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UPDATES FROM CYNTHIA: Teilhardian Vision and Evolving Toward the Common Good

In late June Cynthia offered an important new post with a message to students, sharing her ideas and suggestions for “a worthy project for our Wisdom circle to take on.”  Cynthia also presented a riveting keynote address at the American Teilhard Association (ATA) annual meeting. Find links for both below.

 


NEW BLOG POST BY CYNTHIA BOURGEAULT:

EVOLUTIONARY THEORY AND THE COMMON GOOD: The Beginnings of a Wisdom Inquiry

In this new post Cynthia provides an orienting emphasis toward the evolving terrain of the ‘Common Good’ and the rebirth of moral leadership. She provides three explicit aims and suggestions for Wisdom students who are “up to the challenge of holding the post during this epochal consciousness shift.”

 

quote by Cynthia

 


VIDEO RECORDING:

In this virtual keynote address to the ATA annual meeting, Cynthia Bourgeault offers an illuminating and instructive overview of Teilhard’s emphasis on ‘personalization’ as an inherent and intensifying quality of consciousness in the evolutionary process toward a convergent unity.

… the more relationship, the more complexity, the stronger the flow of consciousness. For Teilhard, consciousness, relationship, and the personal are an unbreakable triad. Each implies the other and cannot be sustained apart from the other.

Cynthia shares how Teilhard’s potent understanding of the ‘Hyper-Personal’ aligns with the emerging Integral structure, as described by Jean Gebser in his book The Ever Present Origin.  The complementary perspectives of these two visionary 20th century thinkers leverage each other and point the way toward a renewed confidence in the maturity and profundity of the Western unitive vision.  Teilhard set forth a characteristically Western and enstatic approach to the highest states of realized consciousness — a vision independently confirmed and concluded by Gebser.

Weaving it all together, Cynthia helps us imagine a radically unified, relational field as the ultimate destination of the evolutionary journey.

“The Person represents a higher evolutionary stage on the journey. Teilhard intuited that from his evolutionary map, Gebser confirms it chapter and verse from his phenomenological map.”

Cynthia’s talk is followed by short presentations from authors of recent publications on Teilhard’s life and work.

Watch below or on YouTube:

This video is generously shared by the American Teilhard Association, recorded at their annual general meeting on June 12, 2021. The ATA explores and builds on the life and work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and aims to make his visionary thinking more widely available.  To learn more, or to become a member of the ATA, please visit their website at teilharddechardin.org

 


FEATURED AUDIO TEACHING FOR JULY:

TEILHARD: A VISIONARY FOR OUR TIME – Audio Teaching by Cynthia Bourgeault – MP3 SALE

In both Cynthia’s ‘Common Good’ message, and her ATA presentation, she draws squarely upon Teilhard de Chardin’s evolutionary vision. Teilhard’s prophetic writings and ideas offer us essential wisdom to understand our times, and points us toward a more unitive, Integral consciousness to meet the emergent and unfolding future. 

The Contemplative Society is featuring Cynthia’s audio teaching set on TEILHARD: A VISIONARY FOR OUR TIME to support your learning and understanding.  For the month of JULY we are offering 25% off the MP3 digital download for this featured audio. A full description and ordering details available here:

TEILHARD: A VISIONARY FOR OUR TIME – Audio Teaching by Cynthia Bourgeault

Teilhard Audio Cover

 

 

 

 

 

Christophany: A Quintessential Teaching

“I am so grateful for this labor of love by The Contemplative Society, which once again makes accessible Raimon Panikkar’s extraordinary teaching on the universal mysticism of Jesus Christ.” 

~ Cynthia Bourgeault

 

In addition to Cynthia’s encouraging words above, we also want to share Brian Mitchell’s wholehearted endorsement for our updated audio release of CHRISTOPHANY: Experiencing the Fullness of Christianity, a recorded teaching by Cynthia based on the 2004 book by Raimon Panikkar.

Brian serves to coordinate the various steps and people involved to bring forth the audio content produced by The Contemplative Society.  As a longtime member of TCS and dedicated practitioner, he describes himself as “… following the Christian Wisdom path (knowingly or unknowingly) all my life. Encountering teachers such as Cynthia Bourgeault, Bruno Barnhart and Raimon Panikkar have lit that path brightly enough that I am no longer afraid of walking it.

