Hi everyone! greats posts! so glad we are revisiting this thread....
i think Matthew is going to write later today as well.. we were just discussing this topic last night before bed...
i am not so good at conveying my thoughts here .. when i do write it tends to be more from a place of direct experience which is hard to put into words. . Matthew is better at putting into words what i feel and think about this subject on a more intellectual level.. so , i will acquiesce to him...he told me this morning before work he will write later tonight.
What i would like to say simply is.. i hear and understand both Shasha and Sampson's position to be correct within my own understanding...The experience i had ( almost 16 years ago...if you go back and look at the story i posted about Jesus of the Divine Mercy and the child) , reflects BOTH the Transcendent and Immanent nature of God within my experience..) .
it seems a paradox to the mind and it is my opinion the mind cannot understand this.... it cannot be comprehended with the mind.. as it transcends the intellect.
i SAW and experienced the child as he Is, when he climbed up on my lap .as God sees Him.. i saw and experienced his 'core'. As Sampson put it, i experienced him as 'profoundly linked to God at his core, where consciousness is crystalline'. 'pure perfection.'.. i saw him with my heart.. Christ in Us... beyond human sentiment.. this seeing was experiential ..That is , the core of 'me' that is pure in Christ, saw the core of him that is pure in Christ .. i might add i saw him as he Is, right 'after' he was baptized ... there was a sense of distinction between him and i and Christ .. yet not . There was a sense of distinction between seeing thru the eyes of Christ, yet not.. i cannot give adequate expression to this other than to say we were all interconnected... yet distinctly separate, as i had a sense of self and saw the child as a separate self, yet Christ over shadowed us and thru this overshadowing i had new and different experience of self and other that was beyond ordinary consciousness ... vastly beyond , an alchemy i cannot dissect in anyway conceptually.. and when i try.. like i am attempting to do now, i do so poorly.
At at the time of His earthly transition i saw Jesus take on human form.. i saw with Absolute AWE , the Transcendent , Jesus Christ. In short.. God who is 'not' me yet irrevocably linked to me or i would not have been able to see Him thru my human eyes or once again see the child as i did on my lap, ( pure perfection) the moment His soul was taken By Jesus in that hospital room , the moment of his transition. .. .. Christ who is so vastly beyond me, yet so connected in and thru us ( me) as a spark of His creation..... Christ Transcendent , humbled Himself to come to receive a small child into heaven who trusted Him ..... a mystery. Transcendent and Immanent irrevocably linked.. a separateness, yet not.
God's love intimately intertwined with humanity.. the hearts of the mystics know this.. yet in the beauty of it all shrouded in the cloud of knowing...as it is beyond words , beyond concepts..
Like Shasha.. i have a hard time and reject the new age thinking that we are 'God' and have no need for the Transcendent Almighty. We need Jesus in order to become NEW creatures... we need Jesus who i believe is ushering in a new paradigm here on earth .. a paradigm where He is God and we are His creation. distinctly separate , yet not... His grace. His Mercy raising the whole shabang.
I am not about to get into how this is happening.... because i do not know. but i do know this whole, shift thing ( or whatever one wants to call it) somehow connects the dots between the Transcendent and Immanent and the foundation of it all is Christ's Mercy. I am bringing this up here because i think it is intricately connected to the transcendent/ Immanent connection... possibly an interesting topic to further pursue on another thread...
love to all in Christ ,
christineThis message has been edited. Last edited by: faustina,
Good to hear from you again.
Just to help clarify, here, some of the exchanges going on seem to be in reference to the movie, "One Voice," and others to an experience you originally posted at:
I think some of Shasha's posts above are in response to that one, and yours above seems in reference to this experience as well, is that right?
Hi Phil.. I was talking about both! because i relate the message of the movie back to my own experience with Blake
Hello! I think actually a lot of what I was going to say (on the paradox of transcendence and immanence, or on treating them as a dichotomy) has been covered pretty well by everyone, but I guess I'll chime in anyway:
It's been a while since I've seen the movie but I think I agree with this.
I agree that K energy or other related sorts of energies don't seem directly divine in the way that the Holy Spirit is divine. They just "feel" differently to me, and since considering them to be different provides no theological challenges, it works for me!
I think talking about consciousness is potentially more difficult, but I think that's because trying to approach God wielding the propositional calculus gets hairy fast. That's why I think of transcendence/immanence as a paradox. I mean just start with the proposition "divine consciousness is human consciousness". If by "is" we mean something like "shares every property of, and has no properties separately" then I think clearly human consciousness is not divine consciousness. But the mystery of experience, the experience of mystics that is, is wonderfully full of non-logical hints at some way in which human consciousness IS divine consciousness. In terms of speculative theology, it's much safer to just pull the punch and say it's just somehow inextricably intertwined and interpenetrating, but that's not quite enough to satisfy the demands of mysticism wishing to express itself fully in its experience of the Ultimate.
My solution is just to accept the paradox. It both is and is not, depending on how you look at it. Some propositions are just unresolvable logically. So I think I'm saying almost exactly the same thing as samson here:
Or heavily on the side of transcendence, as I prefer it
A common theme it seems to me in recorded instances of human interaction with the divine (especially in Scripture) is the mixture of reactions to God's transcendence and immanence. I think those stories convey the idea wonderfully, from Peter's awe at the transfiguration, to the Magnificat, to the momentary fear that accompanies the appearances of angels or Christ, followed by "peace be with you" There is both the experience of how far Above and Beyond everything God is, but then also how loving, peaceful and Present as well.
