience of "I" that indicates it to be anything other than contingent . . . created! So unless one's understanding of God is such that God is contingent being, then I don't see how the "I" could be God. Helminiak's writings on the "I" as the nonreflecting aspect of the human spirit puts it very well, I believe.

I will be taking up the topic of the how the "lost Ego" finds its way back to God soon, as I think Christianity has a very unique teaching to offer, here. In short, the Ego in relating to Christ the Person is relating to One who re-connects Ego to Self through his own Person. Then can we truly speak of a Christ Self. But for me, the "I" is not a Christ Self, only a Self.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Let's consider Jesus, then. Do you think he had an Ego? A Self?

I certainly do. What we believe about him is that he was "a man like us in all things but sin," to quote the author of the Book of Hebrews. This means he was free of false self conditioning and the kind of inner brokenness we all experience because of sin. The beautiful harmony between the Ego and Self that I alluded to above must have existed in him -- or something like it. Ego was completely open to Self; his "I" and "Me" were in harmony. It's even likely that his Ego was somewhat influenced by a self-image/concept. E.g., his identity as a Jew from Galilee who belonged to a certain family, etc. probably contributed to his own self-understanding. That wouldn't indicate a sinful situation or identity attachment at all, imo.

In addition to this integrated, harmonious human consciousness, Jesus -- as the incarnate Word -- also manifest the divine presence through his human nature. How this all worked out is a mystery, of course, but one can imagine that the Word was present to the "I" of Jesus in a manner analagous to the presence of "I" to Ego. . . that the Self of Jesus was the "agent" by means of which the Word communicated directly with us in human history. This would mean that Jesus' Self, while remaining human, was also open to and connected with the divine in a manner different from ours. His was truly a "Christ Self." And his Ego, being an extension of Self, was also Christic or annointed with the divine as well. Hence, to interact with Jesus is to encounter humanity and divinity simultaneously; there is never a time when one of these natures acts contrary to the other.

Jesus is obviously a new kind of human being, which is why St. Paul called him the "New Adam." Like us, he had to learn and grow, and it's even possible that he got caught by his conditioning from time to time. The Word manifesting through his human nature was somewhat subject to the limitations of the consciousness of the historical Jesus -- a situation that is rectified with his resurrection and ascension.
 
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Father Thomas Keating had a major disagreement with Buddhists while visiting them and discussing the possibility of "something wonderful" at the core of
the human personality. Mystical computers and robots
will not heal the world. Human personalities will.

----------------------------------------------------

"For, though God remain everywhere present, yet he is only present to thee in the deepest and most central part of thy soul. Thy natural senses cannot possess God or unite thee to him; nay, thy inward faculties of understanding, will and memory, can only reach after God, but cannot be the place of his habitation in thee. But there is a root or depth in thee from whence all these faculties come forth, as lines from the centre or branches from the body of the tree. This depth is called the Centre, the Fund or Bottom of the soul.
This depth is the unity, the eternity, I had almost said the infinity of thy soul; for it is so infinite that nothing can satisfy it or give it any rest but the infinity of God. -William Law

(From the first page of Return to the Center by Bede Griffiths)

I have to ponder that paragraph, but it seems that words begin to fail at some point in the ineffability of this experience itself. When the ego is so purified as to become diffucult to locate or describe, that might be pretty close to
Redeemed. Wink Smiler

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ineffability


SSSShhhhhhh! Wink

I was speaking with a scientist and engineer who remarked that everthing in nature is like a tree;
fractals and patterns.

Could mysticism be a continuation of the growth of the ego? After all, you have to be somebody before you can be nobody. Wink
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"A human being is a part of the whole called by us 'the universe, ' a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest--- a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
-- Albert Einstein

"The purpose of a spiritual freind is to insult you." -- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Thanks to Pema Chodron for the quotations. Smiler

Brad, you Full Monty Python fan;

"Estupid English kniggits, I spit in your face. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hampster and your father smelt of elderberries. Now go away. or I shall taunt you a second time."

Taunts and insults are the Holy Grail of fellowship.

Raspberries to all of you!


PPPPPPHHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!! Wink
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by mysticalmichael9:
[QB] "For, though God remain everywhere present, yet he is only present to thee in the deepest and most central part of thy soul. Thy natural senses cannot possess God or unite thee to him; nay, thy inward faculties of understanding, will and memory, can only reach after God, but cannot be the place of his habitation in thee. But there is a root or depth in thee from whence all these faculties come forth, as lines from the centre or branches from the body of the tree. This depth is called the Centre, the Fund or Bottom of the soul."

MM: The quote above is descriptive of my experience of the "I."