Here Brian expresses his deeply held belief in the significance of this Christophany offering, which he consistently names as “Cynthia’s quintessential teaching.”

Christophany cover


I’ve been listening to Cynthia Bourgeault – at various retreats, Wisdom Schools and on each and every one of her audio recordings (multiple times) – for a quarter of a century now. There are so very many peak experiences I’ve had in listening to her wisdom, so to focus on one doesn’t seem quite proper. And yet it must be said that her work in investigating Raimon Panikkar’s Christophany: The Fullness of Man* (a very dense text which she clarifies magnificently) takes us more deeply into the full, radical meaning of Christianity than anything else she has done – or, in my opinion, than anything done elsewhere by anyone (although I admit to a certain prejudice in this matter).

Raimon Panikkar

Raimon Panikkar 2007, Wikipedia

I believe that Panikkar’s Christophany text and Cynthia’s analysis of it, has the potential, as she has said, “to change the face of Christianity”. That is not an idle boast.

For me personally Cynthia and Panikkar, working hand-in-glove together, have broken down doors on which I, at least, have been knocking all my adult life, but which have stubbornly resisted many of my attempts to open. I cannot thank her and Panikkar adequately for helping to bring my understanding (heart and head) more fully into alignment with that which was here all along: the manere, the manere, the manere**.

I strongly encourage anyone interested in our Christian Wisdom tradition to give the time and energy to entering into this mystery – and, if at all possible, to do so with a group of like-hearted souls. Having one another as support will help tremendously. 

*Cynthia explains Panikkar’s insistence on the use of the word “man” as opposed to “humanity” in her recording.

**the manere is simply the inter-abiding which Jesus speaks of constantly: “You in me and me in you and me in the Father and the Father in us” etc. etc. etc.

 

This new offering of CHRISTOPHANY: Experiencing the Fullness of Christianity, is available for order here.

 


TCS Acknowledgements:

transcriptIn addition to the attentive care and many hours provided by Brian to guide the steps necessary to make this updated version of the recorded teaching available, TCS would also like to acknowledge Peggy Zimmerman for her countless hours of editing and titling and tending with such dedication and wisdom to every detail, and to our reviewers who provided their time and feedback throughout the extensive 10 year process. In addition we are deeply appreciative of the momentous effort by Susan Filyer who painstakingly transcribed the original recording so we can now offer a full text copy to supplement the audio products. Deep bow of gratitude to you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What has Cynthia Bourgeault been up to…?

Cynthia at Sea

 

What’s new with our Principal Teacher Cynthia Bourgeault?

Recently we’ve heard from a number of you wondering what Cynthia is up to while in-person events and retreats are widely curtailed. 

Well, unless you happen to spot her on the high seas, here are some opportunities to tune into Cynthia’s activities and catch some of her upcoming  appearances:

CONVERSATIONS & BLOGS

 

New ICN Podcast: From a Cosmic Nudge to an Integral Christianity – A Conversation with Cynthia Bourgeault  

  • Cynthia and Integral Christian Network hosts share their converging interests and inspiration drawn from Jean Gebser’s influential Ever Present Origin.
  • This engaging dialog includes the emerging scope and potential for an Integral mode of Christianity.
  •  The shared conversation includes personal experiences and insights on a range of spiritual themes and topics –  see details and listen here.

Cynthia’s February video interview on Buddha at the Gas Pump

  • Cynthia illuminates aspects of the Imaginal Realm and other key insights from her most recent book Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm.
  • Also offered are reflections on forgiveness and love, as well as suffering, confusion, and pain as conditions that contribute to transformative new arisings.
  • Find the full topic outline and listen on BATGAP here.

Cynthia’s Blog Series and Reflections 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS WITH CYNTHIA

 

March 30 – Online: Mary Magdalene and Attention of the Heart – hosted by WCCM.org.  Information to register here.

  • You can also find in-depth versions of Cynthia’s profound teaching on Mary Magdalene in the Audio offerings on our TCS website. 

June 16 to Sept 21 – Online: The Divine Exchange – hosted by CAC.org. Registration now open! Find details here.

