Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stay Thirsty My Friends

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. --Revelation 22:1

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.)


walt said...

One of the blessings I remind myself of is the sheer number of important questions for which I've found satisfying answers.

Inevitably, this or that source has described things in a language that I, in my general ignorance, could relate to or grasp. Other sources, though they spoke about the "same things," did so in a language that didn't appeal, or edify, or "speak" to me, as you mentioned about von Speyer. I just assume that where there's resonance, there's some sort of correspondence; sometimes I don't question this too closely.

The Perennial Philosophy, in whatever form, is vast and timeless, like unto the subject it addresses. No wonder that we can't wrap ourselves around every angle of it on any given day, or even lifetime.

At the same time, it is vital, alive. Last Saturday, I was following your Twitter link during the action in Iran. Very compelling, in its immediacy. Later that day, I began reading some 2,000 year old words by Patanjali. Very compelling (for me), in its immediacy! Just as up-to-the-minute (for me) as any Tweet! Truly timeless.

Your in-sights are always intriguing!

Van said...

"...for blind passions always overlay a heart of ice, in short, a heart that is 'dead.'"

Cue the trolls -

Gagdad Bob said...

So much for his brilliant, nuanced, and principled stand on Iran: Obama will condemn Iran abuses. As the equally brilliant Goddinpotty said, any idiot knows that this will only make matters worse.

sehoy said...

Haven't read the post yet, but just had to say, that the Revelation quote is one of my all-time favorites, after John 1:1. I had a really good dream about that once: people I knew bathing in a crystal clear stream in the depths of winter.

Lot's of weird synchronicity going on for me with your posts lately.

I kind of hope it doesn't run away this time.

Back to post.

Anonymous said...

..ahem Bob, sounds to me like my "e-lurch'" about "unwinding words" may have been on the . . .?


julie said...

Re. von Speyr, that's interesting. I still haven't delved terribly far into the two books that I have, but I find I get the most out of her after reading a page or two from the Mother. That's too bad John seems boring, though - you'd think it would be one of the most fascinating. Guess I'll check it out on Google books before buying.

For my part, I've decided to just slow waaaay down for the summer. I realized the other day that the past year I've mentally been sprinting through a metaphysical marathon, with no prior training to speak of and taking little if any time to decompress. So I'm really glad you're sifting through the arkives right now. I'm always thirsty, but I guess sometimes it's important to come up for air...

Northern Bandit said...


You might be interested (for a laugh) in what is happening in the "AI community". It's truly incredible how sack-of-hammers dumb these 170 IQ MIT geniuses are when it comes to comprehending stuff that even the most junior coon instinctively groks.

From one of their deep thinkers:

Computation resembles human thought only to about the degree that jet propulsion resembles bird flight.

No wonder AI is such a dead end.

will said...

>>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<<

Reminds me of Gopi Krishna, the Indian fellow who was Kundalini-toasted for 15 years, eventually to emerge from the ordeal hale enough and with a resulting charism, supposedly. The charism was poetry, much of it "prophetic" - it came out of him in gushes and in various languages, some of which he was not familiar. Cool enough, but the fact was Krishna's poetry - and not to my eyes - amounted to nothing more than a thin trickle of doggerel. One would have expected something biblical or Shakespearian in dimension.

Are there people who are spiritually inspired by Krishna's poetry? Maybe, just as there are people inspired by Rod McKuen's poetry. I have to acknowledge that most of the world's citizens are not terribly spiritually advanced, so it could be that some charisms are divinely designed to find their own suitable level. Maybe it was the fact that Krishna wrote in, to him, unfamiliar languages, a bit of a magic show that was divinely designed to intrigue the consensus-reality minded.

Reminds me of the practice of "speaking in tongues". A charism of a sort, I suppose, but to what end, exactly?

will said...

Whoops, I meant to say: . . . the fact was Krishna's poetry - and not just to my eyes only - amounted to nothing more than a thin trickle of doggerel.

will said...

