Frithjof Schuon


There are practically no athiests among traditional farmers, even in England –a country whose main “intellectual” export right now is atheism. Also in a country like France, which is known for its secularism, where only 11% of people go to church and 40% of people are agnostics and atheists, if you were to go to the French countryside and talk to a farmer who produces that wonderful French cheese you eat for lunch, there are hardly any athiests among them. To do something that is close to God’s world is to participate in a sense in things which are natural, and thereby to circumvent the illusion of the absence of God which the modern world has created, an illusion upon which the modern world is based.

–Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The process of secularization of the microcosm resulted in one impoverishment after another of the human reality. First, the depletion of the angelic content of the microcosm helped transform the three dimensional traditional man into the two dimensional modern man. Since traditional psychology is closely related to angelology the transformation resulted in the disappearance of the idea of the soul from modern science wheras its reality at various ontological levels was affirmed in the traditional sciences. Not only that, the soul served as a key scientific concept in traditional sciences. For example, in Islamic science, we encounter the development of scientific concepts of plant, animal, rational and even universal souls. Second, the human reality became further reduced when two-dimensional man comprising body and mind was transformed into a living organism with a mechanistic body and mind largely determined by the brain. Mechanization of the human body was only one side of the coin of mechanization of the cosmos, the other being the better known mechanization of the macrocosm. The reduction of human reality reached its extreme end when every aspect and dimension of it, including consciousness, is visualized as being entirely determined by matter and physical processes.

–Osman Bakar (From secular science to sacred science: The need for a transformation, sacred web 33)

The traditional man is defined by its three essential components, namely body, soul and spirit. In the constitution of modern man the combined reality of soul and spirit has shrunk to what is called mind, a fused reality without a sacred meaning and significance.
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If this metaphysical space is to be known,

such knowledge can be attained only by faith and grace,

not by ‘entering’ but by ‘being entered’

-this is so because the greater must reveal itself to the lesser.

Put differently, that which is immanently ‘Spirit’ can only be known receptively,

through its own intellective vision, and not any derivative faculty such as reason,

feeling or sensation. Reason can only discern conceptually,

at best reducing reality to a dualism of subject and object

(as in the case of Descartes) or catagorical postulate

(as in the case of Kant) or dialectic process

(as in the case of Hegel) – its ‘telos’ will tend to be utopian(as in the case of Marx),

fundamentalist( as in the cases of religious, political or secular dogmatism)

or anthropocentrically consencual (as in the case of Rousseau’s social contract);

while sensation or feeling even where elevated to

the level of empirical ‘science,’ can only discern reality as matter or as psyche,

quantitatively, thereby cutting it off from its transcendent

and qualitative roots, leading to an emphasis on hypertrophic subjectivism

(as in the case of Nietzsche), Psychologism(as in the case of Freud),

or reductive positivism(as in the cases of philosophical positivism and of scientism).

That which transcends us cannot be known reductively

but only by that transcendent faculty which is immanent in us-which in

Tradition is termed the ‘Intellect’

or the Self-knowing Spirit. To know is to discern BEING.

We must empty ourselves or our ‘self’ in order to know who we ARE.

We must return to the sacred emptiness of the space that is our

ontological core in order to know that which truly IS.

–M Ali Lakhani (the Distance between us, found in Sacred Web issue 31)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewton_Mendip Church of St Mary Magdalene, Chewton Mendip

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewton_Mendip
Church of St Mary Magdalene, Chewton Mendip