MMichael: "This depth is the unity, the eternity, I had almost said the infinity of thy soul; for it is so infinite that nothing can satisfy it or give it any rest but the infinity of God." -William Law

MM: Except for the use of eternity (which I cannot conceive as anything other than the eternal now), the above also fits with my understanding and direct experience. Thanks for the post MMichael.

Phil: "... My problem with calling the "I" God is that it's not a different subject of attention that what we find in the Ego, so if the "I" is God, then the Ego is God as well, and I think we both know that that's absurd. Also, there's just nothing about the experience of "I" that indicates it to be anything other than contingent . . . created! So unless one's understanding of God is such that God is contingent being, then I don't see how the "I" could be God. Helminiak's writings on the "I" as the nonreflecting aspect of the human spirit puts it very well, I believe."

MM: Thanks for taking the time for further explanation, Phil. I understand better our differing view. That the "I" and ego are God, that is absurdity. But, my perspective is entirely different. If "I" is God (Christ incarnate), not contingent as is the body, the ego nothing but the body's survival system, with a brain genetically programmed to take in everything, naturally accumulating data, and forming beliefs, i.e. patterns of thoughts and feelings for resisting or accommodating the world around us. On its own, it is insane. But, I reside in the body as well as observer of both the external world events, and the ego's responses. If "purified" is is the means through which the "I" interacts authentically with others - demonstrating our true ChristSelf to the world.

Phil: "This means he was free of false self conditioning and the kind of inner brokenness we all experience because of sin."

MM: Perhaps. But, he certainly had plenty of time to work out any difficulties in the years of his life we know nothing about. Whether one accepts the "Infancy Gospel" or not, it certainly provides food for thought, describing both that his innate powers were extraordinary, and that his errors in using those powers caused problems for his family and were probably confusing to himself in the beginning.

Also, I presume you are speaking of "original" sin as causing inner-brokenness? One of my first memories, listening to this discussed in church as a six year old, was that it did not make sense. I remember thinking, "What have I done, other than love?" I knew something was wrong. Initially, "I threw the baby out with the bathwater" and became an atheist by the age of eleven having spent the intervening years testing every hypothesis my child's mind could come up with before giving it all up as nonsense. Of course that didn't last, I had become fascinated with the mysteries behind the metaphors and parables. Do you agree that the Genesis story, although accepted as the definitive text on the concept of original sin, is extremely powerful if read as a psychological parable?

My understanding of the use of the word sin, as I've discussed elsewhere - is a person's sense of some unforgiveable error - which can cause shame and a psychological "cascade" of inner-brokenness, despite how small our actual errors have been. Off topic, but related and perhaps you concur, my understanding of the "demons" Jesus healed are directly related to this same idea. We develop defensive parts of the psyche that can operate so independently - because of the shame associated with past errors, that we may either have no conscious knowledge of that part or be unable to control it if we do. Can we agree that Jesus' life was a consistent demonstration of the irrelevance of one's past errors? (Or perhaps you are using the term sin as synonymous with error, i.e. theft, murder, greed, lust, etc.??)

Phil: "The beautiful harmony between the Ego and Self that I alluded to above must have existed in him -- or something like it. Ego was completely open to Self; his "I" and "Me" were in harmony."

MM: I agree that Jesus was surely way ahead of the rest of us struggling souls in his understanding, but perhaps what makes his life story (however, different the versions) so compelling and significant in all its details - was that he was not just providing a metaphorical "reinactment" of an interior process, for our benefit. Every step that is recorded from the first miracle to the last words show us how to undertake that same spiritual journey of transcendence. And, surely despite his elevated understanding, he must have experienced some of the same internal battles or his story would not be as powerful as it is.

Phil: "In addition to this integrated, harmonious human consciousness, Jesus -- as the incarnate Word -- also manifest the divine presence through his human nature. How this all worked out is a mystery, of course, but one can imagine that the Word was present to the "I" of Jesus in a manner analagous to the presence of "I" to Ego..."

MM: What is the mystery you refer to? "Word" in the above useage denotes "concept" in my understanding, as in Jesus came here purposefully. His life was a demonstration of what he passionately wanted to communicate - as should ours. Surely, his final words before death - essentially, "this is my destiny" (aramaic) makes his intention clear. And, it follows for me, that the Word should be as present to the "I" in us as it was to the "I" in Jesus.

Phil: ". . . that the Self of Jesus was the "agent" by means of which the Word communicated directly with us in human history. This would mean that Jesus' Self, while remaining human, was also open to and connected with the divine in a manner different from ours."

MM: Yes, connected with the divine, but.... and this is the core of our different understanding - in a manner NOT different from ours.

Phil: "... And his Ego, being an extension of Self, was also Christic or annointed with the divine as well."

