Feb 062013
 

This post continues on the theme of the previous post, The Illusion of Separateness.

We begin before the beginning, outside of time and space, with the Nameless, Faceless, Indescribable One that is the Source and Ground of All, which we simply refer to now as…

1. Unity

Genesis

origen1

2. Duality within Unity

In some way that defies our complete understanding, ‘within’ the Transcendent Unity we call ‘God,’ there is an ‘intention’ for the freedom of otherness to be.  Some of our creation myths try to explain why this happens, yet others leave it as a mystery.  The story of Genesis, for example, does not explain why God wills creation; we are only given a beginning of space-time in which God creates the distinction of heaven and earth. From this basic duality, of Godself and other, arises all the diversity of creation in response to God’s will, and all of it is declared “good,” which is to say that, at least so far, things are as they should be.

Note:  In this context, ‘other’ refers not only to other persons, but anything considered to be ‘not me.’  This is an important point to keep in mind as further points refer to ‘others.’

The Fall and the Spiral of Illusions

3. The Illusion of Separateness

Despite the multiplicity of forms in creation, careful reading of scripture reveals that it is all actually one.  Everything and everyone lives, moves, and has its being in God. There is nowhere that God is not. Yet we can become intoxicated by duality and thus fail to perceive our unity with the All and the One.  This is the symbolism of being tempted by the serpent, eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and ejection from Eden.   The self-other binary of duality has become a veil on unity, a distraction from it, and is thus distorted into the illusion of separateness.  It is not a fall from grace, but a fall from the intimate awareness of grace.

4. The Illusion of Lacking

Our delusion of separation is at odds with our latent memory, or intuitive knowledge, of unity; it is a dissonance, an incongruity, felt by us as incompleteness.  It is the root of all uneasiness, all discomfort, with self and others. In Genesis, this uncomfortable feeling of lacking and need is revealed in Adam’s lonely desire for a mate, and later in the couple’s shame about their nakedness.  Out of our deep knowing of unity as truth, a desire emerges to eliminate the discomfort that accompanies the illusion of lacking and need.  Yet that desire can conflate with a desire to expand self, because self is perceived as the most immediate thing, and thus least illusory, within the illusion of separateness.  In such confusion, we believe others must be drawn into self in order to rebuild wholeness and thus relieve our existential discomfort.  Desire is thereby revealed as more fundamental than need in our existence.  Everything perceived as a need is actually something we desire in order to maintain or undo the illusions of separateness.  Even the need to survive disappears if one no longer desires to live.

5. The Illusion of Acquiring/Possessing

Acting in response to the illusion of need and the desire to expand self, self attempts to relieve discomfort through acquiring/possessing others (people, things, ideas, experiences, etc.), and thus ironically defends, perpetuates, and compounds the illusion of self’s separateness.

6. The Illusion of Strengths/Weaknesses

In the processes of acquiring and possessing, we perceive patterns within a binaries of (a) ease versus difficulty and (b) ability versus inability.  We compare and contrast self and others in these ways, conceptualizing different kinds of talent, skill, and knowledge, and judging each other according to competence in acquiring and possessing.

7. The Illusion of Conflict with Others

We experience that others acting to acquire and possess can interfere with our acquiring and possessing, even completely preventing or undoing our own acquiring and possessing.  We therefore conclude that some others must be outperformed, if not eliminated, in order for self to acquire and possess as easily and freely as possible.

8. The Illusion of Winners/Losers

We perceive a success-failure binary in the competition to acquire and possess.  Winners are judged as good because they model the illusory ideal of defending, perpetuating, and expanding self.

9. The Illusion of Self-Improvement/Self-Diminishment

We perceive a progress-regress binary in winning and losing, and thus in developing and maintaining (acquiring and possessing) self-efficacy, which is our sense of ability to achieve success in drawing others into self.

Notice how every step reinforces and compounds the previous steps, and thus our energies spiral out into an ever larger, more complex, and more unmanageable illusory existence.  Yet, every step also offers the possibility of awakening to these illusions.

What are we to do about all of this?

