Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday Bike Ride Up the Sacred Mountain

It’s Sunday. Anybody up for a little raid on the wild godhead? Okay, but before we leave, unknowculate your brain, make your resurrections in advance, and don’t forget your peaceport. And as we blestoff from the errport, be sure to leave your apprehensions behind, because you kant take ‘em with you. Not where we’re going.

One of the central tenets of Orthodox Christianity is that one cannot know God in his essence, only in his energies. Most of the great Christian fathers were apophatic to the core, meaning that the only unqualifiably true things that can be said of God have to do with what he is not.

In this regard, Christianity is perfectly in accord not only with perhaps the greatest Jewish theologian, Moses Maimonides, but with the Upanishads as well. The Upanishads say that ultimate reality, or brahman, has two faces, one that we can see, the other that we cannot. Nirguna brahman refers to God with attributes, while saguna brahman is the apophatic God beyond name and form, which no tongue has soiled and about which we can say nothing in the affirmative sense. It is jodo, the Pure Land of Zen, or ain sof, the ainsoferable gnosis all of Judaism--yes, old what's his G-D name.

In the esoteric approach to Christianity, there is the unknown Godhead that is beyond creation, beyond conception, and beyond being. It is this aspect of God that I attempted to convey as a sort of invocation at the beginning of my book, rendered here in a more poetic form:

.... nothing,
a formless void without mind or life,
a shadow spinning before the beginning over a silent static sea,
unlit altar of eternity, fathomless vortex of the Infinite Zero.
Darkest night, dreamless sleep:
Outside in. Spacetimematterenergy.
No beforeafter, nobodaddy, no mamafestation, nothing but neti.
One brahman deathless breathing breathless,
darkness visible the boundless all.
Unknown origin prior to time and space,
fount of all being, unborn thus undying,
beginning and end of all impossibility,
empty plenum and inexhaustible void.

Some people say that you cannot prove the existence of God, but this is not so. It is not as if God is on a continuum of probability. Rather, God either is or cannot be. Since God is the one thing that cannot not be, he obviously is. On the other hand, our existence is indeed problematic. How is it possible for us to exist? Now that is a mystery. Inexplicable, really. In the absence of He Who Is, it is frankly impossible.

Anyway, the God that absolutely is cannot be known discursively. He does not exist, and we are his children. And since he doesn’t exist, only He knows it. But to the extent that He does exist, He knows nothing about it. Anything short of this divine unKnowing, no matter how sublime, is the sage’s prison.

Continuing with my little invocation, I next tried to capture the emergence of God-with-attributes, as the primordial I is given birth from the primary matrix and patrix of Godlessness-without-attributes:

Who is?
A wake.
A lone.
Hallow, noumena!

Yes, we have it on excellent authority that God has a highly developed sense of humor, and, as it so happens, is a big Seinfeld fan. You might say that God is the ultimate guffah-ha! experience.

In philosophy, the “noumena” is Kant’s term for the unknowable ultimate reality behind appearances (actually, it should be “noumenon,” since by definition it cannot be plural). The world that we can know with our senses and categories is the phenomenal world. Thus, what we call “the world” is actually a form of our sensibility. That is not to say that it is unreal or just an idea in our head. However, it is to say that all we know about it consists of ideas in our head. Whatever it is outside our knowledge is by definition unknown to us. It is the unmapped land of the noumenon, hallowed be its namelessness.

Christianity speaks of a trinitarian God: father, son and holy ghost. This is not to say that Christianity is not monotheistic. Obviously it is. For one thing, most Christian mystics, such as Meister Eckhart, speak of a Godhead that is beyond the trinity. Thus, I would regard the trinity as saguna brahman, perhaps the last thing we can know about God before we surpass that mystery and know nothing at all in the pregnant silence of higher bewilderment.

Vedanta also speaks of a primordial trinity within the heart of saguna brahman: sat-chit-ananda, or Being, Consciousness (sometimes translated as “knowledge”), and Bliss. Interestingly, St. Augustine as well as certain Greek fathers designate the Christian trinity in a similar manner, as Being-Wisdom-Life.

In other words, it seems that as we ascend into the knowable God on this side of creation, we eventually come to a place of unalloyed being, pure consciousness, and boundless joy. Or so we have heard from the wise.

Here we are at the threshold of the unknowable God, the uncreated realm beyond being, “blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a weecosmic womb with a pew.” Careful--take one more step and we are back to NOTHING, pure emptiness, a formless void without mind or life, a shadow spinning before the beginning....

Ahh, talk me back taddy, talk me way back, talk me way way way back, back to the beginning, back ones again by oursophs, back before our bigending, back before old nobodaddy commuted wholly matterimany, back before exhaling into a world of sorrow and ignorance, back where eternity pierces our presence, back where we always are, back at the still point of the churning whirl, way way back again, back unborn to the infinite father shore.

Hello, new man!


Finding Fair Hope said...

Well, yes there’s a god, maybe two or three of them, but probably just one. It’s man who is unreal, existing only in the mind of God, as if he had a mind. If he has a mind, does that mean he has a heart? A soul? Did he give his only son, to die on Calvary’s tree, from sin to set me free? Not quite, little Sunday School girl, but start thinking about it now and it about 70 years maybe you’ll have a clue. That’s a big maybe.

Talking to myself there, of course, my self of years ago, drinking in the stuff that grownups said might be important to me someday. Mama an atheist (lapsed Presbyterian) and Daddy a believer who avoided thinking about it for all of his 64 years on this plane. Sometimes I think lapsed Catholics have it better – they have more to lapse from after all. But now it seems the New Agers have discovered religion and they think they invented it. When I read what Gagbob writes, and the pithy comments he gets, I am overwhelmed with what I do not know, which I think they’re all saying is the point. All ye who enter this post abandon your old fleabitten ideas and be prepared to perform a little miracle: The changing of your own mind.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

God is very "knowable" through His son Jesus Christ and He is also "knowable" through nature! I see Him in all things that He has made!