MM: An important point of agreement.

Phil: "Hence, to interact with Jesus is to encounter humanity and divinity simultaneously; there is never a time when one of these natures acts contrary to the other."

MM: And so it should be with us as well.

M. Michael: Re: 1. "I have to ponder that paragraph, but it seems that words begin to fail at some point in the ineffability of this experience itself. 2. When the ego is so purified as to become diffucult to locate or describe, that might be pretty close to Redeemed." and 3 "Could mysticism be a continuation of the growth of the ego? After all, you have to be somebody before you can be nobody.

MM: 1. Perhaps it is wrong to assume that words need to fail at any point in the experience. 2. But, regarding the purified ego as synonymous with "redeemed?" Absolutely. 3. Mysticism as continuation of ego growth? If the "death" of the body level/self is considered the most important point of Jesus' metaphorical clues for transcendence and rebirth. It's clear to me that something has to die - literally. And if it is not the body -- what part of us purely is a result of body level experiences - our ego's thought system.

Thanks to you both for the discussion.
 
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Brad, you Full Monty Python fan;

Thanks, MM (The Original). I can never get enough Monty Python.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and reflection, MM2 (we've been calling mysticmichael9 MM for a few years now). Some of the points you're raising are very similar to those held by Jim Marion, author of Putting on the Mind of Christ and The Death of the Mythic God. He also ascribes to a kind of Christic monism and believes that Jesus isn't different from us in any way except that he "realized" his divinity better than the rest of us do. Jim and I had a lengthy and depthful exchange on this board a couple of months ago. You can read the archive on this pdf page. Be sure to check out the "Discussing Jesus" section.

I've taken the time to carefully define Self and Ego, here, in terms of experiences we can all verify for ourselves, and the terminology I'm using is fairly congruent with the way we speak of Ego and Self in psychology and how we understand the soul in Catholic theology. It seems the core disagreement with Jim Marion, MM2 and certain Eastern traditions pertains to whether the "I" is a human or divine spirit. I have stated that it is human, as it is contingent (cannot account for its existence . . . existence received . . .) but that it opens to vastness, void, emptiness, all of which can be understood to be a deep perception of Existence, or the Ground of Being. This seems to me what the Buddhists, Taoists, and advaitan branches of Hinduism describe, and it is most definitely a kind of experience of God. It doesn't follow that the "I" possesses the divine nature, however. A tree springing up from the soil is a tree, not the soil, to use a crude analogy.

"This depth is the unity, the eternity, I had almost said the infinity of thy soul; for it is so infinite that nothing can satisfy it or give it any rest but the infinity of God." -William Law

Notice that this Christian mystic is not identifying the deep Self with God, but is noting that the Self, in its opening to eternity and its longing for infinite knowledge and love can only be satisfied by God. Law presumes God to be an-Other Being/Freedom who relates to us at that depth, so I just don't see how it could be said that he is equating "I" and God.

What is the mystery you refer to? "Word" in the above useage denotes "concept" in my understanding, as in Jesus came here purposefully. . .

Check out John 1 sometime. The idea of Jesus as the Word incarnate is basic Christian theology. It would help if you had a better understanding of this before attempting to dialogue about how Christians understand Jesus' experience of the divine.

Phil: ". . . that the Self of Jesus was the "agent" by means of which the Word communicated directly with us in human history. This would mean that Jesus' Self, while remaining human, was also open to and connected with the divine in a manner different from ours."

MM: Yes, connected with the divine, but.... and this is the core of our different understanding - in a manner NOT different from ours.


Like I said in my post above . . . Wink

But, regarding the purified ego as synonymous with "redeemed?" Absolutely.

As you put it, "an important point of agreement." In fact, I will go so far as to say that, in Christian understanding, salvation ultimately means salvation of the Ego. More on this later.

3. Mysticism as continuation of ego growth? If the "death" of the body level/self is considered the most important point of Jesus' metaphorical clues for transcendence and rebirth. It's clear to me that something has to die - literally. And if it is not the body -- what part of us purely is a result of body level experiences - our ego's thought system.

MM2, Jesus' clues aren't "metaphorical." We believe he really did rise from the dead, body and all, though in a manner gloriously different from recussitation. As there was no personal sin or false self with him, there was no disengagement between God, Self and Ego with his death.