Hmm, look for the signs -

"White House staff members report that they and their boss have been routinely bothered by the bugs (flies) and have seen the First Exterminator personally enforcing a no-fly zone in the West Wing…" (NY TImes)

Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, “Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?”

The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
Saying, “Death to all those who would whimper and cry”
And dropping a bar bell he points to the sky
Saving, “The sun’s not yellow it’s chicken” - (Zimmerman)

Anonymous said...

Yeah Will, this charism thing is interesting. I didn't know that Krishna wrote poetry in an unfamiliar language, but I have, first hand, heard one of my student's -- during hands-on energy transmission with 2 other students present -- go into many minutes long monologue in an unfamiliar to her or the rest of us language.

To my ear it sounded like a legit. language with an east 'European' flavour.
Every so often L. paused, moistened her mouth, even asked if I knew what she was saying. I assured her that I didn't and concentrated on reminding her what her name was now and that she was safe.

I didn't know what to do but responded to the tone of the other 'woman', because she seemed very sad, almost 'lamenting' initially. Then her mood changed and she sounded as if she began to pray earnestly . . . after a bit longer her tone, or mood changed to sounding 'ecstaticly' prayfull. It seemed as if she was seeing something which filled her with awe-feeling and that's was the end.

Intuitively, I knew it was a soul-level healing and that what mattered to me. We didn't speculate afterwards what planet or level of consciousness the soul was coming from and left it at that.
It was a "peace be with you dear one" kind of healing session.


Van said...

NB said "Computation resembles human thought only to about the degree that jet propulsion resembles bird flight.
No wonder AI is such a dead end."

Makes you wonder what their own thoughts are like, that they're able to find the results of programming to be admirable in comparison?


Ricky Raccoon said...

“Again, it's probably just me. Someone else might very well find it to be the most stimulating thing they've ever encountered.”

Someone like HvB at least. But I can safely say it’s not just you, Bob. I’m not sorry I read “First Glance…”. Not at all, but I enjoyed HvB’s take on Speyr, which seemed to be about the first 2/3s of the book, to be the most engaging. I found the (her) “prayers” section sort of dry. But maybe that’s the way it has to be. It’s not like she can say them for me. She has to say her own. As you say Bion doesn’t want you to do it like him, but to show you how you might do it like you.

Ricky Raccoon said...

And like Julie says, sort of going through a phase here. And maybe it’s not sure what to make of me.

Anonymous said...

Ricky, your soul/Self knows exactly where you're at, so just hang with that . . .

There's rhyme and reason for every season . . .


Anonymous said...

Oh, and good to see the House Brown-nose back eh?


QP said...

RR: "Bion doesn’t want you to do it like him, but to show you how you might do it like you."

The Last Words of Meister Eckhart

QP said...

And What Walt Said™ pretty much covers the weirder front in qpville, xcept the reading of Patanjali.

Susannah said...

From Oswald Chambers this morning (Luke 22:53 is the reference): "Not being reconciled to the fact of sin— not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it— produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh in the face of every principle you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, when it attacks your life, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it. Have you taken this "hour, and the power of darkness" into account, or do you have a view of yourself which includes no recognition of sin whatsoever? In your human relationships and friendships, have you reconciled yourself to the fact of sin? If not, just around the next corner you will find yourself trapped and you will compromise with it. But if you will reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger immediately and say, "Yes, I see what this sin would mean." The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship— it simply establishes a mutual respect for the fact that the basis of sinful life is disastrous. Always beware of any assessment of life which does not recognize the fact that there is sin.

Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical nor suspicious, because He had absolute trust in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin."

Susannah said...

"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." John the Beloved

Anonymous said...

Theofilia 11:15:00 PM

Be that as it may, but I don't get yer dr*ft

Ricky Raccoon said...

Thanks, QP.
Beautiful words from Meister Eckhart.