Nondual considerations


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Nondual considerations

  1. 1. RE: This energy brings with it the promise of a new future, a future born not from thepast but from the eternal moment. And it carries the joy of life, unpolluted andunconditioned. It is impersonal and powerfulLook at this schema, where I refer to an "intraobjective identity" and this maycorrespond to the impersonal reality of which you speak. I am sure you have comeacross panentheism. My approach is close to that but not identical to it. Thedistinction I would offer is this. We can distinguish between different aspects of ourexperience of reality and different aspects of reality itself. Rather than aspire torobustly describe aspects of reality that yet remain beyond our horizon, I tend to focuson describing our experiences, which are quite undeniable even if they leave usperplexed regarding the precise nature of their origin and essential nature. That way,we avoid proving too much, saying more than we can possibly know, or tellinguntellable stories.So, in my interpretation (not description) of our "experience" of reality (not reality, inand of itself), I very much affirm an intraobjective (not inter- because that is dualistic,not subjective because that is personal) experience of our radical solidarity with realityas we interact with it moreso "functionally" and less so personally.None of this is to suggest that the intuitions that flow from our experiences do nothave ontological implications; rather, it is to provide a caveat regarding our ability toarticulate what is often, in principle, ineffable or, at best, vague.Our traditions are in touch with this aspect of interaction and speak of it in manyways, such as the Tao, such as going with the flow, such as with references to subtleenergy paradigms, such as in enlightenment, such as in nondual realization, andmaybe more to the point from our own Western Hesychast tradition which speaks ofthe uncreated energy of God, drawing a distinction between Gods Divine essence andGods divine energy or operations (think of our recent celebration of theTransfiguration and the Light). Many think that Orthodox and Roman Catholicismcannot be reconciled vis a vis this distinction but I am in the camp that believes it can,with sufficient nuance.Hesychasm may be of special interest to your prayer group, which is initiated incentering prayer. This simplicity in prayer is so very well suited to that stage of lifeand of the spiritual journey that is disposed to contemplation and utter simplicity.Those who persist in their awareness of God may well, I believe, be better prepared toperceive the Divine activity, whether it be interpreted via a distinction between Godsessence and energies or as an anticipatory or proleptic realization of the beatific glory. course, once we look behind the curtain of this "impersonal" experience, ourtheology will suggest that it derives, nonetheless, from a supremely personal being.Succinctly, whoever wrote that is one of my soulmates, saying mostly the same thingsthat I believe in much the same way even! Thanks for sharing! See my own"quarternary" schema below. 1
  2. 2. Of course this affirms THAT miracles occur (via a vague interpretation of reality) butthis does not begin to suggest HOW they occur (via any robust description of reality).I will offer some distinctions. From the descriptive sciences, we have String Theory,most versions of which rely on 11 dimensions, some (bosonic) suggest as many as 26.We are not using the word "dimension" in the same sense, though, when doing humananthropology and suggesting, for example, as I do, the rather classical dimensions ofbody, soul, spirit and true self. Furthermore, the authors use of the term,pneumatosphere, is theological (interpretive) and neither scientific nor metaphysical(both descriptive).The difference between the interpretive and descriptive is highly nuanced, so I willoversimplify it here. The descriptive deals with empirical facts and measurements andis merely INFORMative. The interpretive ties-together the descriptive (is that a fact?),evaluative (whats it to us?) and normative (whats the best way to acquire or avoid it?)and so is robustly PERFORMative, which is to say that it influences our responses toreality, what I call the "existential disjunctive" or, more simply, "I will therefore act asif ..." and so ... let us not act as those who have no hope!Because we do interpret reality as if it is headed somewhere and guided along theway, when certain events happen in our lives that are quite extraordinary and beyondsciences ability to describe, it is not unreasonable to characterize them as isolated,proleptic (anticipatory) realizations of a fullness of reality that is yet to come, asextraordinarily full pneumatological breakthroughs providing us "down