As Ego is the agent by means of which Self becomes actualized and developed in the context of embodiment, enabling us to become "persons" and not just spiritually detached observers, it follows that the Ego can become so caught up in attachments, addictions and diversions as to fail in the responsibility to which it has been entrusted. Ego can be lost, or, rather, it can lose possession of God, and this is a fitting description of Hell. As Self is immortal and Ego is naught but Self in its reflective, intentional mode, it follows (to me, at least) that Ego consciousness continues into the next life. Catholic theology presumes this, to some extent, with the doctrine of Purgatory; and it seems that Eastern religions have a similar understanding with regard to how re-incarnations happen.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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God is a flower who grew a nose to smell himself. Smiler

This is from a spiritual entity known as Phil. It works for me as well as when I first saw it a few years ago: (about 3/4 down the page)

http://shalomplace.com/view/kundalini.html

I'll get back to y'all after some Bede Griffiths and Aurobindo, but they seem to be describing a more or less similar view. Aurobindo describes a
superconscient or supraconscient, or subconscient.
These are plural words, rather than individual, and I believe that in the West we will eventually
move from an individual to more of a collective view. Our ego. Our collective ego. Our collective
consciousness, or whatever.
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:

I've taken the time to carefully define Self and Ego, here, in terms of experiences we can all verify for ourselves, and the terminology I'm using is fairly congruent with the way we speak of Ego and Self in psychology and how we understand the soul in Catholic theology.

MM2: Yes, I appreciate you're making your understanding and perspective clear. Your positions and responses consistently appear very astute, balanced and open, and Shalom Place offers an diversity of ideas to discuss thanks to your efforts. But, it is not the congruency of terminology that is at issue, but rather the meaning.

Phil: " It seems the core disagreement with Jim Marion, MM2 and certain Eastern traditions pertains to whether the "I" is a human or divine spirit."

MM2: Neither. I experience the "I" as conceptual, albeit abstract.

Phil: I have stated that it is human, as it is contingent (cannot account for its existence . . . existence received . . .) but that it opens to vastness, void, emptiness, all of which can be understood to be a deep perception of Existence, or the Ground of Being. This seems to me what the Buddhists, Taoists, and advaitan branches of Hinduism describe, and it is most definitely a kind of experience of God. It doesn't follow that the "I" possesses the divine nature, however. A tree springing up from the soil is a tree, not the soil, to use a crude analogy."

MM2: Perhaps it is my inability to personify "God," "divine nature," and "divine spirit" that places a limit on what we can agree on? "I' as the "Ground of Being," I can agree with. But, God as a "vastness, void, emptiness, all of which can be understood to be a deep perception of Existence, or the Ground of Being." This is exactly what I find that takes mysticism into the new-agey realm and limits contemporary discourse on Christianity and "faith."

Phil: Re: i]"This depth is the unity, the eternity, I had almost said the infinity of thy soul; for it is so infinite that nothing can satisfy it or give it any rest but the infinity of God." -William Law[/i]

"Notice that this Christian mystic is not identifying the deep Self with God, but is noting that the Self, in its opening to eternity and its longing for infinite knowledge and love can only be satisfied by God. Law presumes God to be an-Other Being/Freedom who relates to us at that depth, so I just don't see how it could be said that he is equating "I" and God."

MM2: I cannot agree with your interpretation.

Phil: Re: MM2 What is the mystery you refer to? "Word" in the above useage denotes "concept" in my understanding, as in Jesus came here purposefully. . .

"Check out John 1 sometime. The idea of Jesus as the Word incarnate is basic Christian theology. It would help if you had a better understanding of this before attempting to dialogue about how Christians understand Jesus' experience of the divine."

MM2: Now, now Phil, is that nice? Basic Christian theology is what we're discussing and my question remains unanswered. I take words and meaning very seriously - as do you. Just because phrases are familiar and comfortable to repeat doesn't mean they communicate anything clearly. Do you actually believe "God" decided to communicate the truth about reality through Jesus and sent him here to do so? Talk about personification! Or, is it possible that he came here with such extraordinarily gifts that he was able to communicate a new more authentic understanding of the Jewish Holy Scriptures?

[i]Phil: ". . . that the Self of Jesus was the "agent" by means of which the Word communicated directly with us in human history. This would mean that Jesus' Self, while remaining human, was also open to and connected with the divine in a manner different from ours."

MM2: I understand that you "believe" that, but I can't understand why you would want it be true? Perhaps Jesus did intend to establish a new religion, but didn't intend to be worshiped and deified. Surely every soul has the potential for the miraculous, for transcendence and contribution beyond what they "believe" they can accomplish. I recall him saying that all of us are Sons of God and that others would come who would accomplish more than he. I absolutely believe in the miracles ascribed to him, but that he was communicating "how" through metaphor.

Phil: Jesus' clues aren't "metaphorical." We believe he really did rise from the dead, body and all, though in a manner gloriously different from recussitation. As there was no personal sin or false self with him, there was no disengagement between God, Self and Ego with his death.