Cynthia in British Columbia: Plans for The Contemplative Society to host Cynthia on Vancouver Island Canada are still on hold until the pandemic restrictions are eased. Stay tuned for updates. NOTE: TCS members will be the first to be notified – to become a member find details here

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For Cynthia’s complete calendar with current listings refer to her EVENT SCHEDULE at CynthiaBourgeault.org

 

RECENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm by Cynthia Bourgeault has been chosen as one of The Best Spiritual Books of 2020 by Spirituality & Practice!

Cynthia honored as one of the 100 most spiritually influential living people of 2021!

  • Congratulations Cynthia for recognition on the prestigious Watkins List!  View the full Watkins list here.
Eye of the Heart quote

 


The Contemplative Society is committed to recovering the mystical heart of the Christian Wisdom tradition.

All of our work is done by board members, volunteers, and a part-time Administrator.  Please know that your contribution of any amount is gratefully received! Click below to support us with a donation or join us as a TCS member. 

Click here to donate or become a TCS member.

 

 

 

 

From a Cosmic Nudge to an Integral Christianity – A Conversation with Cynthia Bourgeault

steeple night sky

In this potent and engaging conversation, Cynthia Bourgeault is hosted by Paul Smith (author of Integral Christianity) and Luke Healy of the Integral Christian Network. Together they offer deep insights and personal experiences to illuminate the emerging scope and potential for Christianity.

The dialogue is infused by their shared appreciation and revelations inspired by Jean Gebser’s seminal work Ever Present Origin.  As the conversation unfolds their reflections and transmissions provide a glimpse into how the Christian Mystical/Wisdom path is poised for full expression at this crucial time, through the multi-dimensional structures of an Integral consciousness.

 

“You feel Gebser’s deep mystical love for Christianity and for Christ. It’s as powerful as Teilhard’s actually, and it winds up saying very much the same thing: that there is something so intrinsically whole, beautiful, real, and sacramental in the path of emergence as it filters through Integral in a Christian mode. And not only is it absolutely necessary for the full realization of Integral, but there would be no full realization of Integral without it.”

– Cynthia Bourgeault

 

God can be beyond us… and God can be as us, and also God wants to be near us as a personal connection.”

– Paul Smith

 

You can find the ICN podcast with Cynthia here or listen below:

 

Podcast topic notes and times:

The podcast starts with ICN’s David Pinkston offering a short guided “Whole Body Mystical Awaking” practice to open and ground your listening experience.  

12:57 – Finding Gebser (“You don’t find books, they find you.”)

25:00 – Embodying wisdom in tumultuous times

34:37 – Cynthia’s thoughts on Gebser and G.I. Gurdjieff

40:17 – Paul discusses other embodiment practices and Whole Body Mystical Awakening

46:11 – Features of Western non-duality

52:30 – Moving Integral to the personal (2nd-person spirituality and spirit guides/presences, co-inherence!, I/it? Or I/thou.)

1:02:41 – Gebser and the Christ-mystery, Christ-teachers and the unfolding of human history

1:12:28 – Healing work from Cynthia’s and Paul’s perspectives

1:25:42 – Final thoughts

 


Cynthia Bourgeault’s ongoing series of reflections on Jean Gebser’s Even Present Origin and related topics can be found on her website blog page here: CynthiaBourgeault.org

 

Practices and writings offered by Paul Smith and Luke Healy, including recent reflections stemming from Jean Gebser’s work, can be found on their website here: Integral Christian Network

 

Photo by Andy Vu from Pexels

 

 

 

Cynthia’s Guidance on Upcoming Course Offerings

If you’re considering the multiple online course opportunities with Cynthia that are coming up, she provides this message to the Wisdom community and offers some additional input for consideration.


It occurred to me that people may want a little guidance as to how to pick and choose among the sudden embarrassment of riches of Cynthia Bourgeault  online course options currently opening up for registration. Here’s a bit more information to help you make your selection(s). 

Spiritual Gifts of the Imaginal Realm

I would love to have as many hands as possible on deck for the Spirituality & Practice e-course, Spiritual Gifts from the Imaginal Realm, which will launch February 18 and run through the six weeks of Lent. This is my pilot online course unpacking the material in my recent book Eye of the Heart. I’m trying to lay out the basic building blocks in a way that is broadly inclusive (even if you haven’t read Eye of the Heart) and practical, based in actual practices that people can do to help our entire planet through the perilous eye of the needle we’re collectively facing. If we could get a thousand people on this course—anchored by seasoned Wisdom students —we could change the world. No kidding. It’s a pretty easy pace: two-emails a week, with an accompanying spiritual practice, text for reflection, and 24/7 access to the Practice Circle, plus two zoom conferences, dates to be announced. Full details and registration here.