Some spiritual traditions seem to insist that the whole phenomenon of otherness is either a cosmic mistake or a flaw in the spirit of humanity.  The fact of duality, of the self-other binary that is at the very heart of creation, is judged as the fundamental evil that makes all of creation corrupt.  This way of thinking often leads to re-assessing self as the most immediate falsehood rather than the most immediate reality, and thus to the conclusion that the only way out of illusion is to utterly destroy self.  A similar but more extroverted reaction is the quest for an idealized world in which all distinctions of otherness, and thus all differences, are eliminated.  It is, in effect, an attempt to eliminate diversity and establish universal conformity to some imagined state of perfection.

Unless we take the view that the Adonai of Genesis is a false god, a deluded and megalomaniacal demiurge bent on making a cosmic mistake, then we cannot conclude from our myth that creation, with its dualism, is an evil to be undone.  Instead, our creation myth suggests that the primary problem is the illusion of separation, and Jesus promises that it is possible to overcome, or be delivered from, this problem.  It might seem paradoxical, but he calls us to return to awareness of unity while still participating in duality.  As we shall see, such a call only seems paradoxical when viewed from a position still fully immersed in the illusion of separateness.

Lucidity

cosmic-eye-mandala-print

As frequent readers of this blog are likely to know, lucid dreaming is my favorite analogy for a state of being in which one has awareness of unity while still participating in duality; in lucid dreaming, one clearly knows he or she is dreaming while the dream is happening.  It is a state less enmeshed in the illusions of separateness between self and the various ‘others’ experienced in the dream, and yet the dream and one’s presence in it continues to manifest.  Anyone who experiences lucidity knows what a liberating moment it can be.  What may have, only seconds before, seemed like an unbearable nightmare can suddenly be experienced with a light heart, even a sense of humor, not unlike a Halloween house of horrors.  More pleasant dreams can have their beauty magnified as the wonder and awe of their artistry is more deeply appreciated.  Imagine what it is like to realize that the mind you call your own is somehow mysteriously creating and sustaining an entire world around you, and with incredible detail and vibrancy.   If you have had this experience, then you may also know what it is like to begin working with the dream as a piece of art, shaping and crafting it according to your own wishes.  A nightmare can be completely transformed into an experience of peace and joy.  A monotonous repetition of typical events can be seized as an opportunity to break the laws of physics and fly in the air or breathe underwater.  Almost anything is possible, and no ugliness seems quite as genuinely threatening to you or any ‘other’ in the dream.

Mystical insight, enlightenment, revelation, or whatever you want to call it, can impart a similar liberation with regard to our presence in the so-called ‘waking world.’  According to some mystics, philosophers, and physicists, our ‘waking world’ is like a shared dream in which all of our seemingly individual minds are participating with a consensus, both conscious and unconscious, about how things should work.  Individuals who become lucid in this world attain some measure of liberation from the ‘rules,’ and thus greater freedom and power to consciously shape the world.  Furthermore, just as one can fade in and out of lucidity within a dream, we can do so in the waking world.  One moment we can remember unity and enjoy our freedom in greater measure, and the very next moment again fall into the sleep of illusory separateness.  Therefore, the mechanisms of lucidity are, to some extent, obviously beyond our conscious control, at least for most of us.  On the other hand, the desire to experience lucidity, and the intention to maintain it, do seem to make a significant difference.  If the great sages and seers of history have spoken truthfully, then there is not only a Spiral of Illusions, but also a Spiral of Lucidity that we can engage.

Why?

Why… does God do this?  …are we here?   …seek lucidity? This takes us full-circle back to the beginning.  Genesis doesn’t say why God creates, only that God does, and that God considers it good. We can therefore conclude that it is not an evil to be destroyed, a mistake to be undone, or a prison to be escaped.  The Genesis myth further suggests that we are created to be God’s partners in creation, tending to God’s garden while directly aware of God’s presence; we have the innate potential to be conscious participants in manifesting the All’s infinite possibilities.  In addition, we learn that we are endowed with freedom, for without it we would be severely limited in our ability to intentionally transform things from one state into something new and different, yet that freedom also makes it possible for us to forget and ignore the unity of the One and All.   These observations lead me to believe that when we ask the why questions, what we are really seeking is some understanding of what we should do with our existence and freedom, as if that answer lies external to our own hearts’ desires.  If we are indeed created to be free co-creators, then the more meaningful question is this:  What do you want to do with your existence and freedom?