payments" or"first fruits" or "guarantees" or "earnest agreements" of an eternal glory, aneschatological reality. (The "Our Father" well captures both the now and prolepticdimensions, eh?) Now, because such events are relatively isolated and incrediblyunique, defying patterns and predictability, they will not, by definition and inprinciple, lend themselves to scientific or even metaphysical descriptions (at least notgood, reliable, credible accounts). Again, we believe THAT miracles occur but we donot aspire to explain HOW, precisely because their nature defies explanation.I will also enclose my article from last year, which you can share with anyone, alongwith this exchange. I havent distributed it widely because it is not intended for ageneral audience but was written, as they say, for the guild. But it has some places thatshould be generally accessible, especially for those of you who have been wellinitiated by my esoterica :)Recall that John of the Cross noted how, even in mortal sin, we are never separatedfrom God insofar as He continues to hold us in existence. Also, some theologiansspeak of creatio continua in addition to creatio ex nihilo, a distinction that suggeststhat not only must God have created out of nothing (ex nihilo) but must not forget usfor a nanosecond but "continue" the act of creation that we not fall out of existence.There are many aspects to reality that we could label tacit and I have written of this"tacit dimension" as being ineluctably unobtrusive but utterly efficacious. This is the"soft power" of the Tao and of the gentle Holy Spirit as distinguished from the "hardpower" of so many of our human interventions. Also, many in the churchs mysticaltradition, up to and including Keating, well describe the Divine Indwelling. Thewording and terminology will variously change as we move from one perspective to 2
  3. 3. the next, philosophically, metaphysically, theologically, religiously, anthropologicallyand so on, or from sacramental to ascetical to mystical to pastoral theology andformative spirituality. I say this by way of suggesting that the Church does say suchthings but we run into different models and different jargon is all.You mentioned something about unholy spirits and I was not sure what you meant inthis context. I know that increasingly many are abandoning such notions as demonsand such. I would only point out that folks like Scott Peck, even, based on clinicalexperience, came to the conclusion that, however literally true or not, it remains auseful "construct." Fr. Benedict Groeschel described similar "encounters" from hisextensive pastoral experience. Amos and I treat the reality in a footnote in our article.Perhaps what is of over-riding importance is that, ultimately, in the end, however realor not, the reality of demons will have "accomplished" naught, will be found to be anempty suit, impotent, powerless, defeated. Even now, they are like the British inChalmette fighting the Battle of New Orleans in a War that was already over. Fornow, its best, I believe, we look em in the eye and fire our spiritual muskets.The pneumatic dimension:The presence of God in the human heart and its therapeutic function-Sketches-The inclusion of the pneumatic dimensionLet us begin with the “dimensional ontology” endorsed by Viktor Frankl in hisLogotherapy meaning by it the hierarchical structure of biological-somatic,psychological and spiritual-noetic dimensions of the human being. In his terminologythe term “spiritual” does not have religious meaning but refers to what is specificallyhuman, the realm of responsibility, freedom, decisions and search for meaning and herefers to it often also as noological or noetic dimension (from the Greek ‘noos’ wordmeaning ‘mind’)Frankl’s stress to free the term “spiritual” as he used it from any religious connotationis inspired by the wish to keep Logotherapy open for all independently of their beliefsand his effort of keeping religion and psychiatry apart did not mean the denial thevalidity of the religious sphere which would mean a form of reductionism againstwhich he fought insistently. He sees them as belonging to different dimensions andadds: “From the very analogy of dimensions, however, it should become clear thatthese realms are by no means mutually exclusive. A higher dimension, by definition,is a more inclusive one. The lower dimension is included in the higher one; it issubsumed in it and encompassed by it. Thus biology is overarched by psychology,psychology by noology, and noology by theology” . Here we see an indication of anall-encompassing fourth dimension, to which religion and specifically theologybelongs. This we call “pneumatic” dimension (from the Greek word "pneuma" for“spirit”; here alluding to the Holy Spirit of God) and it was explicitly introduced bythe Frankl scholar Donald F. Tweedie. 3