Introductory Wisdom School

If you haven’t yet taken an Introductory Wisdom School, here is your window of opportunity: the Online Introductory Wisdom School offered by the Center for Action and Contemplation, now open for registration with a March 1 launch date.  This twelve-week course is a carefully crafted remake of the original course brilliantly filmed by Robbin Brent at our on-the-ground Wisdom School in North Carolina in 2015. It’s both comprehensive and interactive and will cover all the material you would have covered in an on-the-ground school with a powerful flavor and ambience of the original still remaining. It’s the usual prerequisite for all further Wisdom Study, giving you both the basic concepts and the basic practices you need to get started on the right foot. It will also be offered again in the second half of 2021, so that may be a factor in your course selection. Find out more and sign up here.

The Divine Exchange

I’d like to call your special attention to The Divine Exchange, opening for registration on the CAC site on March 3, with a launch date on June 16. This course is actually “Intro Wisdom, part II.” It’s a deep dive into the notion of exchange—i.e., giving and receiving—both as it shows itself as the linchpin of Jesus’s teaching and as it emerges as the cornerstone of Christian Wisdom metaphysics in the notion of “exchange between the realms.” It’s the tie-rod connecting The Wisdom Jesus with Eye of the Heart, and laying out a powerful pathway of healing and practical action in our world today. If you’ve taken an Introductory Wisdom School, this is your next step. Details here (registration not yet open).

If you haven’t yet taken an intro Wisdom School course …well, you can still do both courses consecutively if you’re up for a Wisdom marathon this summer…or you can take your chances and leap into Part II, then pick up part I in the fall. I think this is actually manageable since the CAC course is so well shepherded and interactive, and I’d put it out there for your serious consideration.

EXCHANGE really does hold the key to how so many pieces of our broken world fit back together again, and the more of us that can be thinking in these terms, the more we can begin to articulate—and start walking—a visionary path of action, grounded in the Christ heart. 

I hope to meet you on one course or the other…maybe all three! Blessings, Cynthia 

 


Additional note from TCS

MEETING THE MOMENT WITH LOVE with WARD BAUMAN

Just to make the offerings even richer with abundant choices, don’t forget about our upcoming 5-day retreat: MEETING THE MOMENT WITH LOVE with WARD BAUMANWe’d love to have you join us for this online event, February 15 to 19 (approximately 2.5 hours each day). Full details and registration can be found here.

 

 

Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm – by Cynthia Bourgeault

 

NOW AVAILABLE:

This groundbreaking book shares the evolution of Cynthia Bourgeault’s spiritual journey and offers a new map to understanding energy and our collective reality.

In Eye of the Heart, Cynthia Bourgeault investigates the imaginal realm–an energetic realm well known to the mystical traditions but often forgotten in our own times. It is invisible to the physical eye, but clearly perceptible through the eye of the heart. The imaginal realm has long been associated with the personal world of dreams, prophecy, and oracles, and it also points toward a higher vision of our human purpose that is both evolutionary and collective. Bourgeault explores both aspects of imaginal reality and shows readers how we can cooperate more fully with its guidance in our lives. Expertly blending her own lived experiences with research on the imaginal realm, Bourgeault explores how her personal relationships have helped to bring these teachings into sharper focus and the role this realm plays in Christian and other mystical traditions. She delves into the connections between our inner consciousness and what happens in the world, exploring the transformative energy and governing conventions that make the manifestation of this realm possible.

 

“A brilliant synthesis that both situates the imaginal world and gives it more meaning that it has previously had… [Bourgeault] is a true representative of the Western spiritual tradition.” 

– from the afterword by A. H. Almaas

 

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Shambhala Publications
Amazon
Barnes & Nobel
Book Depository

 

 

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FIND PODCAST CONVERSATIONS AND VIDEOS WITH CYNTHIA SPEAKING ON EYE OF THE HEART HERE

 

 

 

From Covenants to Consciousness in the Book of Job – Part 4

This post continues our series of bringing you more Wisdom from your fellow students of the contemplative path. We hope you will find these posts enriching, enlightening, and inspiring for your own journey. If you would like to submit a post for future consideration, please email admin@contemplative.org.