There are many more questions and implications we could continue to explore, such as what this model suggests about our perceptions of good and evil, sin and morality, heaven and hell, grace, salvation, and every other aspect of our lives, religious and otherwise.  But, in closing, you are especially welcomed to reflect upon how these possibilities might relate to our understandings of love – what it is, why it is the Greatest Commandment to love God with all that we are and our neighbors as ourselves, and the ways we can do so.

Agape

  26 Responses to “Genesis, the Spiral of Illusions, Lucidity, and…”

  1. Dear Brother Chuck,

    Some of you finest work!

    I would like to address your post by exposing my greatest fear.

    My greatest fear is this. Being buried alive. Now when I say that I am not talking about being placed in a coffin, put in the ground, and left until my oxygen runs out and I die, but rather placed in darkness, alone and without the ability to die.

    If I were place in that situation, I believe my only option would be to dream, to imagine, to create.

    A creature like that which I have described above would be the most pitiful among anything I can imagine as pitiful.

    So in this waking dream, if I am indeed a dream figure in this souls dream, it is the very least I could do, to make this dream as action packed, sexy, mysterious, sad, happy, and even terrifying as I possibly can for the little bit of time I have been given
    to do so while keeping in mind everyone else around me either awake or not is trying to do the same thing. That to me seems to be the best definition of compassion I can muster.

    Ayn Rand, A professed atheist, once said in an interview when pressed by Phil Donahue about her spirituality; ” I am not going to die, but one day someone I love very much will.”

    Maranatha Indeed,

    Todd

    • Dear Brother Todd,

      Thanks for your kind words, and for sharing some of your deep thoughts and feelings. I especially appreciated this comment:

      “So in this waking dream, if I am indeed a dream figure in this souls dream, it is the very least I could do, to make this dream as action packed, sexy, mysterious, sad, happy, and even terrifying as I possibly can for the little bit of time I have been given to do so while keeping in mind everyone else around me either awake or not is trying to do the same thing. That to me seems to be the best definition of compassion I can muster.”

      Splendid!

      Agape,
      Chuck

  2. Hi Chuck,

    It’s back to the real purpose of this site, now.

    There is much profound truth in your words, Chuck, so much in fact, that I will only mention a couple of things. As you stated, we are, and all things that exist are created from “intention”. When we realize that we are intended and the “other” is also intended, our entire perspective can change.

    I think we have a very challenging reconciliation to perform in this life. We appear to concretely exist as the center of the universe, and from the perspective of our self alone, that is certainly the case. At the same time it sometimes appears to us that we exist within a dream, as if reality is ethereal and much less clearly defined than our wakefulness suggests.

    We get many hints as to the truth of the unity which often eludes us. We are urged to see Truth, God, or the Absolute in everything, not separate from ourselves, something intended, prompting our active co-creation. It is really the only thing presented to us in this life, yet only achieved by a precious few. And that, as I think you would say, is presented in Love.

    Peace.
    Steve

    • Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your reflections, and for further elucidating some important things. Isn’t it interesting that what we consider wakefulness from one perspective can, in a flash, be awakened to as a kind of sleep! LOL Thank you also for making the connection between intention and Love, both cosmologically and personally. 🙂

      Agape,
      Chuck

  3. Have you ever been aware you were in a dream & then woke up not realizing you were still dreaming? I’ve had that happen before.

  4. Ah Chuck, you’ve done it again! So thought-provoking.

    As you know, we share resonance on this story and topic, but you’ve taken it a good deal deeper than I had yet perceived. I’m struck by your observation of Adam’s “lonely desire for a mate” as representative of our illusion. Yes, that fits. And you’ve expressed the crux of the issue for us so clearly: “In such confusion, we believe others must be drawn into self in order to rebuild wholeness and thus relieve our existential discomfort.” As you’ve just connected it to Adam, I’ve connected it to Eve, whose “desire is for her husband.” The illusion then prompts them both look to the other to fill what each perceives to be missing.

    You’ve also clarified this so succinctly: “Everything perceived as a need is actually something we desire in order to maintain or undo the illusions of separateness.”