"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29

"The LORD has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations." Psalms 98:2

"Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known." Matthew 10:26

But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.1 Corinthians 2:9-16

Will said...

Good rejoyce! Happy Sonday!

Well, sure, there must be that portion of the Godhead which is absolutely unknowable. It takes a distinct two for companionship. It takes a completely separate two to love. (though united in the Holy Spirit)

For me, the Mystery is (today anyway), since we were created out of the Godhead (couldn't have been from any other place), how did He/It go about making us separate? How did He/It go about dying to Himself/Itself so that we might exist as His/Its companions?

Bob, I'm not one of those picayune astrology buffs who navigates through life by knowing every little transit, conjuction, nd whatnot, but I know enough about astro to know its valid enough insofar as that goes. So . .tell me . . . I would guess you've got a large dollop of aquarius in your natal chart? Eh? J Joyce was an aquarian sun, you know.

Gagdad Bob said...

Not exactly sure--all I know is that I'm a scorpio with a generous dollop of feces in my lunar aspect.

Actually, a gifted astrologer once ran a quick chart on me, and I was pretty much blown away by its acccuracy, especially with regard to the flattering parts. Frankly, I think it was far more incisive and accurate than, say, the MMPI, which is the most widely used personality test in psychology.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

"Frankly, I think it was far more incisive and accurate than, say, the MMPI, which is the most widely used personality test in psychology."

Ha Ha

BTW....without like ummm breaking any oath...can you ever share some interesting stories about what all you have seen in your work...any funny or wild stories?

ZenGolfer said...

Sometime's it's the ride "down" the Sacred Mountain that you remember most... ;-)

But today's post brings up a question that I've been struggling to put into words, but now feel as though I can...

How do you reconcile a belief in Jesus Christ with the knowledge that much of what makes God God is basically beyond our reach intellectually???

I mean I think I understand the growth of both religion and human society over the last several thousands of years, and see the relationships between religion and society and the evolutionary growth of the human intellect to better "understand" the physical universe, or at least that portion of the universe that exists within our minds...

But all that does it make it harder for my intellect to accept the "truth" of any specific God, much less the God of the bible...

I assume this is due to what Bob calls Mind Parasites, but it's darn hard to get very far past them before "reality" as I know it sets in and pulls me back...

Will said...

Bob, yessir, astro does not lie. Anyway, your sun sign Scorp is but a portion of your natal chart - there's a myriad of other factors to be considered. Getting a good reading of your natal chart is worth the trouble.

Moon in feces, eh? I'm a FrankCapracorn, moon in Librium.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

ZenGolfer--- God is basically beyond our reach intellectually???

I use to wonder about that...then I realised that as I got older and when I looked back at photographs of myself doing kid stuff ya know from the past that it offered promise. I was still young but I would look at that little person in the photo and think, "WOW Thats me?" I mean, I realised upon looking that I was a child then...and that over time my body had grown and changed; that I had grown physically and intellectually, but on the inside I knew that part of me never changed. I was still the person in that photo and still me right now! That hadn't changed! That's when I realised that my spirit was on an eternal quest and that the rest of what was "me" was growing old to die and nothing was going to stop that process! I knew right then that where I was headed wouldn't need this body or most the things that I thought were "knowledge"
It was a big revelation to me...because thats when I knew that all this that I could see around me and touch would all pass on...but that it would be the spiritual things that were part of the equation of all of our past and present reality that had a chance to truly grow outside all of this because it didn't have to be trapped...and yet ironically I realised that all the 'spiritual me' was on the inside of my body and usually was always the part of me that was having a big power struggle with the intellect of my mind and body! That is one of things that I liked so much about Bob's explanation of his own journey discovery. He explained this part so beautifully with the lampshade and the pinhole story and how our perspective would change depending on which side of the lampshade we stood on...the outside or went underneath and looked up from inside! Because when I read that, it tuned into the reality that each of us are individual expressions of God. We are the little lights shining from a large source! So it doesn't matter how much "intellect" we think we gain...because in John 15:5 we are reminded that "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

Rorschach said...

Have had my horoscope interpreted by three different people. All reached completely different conclusions about my life and future.

Feel it incumbent on me to warn you not to confuse hucksterism with genuine spirituality. Charging more money equates to selling more bullshit.

Remind you the Protestant split happened largely because Luther and like thinkers were sick of Catholic Church charging money for indulgences; Protestants were originally opposed to idea of PAYING to get into heaven - idea that still reeks of fraud today.

If anyone, Christian or New Age, promises spiritual growth, but ONLY on condition of receiving from you large amounts of money, be assured it is a scam.

888 said...

There is the Unknowable and the knowable Unknowable:
1) Q - What is the Eternal Absolute?
2) Q - How came Cosmos into being?
A - Through THAT
3) Q - How, or what will it be when it falls back into Pralaya?
4) Q - Whence all the animate, and suppositionally the ‘inanimate’ nature?
A - From THAT
5) Q - What is the substance and essence of which the universe is formed?
6) Q - Into what has it been and will be again and again resolved?
A - Into THAT
7) Q - Is THAT then both the instrumental and material cause of the Universe?
A - What else is it or can it be than THAT?

H.P.B. “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. III

"There is principle and then there is persona. Madame Blavatsky spoke of the divine principle of deity - of THAT (tat) being a “term for the unknowable Rootless Root”. This original substance and essence of all that followed describes the principle of our Heavenly Father - yet not of His Persona."