To relate it back to concerns about new-age-ism or the like, my overly simplified but aphoristic take is that accepting immanence without transcendence (taking oneself to be equal to God, denying the existence of Sin, etc) results in some kind of glorified Egoism. But recognizing God's transcendence without his immanence or without recognizing the immanence of one human soul to another leads to something juridical and legalistic, a kind of dry fundamentalism.
That's what Christine and I were talking about last night, what she referenced in her post. And I think the intertwining of the two in an experience is partly what she is referring to in the experience with the child, in terms of the human and divine. But of course the movie is also about the "oneness" of human souls, and the experience speaks to that as well.
I have focused more on "oneness" in the context of human/divine here but I think the "oneness" of people is strongly related, but maybe that's for another post some time. The crux of the matter for me is the injunction that in order to be forgiven we must forgive, and thinking about what part forgiveness (or long-suffering as in Corinthians) has in what Love is.
Yes to almost everything you say, Matthew. I was a little stern in my opening retort to Shasha, wasn't I ..? Apologies, Shash...
I had a lovely clarity about all this in prayer this morning. Don't ask me to explain it though.
It did involve a marriage of the love and awareness highways, and a sense of penetrating a deeply mysterious, limitless, loving Presence, which my mind often tried to box but my spirit told me to keep exploring. Very beautiful. The superhighway explanation is invaluable, Phil. Much gratitude!
Such good discussions are a-flowing. And I decided to watch the whole documentary "With One Voice" to get a better perspective on things.
And I bought Stephen's book to get a better read on Stephen.
So, I'll jump back in when I've done some more homework, and if I think I have anything sensible to say.
Christine and Matthew,
It's so great to have you two chiming in. Interesting to see how you express many of the exact same things in two very different ways. You guys are so cute. You know that right?
My little brothers used to call me "Shash." So I'm thinking I am entitled to be the bossy sister with you after all!
Love to you all!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
I carefully watched the movie, “With One Voice” and reread this thread. I have also been reading and very much enjoying Stephen’s book. I do have a clearer sense of wherefrom you are coming, Stephen, with your spirituality. Good to get to know you better.
It seemed like a good idea to consider more carefully some of my ‘issues’ and objections that I shared about this flick. It’s a topic that is important to me, and I don’t want to be too lazy or sloppy about my communications. Though I do retain the right to use ‘English is my second language’ as an excuse from time to time.
I don’t want to respond from a place of unexamined biases, paranoia, knee-jerk reactions, or reacting like a jerk. Especially to things so tender and precious as one’s experiences of God.
So after I labored through this movie, as often happens, I ended up concluding that I could not at all improve upon Phil’s wisdom. This is why he’s the teacher!
Hi all. I've finally had a chance to review the video preview and click around the site a bit. The message certainly seems to be a positive one, only I'd agree with Shasha that they seem to blur the distinction between the consciousness of the human spirit and that of the divine, at times.
Also, at some point, one has to ask why, if all these different pathways attest to the same kind of experience, they have, traditionally, maintained themselves as distinct from one another? Why don't they all collapse into some kind of mystical synthesis? The New Age movement attempted to do just such, but it doesn't hold together very well, the main reason being that there are different kinds of experiences of God and the deep self being attested to by the world religions and metaphysical traditions. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion, but it does leave one inquiring if, among these various pathways, there is one favored by the divine?
Yes, to inquire such pushes up against the inclusive spirit of the video and, indeed, of postmodern thinking, but it is an important question nonetheless. E.g., who knows me best and is best qualified to write a biography of me? My siblings? My children? Coworkers? Friends? My wife? - They've all experienced the common and open aspects of my life, some moreso than others. In my case, at least, only my wife would know me most fully and so would be best qualified to write my biography.
I am one man known similarly and differently by a number of people. That's true of everyone. Why should this not apply to God as well? What is this tendency to level the playing field to make it seem as though every religion is saying the same thing, only using different language? Why not respect both the testimony AND differences among them? Yes, Christianity does make claims that the others do not, but the appropriate response to this is to consider those claims and to see where one comes out with regard to them.
The "privileged revelation" point is a more difficult one to uphold in this emerging postmodern culture, which tends to eschew all things hierarchical.
The theologian, Hans Kung, made a good contribution to addressing this point in a book he wrote on world religions years ago, wherein he noted that the founders of other religions and their saints and ours as well present us with significant revelations of God. So does the creation itself. But in Jesus Christ we encounter the decisive revelation of God. Only he has risen from the dead and only he has the authority to bless us with the Holy Spirit. This is unique among the world religions.
So this movie is like syncretism ‘on steroids,’ I’d say. What does that mean?
Syncretism is the combining of different (often contradictory) beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism may involve the merger and analogising of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. -- from Wiki
"On steroids" has become the go-to modifier for any new thing that is bigger and more advanced than a previous version. ...If you agree with us that on steroids is overused, try but bigger, times ten, and then some, or inflated. We welcome other suggestions. --from the Grammartist
(I suggest “powered up” from the world of video gaming.)
Phil says it best, why syncretism is a such a beastly problem, and maybe even cultivated by a beast. But I would like to share a few specific reactions about the movie that may more satisfactorily address some of the questions Stephen brought up in his thread ‘resurrecting’ post and subsequent comments to my bossy, big sister boldness. Can't do it all today.
The movie is a splicing together of multiple fragments from interviews of a dozen or so spiritual leaders and one ‘lay’ Quaker woman. There’s a few monks, including Father Keating, Buddhists, A.H. Almaas, non-dual guys, various gurus, etc.
It is organized into a few sections: e.g, The Way of Peace, Love, Religious Intolerance, Many Paths to Truth, Spiritual Transformation.
