Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Reality of Sp↓r↑t

Remind us again, B'ob. What is reality?

Yes, reality is the revelation of Being. But there can be no revelation in the absence of a recipient, so reality is simultaneously the registration of Being. Or, we can say that reality is the successful communication of Being; or, if you prefer a shorter answer, communion.

Obviously reality registers at different levels and in different modes: there is empirical/sensory reality, mathematical/logical reality, aesthetic/artistic reality, moral/ethical reality, spiritual reality, etc.

Why we can't all agree on this, I can't tell you. I mean, after you've communicated it to the the person. Truth is one, but resistances to it tend to be particularistic and idiosyncratic, rooted in personal biography. I don't have the time.

Now, to the extent that there is self-communicating spiritual reality, we want to be open to it -- just as we want to be open to the other realms of being. Because reality can communicate all day long, but if we're not receiving, then it might as well not be there, and you are no different than the DNC.

In his Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation, Laird makes the elementary point that "A spiritual practice simply disposes us to allow something to take place."

What, exactly? You're getting ahead of yourself. This is like showing up on the first day of school and asking the teacher, "exactly what is this math class supposed to teach me?" The only rational response can be, "keep showing up, and you'll find out."

Contrary to what they say, there is no map... there is only surrender (Matarasso, in Laird).

"For example, a gardener does not actually grow plants. A gardener practices certain gardening skills that facilitate growth that is beyond the gardener's direct control. In a similar way, a sailor cannot produce the necessary wind that moves the boat.... there is nothing the sailor can do to make the wind blow" (Laird).

There is a spiritual wind beyond our control, and there has never been a time that it has been unknown to man. We just call it (↓), so as to avoid being like that math student who wants to know all about math before he has learned it -- i.e., before opening himself in silence and receiving the transmission.

We symbolize the silence (---), the openness (o). The patient application of these two results in "surrendering of deeply embedded resistances that allows the sacred within to reveal itself as a simple, fundamental fact" (ibid.).

Again, communion is communication, and vice versa.

Thus, spiritual communion "is not something we are trying to to acquire; God is already the ground of our being. It is a question of realizing it in our lives" (ibid.).

This realization is symbolized (n), in distinction to (k), the latter of which is received but needn't be realized. The person (or level of the person) who realizes (n) is (¶). (All of this is explained in the book, but occasionally even I remember.)

Laird references what St. Paul called our "hidden self": "may he give you the power through his Spirit [↓] for your hidden self [¶] to grow strong" (Eph 3:16). Or just say grow, because "growing weak" is an oxymoron. The latter is either vertical dissipation or the heartbreak of cosmic shrinkage.

Paul adds that this is a kind of "comprehension" that "passes knowledge," that we "may be filled with all the fullness of God." Again, this "filling" can only be a function of (↓), however you wish to conceptualize it. (Speaking of which, I just discovered a helpful symbol for mere [unrealized] knowledge of God: (⇡), i.e., the broken eros.)

In the end, "this God we desire [has] already found us, thus causing our desire," which means that the real cosmic action looks something like this: (↺). And "the soul's center is God" (St. John of the Cross) " which we of course symbolize (ʘ).

As we have discussed before, this (↓) business (or isness, precisely) is what confers the depth dimension on things; call it the yeast, the salt, the cream in your coffee, the bubbles in your champagne, the cork in your bat, the lead in your pencil. But without it, everything goes quite literally flat, and our carbon-based life becomes uncarbonated.

Another important point is that as we approach the center -- as in ʘ -- we necessarily have closer communion with others, because that dot at the center is the very basis for the possibility of communion.

Laird provides a helpful visual: picture a wheel with spokes. At the outer periphery the lines are all separate and distinct spokesmen, but as they converge upon the center they become closer, ultimately converging upin the One spokeswhole. Thus, "the more we journey towards the Center the closer we are both to God and to each other" (ibid.).

And one thing that facilitates this closeness is mutual recognition of the "thirdness" of it all. I suppose it is possible for love to last if two people just love, and try to love, one another. But love can really only last "forever" if there are two people in communion focusing on a mutually loved transcendent Third. Thus, I suppose that a properly functioning marriage might be symbolized (⇈).

Communion around a higher third:


mushroom said...

For example, a gardener does not actually grow plants.

Another good example is doctors who do not heal patients (which is why, I think, they are supposed to be patient). The body heals, seeds grow. Me, I'm just Standing on the Rock.

Gagdad Bob said...

Be a patient patient, and health (wholeness) will come.

EbonyRaptor said...

Communion: standing in line,
for a tasteless wafer and a sip of wine.

The enlightened Western mind has lost the intimacy of communion.

Communion, in a word, describes God's love for us. The desire for reciprocal giving and receiving at the deepest and most intimate level.

Jesus welcomes us to His table.

mushroom said...

Yes, it's true in every realm -- politics included. We always want to know what is it we need to do. Everybody wants us to do something.

Deuteronomy 28:2 -- And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.

God is ahead of us and coming up behind us fast.

Gagdad Bob said...

Thats his breath on your neck. So turn around already.

John Lien said...

Hmmm, you may have helped me pick out my next book. Is it a good read or is there a better one that covers the same subject?

Gagdad Bob said...

Meh. An indispensable classic would be something like Clement's Roots of Christian Mysticism. Food for life.

John Lien said...


ge said...

song from the new Garbage album which seems to be from the POV of Pat Tillman
[i salute their super-hook of a chorus]

"Blood for Poppies"

i wouldnt have probably discovered this group except they used a sample i co-wrote on the album's last song

Magister said...

At the level of the atom, what is "real" is pretty damned interesting.

The volume of an atom is roughly an angstrom, which is 15 orders of magnitude larger than its nucleon.
In this vast area, quarks of various kinds flicker in and out of existence.

You and I are basically fields of energy made visible and "solid" only at a hugely macro scale.

Look closer, and we are almost "nothing" in terms of material. It's energy we're made of, a flickering of fields. And this is just our *material* composition.

Those fields exist. Our solidity as unique assemblages of matter is just a phase.

The field of being is where all the real action is.

Van Harvey said...

(Speaking of which, I just discovered a helpful symbol for mere [unrealized] knowledge of God: (⇡), i.e., the broken eros.)