MM2: Hurrah! I agree with every single word above! But, that every experience and word passed down to us - about Jesus - has a deeper significance as metaphor.

Phil: As Ego is the agent by means of which Self becomes actualized and developed in the context of embodiment, enabling us to become "persons" and not just spiritually detached observers, it follows that the Ego can become so caught up in attachments, addictions and diversions as to fail in the responsibility to which it has been entrusted. Ego can be lost, or, rather, it can lose possession of God, and this is a fitting description of Hell. As Self is immortal and Ego is naught but Self in its reflective, intentional mode, it follows (to me, at least) that Ego consciousness continues into the next life. Catholic theology presumes this, to some extent, with the doctrine of Purgatory; and it seems that Eastern religions have a similar understanding with regard to how re-incarnations happen. [/QB]
MM2: Beautifully, perfectly stated! Now, why can't we get along?
 
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<w.c.>
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Mystic Maze:

Logos, or the "Word" was understood by the early church quite differently than the way you are suggesting. One only has to read the gospel of John to know the great lengths the writer went to to differentiate Jesus as the incarnation of the Godhead from human potential. The Jewish context for such meaning is clear enough: the early church that chose the particular gospels and epistles for the canon, which was being formed during the first century within the oral tradition felt strongly that Jesus was saying He was the Creator of the universe, and nothing less. Even the Jesus Seminar scholars, such as John Dominic Crossan, seem to concede that John's gospel presents this emphasis, with the synopic gospels depicting a post-Easter Jesus that is not simply a warmed-over, resuscitated adept.

"Do you actually believe "God" decided to communicate the truth about reality through Jesus and sent him here to do so? Talk about personification!"


So yes, this is quite clearly the case as one can see in early Christian creeds, such as the Nicene Creed and the early Apostles Creed, and what many of us believe here based upon not only theology but mystical confirmation. The idea that the Creator would actually incarnate has been a mythological longing in all religions, and so the notion that He actually did reveal Himself in this way is either another mythological inflection, or a unique event in human history. Christian faith experience from the very beginning has been about that latter revelation.

So it isn't a matter of not getting along, but of probably seeing things in a fundamentally different way. And, much of this has been hashed out in great detail in the exchanges between Jim Marion (whose views seem similar to yours) and Phil. It is tiresome to re-tread the tire in terms of content, so you might look at the link Phil's given you to see what you're likely to get in the way of future responses.
 
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<w.c.>
posted
"Perhaps it is my inability to personify "God," "divine nature," and "divine spirit" that places a limit on what we can agree on? "I' as the "Ground of Being," I can agree with. But, God as a "vastness, void, emptiness, all of which can be understood to be a deep perception of Existence, or the Ground of Being." This is exactly what I find that takes mysticism into the new-agey realm and limits contemporary discourse on Christianity and "faith."


The idea that human beings aren't the Creator shouldn't be difficult to see: we don't create out of nothing, don't share omnipresence or omniscience, and have absolutely no mastery over death. Our minds, even where non-dual awareness and kundalini are cultivated to a high degree, are nevertheless bound in internal dialogue and incapable of permanent unification.

I took refuge in the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and received Shaktipat from a legitimate Hindu saint, but have never seen any exceptions to these conditions in anyone, however compassionate. Some good, loving people, but prone to anger, and even where especially mature and relatively free of distorted affectivity, prone to death and helplessness in the face of things much bigger than they could ever hope to penetrate. IOW, they still must surrender to an intimate mystery quite beyond their grasp. For Christians, that mystery is Jesus as God incarnate.


And so not personifying God isn't necessarily an exemption from questionable thinking, as your notion assumes, and as you admit re: the quotation from Law, that God cannot, in ultimate form, be personal; hence "ground of being" is a kind of last metaphor for the new age attempting to co-opt an orthodox concept meant quite differently.
 
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Very well said W.C.

God says don't we all have one Father, hasn't God created us all.

We humans can make a pregnancy happen, yet need the breath of our Creator to give it life, and that newly conceived being depends solely upon the gifts and graces of God.

The same holds true in a rebirth of a creature. We cannot give ourselves this new birth, although many alchemists have tried looking for the philosopher's stone, others pursue formulas, etc. God is the Creator and giver of life, and to Him all souls return, they are not ours to claim. We depend upon the Holy Spirit of God and the gift of eternal life received through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

As I have mentioned in another post: "Can you give me the seed of the Holy Spirit with the life and light of God in it, can you give me of the breath of God, can you give me of the tree of life and a drink from the river of life, and can you give to me eternal life?".