Read on for the fourth and last part of a series from our deeply knowledgeable audio ministry editor, Peggy Zimmerman. Previous posts are below:


Post 3 ended with the wisdom formula representing the movement from the Endless One to matter. Also, we have reframed the Divine Plan of making creation in order to know itself to a Divine Trajectory toward re-unification. From the reframing, with the help of Boehme and Teilhard, we can approach this formula, its extension, and the Trinity in a way that may contribute to current interests in bridging the scientific and spiritual camps.

The reframed formula depicts materialization of the spiritual followed by spiritualization of the material as it flows through the same elements in reverse order:

Endless Unity > dispersed psychic forces > spirit > energy > pre-life matter > living matter > energy > Holy Spirit > re-unified psychic forces > new humanity

The word “dispersed” captures Boehme’s vision of the implosion resulting from “the concentration of desire” — i.e., Endless Unity bringing “itself into somethingness” (HT, p. 97). His progression is: concentration of desire leads to movement (agitation), which leads to anguish from which the tension/friction ignites the fire, which leads to light/love and “now manifesting in the dimension of separability and perceptivity” (p. 110). Anguish “is simultaneously sensibility” (p. 98) or the headwaters of “perceptibility and feelingness” and “a primordial state of self awareness” (p. 109), as arranged by Cynthia Bourgeault in her first three dynamic Trinity diagrams unfolding according to the Law of Three. Interestingly, Boehme sums up the three properties of desire, agitation, and anguish in a first principle of creation that he names “fiery” or “wrathful”. This mirrors the thought in part 2 that the divine quality expected to dominate first would be wrath, as encountered by Job.

Our reframing requires departing from Boehme in the following ways:

  • The Big Bang from impressure is from the internal concentration of psychic forces, not a divine desire creating something to know itself.
  • What implodes outwardly are all the Unity’s diverse characteristics rather than light already in a realm of perceptibility.
  • Unlike Boehme, who slips readily “between physical description and its emotional counterpart” (HT, p. 98), the energy in our reframing on the way to matter is not just light and its emotional association with love but the invisible vibrational stage of densifying psychic forces.

From our perspective, perceptibility and the primordial state of awareness entered the picture further along in the process of creation. Nevertheless, Boehme’s intuitive grasp of the proto-stage of movement and primordial implosion initiates the suggested reframing of the dynamic Trinity. From here on, the influence of Teilhard is notable.

First off, as a naturalist, rather than a physicist, Teilhard develops his description of pre-life matter (“the stuff of the universe” or its “bits and pieces”; HP, p. 11) by “sound analogy with the rest of science” (HP, p. 24) from the observable structure and properties of life. In the same way, we propose approaching that elusive subtle domain of pre-matter. Support for this approach is the idea held across diverse spiritual traditions that nature is the first revelation of the Divine.

Because of “the world’s fundamental unity” (HP, p. 24) and nature’s observable “homogeneity and continuity” (p. 26), Teilhard posits the following:

  • The “stuff” of the universe has both an outer face and an inner face, each with its own energy field, which “roughly speaking” finally comes down to being “equivalent respectively to matter and spirit” (p. 230).
  • The outer face operates under the law of complexification. As the “bits and pieces” connect they transform into a more complex structure. Meanwhile, with increasing external complexity, the inside face operates under the law of centricity, an increased interiorization that evolves into higher and higher states of awareness all the way to thought and reflective consciousness.
  • The outer face evolutionary process and the inner face involutionary process operate independently from each other but “they are constantly associated and somehow flow into each other” (p. 30).
  • The “somehow” of the associated physical and psychical energies repeatedly shows up in the reconciling interplay of such factors as biological divergence/psychical convergence, tangential/radial energies, body/soul energies, “unified multitude/unorganized multitude” (p. 28), and mechanization/freedom.
  • The “somehow” is “a kind of homogeneous primordial flux” that is “an active medium of direction and transmission” toward “the less probable direction of higher forms of complexity and centricity” (pp. 14, 13, 32).
  • All the stuff of the universe has aspects of unity within and in relation to the “totality of space” (p. 16). Thus, the random trial and error of chance is a “directed chance” (p. 66).
  • At certain points the evolution/involution interplay leaps creation into a new “state” or “order” of “being” (pp. 231, 237).
  • The net effect is that the universe is moving from a state of the outer face predominating to the inner face predominating as humanity approaches a collective reflexive consciousness at the Omega Point.