Within each section, there is this splicing of interview pieces from one spiritual leader, then another, then a third, etc. Each splice of interview is only about 1 to three sentences. It was choppy. It was deliberate. These sentences were carefully selected to reflect the extent to which each spiritual leader was saying the same thing about that topic. It felt incomplete and chaotic to me because I felt strongly that if the camera had continued rolling, these various interviewees would have gone on to give testimony to disparate interpretations and theologies about their one-ness experience.
Stop the camera. You know, before you get into that messy ‘dual’ stuff that engages the useless mind to make arbitrary, culturally polluted, shadow-infested conclusions about God and fallen human nature.
Overall, I got the sense that what was being proposed about One-ness in this flick was a straight-forward panthiesm or Eastern non-duality. (But you can’t say for sure, because no one interviewee talked long enough.) The main objection, as Phil already made, is that the Christ is denied as the distinct Revelation from God and the blurring of boundaries between God and man.
In this movie, the basic thrust, what I think they meant by ONE-NESS was: We are one family,
not distinct from each other,
not distinct from the physical world,
and NOT distinct from God
(they hasten to say, ‘call it what you want: God, Ground of Being, the Buddha nature, Krishna...these were all proposed semantic alternatives, though I don’t think Christ was ever among that list)
For instance, here are some quotes:
We already are that for which we are seeking...
What was ‘me’ was all over the place, the rock I was sitting on the air around me...everything became me...bursting with blissfulness and ecstacy...
It was the universe that was acting and not me as an individual...
I was part of the one-ness, light infuses everything power of that divine, oneness that could heal anything.
The distinction between self and other disappears, a sense of unity with all there is, a sense of union with everything and it is THE most extraordinary and exalted of human experiences!
Whether we know it or not, we are always that creative source, not only we can’t be anything else, there IS nothing else.
I found some comments by the Benedictine Monk in this movie to be really off, super-
on steroids oversimplifications:
“There is no conflict among spiritual people in the world, but there is a great deal of conflict between religious people in the world. Religion, of course, is meant to foster and cultivate and protect spirituality, but religion are also in contrast to spirituality, in general. Religions are institutions...are always self-serving, that is just the shadow side of institutions.
Strange thing to say for a guy who’s made religious vows to a religious Order and living in a monastery!
And this from the same monk:
From my experience with talking to other presenters of spiritual traditions, we are all talking about the same thing...like seeing a sunrise, we all experience the same reality as ultimate reality.
And from a Zen Abbott who confidently exclaims:
John of the Cross is talking about the same thing that Hakowin* is talking about. Theresa of Avila is talking the same thing that Mioshan* is talking about...
*I don’t know who these guys are. Presumably some Zen masters. But fill in the blank. I’ve heard this dozens of times, the conflating of these Carmelite Saints with the enlightened gurus. And the conflating of their teachings on the highest stages of perfection and union with God with non-dual consciousness.
And that leads me to your question, Stephen, about wanting somebody to explain why some (I) see the spiritual marriage as very different from enlightenment. I know Phil gave you that link, and you wanted a more personal testimony. I realized I felt uneasy going in that direction with you. I fear that my personal sharing about that might lead to implied devaluations of yours or others experiences of God.
The other poster who’s experienced these two as distinct is Mt, who’s taken time off to do ‘life’ (;-) Like Phil, Mt is an excellent and eloquent writer. Also, Jim Arraj present some good discussions about this. I’ll defer to them for now.
Matthew and Christine,
Yes, of course. Both God’s Transendence and Immanence. Accept the paradox, insofar as it presents as a paradox in certain 'places' of our being. God, in His infinite Wisdom gives each creature the right balance , more or less of his Immanence or Transcendence, for our sanctification. But I don't think One-ness as 'I am God' is the same as God's Immanence (God's spark is in me). What worries me is the steep degree to which One-ness folks, this movie, do blur the distinction between creature and Creator, and deny Christ as God.
Like you, I very much must be true to my direct, mystical encounters with Jesus. Nobody could ever talk you out of knowing the truth of what you saw that day with Blake. No theology will replace what you saw or subtract from what you saw. Likewise with me, I can’t very well defend intellectually or theologically what the Father has shown me, but I can’t seem to be quiet about it either. This is especially true when I see or hear stuff that goes against my private revelations from God, which are congruent with the Church's teachings.
Yes, there is this spark of the divine in us. God is closer to us than our skin. God made us IN HIS IMAGE.
But if the King of Glory, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, walks into your bedroom while you’re praying, you don’t hold on to any fantasies that you are divine. In that moment, your divine spark gets (relatively) snuffed out!
You don’t say, “Oh hi, another manifestation of my own divine Self.”
No. You see that you are a wretched, broken nothing.
You fall on the floor, press your face into the carpet, and tremble with awe. You can look at and be in One-ness. You cannot look at God.
One-ness is within the created world. The Prince of darkness is the prince of this created world. What does that mean? Do you mean the WHOLE WORLD, Lord?
Does it mean the Prince of darkness might tamper with the Awareness super-highway, the Love and Knowledge highways? Does he really have access to our deepest, truest longings for God?
Was Lucifer stripped of his beauty? Does he not still possess charm, tenderness, intelligence? Capable of love and devotion (to something, himself?) Are the fallen angels not elegant, swirling, lush, laughing, expansive, possessing healing powers, sensual, joyous? Isn't this all good fruit too? I wonder... Even some of the most gifted mystics have been temporarily deceived by angels of light (e.g. I think it was St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Catherine of Sienna)
Jesus has created a room for us in the Father's house. Not of this world.
