Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nonduality

Nonduality is creeping into the Christian contemplative conversation. We heard it with Fr. Thomas and Richard Rohr last year, and again this year in the articulation of our deepening relationship with God as it moves from conversation, to communion, to union---all of which take place within a dualistic context (I / other, subject / object, human / divine, etc.) and to the incomprehensible experience/non-experience to identity.

During a dialogue between Fr. Thomas and Fr. Lawrence, Thomas spoke about a quote, which originated in discussion with a monk at Snowmass/ Paraphrased the comment is: "In the first part of life we learn that there is an Other; in the second, we become the Other; and in the third, we come to realize that there is no Other."

The comment was made in the context of an encounter with Bede Griffith, a 20th century British Benedictine, who lived in India for 30 years and did much to stimulate inter-faith dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism.

As the conversation continued, Fr. Lawrence alluded to a paradoxical statement, I believe, from the Vedanta tradition:

The world is not real.
Only Brahman is real.
Brahman is the world.

Fr. Thomas also mentioned the non-dual language of the Beguines and the Rhineland mystics, most particularly Meister Eckhart...who said, "The eye with which I look at God is the eye with which God looks at me."

These two guides gently invite us into the deep water of the Contemplative dimension of the Gospel--to take seriously Jesus call....."that all may be one".... "that they may be in me, as I am in the Father and the Father is in me:..."But to those who received him (I read that as consent to his presence), who believed in his name (Jeshua--Yahweh saves; Emmanuel--God with us), he gives the power to be(come) children of God."

I think it's time to take seriously Jesus' invitation, the unmerited gift of our sharing in the infinite love and mercy of the Blessed Trinity...God knows this is the penultimate Bail Out our times require.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find this concept of oneness (John 17:21-17:23) very difficult if not impossible for me to understand. I am hoping Thomas will be able to clarify this "clear as mud" but radical concept that Jesus gave us. It boggles the mind.

Mary from Erie, PA said...

Yes, I am having trouble understanding this, as well. Please direct us to some reading material or commentary that will help clarify the concept. Perhaps Fr Keating would present an on-line or call-in lecture for us.
Peace.

Anonymous said...

If you think about a place where the perfection of God exists and then for a moment, during prayer or meditation, experience that perfection at the same time 100 others in a church or temple or monastery experience that perfection, all are One at that moment. Oneness is Heaven on Earth. the consciousness of that perfection continuously, always, 100%, is not possible for humanity but that is who and what Jesus Christ was and is. So we strive for that moment, we occasionally feel it, but it is gone the moment we are aware of it. Grace may bless us, forgiveness encourages it, and our faith keeps us believing.

Anonymous said...

"Creeping"? It would seem it was always there according to the words of Jesus and we now see it being re-identified and moved to center stage by Keating et al.

Anonymous said...

This concept has been a source of meditation for me. I find it speaks to me at a very deep level. I admit to not understanding it but long to explore further into its meaning and truth. Having read a little of Bede Griffiths and Meister Eckhart I begin to see a mystery that I would like to explore further. I am delighted to hear Father Keating and Father Freeman teaching us about this concept of nonduality.