When we take our bearings from the cross, we can see that the only power with which Jesus works is the power of the utterly self-giving love that was itself weak and helpless on Cavalry. He overcame all the violent force and energy of evil that fell upon Him there, not by exercising greater force and violence, but by renouncing them altogether. The power of Jesus, and, therefore, the power of the Spirit that Jesus imparts from the cross, is the power of Cavalry love. It is by that love _ nothing more and nothing less _ that God delivers, remakes, heals, frees and saves.
 
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Hi MM,

your quote:

...........and I believe that in the West we will eventually move from an individual to more of a collective view. Our ego, our collective ego, Our collective consciousness, or whatever.
-----------------------------

You have many supporters who feel like you do.

From the book "Enlightened Mind and Collective Consciousness, I quote:

Collective consciousness in every day reality. The power of collective consciousness that is now in emerging in the world has been referred to in all great teachings. For the Buddha, it was charity making an end to suffering. Christ spoke of the whole body being light. Sri Aurobindo referred the supramental consciousness that is the key to humanity's collective evolutionary potential. Eckhard Tolle refers to a new state of consciousness emerging. The New York City Kabbalah Center refers to collective consciousness by saying that the Messiah is not an individual but a critical mass of enlightened people who will transform the universe.
----------------------------------

Here we are presented with a denial of Christ's Godhead as an individual, the One God, and instead are told of the glorification of enlightened godmen who claim to be Christ, the Messiah, having all the powers given to Christ to transform the world. Becoming themselves God, there is no need to rely upon the One God. This is the reality of the new age seekers of enlightenment who than can say we are God, relying solely upon their own will and powers to accomplish their goals. The pure mind of Christ is a labor embraced and sought by many depending upon their own efforts, which is an absolute unreality, and has proven to fail over and over again.

A collective mind can be infiltrated and invaded by the consciousness of evil since our human consciousness shared with others can receive the benefits of the purity within saints, but also the horror's impingement of rapists, murderers, etc. Who of us has the mind of God unless God allows us by our union with Him to be part of His pure mind, making us part of the mind of Christ. This is where I want to be within the mind of Christ and not part of a collective consciousness that depends upon individual efforts that fail over and over again.
 
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I'm going to just continue with the line of presentation I've started, and maybe there will be clarifications re. some of the issues being raised.

For Christians, Jesus is more than an enlightened master; he is the incarnation of the Word, or Second Person of the Trinity, and so he possesses divinity innately and in a manner different from other human beings past or present. This understanding of him has been held since the first generation of Christianity and deeply influences Christian spiritual practice.

- - -

You might say that salvation is, ultimately, redemption of the Ego, and the way this happens in Christianity is through faith in Jesus. This faith is an act initiated by the Ego, which makes use of the faculties of consciousness at its disposal (primarily reason and will) to open one to receive the love and guidance of Christ. This can happen even in the sickest and most sinful of Egos, as songs like "Amazing Grace" and countless converts have testified through the years. And in turning to Jesus as the foundation of one's life, one is moved away from tweaking self-concept and preoccupation with "getting," "having," and "making oneself OK," which are the agendae of the false self. One knows oneself to be loved as the individual God has created one to be, and Ego begins to actualize the destiny God has intended for the individual through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What the Christian Church proclaims, then, is that Ego is reconciled with God through Christ and is even reborn, in him. Through the surrender of faith and the Sacrament of Baptism, Ego and Self become connected with God through Christ's Ego and Self. One can still assert reason and will away from God, and "tune in," as it were, to the non-reflective consciousness of Self; our human nature remains intact. But a new life principle becomes established in the soul through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who becomes the Agent of ongoing transformation as one grows in the mystical body of Christ. Christ's ongoing gift of Self through prayer and the Sacraments also enables us to come to know the divine ground of our being as Abba, Father . . . which is a more personal encounter than Self can come to through its own investigations. This is why Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through him; only he can communicate his own knowledge of God as Abba.

Through Christ and in Christ, Ego and Self are raised to a higher level of spirituality -- a participation in Christ's own life. Ego and Self are not lost; they are redeemed . . . transformed . . . empowered. Through the renewed Ego, an individual engages the world, making use of one's natural gifts and the charisms awakened by the Spirit. Thus it is that in Christianity, we are moved to bring the life of Christ to whatever circle of life has been entrusted to us.
 
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Phil, your heart and mind flowed beautifully in the Spirit by such a deep understanding and expression of Christ and His love and power in our Ego and Self transformation. Thank you Smiler Oh, Amazing Grace how sweet that sound that saved a wretch like me!.
 