"You are right when you say that I am a King. But my Kingdom is not of this world."
Let me stop and change my musings to the first person, "I," not you, because I don’t know about you (collective you). And I don't want to come across accusing or judging other's interpretations of their subjective experiences of God.
I cannot actually look at God (Transcendent). Not only because of any single, discreet sins which separate me from God. Not all the sins added up or multiplied together can begin to account for the vast difference between me and Christ Jesus. Not all the progress on the ‘way of perfection’ that I can make will put much of a dent in that gap between the fallen creature that I am and the Lord.
Stephen, you mentioned about the ‘complication’ of my guru experiences in turning me off to One-ness. You know, I have some direct familiarity with the featured Guru in this movie. That thread discussion is here:
Stephen, it is true: I probably do underestimate the implicit action of the Word in non-Christian religions. Still, I am responsible to reject *explicit* false teachings about God. I can't be responsble for what I don't see or hear. The teaching that Jesus is God no more than you or I are God is false. It's a heresy that caused many of the faithful to be killed. But this teaching, that Jesus is no more a God than you or I, is what this guru said! And, by the way, this guru should know because he is now inhabiting his 3rd consecutive enlightened lifetime. It's true. He showed us the picture of himself, on the big screen, in his previous lifetime. That was enlightened self 2.0 version. I mean, that's real clout. By this guru's teaching, I believe, he is leading thousands away every day from the Lord (to some extent which we don't know).
Echos from the Garden...all over again. You can be like God. One-ness proves it!
Come to think of it, if it is only by the Holy Spirit that one confesses that Jesus is God, by what spirit is one compelled to teach that Jesus is NOT God?
In sum, this movie teaches pantheism (correction! I typed monotheism earlier) and they deny the Revelation of Jesus by virtue of the unity consciousness to which people of various religious traditions give testimony. It's both a yes and a NO on the truth factor.
I know I didn’t cover all the questions, but I gotta fly for now.
Lil BirdieThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
That is absolutely correct Shasha.. so much that i just blew in from mass and even without reading your post in full.. i HAD to write now as in those words you have expressed EXACTLY where i come from... and this can never ever be changed even of i tried to change it...as it is the very root of of my soul in Christ.........
i will write more later...tonight..after supper.
love to all! Christine
LATER IN THE EVENING here......... am super tired tonight.. and have needed to spend time in prayer... today was the day i saw Jesus 16 years ago...
great post Shasha.. i agree with a lot of what you wrote here.. a bit of a different take on the unity thing.. but i will post tomorrow..This message has been edited. Last edited by: faustina,
I've been evaluating my year's experiences this week, now that my mind has come down from its lovely non-reflecting awareness and is more analytical, and I'm beginning to see differences between enlightenment and union with God within them. It's just that I think the two can go together, have been running together.
Experience of oneness doesn't blind me to my brokenness or creatureliness. Rather one is left totally humbled and aware of one's weakness. Nor does it make me say: I am God. Rather one has a spirit of wonder, awe, worship and gratitude in that state. Also there is a deep sense that I am an expression of God, a manifestation of God, that God has poured himself into me, yet not me, not the 'I' as such, but the part of me that is one with all that is, a unique but wholly inclusive part. There seems to be both distinction from God and non-distinction. A paradox. A deep sense of taking part, intimate part, in mystery. Being a word sung by God in harmony with the infinite chorus is the best way I can describe it. And that note is both one with and distinct from the singer.
I'm very careful of the whole: I am God mantra. It seems nothing more than an ego bolster, intellectually and spiritually lazy. I recently watched a series of talks by New Age guru Kiera Crowther. To be honest I found her beguiling, dangerously so. Her talk of the sacredness of the earth and her creatures I could appreciate. Also her talk of living from the heart. But the more one penetrated her: I am God, the more fluffy and insubstantial and without true mystical awareness it seemed (also a lot of what she says is just plain bull and she's probably a pseudo Native American fraud in any case.)
At any rate, I came up with my own mantra in response to hers. It ran a little like this: I am in Thee within I am. Whatever that means, it took me deeper into Something which I wholly express but which also wholly transcends 'me'.
My own experience has shown me that it's really only with a deep awareness of one's weakness and limitation that one can enter unity consciousness in any meaningful way, let alone divine union, which seems to be at the centre, holding up, yet subtly distinct, from that unity consciousness. Why can't we enjoy both?
The movie was a little like a chick flick or a rom com. It felt good. Obviously if one dissects it, one is going to come up against problems. But why dissect a chick flick. Just enjoy it. This might be lazy or careless, but really the problem lies with the filmmakers who are trying to sell a film, not compose a mystical treatise.
Again you come down a little heavily on the side of separation from Christ here, Shasha. I prefer to think of myself as a child of God, a co-heir with Him. This doesn't make me blind to my creatureliness, but rather highlights the incredible personal experience of the cross I have gone through to be gifted this. Unity with Christ is beyond any conceptional language I can use, and language really is a problem. Ontologically, metaphysically, telepathically? One? Distinct? Who knows? The language fails us, creates its own illusions and idols. The experience just is.
That's an amazing coincidence, Christine.
Blessings to you and Matthew.
Thanks, Shasha and Stephen, for actually taking the time to watch the movie and share your reflections on it. You seem to be in agreement on most of the important points, imo. As usual, one must try to get a sense of whether people are simply describing an experience (which is fine) or drawing philosophical and theological implications from their experience. It's also fair to critique anyone who says stuff like "the mystics of all religions agree . . ." or "this what what St. John of the Cross meant when he wrote . . ." One's mystical experience does not qualify as a basis for resolving philosophical and/or theological questions, or interpretations of others' writings. Academia still has its place.