In the Western world, a strong belief in the objective truths of religion, which are viewed as incontrovertible, demonstrable facts, is regarded as essential to the life of faith. When asking if somebody is religious, peo- ple often inquire: “Does he or she believe?” as though accepting certain credal propositions was the prime religious activity. Indeed, faith is equated with belief, but this equation is of recent provenance. Origi- nally the meaning of the word faith was akin to trust, as when we say that we have faith in a friend or an ideal. Faith was not an intellectual position but a virtue: it was the careful cultivation, by means of the ritu- als and myths of religion, of the conviction that, despite all the dispirit- ing evidence to the contrary, life had some ultimate meaning and value. The Latin word credo (translated now as “I believe”) seems to have de- rived from the phrase cor dare: to give one’s heart. The Middle English word beleven meant to love. When Christians proclaimed: credo in unum Deum , they were not so much affirming their belief in the existence of a single deity as committing their lives to God. When St. Anselm of Can- terbury prayed in the eleventh century: credo ut intellagam (“I have faith in order that I may understand”), he was not blindly submitting to the doctrines of religion in the hope that one day these incredible asser- tions would make sense today, if he abdicated his critical intelligence. His prayer should really be translated: “I commit myself in order that I may understand.” The meaning of dogma would only be revealed when he lived a fully Christian life, embracing its mythology and rituals whole- heartedly. This attitude is foreign to modernity. Today people feel that before they live a religious life, they must first satisfy themselves intel- lectually of its metaphysical claims. This is sound scientific practice: first you must establish a principle before you can apply it. But it is not the way that religion has traditionally worked.

http://www.sacredweb.com/online_articles/sw4_armstrong.pdf
Karen ARmstrong (Faith an Modernity)

It is precisely the challenge involved

in using inadequate words

that drives the mind

beyond all words…

At the borders of speech

we open ourselves

to the positive value of silence….

Literary reading,

through its complexity, its music,

its suggestiveness, points to a fuller realm of being.

–Edward k Kaplan (citing Abraham Joshua Heschel)

The symbolism of a thing is its power to recall its higher reality, in the same way a reflection or shadow gives us a fleeting glimpse of the object that casts it; and the best symbols…are those things that are most perfect of their kind for they are the clearest reflections, the sharpest shadows, of the higher reality which is their archetype

–Martin Lings ( Sacred Art of Shakespeare: To Take Upon Us the Mystery of Things  )

 

 

 

 

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When traveling is made too easy and comfortable, its spiritual meaning is lost.

This may be called sentimentalism, but a certain sense of loneliness engendered

by traveling leads one to reflect upon the meaning of life, for life is after all a

travelling from one unknown to another unknown.

–D.T. Suzuki ( Zen and Japanese Culture (New in Paper) (Bollingen Series)

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WHAT IS AN ARCHETYPE?

       The word ‘archetype’ from the Latin ‘archetypum’  means original form or imprint.  The archetype can be defined as an original,  primordial image common to all mankind regardless of race, creed or color.  Everything in the universe is imprinted with the indelible stamp of an archetype. Does that amaze you? Here are two examples:       The TREE is one of the most recognizable and common archetypal imprints known to man. It contains very specific archetypal features and characteristics: roots, a trunk, branches and leaves. The archetype maintains it’s  intrinsic meaning regardless of cultural variation. It’s meaning in man’s life as a primal source of food, shelter and tools has given the tree an aura of sacredness and divinity. It has been collectively interpreted down through the ages as the axis mundi or World Axis. It is also called the World Tree— around which the universe itself revolves.  FOUND HERE

“full participation in divinity which is humankind’s true beatitude and the destiny of human life”

–Thomas Aquinas

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At least one circumstance emerges from this statement that is widely overlooked in America. In Europe “Gnosis” and “Gnosticism” are almost always used interchangeably. The suggestion that term “gnosis” ought to be used to describe a state of consciousness, while “Gnosticism” should denote the Gnostic system, has never caught on. The use of such classical Gnosticism of Valentinus, Basilides, et al., persists in European literature, including the writings of such scholars as Gilles Quispel, Kurt Rudolph, and Giovanni Filoramo (to mention some of the most recent ones). It is true that the late Robert McLachlan put forth a proposal to use these terms otherwise, but current usage in Europe has not followed it.