The applications of these Teilhardian principles to the wisdom formula are perhaps already apparent. The homogeneous flux is comparable to the Divine Trajectory toward reunification. The increasing degrees of densification is analogous to the conjugation of the complexification law and convergence or centralization intensifying process. The aspects of unity in the “stuff” of the universe may be regarded as remnants of the Endless Unity essence within each psychic force as it implodes out of the antinomy in totality. The diffusion and outward movement of the psychic forces are within the flux of the “totality of space.” And those leaps into new creations are indicated by the formula’s arrows. As we adapt the formula to a reframing of the Trinity, the leaps may be likened to that Law of Three alchemical reconciling power bringing about a new arising.

The reframed Trinity presented here follows the four ground rules of the Law of Three stipulated in Holy Trinity and the Law of Three (p. 131). Also, we will make use of the Law of Three principle that the quality/nature of the third or neutralizing force can change (HT, pp. 28-30). (Note: in linear format, the triangle looks like first force > second force > third force > new arising.)

First Triangle: Unity > impressuring antinomy > Big Bang > psychic forces

Unity (the Absolute, Divine Source, God, etc.) is totally “other” and transcendent. Its undifferentiated antinomy due to the immeasurable power of its centric state implodes out into separated psychic forces. The Big Bang separating movement relieves the tension and amounts to a creation of space and time. Instantaneously, Teilhard’s “somehow” goes to work. It brings about a space that is a whole in itself — “universal space is the only space there is”; i.e., “we have no choice but to admit that this immensity represents the domain of action common to all [that is in it]” (HP, p. 16). The “somehow” or homogeneous flux, as noted earlier, is the divine trajectory toward re-unification. The psychic forces are moving, thus entailing duration and, therefore, time, within a space of homogeneous flux.

Second Triangle: Unity > Big Bang > psychic forces > spirit

Psychic forces are now in the binary/dualistic dimension of space/time. Space, although seemingly infinite from our scientific lens, functions as a container preventing endless outward dispersion. The random yet directional psychic forces diverge and converge and thus condense into spiritual flows.

In Teilhardian terms, the outer and inner “faces” (in evolutionary and involutionary fashion) function independently but are “associated” by both being within the flux of space. In the alchemical moment, impressure is transformed into a centrating function and the totality of the antinomy is transformed into a complexification function.

Third Triangle: Unity > psychic forces > spirit > energy

Spirit takes the reconciling position as the new field of play of conjugated outward and inward forces. It junctions as a “holding field” or stabilizing environment for alchemizing Unity’s rest and the psychic forces’ movements into a vibrating structure, namely energy. All this may be seen as preparatory to the emerging particle/wave paradox. With the new vibrating expression of the psychic forces, the potential for primitive felt sensation and awareness (perceptivity) is set up. 

Fourth Triangle: Unity > spirit > energy > matter

As the pivotal triangle, with three before and after it, it is packed with happenings. Two key ones are the movement of pre-life matter into living matter (inorganic to organic) and the rise of thought from rudimentary communication to Darwinian  instinctual communication, and then to self-reflective consciousness.

Not delving into pre-matter matters, Teilhard summarily describes a “phase of granulation which abruptly gives birth to the constituents of the atom, and perhaps the atom itself” (HP, p. 18). We can only speculate here by extending Teilhard’s principles into pre-matter times that the universal complexification and centric forces are involved. At any rate, the granulation process now provides substantiality. In short, the new arising finally is matter existing in a dualistic dimension. Moreover, with this new creation comes the element necessary for perceptivity and communication, for exchanging information.

For Teilhard pre-life matter is in a pre-conscious state yet primed with the universal “powers of synthesis” (HP, p. 34), the conjugation of complexification and centricity. In the unique case of earth, the outer faces of elements follow the process of “ultracondensing and intercombining” all according to the first two paradoxical thermodynamic laws of the conservation of energy and entropy (p. 20). Meanwhile, the inside face becomes more and more interiorized until it is no longer just lining the outer face but a psychic center: “What was still only a centered surface became a center” (p. 113).