    But then, I was most struck with where you took the illusion, through nine steps, in which “every step reinforces and compounds the previous steps,” which “spiral out into an every larger, more complex, and more illusory existence.” Yes, mmm, I see it. But it provides much to chew on –and much for us to consider in this moment. Your blog is timely, brother, and lovingly and eloquently expressed. You’ve given us much to ponder . . . Thank you.

    Shalom,
    Karina

    • Hi Sister,

      Yeah, I couldn’t help but remember your previous writings about Genesis as this post came together. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad it speaks to you.

      Agape,
      Chuck

  5. Great blog Chuck. You really remind us here, that the only true way to live by Love instead of Fear, is to realize that we are One, and the illusion of separateness is what is getting in the way of us seeing others as ourself, or part of ourself, and as a result, cannot love them as ourself.

    I’m starting to see for myself that the metaphor of Lucid dreaming is as good as it gets for relating our existential experience of life to reality. Once we learned that this “life” is simply an illusion of a more real life, and only a part of it, and not the end of it all when we are done here on earth, we can then have a way of overcoming the carnal desires, as it’s selfish tendencies and desires makes it want to get all that it can get before it terminates.

    Good stuff 🙂

  6. Hi Chuck,

    I just finished reading this post and the last. I really enjoyed the quote from Black Elk on your prior post… I also very much appreciate how you have taken your thoughts to the next level with this post. Your model, in a lot of ways, exemplifies the way my own thoughts concerning these topics have been forming of late. That is to say from the ground up. 😉

    You may have just started something here…

    Sweet Dreams,
    Gregory

  7. Awesome post. I like how it ties in with the things we were discussing earlier!

    Very cool!

    david

    • Thanks, david. Sometimes it seems there are moments, or phases, of transition or transformation in which lots of things come together in new ways, and synchronicities abound. 🙂

      Agape,
      Chuck

  8. I must say I don’t know quite how to begin what it is I know… not that I know something other than anyone else. It is that knowing that is difficult to put into words in human description as it is with such things experienced in higher realms of frequency, but I will give it a shot.

    “Why… does God do this?” I can say for sure that God isn’t doing what it is that we may think God is doing. God is. Period. It is the human condition that has created what so many esteem to be the “Word of God” God didn’t create it. Therefore Genesis the book of the beginning is not going to say why God creates because man who wrote the book doesn’t know why. Man knows that something exists and has decreed that it is ultimately it is good therefore it is stated. I agree that the Genesis myth suggests many far fetched ideas just as does every book that follows that is why I like you have taken parts of the writings, the ones that resonate with my spirit and included them in my explanations of this life. However, when calling the Bible a myth I must be careful on one point to not call anything else truth within it, but to simply say I relate to this writing on the level of understanding where I am presently. By that I mean whatever I capture from its writing is for me to further myself upon the way I travel. I agree that it is encouraging to say the least that Jesus believed it is possible to overcome dualism. I also agree that He made His point very clear that we are to see ourselves as He and the Father see us and that is that we are not separate. Mind-bending to say the least however, within our reasoning it is possible to grasp. With our belief in that oneness we are transformed in our paterns of training to manifest our essence as it is. Transformation comes as awakening, with becoming aware and certainly comes with freedom. When one awakens to the knowing within there is only knowing. This is worth repeating. There is the possibility of duality only when one is thinking from that frequency.
    Duality within Unity is by far the most difficult to approach. I will say this God’s will can not exist in the concept itself of duality because duality is nothing not to mention that duality has opposites there is no such thing I have found with God. Period. It makes no difference that the Biblical writers wrote words to misrepresent God within their duality. But recognize where duality comes from and leave it there along with all Illusions.
    This is what I want to do with my existence. I want to come into the reality of Oneness so complete that it is no longer a question in my mind of what does not exist only of what is.
    I will ask a question in closing. I am curious to explore the reason or reasons one would think or create the notion that God would need to command his Oneness to love it-self.

    Love kat

    • Hi kat,

      Thanks for your reflections and poignant observations and questions. Yes, of course we are working with the product of human thought when reading the Bible, or any other words for that matter. All words only point in different ways toward That which is beyond words. To work with a myth such as Genesis is to work with one perspective, one approach, one pointing toward That. It is not to claim that in doing so we answer all questions, fill in all blanks, or solve all mysteries. It is not to presume that in doing so we provide the only or the best answers to any questions concerning God, but merely to explore possibilities and their implications.