How I wish disciplinary boundaries were respected in these kinds of dialogues!
One thing I wonder about is: why this need so many have to lump everything together? Where is that coming from? How could I ever know if my experience of Oneness as a Christian is the same as that which another person describes, much less a person from another religion? We can compare notes, which is what interreligious dialogue is about, but we can never subtract the manner in which different kinds of faith open us to God. Hence, a Christian will always sense that unitive experience has something to do with Christ, and will want to understand how this is so that they might fully claim and integrate the experience.
Another thing I wonder about is the importance of this movie. Is it very popular . . . making the rounds . . . going viral on the Internet? Aside from discussion of it on this thread and the link to it here, I've not run across it anywhere. Have any of you?
Here's something to consider: for Thomas Aquinas, God is the Being by means of which "I am." As God told Catherine of Siena, "I am the One who is, and you are the one who is not." Now, of course, God was not denying Catherine's existence, for He was conversing with her. Rather, God was making it clear that she had no being other than that which He gave her. So, ultimately, all Being is of God, and therefore has some connection with God. I am comfortable saying that we are not separate from God and yet we are distinct from God. That's a subtle nuance, I know, but it seems to affirm our ontological situation.
Here's yet another movie on the same subject. This one's split into 6 or 7 parts on YouTube. I actually got more out of this one, partly because there's a better Christian representation. Father Keating is excellent, I think. Richard Rohr and Wayne Teasdale too are very good. I also enjoyed Llewelyn Vaughan Lee, the Sufi mystic.
The first couple of minutes are a bit dramatic and intense but it soon settles down into the interviews.
Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this thread.. there was a major forest fire in our area and many people lost their homes.. so i have been busy helping out in our community.. also.. ( and i will post pictures when it is all done) Matthew and i are erecting a gorgeous shrine to the Divine Mercy in our home.. i am so excited about this! everything is falling into place and the canvas arrives next Tuesday.. it is 4ft by 2 1/2 feet... so.. have been busy here.
OK now back to the subject of ' One Voice'...
Actually to be 100% honest.. my position about this movie has shifted quite a bit... yes, i still know within my heart that there is a deep interconnection that runs through all people and all of life...i would say somehow , this is so 'energetically', as i can feel this within my being.... and always, i choose to see the face of God ( the spark of God) in all people.... and with my life sincerely strive to love and serve all people from the heart, in action, word and prayer.......... no matter what they exude exteriorly.
I still believe/ know /experience that God is moving on the earth today in a unique way... a preparation of sorts for the coming of His kingdom in a fullness that defies time/ life as we know it... like many , i have my opinions about this and yet i really know *nothing* more about this other than to remain present with what is with my trust fully in Him.
Over the course of this past year, i have been on face book from time to time. i have listened to the ' voice' of many who would resonate loudly with the whole theme of the film ' One voice'... nice folks who i genuinely see as meaning well .. they post pretty pictures with a lot of eastern / new age thought that for a while i found pretty impressive... i mean , it was kinda nice to wake up in the morning sip my coffee and read all this pretty impressive stuff on enlightenment and oneness.... people espousing the oneness theme in many different creative, unique ways that really appealed to my mind. i found myself being more and more drawn into it.. ....mentally. I even met some self proclaimed guru's on line.. had a few chats with them... which was interesting to say the least.
but that was just it... interesting..appealing to the mind , yet ever so slowly , imperceptibly , removed me from the heart by ever so subtly undermining my faith and reliance on God. I began to see an underlying anger toward Christians and any mention of Jesus. Everyone seemed into oneness and love.. but for the most part, it was considered ' old hat' to Honor and worship a living personal God........ the focus being more on developing the higher self.. or recognizing the higher self in self and other. .. and basking in the Presence of Presence,.,,, without a personal God.
personally, i was never tempted to cross the line to doubt my faith.. BUT i did notice a deadening affect within my prayer life ( deep inner prayer life) as i found myself more in my head reading all this stuff on the glory of living in oneness and quiet mind stuff than living presently within my heart in a true and simple faith, guided by the Holy Spirit. ..
in short i was shown that as well intentioned as i was in deepening my relationship with God thru all this wonderful mentally stimulating stuff, listening to the voices of those who had achieved this awakening / enlightenment... slowly but surely i was becoming flat lined within my heart. within this numbing affect to the Spirit... i could not, at first figure out what was wrong with me spiritually.. was i simply in the dark night? was this deadening i was experiencing just a phase i was in , part of the kundalini process? i knew i sincerely loved God but i noticed the peace i knew and lived in for years was not as it had been... i rationalized this as ' maturing spiritually'... ( what what a con the egoic mind is!)
so a couple of months ago while reading posts online i read a post where one well known woman guru stated there was no Creator other than ' us'... this came as a shock to me. and i wrote a response to that statement and was quickly shown by others on that thread that my statement was far from welcome.
i began to really listen to those who live eat and breathe the oneness/ one voice thinking and saw they see themselves ( for the most part.. god without a need for God.) not saying this is entirely true of every single person out there who espouses to what was presented in the whole ' one voice' film... but for me.. over all i found myself slipping into the grip of a deadening process that held the promise of this elusive enlightenment.. but in a real sense.. at a high cost.. that of the deadening of my soul.