In our reframing language, along with all the other psychic forces, the split antinomy of unconsciousness and consciousness is now subsumed in energy (HT, p. 126). In this reconciling position, it gets pricked — Yahweh meets Job face to face. How does this pricking happen? And where have Sophia (Wisdom), Logos, and evil been during all this creating? Answer: the Biblical and Wisdom traditions have assured us that Sophia and Logos have been functioning behind the scenes ever since the Big Bang. With visible matter, they can be observed as they come increasingly to the fore. Logos and Sophia are present hand-in-hand as the ordering and directing principles, respectively — the universal synthesis on a re-unification trajectory.

In energy’s vibrating field, Logos (encapsulated in words) is sound carrying Wisdom’s messages. The suggestion here is that evil provides the situation (as held by Jung and others). Logos is the means, as each microcosmic kenotic surrender of the second force opens it to a new way of being. And Sophia is the catalyst for the way of re-unification in each leap to a new arising. The leaps are characterized as being abrupt and out of nowhere, which is how we experience hits of wisdom — those “aha” moments of suddenness and “surprise, satisfaction, elegance” (HT, p. 43).

One other key happening needs recognition. Through the first three triangles, the transformation of psychic forces as emanations of the Unity has been predominant. Yet, within these emanations (the stuff of the universe) is a remnant of Unity’s essence as aspects of unity in each element as well as in space as a whole as a universal flux as discussed earlier. With the appearance of matter in the fourth Trinity formation, immanence overtakes emanation as the operating system. Yahweh must be his creation (see post 3).

Fifth Triangle: Unity > energy > Jesus > Holy Spirit

Because we are regarding the Trinity being modeled here as a Christian icon, the dramatically evolved matter in the fourth triangle is represented now as Jesus, a life form of matter with a highly evolved consciousness operating out of non-dual perception. Recalling that consciousness is communication which, when undertaken as an intentional give and take for the good of the whole, we can equate Jesus’ consciousness with love. He is in the position to reconcile the transcendent, at rest in Unity with the split psychic forces manifesting in matter and energy. The outcome of his five roles is the pervasive presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sixth Triangle: Unity < > humans < > Holy Spirit < > re-unified psychic forces

Immediately apparent here is the addition of the two-way flow of the arrows. This indicates the now direct communication with the divine provided by the Paraclete. Thus, the shift from a covenant to a consciousness relationship is established.

A second crucial addition is humans are now in place of Jesus as representing the highest evolved organic matter. When humans operate out of a non-dual perception open to the Holy Spirit a new arising occurs. The Holy Spirit mediates between the self-reflective consciousness of corporeality and the non-conscious no-thingness Unity. As a result, for every evil (life-denying, divisive, tense, closed off, etc.) situation in this dualistic world the Christosophanic means and way carried in the Holy Spirit transforms the separated materialized psychic forces. The new arising is re-unification of the Divine’s qualities — the living expression of Unity in a space/time dimension.

Seventh Triangle: Unity < > Holy Spirit < > One New Humanity < > Oikonomia

Under the assumption that humans as a whole put on the mind of Christ, sixth triangle new arising of re-unified psychic forces moves into the reconciling position as the One New Humanity. The push-pull tension between Unity’s absolute unity and the Holy Spirit’s re-unifying promise can only continue to be reconciled through the medium of One New Humanity, the body of Christ. This is Oikonomia: the realization of the Unity’s essence in diversity, the consummation of the Divine Trajectory. In Teilhard’s words “cosmogenesis has become Christogenesis” (HT, p. 80; HP, p. 213) The spiritualization of matter is complete, including perhaps a transfiguration of the physical body, which is a subject for a separate discussion.

This overly succinct reframed journey through the dynamic Trinity stages has avoided Boehme’s associative leaps and employed Teilhard’s synthesis. It is offered to stimulate thought about ways to bridge science and spirituality. It also demonstrates once more not only the versatility of applying the Law of Three to the Trinity, but also how it all finally comes down to us, the microcosmic pinnacle on earth. Let’s pray that the macrocosmic journey through billions of years has not been for (to borrow a word from Satan) “naught” (Job 1:9).