  4. 4. A further example for treating the pneumatic dimension is found in the work of LouMarinoff. “Marinoff is influenced by Frankl, fights like Frankl against reductionism(biologism and psychologism), and adds to the somatic (Biology: wellness versusillness; province of medicine), psychic (Affect: order versus disorder; province ofpsychology), and noetic dimension (= he calls it the "philosophical dimension")(Thought: Ease versus Dis-ease; province of philosophy) the pneumatic dimension(Spirit). Marinoffs "Golden Triangle" where the fourth or pneumatic dimension(Spirit) lies above (see the picture in the book "Philosophical Practice", p. 96) is verysimilar to Frankls dimensional ontology - but Marinoff mentions the pneumaticdimension here”.Frankl used the analogy of the point of perspective that lies outside of the picture butwithout it the image has no correct proportions and sense of depth to illustrate thatGod although stands outside of the human life but gives meaning to it. With theinclusion of the pneumatic dimension so to speak we draw this “point of perspective”in our view of the human being. The inclusion of the fourth dimension from Catholic(and from most Protestant) point of view has its foundation in the presence of theHoly Spirit in every human being created in the image of God and particularly in theteaching about the indwelling of the Trinity as a gift of God in the soul. Thus thepneumatic dimension is not simply a facet of the human existence but its very core,which permeates and organizes all other dimensions and is the source of theuniqueness of the human person and of its communication with God. “…God himselfas the abiding and holy mystery, as the incomprehensible ground of man’stranscendent existence is not only the God of infinite distance, but also wants to be theGod of absolute closeness in a true self-communication, and he is present in thespiritual depths of our existence as well as in the concreteness of our corporealhistory” .The “human trinity” (somatic, psychic, noetic dimensions) created on theimage of the divine Trinity has this fourth dimension, which is the ground of itsexistence and a special dimension of communication through grace with God, and sowe have a “quaternity”. During the Middle Ages there were representations of thedivine “Quaternity”, bringing in God a human, feminine figure, often the BlessedVirgin Mary. Might we say that God has something human in him, not only becauseof the Incarnation but also as an immanent feature? > While classical Logotherapyshould avoid the confusion with religious connotation, a really holistic Catholicapproach to healing and growth in general, as Christotherapy, can and should take intoits field of work all the four dimensions of the human being. Moreover, the pneumaticdimension constitutes its specific area, meaning by this that Christotherapy offers away to healing in problems specific of the pneumatic dimension (for example healingfrom sinful and destructive tendencies where Christotherapy relies on the dynamics ofthe Spiritual Exercises). On the other hand when a change occurs on the pneumaticlevel, it will influence the somatic, psychic and noetic dimensions as well. Forexample, the effects of forgiveness might resound on the somatic level, includingphysical healing as in he story of the paralyzed young man in Mark’s gospel (2:2-12).Jesus says to the paralytic “Child, your sins are forgiven” and this healing onpneumatic level - since it was a reconciliation with God - the young man becomesable to get up, take his mat and go home. 4
  5. 5. Pneumatic unconsciousWhen Logotherapy included the noological dimension in psychology it meant inparticular the introduction of the noetic also in depth psychology, in the psychology ofunconscious. While psychoanalysis considered only the instinctual unconscious,Frankl pointed out the existence of the “spiritual” (noetic) unconscious. It is the realmof the conscience, art and love, it manifest itself in responsibleness, moral conscience,intuition, and artistic creativity for example. Human existence itself is unconscious, asit cannot be made totally conscious and reflected upon, and all dimensions of thehuman being extend on the unconscious, preconscious as well as on the consciouslevel. The modified dimensional ontology of four dimensions shows the existence ofthe “pneumatic unconscious” as well, that part of the pneumatic dimension that cannotbe fully reflected upon, or brought into consciousness but is at the “depth” of thehuman person. The phenomenon that occur in the unconscious depths of thepneumatic dimension fall into the realm of religious conversion, religious intuition orinspiration by the Holy Spirit, mystical experience of the indwelling God and similar.I would say that the so-called charismatic phenomena, relying on the gifts of the HolySpirit, like prophetic insights