It is evident that a word used in such contradictory ways has lost its meaning. No wonder GNOSIS writer Charles Coulombe despairs over the situation when writing recently in a Catholic publication:

In reality, “Gnosticism,” like “Protestantism,” is a word that has lost most of its meaning. Just as we would need to know whether a “Protestant” writer is Calvinist, Lutheran, Anabaptist, or whatever in order to evaluate him properly, so too the “Gnostic” must be identified.

        http://www.gnosis.org/whatisgnostic.htm

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Russian Orthodox icon of the Transfiguration (Theophanes the Greek, ca. 1408).

Russian Orthodox icon of the Transfiguration (Theophanes the Greek, ca. 1408).

Gnosis: While the literal translation for this word is “knowledge”, it’s meaning is closer to “insight” or, to use another concept, “enlightenment.” It may imply more in some cases than a purely intellectual understanding. It may imply complete comprehension that comes from both rational and intuited means. Gnosis is bonding the soul (nous) with wisdom, in both Sethian,Valentinian, and other Gnostic schema, which link this act through Jesus. The process of Gnosis may have different schema, or criteria as to secular practices. The process of Gnosis seems to be transitional or a transcendence in a learned process.

Gnostic: A person regarded as a student of Gnosis. Can refer to specific sects mentioned by historians, and heresiologists, The term can be used as a category for a number of sects and individuals that believed “Gnosis” had a salvational purpose. Gnostic sects are known to have existed in pre-Christian Jewish
communities and later in Christian movements, according to information in the “Nag Hammadi” text by Robinson. Gnostic views differ, as do secular characters of the Pleroma in the creation myths. The term or versions of it, are used very early in regard to Christian learning, this quote from Book 3 of Clement of
Alexandria’s “Stromata.” “Joannis autem vitae institutum gnosticum quis imitabitur?”

Gnosticism: The word was adapted by modern scholars to refer to the sects of the ‘Late Antiquities’ that shared a similar cosmology and soteriology. More recently the definition has been widened in some circles to mean any form of mysticism or esotericism. Gnostic scenarios both differ, and are alike in the
cosmic reasoning for the creation, making them ‘creation myths.’ Gnostic texts use different names for the characters of the creation stories for characters from the Palermo. Gnostics all believe that man, through learning the perspectives of his psyche, earthly, and pleromic self can attain life after death in a corporeal state by bonding with the higher entities. The ‘Light,’ ‘ Sophia,’ (Wisdom). (See also; ”The
Five Gospels,” by Funk, Hoover, Harpper-Collins, 1993, p. 544.)

Saunder’s Gnostic Glossary

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Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father’s) kingdom.”

They said to him, “Then shall we enter the (Father’s) kingdom as babies?”

Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

–Gospel of Thomas (22)

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The slave seeks only to be free, but he does not hope to acquire the estate of his master. But the son is not only a son but lays claim to the inheritance of the father. Those who are heirs to the dead are themselves dead, and they inherit the dead. Those who are heirs to what is living are alive, and they are heirs to both what is living and the dead. The dead are heirs to nothing. For how can he who is dead inherit? If he who is dead inherits what is living he will not die, but he who is dead will live even more.

A Gentile does not die, for he has never lived in order that he may die. He who has believed in the truth has found life, and this one is in danger of dying, for he is alive. Since Christ came, the world has been created, the cities adorned, the dead carried out. When we were Hebrews, we were orphans and had only our mother, but when we became Christians, we had both father and mother.

God is a dyer. As the good dyes, which are called “true”, dissolve with the things dyed in them, so it is with those whom God has dyed. Since his dyes are immortal, they become immortal by means of his colors. Now God dips what he dips in water.

It is not possible for anyone to see anything of the things that actually exist unless he becomes like them. This is not the way with man in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; and he sees the heaven and the earth and all other things, but he is not these things. This is quite in keeping with the truth. But you saw something of that place, and you became those things. You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become Father. So in this place you see everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do see yourself – and what you see you shall become.

Faith receives, love gives. No one will be able to receive without faith. No one will be able to give without love. Because of this, in order that we may indeed receive, we believe, and in order that we may love, we give, since if one gives without love, he has no profit from what he has given. He who has received something other than the Lord is still a Hebrew.

