I am alone in the world with a different loneliness form that of
Christ. He was alone because He was everything. I am alone because I
am nothing. I am alone in my insufficiency–dependent, helpless,
contingent, and never quite sure that I am really leaning on Him upon
whom I depend.
Yet to trust in Him means to die, because to trust perfectly in Him you
have to give up all trust in anything else. And I am afraid of that
death. The only thing I can do about it is to make my fear become part
of the death I must die, to live perfectly in Him.
In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all ages.
Often people come to Gnosticism or whatever spiritual path because they feel cheated, empty or angry. They are running from religion in a perceived need to remove themselves from old modes of being that are perhaps “spiritually” insufficient and maybe unsatisfying. As people most of us prefer a “satisfying meal” than just a “snack” to keep us fed for the day. Give us this day our daily bread, as Christ said….
Religion means to tie or to bind. To bring together. Religion typically here in the west is often though of as exoteric and esoteric. Exoteric meaning for the many and esoteric for the few. It is tempting to place a greater value on one depending on your perspective.
However one could argue that there is no inner or outer, no esoteric or exoteric, no occult (Occult means “hidden”) or unhidden. There just is. One could argue the very “act” of supposing or “making’ the esoteric/occult/inner creates a false separation.
The Esoteric (for the few) is often used to mean the “spiritual” or more “in depth” or closer to the divine than the Exoteric (for the many).
As Brother Lawrence states:
The time of action does not differ at all from my time of prayer; I possess God as tranquilly in the bustle of my kitchen –where sometimes several people are asking me different things at one time—as if I was on my knees before the blessed sacrament…It is not necessary to have great things to do. I turn my little omelet in the pan for the love of God; when it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and adore my God, who gave me the grace to make it, after which I rise, more content than a King. When I cannot do anything else, it is enough for me to have lifted a straw from the earth for the love of God.
Largely then once could argue those “fixated” on the “occult/esoteric” will never really “gain the grail” they will just “sup from the grail.”
This “argument” would be like saying something like “I want a secret decoder ring, by using my secret decoder ring I am special, I no longer need the cereal box it came in, I don’t care that I will be starving to death by not eating…cause I have a special decoder ring”
So perhaps the idea that one “only needs inner initiation” is incorrect in that, it is like saying
“I no longer need to eat; ‘cause I can now sup from the grail, but actually obtaining it (becoming the Grail) is not something I will reach, as I only need my decoder ring, not my cereal.”
This is perhaps typified in two Buddhist quotes I like:
There are no mundane things outside of Buddhism,
And there is
No Buddhism outside of mundane things.
I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment
It is for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment.
The problem occurs when people “think” they are involved in the esoteric and/or the occult and thus no longer need the exoteric or the un-hidden
To put it into real world less flowery language terms…
It is like a person who partakes in the Atkins diet. The Atkins diet works by cutting down on carbohydrate intake and increasing protein intake. Yes, I know first hand the Aitkin’s diet does work. Cutting down on “carbs” and eating predominantly meat will indeed promote weight loss. But there is the danger of keeping with that diet. Which would cause imbalance, clogged arteries maybe, and even death….?
Does this mean too much esoteric and too much occult without their “opposites” leads to death? In a very real sense, I would say yes….
I think this is very similar to Christ’s temptation by Satan and Buddha’s temptation under the Bodhi tree
A good way to combat this would be to actively “Be in the world but not of it.” Join a local church or group. By actually serving, we are actually serving.
“Like grapes, we ripen best on the vine.”