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I've literally had a bible-thumper hit me in the head with the book-of-books. Thump! Shaktipat! Wink

This blew my mind yesterday and this morning:

"To come to this yoga merely with the idea of being a superman would be an act of vital egoism which would defeat its own object. Those who put this object in the front of their preoccupations invariably come to grief, spiritually and otherwise. The aim of this yoga is, first, to enter into this divine consciousness by merging into it the separative ego (incidentally, in doing so one finds one's true individual self which is not the limited, vain and selfish human ego but a portion of the Divine) and, secondly, to bring down the supramental consciousness on earth to transform mind, life and body. All else can be only a result of these two aims, not a primary object of the yoga." -Integral Yoga, Aurobindo

Back in the eighties, I would sit in the dark after bible studies and watch my hand glow. Is that goofy or what? I was going to levitate and read minds and control the stock market. Oh, boy,
am I a sick puppie.

Aurobindo did levitate, but he wasn't a show off.
 
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The aim of this yoga is, first, to enter into this divine consciousness by merging into it the separative ego (incidentally, in doing so one finds one's true individual self which is not the limited, vain and selfish human ego but a portion of the Divine) . .

MM, I don't think we can do this "merging" with the divine, although we can certainly and easily access the spiritual "I" and its indirect connection with divinity. The divine isn't a "something" we merge with or "realize," but is, instead, a "some-One." A major problem with Arubindo and most Easterners is this conflation of the human "I" and the divine consciousness. Even though extraordinary psychic gifts and "miraculous" phenomena be manifesting, it doesn't follow that the cause is the divine.

- - -

One more little piece of the puzzle re. Ego, Self and Christ. Given its natural dispostion (reflective consciousness, intentionality, etc.) to act in and through a body, the Ego draws much of its cues about the inner and outer world from sensory and physiological information. In fact, our human consciousness is such that its higher operations aren't even activated unless/until a certain threshold of senory information is perceived (consider Helen Keller's conundrum, before she learned to use the tactile stimuli available to her to awaken her mind). We are not "spiritual beings having a human experience," apologies to Teilhard. The human spirit is a very specific type of consciousness, differening from pure spirits like angels in its orientation toward animating a body and activating its higher intelligence from catalyzing senory input. No sensory input, no development of higher intelligence; no body, no sensory input.

One of the grave consequences of sin is in its distorting the functioning of the body, so much so that sickness and even death ensue from sin. The traditional Christian teaching is that the first humans were destined for immortality in the body, but that this was lost through the Fall. Since then, we've been trying to live our lives in a somatic context that just is unsuitable for our spiritual consciousness, despite its many wonders. The balance between our spiritual and mammalian consciousness (the psyche) has been deeply disturbed; for example, we're pushed around by sexual and aggressive instincts far more than should be the case, given our spiritual nature. St. Paul speaks a lot about this as "the flesh," and considers it to be a consequence of sin.

What Christ does that no other religious leader accomplishes is provide a new metaphysical foundation for our spiritual consciousness: his risen body. With conversion and Baptism, the innate orientation of the Ego to somatic stimuli becomes filtered through his risen body, with its mystical physiology providing increasing "correction" to our misperceptions and misinterpretations. This is what Paul means when he says the body is dead through sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus. The soul centered in Christ and developing its spirituality in him comes to increasingly live by the life of his risen body and the Spirit dwelling within. This risen body of Christ is most fully present in the gathered Christian community; we are like cells or "parts" in this body (1 Cor. 12), and we come alive when the body "assembles, as it were. As I say, no other religious founder provides anything close to this kind of metaphysical transfer. Christ's risen body and sacred humanity are the source and foundation of our life on earth, and the basis for our hope to be resurrected with a risen body (not just a spiritual consciousness) like his in eternity.

- - -

OK, I'm pretty much done with what I'd hoped to express on this thread. I'll go back and respond to some points others have made, and welcome ongoing dialogue.
 
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Here's a great quote from Jean Pierre de Caussade's Abandonment to Divine Providence, showing how a cooperative Ego open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be led. Note the simplicity of this pathway, especially when contrasted with spiritualities that emphasize annihilation of the Ego.