–The Gospel of Philip

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Archimandrite George has been the Abbot of St. Gregorios Monastery since 1974. He is well known throughout the Orthodox world both as a theologian and spiritual father. He has written many books and articles on theology and the spiritual life. His works have been translated into many languages.

The idea of Theosis will be unfamiliar to the Western mind, although it is not a new concept to Christianity. When Christ said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” [1] this is a call to a life of Theosis.

Theosis is personal communion with God “face to face.” [2] To the Western mind, this idea may seem incomprehensible, even sacrilegious, but it derives unquestionably from Christ’s teachings. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the messianic dream of the Jewish race; [3] His mission to connect us with the Kingdom of God [4] a Kingdom not of this world. [5] When Jesus said, “You are gods,” [6] “be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” [7] or “the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,” [8] this is to be taken literally. For those who are interested, further Biblical evidence for this can be found in Leviticus 11:44-45; 20:7-8; Deuteronomy 18:13; Psalms 82:1,6; Romans 6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:2-4.

 

The whole sacrificial tradition of Israel beginning with the sacrificial offering of Isaac reaches fulfillment in Jesus Christ. St. John the Baptist echoing Isaiah says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes upon Himself the sins of the world.” [9] St. Paul has this in mind when he says, “If you are Christ’s, then you are descendants of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise,” [10] because “those who believe are children of Abraham.” [11] The name Israel, was given to Jacob by God as an expression of his fidelity. Later this name was inherited by his faithful descendants. This train of thought is expounded in the writings of St. Paul, where he blesses the Church as “the Israel of God;” [12] whilst elsewhere he wrestles with and is pained by his fellow Jews denial of their own Messiah, labeling them “Israel according to the flesh.” [13]

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/theosis.aspx

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Theoria (Greek θεωρία) is Greek for contemplation or ‘the perception of beauty regarded as a moral faculty’ (OED). From within Eastern Orthodox theology it is the ‘vision’ and or the ‘seeing’ of God, as the experience of God, achieved by the pure of heart who are no longer subject to the afflictions of the passions. This affliction of the passions is caused by the knowledge of good and the knowledge the evil. Theoria is validated because God is in the Universe or material world, which is evidenced by the material world containing beauty. Theoria is obtained as a gift from the Holy Spirit to those who through partaking of the sacraments along with the observance of the commandments of God and ascetic practices (see also kenosis, Poustinia and schema) have achieved dispassion.[1]Theoria is closely tied to the ascetic form of contemplative prayer called hesychasm that in the Eastern Church can also encompass the Jesus Prayer or the Prayer of the Heart. Theoria is a faculty that develops along with and is intimately related to the process of theosis, considered (especially by the Eastern Orthodox church) to be the quintessential purpose and goal of Christianity. Theosis has three stages the first is called catharis or purification, the second theoria or illumination and finally theosis or deification.[2] The love of beauty (philokalia), transcending the love of wisdom (philosophy) manifests into the love of God (theophilos). Love of God as faith in God manifests as humility. Humility is above all else, the characteristic hallmark of the saints. Theoria and Theosis culminates into the Kingdom of God. Here humility as a saintly attribute is called sophia or Holy Wisdom. Humility not knowledge is the most critical component to mankind’s salvation.[3]

The word has its origin in the Greek language and is derived from the same root as the English word theory. Theoria is used to express the experience of life as “one who watches a play or activity”, the state of “being” is defined as spectator. Hence it means to focus one’s attention exclusively on one thing, Beauty and or God being the object of focus. The act of experiencing and or observing is through the nous or “eye of the soul” Matthew 6:22-6:34. Noesis as faith in God (action through faith and love for God), leads to truth through our contemplative faculties. This theory, or speculation, as action in faith and love for God, is then expressed famously as “Beauty shall Save the World”. This expression of the idea comes from a mystic or gnosiology perspective (rather than say, a scientific or cultural one),[

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theoria

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This is the second stage of Theosis, called

“theoria,” in the course of which man, having

already been cleansed from the passions, is illumined

by the Holy Spirit, is made luminous

on the way to becoming deified. Theoria means

vision. Theoria of God means a vision of God.