i began to pray about this.. asking the Lord where i was amiss... as to be honest, i found part of the deadening affect was ' lack of insight' as to what was wrong. I found my mind vacillating between a justification as to where i was at as part of a growing / maturing process spiritually .. and my heart saying', "something here is very wrong'... i prayed and fasted asking the Lord to guide me to His Truth and peace.. I went to mass and was blown away by the Presence of the Holy Spirit.. i went to confession ... read books that moved my heart.. ( mainly about the visionaries of Kibeho and Medjugorje) and stopped reading stuff that fed my mind.
so.. as for the oneness ' one voice' film... yeah.. there is something to us all being one, interconnected.. do i understand this ? no. and..... i don't have to. I take it on faith that there is an interconnection of some sort between us all.. BUT my focus is no longer trying to understand it conceptually ... rather , by God's grace, i will live this knowing within my faith in and Through His love .. with my eyes firmly focused on Him ................ herein lies peace without measure, and the grace to love sincerely, ' presently'.....others in oneness.
so for this one it is.. Jesus i trust in you!
love to all.. christine
Thanks so much, Christine, for your sharing here. I was really moved by your thoughtful, heart-felt reflections. So much of what you wrote reminds me of St. Paul's teachings, his priceless gifts to the Church...gifts which keep on giving in God’s Word.
Originally posted by faustina:
[QUOTE].. yes, i still know within my heart that there is a deep interconnection that runs through all people and all of life......[QUOTE]
St. Paul says as much.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him . He is before all things, and in him all things hold together . Colossians 15-17
And yet, St. Paul did not change the world through this revelation of the PROFOUND interconnectedness of all things, did he? He didn't preach this One-ness message over and over and over again, did he? One-ness was not the fire on Earth come down from Heaven, was it? It was not the revelation that God wanted him to preach.
Instead St. Paul preached Christ crucified, the New Adam, New Life, joining into the Mystical Body of Christ through Baptism, dual stuff like that. Heavy, heavy DUALITY, I’d say.
One-ness was known to humanity before Jesus was resurrected, as my kundalini teachers have pointed out. Jesus came to say "I AM THAT" just like Sri fill-in-the-blank-ananda. Yet, One-ness' impact on Earth hasn't seemed to carry the same umph as the Gospels. It is NOT the Father’s will to deliver the One-ness revelation. Why? Because it won't reconcile you with God, if you ask St. Paul.
Pantheistic One-ness did not and will not change the world. Christ's sending the Holy Spirit is the world-changer, then and now.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12 1-2
St. Paul saw the profound interconnectedness of life, yet he was more concerned with being a disciple of Christ and being pleasing to God, through our heart and will. St. Paul had mystical vision, far and deep and wide. He saw Cosmic One-ness to be real. Yet it didn't seem to impress him very much, you know? Wonder why...?
In fact, seems to me Christianity and the Gospels (and Jesus in particular) seem to be more focussed on the TWO-NESS of the human race, much more so than it’s One-ness. That is, the final separation, the final Judgment, when One-ness is split in two: the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tars, the bad fish from the good fish.
Let’s face it, One-ness, as we can know it here, is never going to last...
[QUOTE] ..over all i found myself slipping into the grip of a deadening process that held the promise of this elusive enlightenment.. but in a real sense.. at a high cost.. that of the deadening of my soul.
i began to pray about this.. asking the Lord where i was amiss... as to be honest, i found part of the deadening affect was ' lack of insight' as to what was wrong....[QUOTE]
Insight, wisdom, discernment are contrary to One-ness pantheism...It's not the 'job description' of One-ness to care about such things. Hence, those who pursue or find One-ness, interpret it as pantheism, without much rooting in faith/love, tend to lose interest in developing the faculties of the mind and heart, wherein God wants to join with us to be everlasting food to a dying world.
Phil has been careful to steer clear of the pitfalls of pantheism, quietism and gnostism in his teachings about non-duality. These may be some rather deadly POTHOLES on the Awareness superhighway.
Back to your sharing above, Christine. I like how you handled your problem. To have right understanding and discernment, you need to crunch down into a humble stance. To ask for insight, you need to become small, to admit lack, deficiency, inadequacy, longing, poverty, and failure (not necessarily all at the same time or even to a large extent [since I have Stephen pointing out my too-much-separation from God issue ])
I generally don't hear those who espouse One-ness, in the pantheistic way [i.e. no distinction between God and creature], talking like this. You don't need me to tell you this. And your husband has pointed that out in his post As you noted, Christine, in some, not all One-ness proponents, there is a sense of no need for God cuz you are God. If they don’t need God, then you don’t need them (as teachers).
Insight and understanding and wisdom are only relevant in a world where there is evil, deceit, immorality, and "powers and principalities of darkness"...in the world were creeds and doctrine form and shape our hearts and wills, where God's Commandments matter, where families and societies need to govern themselves in love...where could that be? The real world in which we live?
... should we choose to live there.
[QUOTE].. there is something to us all being one, interconnected.. do i understand this ? no. and..... i don't have to.... i will live this knowing within my faith in and Through His love ... [QUOTE]
... If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge , and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. --
1 Corinthians 13This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
Couple of quick questions for you, Shasha -
If God is so keen on duality, why would he create such profound interconnection in the world and the potential for such blissful oneness as part of the human experience?
Secondly, if duality is such a key element of scripture, and interconnection is the way the manifest world essentially unfolds, is there a contradiction between God's revelation in scripture and His creativity in the world?
Thanks for your honest sharing, Christine. As Phil suggests, there seem to be different ways of understanding and experiencing oneness. From a Christian perspective however, Christ is all and in all.