      If we are ultimately one with God, and all that is is one with God, then whatever is happening is, in some sense, being done by God. To deny this is to assert a divide between God and God’s creation, a duality that cannot be within unity, but must be apart from it. I don’t think you’re trying to assert that, but I could be mistaken. If so, that’s fine, but we’ll disagree on that point.

      You wrote, “I want to come into the reality of Oneness so complete that it is no longer a question in my mind of what does not exist only of what is.”

      I hear you. Lucidity is, in my best understanding from my own experience, to know that unity is right here, right now, within and around all this duality we perceive. To be in a state of unity in which duality is no longer perceived means there is no more “I”, no more “my mind” to name anything “existence” or “what is,” no longer any perceiver or perceived, only undifferentiated unity. Dreamless sleep is a good analogy for that, if not more than an analogy.

      You wrote:I am curious to explore the reason or reasons one would think or create the notion that God would need to command his Oneness to love it-self.

      I’m not sure. In my case, I am not assuming that God “needs” anything. However, if we can say anything at all about what God does, then one of the first things is “God creates.” Perhaps God creates because, metaphorically speaking, God simply enjoys doing so. It’s more fun than just being/nonbeing God in a timeless, spaceless, undifferentiated state of dreamless Godsleep. 😉 We really cannot give a final and complete answer to the question about why God creates.

      The more important question to me is what we’re going to do with the fact that we have been created? Are we going to participate in creation or not? And if we do, how are we going to do so?

      Thanks again, kat.

      Agape,
      Chuck

  9. Dear Readers,

    Here’s a video that relates very directly to this post:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qngieHWZXcM

    It’s wonderful that we live in a part of history where the oneness of all, where multiplicity within unity, isn’t just a philosophical speculation, isn’t only something to be realized in transcendent states of consciousness, but is something that science itself now asserts.

    What will happen when our collective mindset, our common sense, catches up with this understanding the way it has with previous scientific conclusions?

    I just started a discussion thread for this in the forums of ChristianMystics.com: http://christianmystics.com/groups/christianity-in-cyberspace/forum/topic/scientific-mysticism/

    Agape,
    Chuck

  10. Dear Chuck and to all who have contributed to this post,

    As I read the post itself and the comments and questions that followed, I felt a great peace and gradually became one with everything – no separation. Even now as I type this I am the keyboard and all around. Then I watched the video. It reminded me of a video I watched as an introduction to quantum physics. It was about molecules behaving in a certain way but only when observed.

    So the video meant a lot to me, but when I watched it, the oneness faded in one sense but didn’t in another. I felt I knew what the people were going to say and I knew it to be true because it was my experience because they were not separate from me.

    Maybe this doesn’t make sense to you, but I feel full of gratitude.

    Namaste,
    valerie

    • Dear Valerie,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s wonderful that our words here helped to facilitate that.

      There are many pros and cons to that video. 😛 If nothing else, different reactions to it offer an interesting case study in the uniqueness of each human perspective on even the most universal of themes. So, yes, multiplicity in unity, unity in multiplicity.

      Once, in a contemplative moment with a dear friend, we realized together that there was a shared realization of shared gratitude, of both feeling grateful for the other’s gratitude, and of both feeling grateful for being instrumental in the events that stimulated it for the other. It was a very deep, powerful feeling of peace and bliss that united us, permeated us, enfolded us. We understood that we had previously known such experiences with each other and with different people, but had not been as conscious and understanding of them as in that moment. Since then we have both been more awake to these moments. Opportunities for them are abundant! Like right now, my friend. 🙂

      Yes, namaste. Precisely. 🙂

      Agape,
      Chuck

  11. Chuck, wonderful post and it is magnificently thought-provoking. I always marvel at your intellect.

    From one of your quotes: “What will happen when our collective mindset, our common sense, catches up with this understanding the way it has with previous scientific conclusions?”

    To answer that, I poke a little fun by asking, what will happen if God wakes up from his lucid dream and we no longer exist?

    That’s not an actuality that I believe.