quote:
The
divine action regards only the goodwill; the capability of the other
faculties does not attract it, nor does the want of capability repel
it. All that it requires is a heart that is good, pure, just, simple,
submissive, filial, and respectful. It takes possession of such a
heart, and of all its faculties, and so arranges everything for its
benefit that it finds in all things its sanctification. That which
destroys other souls would find in this soul an antidote of goodwill
which would nullify its poison. Even at the edge of a precipice the
divine action would draw it back, or even if it were allowed to remain
there it would prevent it from falling; and if it fell, it would
rescue it. After all, the faults of such a soul are only faults of
frailty; love takes but little notice of them, and well knows how to
turn them to advantage. It makes the soul understand by secret
suggestions what it ought to say, or to do, according to
circumstances. These suggestions it receives as rays of light from the
divine understanding : "intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus eum"; "A
good understanding to all that do it" (Ps. cx, 10), for this divine
understanding accompanies such souls step by step, and prevents them
taking those false steps which their simplicity encourages. If they
make arrangements which would involve them in some promise prejudicial
to them, divine Providence arranges some fortunate occurrence which
rectifies everything. In vain are schemes formed against them
repeatedly; divine Providence cuts all the knots, brings the authors
to confusion, and so turns their heads as to make them fall into their
own trap. Under its guidance those souls that they wish to take by
surprise do certain things that seem very useless at the time, but
that serve afterwards to deliver them from all the troubles into which
their uprightness and the malice of their enemies would have plunged
them. Oh! what good policy it is to have goodwill! What prudence there
is in simplicity! What ability in its innocence and candour! What
mysteries and secrets in its straightforwardness!
 
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This quote absolutely brings tears to my eyes, remembering the total simple innocent state of my inner being during the most difficult time, thereby, allowing the Holy Spirit to do the redemptive work necessary in my salvation from the terrors that surrounded me. It is truly being a little child that inherits the Kingdom of Heaven.
 
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That's just a small sample of what's in the book, Freebird. It's my all-time favorite on Christian contemplative spirituality.

As noted above, I brought it up in the context of this discussion as (like other Catholic mystical writers) de Caussade shows us the role of the Ego on the spiritual journey -- to maintain ongoing consent to the leadings of the Spirit. He goes on in other places to point out how sometimes we are moved to read a certain book, consult with someone, etc. (maybe even read an Internet discussion forum) to help the will remain properly focused. God's providence comes to rule our lives, including (especially!) the operations of the Ego, because God loves us as individuals and redeems/transforms us as individuals.
 
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I recall a family group therapy session years ago in which I was a co-therapist. We had been dealing with one of the son's alcohol abuse and its consequences on the family, and we were winding it up. I asked group members to share what they learned/experienced this week that had made the biggest impact on them, and the father of the family thought a long while before responding: "I've learned how important it is to keep your mind in your self."

That's a good way of describing a healthy Ego-Self alignment. It's when the Ego operates apart from its sensitivity to Self (and beyond) that it becomes destructive, and addictions will certainly lead it down that road. A growing attentiveness to Self and the freedom implied by its non-reflecting, observational perspective (conscious of consciousness) enables one to begin to identify options for change. And because Self is ever with us, it seems to me that this freedom is ever at our disposal as well -- barring serious mental or physical illness, that is.
 
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Phil:

This may be a bit off topic, but I think what many people encounter in the observing capacity of self is their own depersonalization, where conscious awareness isn't drawing from an inner experience of having been seen and understood, and so this leaves the observer perspective bereft of self-intimacy, or without the sense of personhood which those who have it intact wouldn't notice. This observing capacity drawing upon the soul would assume a spontaneous sense of intimacy, where "I am here" is an expression of persons.

This would be different for those who've undergone loss of affective ego, which you differentiate on another thread.
 
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Yes, and it seems that what many folks are hankering after when they seek an impersonal kind of non-dual presence is the avoidance of relational love even in terms of spirituality - just more of the same depersonalization that is so invulnerable and famishing yet numbing at the same time.

And in terms of human attachment relationships, we could say that a child's ego rests in her own emerging self in her parent's more mature self, although never perfectly in either direction. So it may not even be possible to actually rest the ego in the self withough there being an underlying "I-Thou" dynamic as essential to the relational substance of self (I've been reading some W. Norris Clarke, S.J. Wink )
 
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That makes sense. In a healthy family, the Ego learns to rest in the loving ambience of communal life and unself-consciously goes about its business, in harmony with Self. It's a short step to mystical contemplation, where we learn to unself-consciously rest in God.

Even in the best of families, however, there are the constrictions and defenses MM2 mentioned above (reaction to the awareness of mortality) and which you've gone into in your thread on healing the false self, but these do not completely alienate the Ego from Self and others. After all, Ego is Self-incarnate and, simultaneously, a conditioned identity. So at least in terms of spirituality, the critical issue is just how attached Ego is to its conditioned identity (self-image) and how open to the freedom and intelligence of Self.
 
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Yes, we're talking about families with enough resilience/emotional intelligence i.e, true self-ego congruity based upon "I-Thou" relationships to repair the major hurts and sustain and integrate the hurting/dissapointments that are tolerable and not damaging. What I find interesting, as well, is that in relatively functional families the child is supported in grieving the loss of infancy's narcissistic entitlement, which requires a parent to recognize the potential delusion of playing God in the child's life: the parent's thou-ness being related to a greater Thou-ness in which the child and parent are re-joined.
 
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