From a thread discussion on non-duality, I found this by Phil. It might be useful in parsing out the different ways we might understand the One-ness experience. Maybe we could take the discussion back over there, in fact, since maybe enough has been said about this movie. Seems more interesting to share our personal journeys and encounters with One-ness.
I want to take seriously this matter of an accessible nondual experience and inquire as to what might be going on. I know we've already reviewed different possibilities in another thread, but here is how I see it:
1. Our observational, witnessing consciousness is really the divine, and when we can silence the mind, we discover that this is who we really are. "That are thou." In the light of this realization, all the forms we see about us seem dreamlike and delusional as they are contingent and transitional.
2. Our observational, witnessing consciousness is indeed spiritual, but it is "natural" in the sense that it is a potential intrinsic to our human nature. Our reflective consciousness and its engagement with "duality" is also spiritual in its scope of operation (e.g., higher math, philosophy, theology, arts, music, etc.), but for some reason people don't think this is as pure a manifestation of spirit as our non-reflecting awareness. As spirit, our consciousness is open to the cosmos, and can be formed through certain practices to perceive and appreciate its deep connection with all creatures. - I have no problem calling this a "natural" experience, and it's what Jim Arraj had in mind regarding some types of enlightenment. Granted, however, we do not experience anything unless God creates us, sustains us in creation, etc. -- but that doesn't count.
3. It could be an example of cosmic Christic mysticism. By this I mean to say that the operation of our human spiritual consciousness is infused with graces that enable us to see-with the divine -- as though the divine uses our human consciousness as an eye or organ through which the divine perceives the creation being manifest. This is different from #2 in that we are affirming a human spiritual consciousness that is being augmented by grace in such manner as to participate in some manner in the divine's own knowing and loving. Classical theology and spirituality would call this a supernatural experience and not merely a natural one.
4. It could also be that our human consciousness is being augmented by demonic influence in such manner that the oneness perceived is meant to seduce one into believing that he or she really is divine ("ye shall be as gods"), and that individuation and/or growth in a personal relationship with God (which is "dualistic") is to be avoided in favor of this "better portion." Shasha and others have described that this was how they felt after rather spectacular experiences of oneness.
Of these four possibilities, the only one I reject outright is #1, if for no other reason than Occam's Razor would seem to favor #2, which seems more plausible and appealing to reason. If people pursue the kinds of questions you raised in a post above concerning #1, they would find a rather odd theology emerging from it, and a most confusing anthropology.
Of these four possibilities, #2 is "procurable" in that we can indeed learn to tune in more to our nonreflecting, observational consciousness. All four would also give rise to particular kinds of spiritual fruit and patterns of engagement with the world around us. I won't spell this out in detail; one can easily brainstorm ways in which #2 and 3 would be different from #4.
I didn't read the contributions here when I posted my post on holism, but I can see that my thoughts are similar to what Shasha and Phil write (so maybe we can go on with holism here, instead of there).
I suppose one thing has to be said. the experience of non-duality is not a normal, typical, universal experience of human kind. There are a lot of good, wise or saintly people who do not have access to those sorts of experiences and will never have. We tend to forget about it, when we are in a community of people who have this experience or practice in order to have/deepen this experience. It is not necessary for salvation or for friendship with God. The experience is rare and outside the Christian context it usually needs a lot of effort, ascetic living and tough meditative practice to realize. There are hundreds of people who sit in Zen meditation for decades and DO NOT HAVE THIS EXPERIENCE. So I don't think that the fact that it is possible to experience such non-dual form of awareness can be used as an argument that God is more "non-dual" than "dual".
In fact, we do not have to look for arguments that God is "keen on non-duality" at all. St. Thomas demonstrated that God cannot directly experience anything which is other than Himself. God sees only himself in an infinitely more simple and "non-dual" manner than any Buddhist or Hindu master, and He sees the whole creation in and through himself. So for God we are not distinct from Him, there is no otherness in God's experience, as far as we can speculate about it.
But from our point of view, duality is an indisputable fact. Probably, after death, in the beatific vision we will share God's seeing, but now he is an Other for us (that's why I don't like what Keating said, that "in the end we realize that there is no Other"). He is different from us, because He is our cause, he created us.
If there were no duality, there would be no "cause/effect" distinction which leads straight to the conclusion that we created ourselves and that I am the cause of my being. This is Hindu/Buddhist view. But if we admit that our being is not absolute, that we come from something else, we must accept that what (who) we come from is not us. But the distinction between cause and effect is not isolation. It would be absurd to say that cause and effect are two things which have nothing in common! There would be no effect, if the cause were not intimately present in it. St. Thomas spoke even that the cause is always through and through present in the effect which is its emanation. So God as our cause is intimately present in everything that is created. There is no isolation between God and the creation. There is no identity of God and the creation. Even from the point of view of purely philosophical reason, both of those statements are nonsense.
I couldn't help and share with you this astonishing passage from St. Augustine. I think it is an example of "cosmic Christic mysticism" that Phil mentioned and there is no doubt that it is not "natural enlightenment":
Augustine, Confessions, XIII.46
"But for those who see these things through thy Spirit, it is thou who seest them in them. When, therefore, they see that these things are good, it is thou who seest that they are good; and whatsoever things are pleasing because of thee, it is thou who dost give us pleasure in those things. Those things which please us through thy Spirit are pleasing to thee in us. (...) But just as it is truly said to those who were to speak through the Spirit of God, “It is not you who speak,” so it is also truly said to
them who know through the Spirit of God, “It is not you yourselves who know,” and just as rightly it may be said to those who perceive through the Spirit of God that a thing is good; it is not they who see, but God who seeth that it is good. (...) It is still another thing that when a man sees a thing to be good, God should see in him that it is good--that truly he may be loved in what he hath made, he who cannot be loved except through the Holy Spirit which he hath given us: “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us.” It is by him that we see whatever we see to be good in any degree,
since it is from him, who doth not exist in any particular degree but who simply is what he is."