    Since God is love, then what is love based upon? Can it be a family bonding –Father, Son, and Comforter? If so, then, being self-sustaining in that relationship perhaps His creation is meant to be family-oriented as well? This has a basis for His desire to demonstrate His love beyond self. A sharing.

    In looking at a verse from Ephesians 1:5 The Message:
    Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.

    If God’s desire is relationship which is the bonding ingredient for His love to grow beyond the microcosm of duality then perhaps it is meant for unity in a family macrocosm. This is probably going full circle to your first step “We begin before the beginning, outside of time and space, with the Nameless, Faceless, Indescribable One that is the Source and Ground of All, which we simply refer to now as… Unity or Genesis.”

    Kathryn makes two interesting points: “This is what I want to do with my existence. I want to come into the reality of Oneness so complete that it is no longer a question in my mind of what does not exist only of what is.”

    Many times I’ve attempted to explain my own desire which is somewhat similar – to be in that sphere where God is. To simply be resonating so in tune that it never is or was a question of what does or does not exist but what is, that being God. Not a presence, not a personality, but both together and more that qualifies to the true mystery of God.

    Kathryn also stated: “I will ask a question in closing. I am curious to explore the reason or reasons one would think or create the notion that God would need to command his Oneness to love it-self.”

    In looking at the Trinity I think one answer might pertain to it not being a command as much as a desire to share His love with not only Himself within the Trinity but with all of His creation. In sharing love we have an eternal balance, it being a part of the eternal triad faith, hope, and love – love being termed the greatest of all three. Since God is love and love is eternal and sharing love is a continual renewal then in some respects if we love God, then we already live and dwell within that sphere of love where He exists. This love/family thing God desired seems to have taken hold wouldn’t you say? And, has rubbed off on us and we can’t help it, we have to love Him, ourselves (which admittedly is difficult to do sometimes), and others. The love genes of God seem to be deeply embedded within us.

    Just some thoughts.
    Peace
    Fred

    • Hi Fred,

      Thanks for your reflections. It’s good to hear from you. 🙂

      You wrote: “To answer that, I poke a little fun by asking, what will happen if God wakes up from his lucid dream and we no longer exist?

      That’s not an actuality that I believe.

      Hahahaha! Yeah, I hear you. 🙂 Actually, as I’m sure you know, in some philosophies that is exactly what is expected, that the universe will one day cease to be as all is reunited back into complete undifferentiated unity. For me, I have no beliefs about that one way or the other, I just acknowledge that as one possibility that’s fine with me if that’s the way things work. I also want to reiterate that I am using “dream” as a metaphor here, and that it therefore has limitations that make it incomplete and inadequate, as are all metaphors.

      You asked: Since God is love, then what is love based upon?

      This question implies that love must be based on something, which is understandable since we ordinarily think of love in dualistic terms – (a) the beloved and (b) the lover of the beloved. What I find more interesting, and more meaningful to me, is thinking of Love/God as not limited in that way, as something that transcends this dualism while nonetheless immanent within it, creating it, sustaining it, being it. Thinking of Love in this way means that Love isn’t based on anything, because it is the basis of everything. Love is the Ground of Being.

      You wrote: Many times I’ve attempted to explain my own desire which is somewhat similar – to be in that sphere where God is. To simply be resonating so in tune that it never is or was a question of what does or does not exist but what is, that being God.

      Yes, and I am responding to such desires in us with the suggestion that we are all already there, that the issue is not about going some place else, or that we can know such resonance only after passing through physical death, but is instead about becoming lucid to what is actually immediately present.

      Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst. (Luke 17:20-21)

      Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See, the kingdom is in heaven,’ then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. But the kingdom is inside of you. And it is outside of you. “When you become acquainted with yourselves, then you will be recognized. And you will understand that it is you who are children of the living father. But if you do not become acquainted with yourselves, then you are in poverty, and it is you who are the poverty.” (Thomas 3)

      His disciples said to him, “When is the kingdom going to come?” [Jesus answered,] “It is not by being waited for that it is going to come. They are not going to say, ‘Here it is’ or ‘There it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out over the earth, and people do not see it.” (Thomas 113)

      My assertion is that it is possible to know the Kingdom right here and right now, and to offer ways of thinking that might facilitate that knowing, as attested to by Valerie’s latest comments. I also think that, for many of us, the conventional ways of thinking about God – as a person or a thing – can sometimes get in the way of that knowing. I can’t speak for everyone.

