Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Shocks of Recognosis

Beneath every veil is another veil, all the way up to God. And God cannot be fully unveiled for the same reason we can't be. Supposing you wanted to unveil your consciousness, how would you go about doing that? And how do you distinguish between the one doing the unveiling and the one unveiled?

How does the soul actually unveil and thereby reveal itself? Via its spontaneous attraction to various objects and subjects (persons). The world presents us with a panorama of potential choices, each veiling a deeper truth. So long as the choice is free and not compelled or conditioned, it reveals to us something about ourselves. You could say that our spontaneous attractions are like contrails of the soul.

But there are vertical degrees of attraction. For example, we are all attracted to food, but this hardly defines the soul. Rather, for a human being, this type of preference is accidental and not essential. If you prefer vanilla and I chocolate, it is of no consequence to the soul.

Perhaps the primary purpose of civilization is to disclose and preserve a range of higher choices for the soul. Take, for example, the Muslim middle east. There the soul is not given many choices. Indeed, no one there even chooses to be Muslim, since no other choice is permitted.

Although there are relatively few conversions to Judaism, I remember reading somewhere that not every Jew is born into Judaism. Rather, one may have a "Jewish soul" but not realize it until one encounters Judaism, which results in a shock of recognition -- of oneself.

This is obviously quite common with Christianity, and in a way, is behind every conversion. In particular, think of the response to the first evangelists. Somehow, people heard the message and said to themselves, Yup, that's me. This is a quintessential example of vertical recollection, or what we call recognosis.

I can think of many similar examples. Kallistos Ware writes of his "personal journey to Orthodoxy," which "happened quite unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon in the summer of 1952." He was walking past an old church he'd never noticed before and decided to wander in.

As a service began,

My initial impression of an absence was now replaced, with a sudden rush, by an overwhelming sense of presence. I felt that the church, so far from being empty, was full -- full of countless unseen worshipers, surrounding me on every side. Intuitively I realized that we, the visible congregation, were part of a much larger whole, and that as we prayed we were being taken up into an action far greater than ourselves, into an undivided, all-embracing celebration that united time and eternity, things below with things above.

Vertical recollection, big time. Which implies that atheists and other wayward souls are literally suffering from a form of vertical amnesia -- or what we call I AMnesia (more on which as we proceed).

More to the point, as Ware left the church, he said to himself

with a clear sense of conviction: This is where I belong; I have come home. Sometimes it happens -- is it not curious? -- that, before we have learnt anything in detail about a person, a place or subject, we know with certainty: This is the person that I shall love, this is the place I need to go, this is the subject that, above all others, I must spend my life exploring.

As alluded to in the book, it is as if the world is a complex phase space filled with nonlocal attractors of various kinds. We know the attractors are there, because we are routinely pulled into them.

And of course, not all attractors are positive! Seductions and snares are everywhere, i.e., Powers, Principalities, Thrones, Dominions, all pulling us this way and that.

Back to Ware for a moment. I've read that if one attempts to convert to Judaism, the rabbi will initially discourage the seeker. It's a test. Ware encountered the same sort of resistance, but the more he learned about it, "the more I realized: this is what I have always believed in my inmost self, but never before did I hear it so well expressed" (emphasis mine).

So, that is the ultimate recognosis: the vertical re-collection of oneself, and with it, God. The two -- the inner and outer -- are simultaneous.

Faith itself is not supposed to be a passive acceptance of static propositions. Rather, as Schuon says, its real purpose is "to inform us concerning that of which our soul is urgently in need, and to awaken in us as far as possible the remembrance of innate truths."

The remembrance of innate truths.

Om, now I remurmur!

And "Religious revelation is both a veil of light and a light veiled" (ibid.).

Have you heard the One about Light from Light? Viveka la Reveilation!

Faith is not an irrational assent to a proposition; it is a perception of a special order of realities. --Dávila

3 comments:

Abdulmonem Othman said...

There is no conversion , it is the remembrance of the innate truth that remains inside each of us in a state of slumber until it is triggered unexpectedly by mixed forces that we can not identified with certainty. It is the remembrance of the bond taken from the humans in the non-physical realm. Can Ware tell us what happened except the enjoyable feeling descended over him. It is a mystery, how much of me,how much of the environment and how much of god. One has to be thankful for such grace. One has to be in a constant awareness lest the fall takes over again. One has to love all humanity and leaves his clannishness. It is honesty with god, with one self and the world. Yes Muslims are in a state of slumber, but slumber can not continue for long and awakening will take place. Soul is programmed to chose for itself and no other choose for her, save god that breathed her. Our problem now is with those who are in the saddle and who want to rule the world. Some time I think people are not only negligent of his mercy that tolerate their perversions and gives them all life span for correction and despite that, they persist in their follies, oblivious of the unexpected hits of god. It seems religions in their pure forms are no longer a ruling force in the world, ever since the witches instructed the humans to leaves the transcendental and to be the gods of the earth. I am really in a state of fright from the coming.

doug saxum said...

What witches are you speaking of?

julie said...

As a service began, My initial impression of an absence was now replaced, with a sudden rush, by an overwhelming sense of presence. I felt that the church, so far from being empty, was full -- full of countless unseen worshipers, surrounding me on every side. Intuitively I realized that we, the visible congregation, were part of a much larger whole, and that as we prayed we were being taken up into an action far greater than ourselves, into an undivided, all-embracing celebration that united time and eternity, things below with things above.

We have a new transitional deacon this year (the last step before a man may become a Catholic priest), who was delighted to learn about our Bible study group. Last week he came in as we were discussing laying on of hands (in Acts, and elsewhere), so he was asked about his experience when he was ordained as a deacon. The ceremony requires that the candidate lay face down on the floor at one point, while the Bishop asks for the prayers of all the saints. At that moment, he said, he could actually feel a gentle force pressing him down against the floor - not oppressive, but essentially all those unseen worshippers were present, and it was as though the prayers of all those saints had weight.