I agree that the way the Hindu, Buddhists and Christians (here) talk about non-duality is different. I think I know what you mean. But as I see it, there is a confusion between objective and subjective (experiential) as well as between a theoretical and practical language. The so called "philosophy" of Shankara or the Madhyamaka school of Buddhism or any other Eastern school is not a philosophy in our Western sense, because they try to describe and understand the EXPERIENCE of a religious community, not the REALITY that exists apart from any experience of it. When Shankara says that there is only nirguna Brahman, he is talking about an experience and he is trying to convince us that the experience is some sort of ultimate revelation of the reality. And he is describing a common human experience that there is me and you and Ishvara as "an illusion". But if I asked Shankara, on what grounds he tells me that God of Abrahama, Isaac and Jacob is an illusion, he would say: because I experience it that way, and other sages experience it that way, and you have to experience it too, if you want to argue with me, because you are in a state of illusion! (That would be probably a nice conversation... ).
But if any dialogue with people who have this experience of non-duality/oneness is to make sense, they must accept that there are other valid ways to know the reality, apart from what they experience through meditation. Aristotle said that if someone does not respect the laws of logic, we cannot dialogue with this person at all in a way that would make sense, because we don't share the same space of understanding.
I don't know if a non-dual experience of people at this forum is the same or different from a non-dual experience of Hindus or Buddhists, because experiences are not transparent to others, they are subjective. I remember Dalai Lama told Fr. Laurence Freeman that it is impossible to be sure if someone is enlightened, because we cannot access other people's experiences. A powerful thing to say if you are a Buddhist master! So I don't know about experiences, but I'm sure that your imperssion that Christian non-duality is somehow dual is not a quality of the experience itself, but it is because people like Phil or Shasha, I suppose, switch from objective to subjective language and back. When they say that there are differences between the things, they are not describing the nature of the experience, but I suspect that they expressing their intellectual understanding of reality.
So I think that enlightenment is always completely non-dual, but we can understand this experience through a non-dual philosophy (which is not a very good philosophy, since it is illogical) and through a "dual" philosophy which deals with common sense recognition that there is you and me and God.
I guess an important question is: does someone regards the non-dual experience/enlightenment/awareness state as the ultimate, absolute form of "knowledge" of reality and all other forms of knowledge and awareness as to some degree illusory? I certainly do not. I see it as a perspective on reality, limited as all perspectives, apart from the beatific vision or faith which is its substitute in this life.
That's why I would trade the most powerful enlightenment for simple, dualistic faith. Such faith is a supernatural ability, infused by God himself, while enlightenment can be achieved by purely natural efforts (even though sometimes it can be given by God, as any other natural disposition). What we discuss in this forum, I suppose, is how to live one's faith and enlightenment.
What do you think, Bliss, about the value of enlightenment/non-dual awareness? What does it give to you? I remember what you said about the feeling of love in the heart. I suppose a moment of that is far better than any non-dual experience?
Good exchange, above, and I think what you've written here, Mt., is very well-put.
Experience gives us powerful cues as to the nature of reality, but we must also understand its limitations. E.g., every night I virtually "disappear" for several hours as I sleep. Perhaps I recognize myself interacting in a dream, but that is an ephemeral experience. Then I awake and there I am, the person I knew myself to be before sleep. But which of these experiences is "real"? They all are, of course, but which should be given primacy in terms of understanding the reality of who I am and the world around me? Most of us are not in the least confused about this and would say that primacy should be given to: 1.) the waking state, then 2.) the dream state, and 3.) deep sleep, which tells us very litte. We would say that these states are concomitant with changes in brain function, but that sort of begs the question in that we have to decide which pattern of brain functioning gives us the best cues on the nature of self and reality.
Now we can go ahead and add nondual experience to the three states listed above (as Wilber and many others do), but we are still left to wonder which of these states gives us the most accurate "read" on reality. It seems gratuitous to assume that the nondual perception should be given primacy, but that is what so many rush to do. Meanwhile, the intellect (working with a robust, holistic anthropology--which we need an intellect to formulate) can account for its own waking operations, and also sleeping, dreaming and nondual experiences as well. So why shouldn't it be given primacy in terms of comprehending reality? To my understanding, it should, not only because it is an ordinary and accesible mode of consciousness, but because it can most comprehensively account for the other modes of consciousness and their relationships to one another, their strengths, limitations, etc. That is why I will always put my money on the intellect when it comes to understanding the truth of a matter; it really is a spiritual faculty, and I believe it was given to us by God not simply to solve the problems of existence, but to lead us to the truth. This does not mean that the other three modes of consciousness are useless; sometimes the intellect must bow before the meanings surfaced in a dream (meanings the intellect could never come to) or the wonder and grandeur perceived through non-dual awareness (interestingly, in my experience, the intellect is still "there" but non-reflectingly so). And oh, by the way, the intellect is not necessarily inherently "dualistic." It has its own way of comprehending and appreciating interdependent relationships. I got megadoses of this during the years when I took courses in Ecology in college.
Of course, what is sorely lacking these days in so many is critical thinking skills. To say that these are skills means they can be taught and learned and we can put them into practice. I have taught a college course on this topic several times and delighted in seeing even very smart people learn to use their minds better. But all you have to do is to watch a few political commercials these days to note how it is presumed that we are all gullible, unthinking fools!
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