      You asked: This love/family thing God desired seems to have taken hold wouldn’t you say?

      First, as might be apparent from comments above, I wouldn’t automatically equate the “love thing” with the “family thing.” Related? No doubt, but as theological models they aren’t the same for me. In either case, I would say that the idea takes hold with some, and with some it doesn’t. For others, it takes hold for a while, and then there is a letting go of it. For many of us it is a matter of the moment – sometimes it works for us and sometimes it doesn’t.

      Thank you for asking that question, Fred, because it helped me form a clearer expression of my intentions here in the Christian Mystics online community. I am not very interested in thinking and talking about God in conventional ways only. I am more interested in thinking and talking about God in ways that engage other people who cannot be intellectually honest and limit themselves to conventional theology, yet nonetheless feel drawn to Christianity. If a person is looking only for the conventional language and ideas, there are more than enough opportunities to do that elsewhere and with people other than me. I feel no compunctions at all about this, and certainly not any fear that it is unacceptable to God. If God “desires” anything from us, then I am quite convinced it is not the abandonment of our honesty and critical thinking to merely submit as disingenuous sycophants. Please don’t misunderstand me, because I am not suggesting that you or anyone else here is merely trying to be conventional, let alone dishonest or disingenuous. In fact, I know that you are not. What I mean to do is explain why I, and perhaps some others, consistently avoid limiting ourselves to the conventional language and metaphors about God and our relationship with God. It’s been my experience that letting go of those limitations opens doors to possibilities of understanding God, our relationship with God, and our relationship with each other, that are more complete, more inclusive, more whole, and thus more loving. Your mileage may vary. 🙂

      Agape,
      Chuck

  12. Hi Chuck,

    Ditto.

    YQ: “Please don’t misunderstand me, because I am not suggesting that you or anyone else here is merely trying to be conventional, let alone dishonest or disingenuous. In fact, I know that you are not. What I mean to do is explain why I, and perhaps some others, consistently avoid limiting ourselves to the conventional language and metaphors about God and our relationship with God.”

    Totally agree. I think from the aspects of paradigms and religiosity we all have our standards we gained in one way or another; and, oftentimes we cling too tightly to what we feel, think, have experienced, or know. In a nutshell, we feel safe. As a result our finiteness may appear foundational but it certainly is not. And when contested, then it is difficult for us to move beyond “ourselves” into the realm of awe and just accept it. It is what it is.

    God is going to do what He’s going to do, it just so happens He’s holding all the cards and knows what cards we’re going to play before we play them. That applies to His using evil against itself to bring about good. Evil against evil seems to nullify itself. This in a sense equates to Romans 8:28.

    We may have some acquaintance with the universe but that doesn’t mean it will dance for us. In the same way with regard to prayer, we may mention whatever we want to, but God still has the trump card and knows what is best. Thank God, He is on our side.

    In all fairness, I very strongly believe God fully appreciates our honesty and when we are able to absolutely come into the throne room and be direct with Him, then He is even more resourceful; not that He doesn’t move on our behalf anyway to meet us in the garden or our own closet; obviously He does. Since the Holy Spirit is already acting to make and hone our meager prayers to make them even more than what we could ever hope to conceive them to be, then it’s all good. He’s got our back. That’s good, especially for those who can only say, “Forgive me, a sinner.” – God takes our simple inadequacies and stretches His hand out to help us. The Father/child concept is similar to the vastness/innocence ideal. A young child doesn’t know or understand the vastness of God, but yet simply comes and asks. God responds in love.

    Peace brother,
    Fred

  13. […] it the “Tree of Duality,” as noted in essay form and hinted at in metaphor.  More recently, Chuck has very insightfully developed this idea, along with a way through […]

  14. […] factors. As I leave these things for our further consideration, I note that all of it involves the illusion of separateness and the ensuing spiral of illusions needed to defend and reinforce it. And my closing questions are these: How might reflection on […]

  15. […] factors.As I leave these things for our further consideration, I note that all of it involves the illusion of separateness and the ensuing spiral of illusions needed to defend and reinforce it.And my closing questions are these: How might reflection on these […]

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