To see God, he must be a deified man. Thus,

theoria of God also means Theosis.

Of course, when he has been thoroughly

cleansed and has offered himself entirely to

God, then he also receives the greatest experience

of divine Grace available to men, which,

according to the holy Fathers, is the vision of

the uncreated light of God. Those who are very

advanced in Theosis see this light, very few in

each generation. God’s Saints see it and appear

within it, and, incidentally, this is what the halos

in the holy icons show us.

For example, in the life of St. Basil the Great,

it is said that when St. Basil was praying in his

cell, those who were able to see him saw that he

himself, and even his cell, were shining within

this uncreated light of God, the light of divine

Grace. In the lives of many of the New-Martyrs

of our Faith we read that, after horrible tortures,

when the Turks hung their bodies in the squares

of the town to intimidate other Christians, on

many nights a light appeared around them. It

shone so clearly and brightly that, because in

this way the truth of our Faith was so brilliantly

revealed, the occupiers ordered them taken

down so that they would not be ashamed before

the Christians, who saw how God glorified His

holy Martyrs.

The Grace of Theosis preserves the bodies

of the Saints incorruptible, and these are the

holy relics which exude myrrh and work miracles.

As St. Gregory Palamas says, the Grace of

God, having first united with the psyches of the

Saints, afterwards shrouds their holy bodies and

fills these too with Grace: not only their bodies,

but also their graves, their icons, and their

Churches. Here is the reason why we venerate

and kiss the icons, the holy relics, the graves,

and the Churches of the Saints. Through Theosis,

all these have something of the Grace of

God which the Saint had in his psyche because

of his union with God.

Therefore, in the Church, we enjoy the Grace

of Theosis not only with our psyche, but also

with our body, because as the temple of the Holy

Spirit Who dwells in it, and shares its struggles

with the psyche, the body is surely glorified.

The Grace springing from the holy Lord

–the God-Man Christ– is poured out into our

Panagia, into the Saints, and it also comes to

those of us who are humble.

It is certainly worth noting that the experiences

of the Christian are not always experiences

of Theosis and so spiritual. Many people

have been deluded by demonic or psychological

experiences. In order that there is no danger of

delusion and no demonic influence, all of this

must be humbly mentioned to the Spiritual

Father, who, illumined by God, will discern

whether these experiences are genuine or not,

and he will give appropriate direction to the

psyche who is confessing. Generally, our obedience

to the Spiritual Father is one of the most

basic points of our spiritual path. Through it we

acquire an ecclesiastical spirit of discipleship in

Christ by which the legitimacy of our exertion

is confirmed in order to guide us towards union

with God.

Within the Church, a special domain of Theosis

is monasticism, where the monks, having

been sanctified, receive high experiences of

union with God.

Many of the monks who experience Theosis

and sanctification also help the whole Church,

for, as we Christians believe following the agelong

holy Tradition of the Church, the struggle

of the monks has a positive effect on the life of

every struggling faithful in the world. In our

Orthodoxy, the people of God have great reverence

for Monasticism because of this.

After all, in the Church we partake in the

communion of the Saints, and experience the

joy of union with Christ. By this we mean that

within the Church we are not isolated members

but a unity, a brotherhood, a fraternal community

– not only among ourselves, but also with

the Saints of God, those who are living on earth

today and those who have passed away. Not

even at death are Christians divided. Death is

unable to separate Christians because they are

all united in the resurrected body of Christ.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/theosis-english.pdf

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Man, according to the scriptures, is created in the “likeness” and “image” of God (Gen 1:26-27).

To be like God, through the gift of God, is the essence of man’s being and life. In the scriptures it says that God breathed into man, the “breath (or spirit) of life” (Gen 2:7). This teaching has given rise to the understanding in the Orthodox Church that man cannot be truly human, truly himself, without the Spirit of God.

