Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Circumnavelgazing the Whole Existentialada

Very little time this morning. A total speed post, presented to you with warts & all....

Schuon provides another way of looking at the inspiration-aspiration -- or pneumacosmic metabolism -- we like to call (↓↑). He says that "the 'life' of the Infinite is not only centrifugal; it is also centripetal: it is alternately or simultaneously -- depending on the relationships considered -- Radiation and Reintegration."

Imagine a beating heart at the vertical center or origin of it all, circulating blood and zapping every last slaphappy capillary before lapping around back again.

Or, just as the physical laws of the cosmos somehow hold throughout, so too does the spiritual Law. There is no place one can be and be absent from this Law and this circulation. If it were to stop, even for a moment, we would instantaneously become like frozen rock or dry granules of desiccated clay. This circulating energy is the juice that holds us together at every level. It is the Oneness that sponsors our own psychospiritual wholeness and unity.

Schuon speaks of the reintegration or "'return' of forms and accidents into the Essence." Aurobindo calls it involution-evolution, while in Christianity it is called...

Well, it is called different things, but Eckhart refers to "the dynamic reciprocity of the 'flowing forth' of all things from the hidden ground of God, and the 'flowing back,' or 'breaking through,' of the universe into essential identity with this divine source" (McGinn).

Or, in the orthoparadoxical words of the Meistro himself, "I have often said, God's going-out is his going-in."

Eckhart called this the exitus-reditus (or emanation and return), emphasizing the idea these two necessarily go together. God cannot but help overflowing his own energies, so to speak, but where can they go except "in God?"

It's like the blood that pumps from your heart. Looked at one way, the blood travels "away" from the heart. But looked at more holistically, there is really no line between the heart and its most distant artery.

Eckhart sees the exitus-reditus "as the fundamental law of reality taught by the Bible." Again, God's "bursting forth" is our "breaking through" -- which are ultimately the same thing, hence Eckhart's wise crack about how the eye with which I see God is the very same eye with which he sees me.

Thus there are "two graces" (or a single grace viewed from two ontological vertices): "The first grace consists in a type of flowing out, a departure from God; the second consists in a type of flowing back, a return to God himself."

Thus, we can only return to God because God has "left God," so to speak, hence the significance of the total kenosis, or divine self-abandonment, of the Incarnation. What is that but the ultimate going out for the purpose of the ultimate return and reintegration?

Eckhart: "The first break-out and the first melting-forth is where God liquifies and where he melts into his Son and where the Son melts back into the Father."

Note that the exit is "outward," the return "inward." Or say expiration and inspiration, from down-and-out to up-and-in.

Back to Schuon. Of the Radiation and Reintegration discussed above, he says that it is as if the Absolute, "by overflowing, so to speak, prolongs itself and creates the world."

Thus, the Absolute is simultaneously static and dynamic; or, static at one level, dynamic at another; it is in time while always being above time.

Looked at this way. God only "becomes" God (for us) by entering the exitus-reditus stream. Prior to that -- vertically prior -- is the apophatic God beyond our comprehension.

You might say that by flowing from eternity into time, God "becomes." Conversely, he "unbecomes" upon the mystic's breakthrough "to the silent unmoving Godhead, [a breakthrough] that brings all creatures back into the hidden source..." (McGinn). Really, it's what the whole cosmos has been waiting for (cf. Romans 8:22).

All the Rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again. --Eccl 1:7

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

He who believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. --John 7:38


julie said...

It's like the blood that pumps from your heart. Looked at one way, the blood travels "away" from the heart. But looked at more holistically, there is really no line between the heart and its most distant artery.

Especially when you consider that the heart, too, needs to be fed. In working to provide nourishment to the body, it also nourishes itself.

Or say expiration and inspiration, from down-and-out to up-and-in.

So the push ups are symbolic...
Happy day of a thousand ;)

Mark said...

It has, it is, and it will be.
Interesting comment too, Julie.
Warts are an important part of all we see.
If this is work, arbeit macht free,
In spite of all that is ugly.

Van said...

"It's like the blood that pumps from your heart. Looked at one way, the blood travels "away" from the heart. But looked at more holistically, there is really no line between the heart and its most distant artery."

That's a really good illustration of a seemingly extended whole.

julie said...

Thanks, Mark. You have a gorgeous home.

Regarding the post, I didn't spot a single wart. Well, except the one in the opening line, but I don't think that counts...

sehoy said...

Loved the pumping heart imagery. Always especially loved those particular scripture verses at the end too.

Van said...

Looks like the heart is a hit imagery is a hit.

Looking at it from another angle, I might even like it better than the flatland view of the fingers passing through the paper. What's seems separate in so many ways, is shown to be One, and it doesn't require positing another dimension, only a higher and fuller understanding of your own.

Van said...

Mark, what Julie said about your your home. Brings to mind the stone cloisters in the Orkneys.

Please tell me that "The Round Room", if not a library, at least has a place to curl up with a good book on a stormy night?

Mark said...

To radically paraphrase Chesterton, a wart is only a beauty mark wrongly considered.

The architect's inspiration, I'm told, was Tintagel, King Arthur's legendary castle on the Cornish coast.

The 'round room' is the centerpiece of a separate and more recently built 'greenhouse/guesthouse', furnished with lots of cushions and a few comfortable chairs, and a 180 view of the Pacific. Books are optional.:)

"I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." John 16:28

Mikal said...

Mark, your place reminds me of Robinson Jeffers' Tor House in Carmel. I assume you're familiar with it?

julie said...

a wart is only a beauty mark wrongly considered.


Or one woman's toad is another's prince; or one oyster's annoyance is a thing of transcendent beauty. The world is a strange and wondrous place...

Mark said...

Yes...a neighbor, sort of...
But i'm not that familiar since i've not been there.

Northern Bandit said...

Mark: gorgeous crib!

I am entirely fed up with city life now. This (Nova Scotia) cost me about the same as I paid for a 3 bedroom condo in Boston. The trick is to fly to London/NY/Boston/Toronto now and then to get a dose of city life. No interest in actually living in an urban situation again.

Mark said...

Didn't mean to hijack the thread...it's (the existentialada)really worth discussing. Individuals simply arbitrage one set of 'spinning plates' (i.e. 'trials & tribulations')for any other in this life...eventually I just settled for mine, and got 'lifted' here(I guess)by the sheer attitude shift.
I'm still riffing on the uppy down thing. my first comment here, but really delighting in our host's commentary, which I've only recently discovered via Vanderleun.

julie said...

Not a hijack, imho. I quite liked the poetry in your first comment, by the way. Riff away!

julie said...

Back to the uppy-down, here's a lovely few words on the subject by Sertillanges:

"It is due to the Spirit that the message of Jesus gives expression to another world, and that this other world and the world of pilgrimage are but one. The kingdon of God is everywhere, and the Spirit is its light. And as there is one light, so there is one orientation, one action, one issue, which is - invisibly here and clearly hereafter - everlasting life.

The divine Spirit is a Spirit of eternity. The living water that Jesus gives must return to its own level. It came from Heaven, and back to Heaven it springs, to abide there eternally. Heaven is its surface of equilibrium, and if 'Christ having risen, dieth now no more,' 'if where He is, He wills and grants that we also may be,' the reason is that His Spirit breathes between the Father and the Word. And it is in the Word Incarnate and by Him that we receive the divine life of grace."

Mark said...

Riff indeed!
Thanks for kind words!

julie said...

Now for a real derailment, The Case for Calling Them Nitwits:

"In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests. According to several sources at the United Nations, as many as six would-be suicide bombers died last July after one such embrace in Paktika."