and healing experiences belong to he manifestations ofthe “pneumatic unconscious”.The pneumatic dimension is the “place” (not in spatial sense) of communication withthe indwelling God and this inner dialog is often unconscious even if it might haveinitiated by a conscious desire that is when one begins to pray. All prayer can reachthe depths of the pneumatic unconscious but this characteristic is more manifest anddirectly intended in non-conceptual contemplative prayer, sometimes called also theprayer of the “heart”, to which category also centering prayer and the Jesus prayerbelongs. The Christian mystical life is the living and transforming dialog with theindwelling God, and the fruits of this dialog are realized in the concreteness of loveoutward. Thus to be mystics means to love all creatures of God from the source oflove in the depths of one’s pneumatic dimension.The works of St. John of the Cross reveal much of the dynamics of the intimacybetween the person and the indwelling Trinity through the pneumatic unconscious.God is communicating with the human person through his grace but this is always aself-communication; in this way one grows in knowledge and love of the Trinity andparticipates in the divine nature although remaining distinct creature. St. John of theCross’ writings show that paradoxically the self-communicating God, as one grows inintimacy with him becomes experienced more and more as inaccessible andtranscendent, “hidden God”. The first stanza of The Spiritual Canticle expresses in aform of lyrical love poem the tension of this experience as the lover complaints of thepainful absence of the Beloved:> ¿Adonde te escondiste, > Amado, y me dejaste con gemido? > Como il cervo huisteHabiendome herido; > Salí tras ti clamando, y eras ido > > Where have You hidden, >Beloved, and left me moaning? > You fled like the stag > After wounding me; > Iwent out calling You and You were gone. 5
  6. 6. St. John also offered a commentary to the Canticle and in connection with this stanzahe speaks of the “hidden” (unconscious) presence of the indwelling Trinity in theinnermost being of soul (pneumatic dimension) thus adding to the ontologicalreference of the presence of God in the pneumatic dimension an experientialcharacterization, it is unconscious: “It should be known that the Word, the Son ofGod, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is hidden by His essence and Hispresence in the innermost being of the soul. A person who wants to find Him shouldleave all things through affection and will, enter within himself in deepestrecollection, and regard things as though they were nonexistent. St. Augustine,addressing God in the Soliloquies, said: I did not find You without, Lord, because Iwrongly sought You without, Who were within. God, then, is hidden in the soul andthere the good contemplative must seek Him with love, exclaiming: "Where have youhidden?"When a person gets closer to God instead of becoming less free, so to say crushed bythe overwhelming grandeur of the Absolute, he or she will grow not only in faith,knowledge and love of God, but in personal freedom and in other specifically humanareas; and sometimes might experience even psychosomatic benefit. It might be saidthat God retreats, hides in the unconscious to give space for the creature and let him orher be transformed and reach spiritual and human maturity: St John explains thehiddenness of God in this way: "Yet you inquire: Since He Whom my soul loves iswithin me, why dont I find Him or experience Him? The reason is that He remainsconcealed and you do not also conceal yourself in order to encounter and experienceHim".The person’s deepest actions in the pneumatic dimension remain unconscious,because of the intensity involved one cannot reflect upon oneself similarly to theconscience, love and art on the human noetic level. In the pneumatic dimensionconscience, love and intuition is informed by grace, infused by the Holy Spirit; herethe human existence with its unconscious depths opens up and “runs” into God. Godhowever is not a puppeteer in its relationship to the human being. The grace of Godwhen assists the conscience in its depths does not takes away the freedom of thecreature but increases it to its fullest potential and autonomy; similarly, the worksinspired by the Holy Spirit are fully human achievements and the love infused bygrace is most authentically the love of the person.Frankl pointed out that although conscience is unconscious still we could exploresome of its operation through dreams. In the existential analysis of dreams areinterpreted as messages from the conscience originated in the noetic, humandimension. In the modified dimensional ontology we see the foundation and source ofconscience reaching in the pneumatic dimension and certain dreams might beinterpreted as messages from this depth, from the indwelling Trinity. Scripturalexamples of such messages are the dreams of St. Joseph in the infancy narrative of the 6