The image of God signifies man’s free will, his reason, his sense of moral responsibility, everything, which marks man out from the animal creation and makes him a person. But the image means more than that. It means that we are God’s ‘offspring’ (Acts 27:28), his kin; it means that between us and him there is a point of contact, an essential similarity. The gulf between creature and Creator is not impassable, for because we are in God’s image we can know God and have communion with him.

Fall of man

The story of creation, and specifically of Adam and Eve, tells of the goodness of all things that exist, and the superiority of man over other beings. It shows how the origin of evil does not lie in God but in his most perfect creature whose free act of sin brought wickedness and death to the world, how man lost the “likeness” of God, his response to God’s love.

The Church teaches that when we do not respond to God’s love, we are diminished as human beings. The act of faith that he asks of us is not so very different from the faith and trust we place in those people who surround us. When we do not respond to the love given us by the people who love us, we become shallow and hardened individuals.

Prophets

Since man still was of God’s image, the search for meaning was as critical for human existence as are air and water. Creation itself, as the handiwork of God pointed to him. Yet, before the coming of Christ, the meaning of the world and our place in it remained difficult to understand. People created stories to help themselves explain the great mystery of their own existence, the world around them, and the one who was responsible for bringing them into being. Yet, knowledge of the true God eluded them. The Holy Scriptures speak of this lack of knowledge as darkness. So God sent messengers to speak for him, holy men and women through whom he worked wonders, prophets to announce the coming salvation. Finally, God sent his own Son, Jesus Christ. When he came, the very one who had created the world was now clearly made known to the world, giving light to those who had been sitting in darkness.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Soteriology

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Salvation is the goal of Christianity, and the purpose of the Church. The theology of salvation is called soteriology. Orthodox Christianity strongly believes that God became man, so that man may become like God. This concept of theosis, rejects that salvation is a positive result to a legalistic dilemma, but a healing process. Orthodoxy views our inclination to sin as a symptom of a malady that needs treatment, not just a transgression that requires retribution. One of the distinctive characteristics of Orthodox Christian thinking is that it sees the Gospel message not as law, but as relationship. It speaks of the mystery of the Holy Trinity in terms of the relationship of love that exists among them. To join in that love is the work that will lead to salvation.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Soteriology

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Theosis (“deification,” “divinization”) is the process of a worshiper becoming free of hamártía (“missing the mark”), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or Nature of the all-holy Trinity. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (hamartía — which is not to be confused with hamártēma “sin”) for participation in the Life (zōé, not simply bíos) of the Trinity — which is everlasting.

This is not to be confused with the heretical (apothéōsis) – “Deification in God’s Essence“, which is imparticipable.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis

 

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All religions, all Yogas, may be paths to lead us closer to Him who is the only One through whom all was created, the Christ. Jesus was the manifestation in human form of the limitless Christ of God.

There is no separation in God. The forces which promote separation, selfishness and egotism should not be feared, for nothing can hinder the plan of God, nor prevent its fulfillment. Love alone shall be our protection. Where there is love there is unity, there is the Christ.

When Christ returns, He will be as the fulfillment of each individual soul potential, and the unified consciousness and loving brotherhood of all mankind. No differences of language, race or even religion can separate us then, as we are all One in? Him, and we will realize this in all fullness. Meanwhile we should realize that no man is our enemy! The only enemy is the sense of limitation which divides us from Him and each other.

All this shall pass away as the Consciousness of the whole race is lifted into a larger awareness of God. We grow toward this by letting go of our limited conceptions, and opening up to the universal Christ-Love, by allowing His Love to flow through us to all mankind.

This I believe.

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.

–Thomas Merton

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.

–Thoreau, “Walden


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.

–Brother Lawrence

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.

–Yuan-Wu

I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment
It is for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment.

–Buddha

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.”

…………..

Further:

The Grail a Brief Introduction

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