Have You Been Truthed Today?
To back up a bit, I'm perusing an essay by Schuon called Diversity of Revelation. To back up a bit further, I've decided to reread all of Schuon's books from the beginning. Well, almost the beginning, and almost all. For various reasons I'm starting with Gnosis: Divine Wisdom.
The reasons I'm doing this are twofold. First, I've had a long run of mediocre books that makes me feel as if I'm not getting anywhere. We don't want to be like the man of whom Churchill said "he occasionally stumbled over the truth but always picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened." With Schuon, I always feel as if I'm drilling down to the core. Plus, he always stimulates my own thoughts.
Come to think of it, this would constitute an experiential example of diversity flowing from the one truth. Again, just because something is true, that doesn't mean it is static. Rather, I would say the closer we get to it, the more dynamic, fruitful, and explosive. In my opinion, this is one of the characteristics of the trinitarian God, who is not static but inexhaustibly creative, even the very source of creativity.
Which makes me think of uberCoon Meister Eckhart. Probably a lot of his orthoparadoxical utterances make perfect nonsense in light of the approach we are discussing:
Earth cannot escape heaven; flee it by going up, or flee it by going down, heaven still invades the earth, energizes it, makes it sacred.
God is a great underground river that no one can dam up and no one can stop.
God forever creates and forever begins to create. And creatures are always being created and in the process of beginning to be created.
So, I guess you could say truth is a verb. Therefore, we wouldn't ask someone if they "know the truth," but rather, something like "have you been truthed lately?" or "how's the truthing going today?"
Along these lines, McGinn writes that "Trying to force a mystic as creative as Eckhart into a rigid system of thought is a self-defeating project that can only blunt the depth and challenge of his message."
For Eckhart, God is a kind of perpetual "boiling over" or outflow of creative exuberance. He cites a scriptural basis for this in Psalms: God has spoken once and for all and I have heard two things.
The following, from a sermon by Eckhart, goes directly to our point: "Distinction comes from Absolute Unity, that is, the distinction in the Trinity" Thus, "Absolute Unity is the distinction and the distinction is the unity."
McGinn elaborates: "the more distinct, or different, the Trinity of Persons is, the more indistinct, or absolutely one, the three Persons are in their pure potentiality, namely, in the divine ground." On the one hand "God is distinguished by his indistinction from all other things"; on the other hand "The One itself points to distinction."
There's more, but you get the point. Back to Gnosis. Schuon writes that "Truth and Revelation are not absolutely equivalent terms since Truth is situated beyond forms, whereas Revelation... belongs to the formal order."
If Truth is the verb alluded to above, might we say that revelation is a kind of "nounification" of the verb? Certainly it is an attempt to tame and domesticate what must always remain the Wild Godhead. No matter how much we know, it's only a fraction of the great unknown.
One area where I differ from Schuon is on the question of diversity. I believe I would be correct in saying that for him, diversity is already maya and therefore "outside" divinity, whereas the Christian tradition situates the diversity firmly within it.
In fact, Eckhart posits a kind of meta-trinitarian God, in the sense that the Trinity is begotten of the Godhead. It's just that neither is prior; rather, like the distinction between Father and Son, the distinction between God and Godhead is also a unity.
"In the Godhead God 'unbecomes,' so that this ground must be described as pure possibility, the unmoving precondition of all activity..." (Eckhart). This is where "God Is" shades off into "God Becomes" -- or where the pure I can add the AM. Thus, whereas Godhead can say "I," the three Persons of the Trinity can each say that "I AM." But this whole procession of distinctions is complementary to the ground of indistinction.
This is why God cannot be captured or contained in the distinctions of conventional speech. Rather, "The uncreated Word shatters created speech while directing it toward the Truth; in this way it manifests its transcendence in relation to the limitations of human logic.... To wish to reduce divine Truth to the conditionings of earthly truth is to forget that there is no common measure between the finite and the Infinite" (Schuon).
I can't help thinking this is why Jesus went out of his way to leave us no book, rather, just himself (from which the book flows). Of all people, he would know that booking himself -- enclosing himself between covers -- cannot be done. What he left was a relationship, a gift, a ceaseless truthing that cannot be reduced to mere truth.