Stay Thirsty My Friends
I think I might be going through Balthasar Withdrawal Syndrome. I immersed myself in his world for so long (over six months of nothing but), that I'm not sure how it all relates to me. I suppose it's the same with any addiction. They say that one of the difficulties of sobering up is that one has to become reacquainted with oneself. Only then do you realize why you drank in the first place: "Not him again. Get me a drink!"
In order to assimilate him into my substance, I must either become "bigger" than he is, or else somehow abstract his essence. But the latter is very difficult to do when the body of work is so vast. Then again, I suppose it's the same difficulty I'm having with myself vis-a-vis the arkive: how do I stand back and wrap my mind around myself?
It reminds me of James Brown's Super Bad, in which he sings, Good God / I jump back / I wanna kiss myself! How is that possible, unless one really is as super baaaaad as JB?
I also must admit that I've hit a bit of a speed bump with Ms. Adrienne. Remember, she was Balthasar's mystic friend who would go into a trance and dictate to him about various spiritual realities. Maybe it's just me, but I tried reading her commentary on the gospel of John, and found it rather... boring. Frankly, I gave up. I guess I'm having difficulty with the idea that someone can be granted an extraordinary charism by God, but the charism can be a little on the tedious side.
Again, it's probably just be me. Someone else might very well find it to be the most stimulating thing they've ever encountered. Come to think of it, it might just be a bhakti/jnani thing. Bhakti yoga primarily involves deeply felt love and adoration of God, whereas jnani joga is rooted more in intellection, wisdom, or sapiential knowledge. The latter is more geared toward fertile eggheads and free-range pneumanauts.
It's not that God has these divisions, but that people do, and it takes all kinds to make a world. Therefore, a full service religion has a little something for everyone. Furthermore, these divisions are eventually transcended within the path one chooses (or which chooses one). In other words, one discovers that knowledge is ultimately rooted in love and communion, while love is its own kind of unitive knowledge.
This would explain why von Speyr doesn't speak directly to me, whereas Schuon, for example, does. He strikes me as the quintessential jnani, even though he clearly had his devotional side. Indeed, he was fundamentally a man of prayer, in that it is always apparent that he is "thinking on his knees." He's not just thinking "about" God, but in God.
I have this compulsion to reconnect with Schuon as a sort of palate cleanser. He is always compact and pithy, but his pithiest book is no doubt Echoes of Perennial Wisdom. Even the title is refreshing: ah, Echoes of Perennial Wisdom. An O-asis of spiritual waters.
Let's take a little drink, shall we? Page 3: "The world scatters us, and the ego compresses us; God gives us recollection and dilates us, He gives us peace and delivers us." Ah, refreshing.
Page 5: "The greatest calamity is the loss of the center and the abandonment of the soul to the caprices of the periphery. To be man is to be at the center; it is to be the center."
But of course, one cannot be the center unless one is connected to the Center, either through love, or wisdom, or prayer, or contemplation, or works. Love is movement, wisdom is movement, movement toward the immobile center. It is (¶) pulled into the attractor of O, which is accompanied by (n) boiling over from O. Yes, "One must be in love with pure Being, which is beyond action and beyond thought."
P. 12: "When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert of rocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth.... if reality were made of rocks, there would be no place in it for flowers or any beauty or sweetness whatsoever. Similarly for the soul: remove faith -- including that element of faith that forms part of gnosis -- and the soul becomes impoverished, chilled, rigid, and embittered, or it falls into a hedonism unworthy of the human state; moreover, the one does not preclude the other, for blind passions always overlay a heart of ice, in short, a heart that is 'dead.'"
So stay thirsty my friends. (And HT Will for the Dos Equis reference.)