  7. 7. gospel of Matthew (chapters 1 and 2); in these dreams the “angel of the Lord”(representing God’s intervention) delivers the messages of which one is theexplanation of the situation with Mary and there are warning dreams of possibledanger. In the analysis of such dreams the interpreter as well relies partially on theunconscious depths when recognizes a dream as authentic message from theindwelling God. The interpretation of such inspired dreams needs to be done with thehelp of grace with discernment and cautiously; the same is valid for these phenomenathan for the so-called private revelations: they are authentic if they help live in faith,love and hope and are in harmony with the faith of the Church.The pneumatosphereIt seems that we might speak of a pneumatoshpere, which like the noosphere andbiosphere constitutes our environment. The pneumatosphere is not restricted to theChurch since the Holy Spirit acts in all mankind, although the Church receives aspecial guidance for its mission. Similarly as the other “spheres” the pneumatospheresometimes gets “polluted” and as in case of collective noogenic neurosis we witnessthe influence of collective neurosis of pneumatic origin. God respects the freedom ofthe human person and although his presence cannot be destroyed and the spiritual(noetic and pneumatic) core of the human person cannot get sick, the thirst of thehuman heart for God sometimes gets frustrated – maybe often because of the lack ofauthentically presented and lived faith on the part of the Church. The frustrated searchfor the Ultimate Meaning in God tends to manifest itself in symptoms of pseudo-religiosity. I think that collective neurosis of pneumatic origin appears not only in thecults, New Age and countless esoteric practices, healing gurus but also in distortionsof Christian religiosity as well. The healing of this type of neurosis requires therapieslike Christotherapy that reach to the pneumatic sphere and discover spiritual,pneumatic methods of therapy to use them along with classical Logotherapy andpsychotherapy.KrisztinaNovember 19, 2005 > Copyright © 2005 Our Lady of the Graces Hermitage. Allrights reserved. >Throughout this writing for additional clarity I will use the term noological or noeticfor the third dimension.For example in Viktor Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul, (New York: Knopf, 1965) p.xi. Viktor Frankl, The Unconscious God, (New York: Washington Square Press,1985) p.13.See the presentation of fourth dimension in Donald F. Tweedie, The Christian and theCouch. An Introduction to Christian Logotherapy, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker BookHouse, 1963) pp. 48-58.This quote is from a communication with Dr. Reinhard Zaiser Ph.D. Logotherapistand Existential Analyst, member of the American Philosophical Practitioners 7
  8. 8. Association (APPA). Cf. Lou Marinoff, Philosophical Practice, (San Diego,NewYork, London: Academic Press, 2002) pp. 96-97. Marinoff is a philosophyprofessor at the City College and New York and president of APPA > <!--[if !supportFootnotesCf. Viktor Frankl, Homo Patiens, (Wien: Franz Dietcke, 1950) p. 86. Quoted inRobert C. Leslie, Jesus as Counselor, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1968)Karl Rahner, Foundations of the Christian Faith, (New York: The Seabury Press,1978). P.137.Once I saw an interesting illustration of the Star of David, composed of twoequilateral triangles; the pointing up represents the “human trinity” and the other thedivine “Trinity”. In this imagery the fourth “dimension” is this superposed divinetriangle. The illustration was intended as a symbol of Jesus, Son of David, perfectman and perfect God. We could play with the thought that in the case of all otherhumans the two triangles are more or less perfectly superposed…See the detailed presentation of this gospel “case study” in Leslie, “Jesus asCounselor,” pp. 55-63.See the chapter “The Spiritual Unconscious” in Frankl, “The Unconscious God,” pp.25-32.The “heart” as Hebrew biblical concept sometimes means the whole person, moreoften the center of the human being, the source of all faculties not associated onlywith the emotions as in Western culture and it seems to refer also to the pneumaticdimension.From The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh,OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD., (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies,1979) p.712. Ibid., commentary to the first stanza, sixth point, p. 418. The quote of St.Augustine is in Pseudo-Augustine, Soliliquiorum animae ad Deum liber unus, c.30:PL40, 888.Ibid., ninth point of the commentary of the first stanza, p. 419.Cf. Frankl, “The Unconscious God,” pp. 40-51. 8