Peggy Zimmerman has been as a technical editor, environmental and urban planner, university instructor, mental health counsellor, and human resources manager. Since retiring sixteen years ago, she has participated in environmental activist work. In that time she also rediscovered her Christian roots and set out on deepening her spiritual life, largely through a personal study of the Christian wisdom tradition. She arranged for the introduction of Centering Prayer to the Comox Valley, facilitates a weekly sit at her church, initiated and continues to facilitate a monthly Taizé service.


References:

  • Alden, Robert L. Job. Vol. II in The New American Commentary series. Broadman & Holman Pub., 1993.
  • Anonymous. Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. Robert Powell, trans. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putman, 1985, 2002.
  • Armstrong, Karen. A History of God. NY: Random House, 1993.
  • Barr, James. “The Book of Job and Its Modern Interpreters”. Lecture delivered in the John Rylands Library, 10 February 1971. Available at www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk.
  • Boehme, Jacob. Genius of the Transcendent: Mystical Writings of Jakob Boehme. Michael L. Birkel and Jeff  Bach, trans. and eds. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2010.
  • Boehme, Jacob. The Way to Christ. Peter Erb, trans. Toronto and NY: Paulist Press, 1978.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia. (HT) The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2013.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia. (MMag) The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2010.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia. Teilhard for Our Times. Spirituality & Practice, 2016. Available at https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ecourses/course/view/10182/teilhard-for-our-times.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia.  (WJ) The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind — A New Perspective on Christ and His Message. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2008.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia.  (WWK) The Wisdom Way of Knowing. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.
  • Bruteau, Beatrice. God’s Ecstasy: The Creation of a Self-Creating World. NY: Crossroad, 1997.
  • Clement, Olivier. The Roots of Christian Mysticism. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1993.
  • Delio, Ilia. The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2013.
  • Gospel of Thomas. Lynn Bauman, trans. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press, 2004.
  • Hart, David J.H. Christianity: A New Look At Ancient Wisdom. Kelowna, BC: Northstone Publishing, 1992.
  • Jung, C. J. Answer to Job. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973.
  • Miles, Jack. God: A Biography. NY: Vintage Books, 1995, 1996.
  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 3rd ed. Michael D. Coogan, ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre.  (HP) The Human Phenomenon. Sarah Appleton-Weber, trans. Chicago, IL: Sussex Academic Press, 1999, 2003, 2015.
  • Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism. New York, NY: Image Books Doubleday, 1990.

From Covenants to Consciousness in the Book of Job – Part 3

This post continues our series of bringing you more Wisdom from your fellow students of the contemplative path. We hope you will find these posts enriching, enlightening, and inspiring for your own journey. If you would like to submit a post for future consideration, please email admin@contemplative.org.

Read on for the third part of a series from our deeply knowledgeable audio ministry editor, Peggy Zimmerman. Additional posts are listed below:


By the end of our last post, the Job story has led us to three happenings:

  • Yahweh has had a prick of self-awareness, reflective consciousness.
  • His dark side has been uncovered and now planted in human and Yahweh’s knowing or, in Job’s words, “Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad” (Job 1:10).
  • Yahweh is faced with a choice of relating with his creation in a new way or letting creation collapse back into an ineffable unity.

So far, we have approached and understood these ideas from the premise that creation is all about the Endless Unity yearning to know itself, to become human — the divine plan. This post will continue our explorations from a slightly revised take on this plan. But first some terms need defining.

A “plan” implies thought or consciousness, which raises the discussion about the state of consciousness in the Absolute. To remain true to the antinomy of the Endless Unity, it is a state of neither identifiable consciousness nor unconsciousness, but rather non-consciousness. Consciousness, as ultimately some form of communication between “somethings” (as per Ilia Delio’s insightful definition), cannot be in the no-thingness of the Absolute. Likewise, unconsciousness has nothing to be “un” about. While both may be regarded as latent or potentials, they have no meaning within the antinomy of Unity.

With this understanding, the divine plan may be more precisely called the divine trajectory. We can have some confidence in substituting this word as we boldly state our premise that the fundamental a priori essence of the ineffable Absolute is Unity. It will eternally move to reestablish its Oneness. Thus, the ontological journey may be reframed from God yearning to know itself to an inevitable irrepressible trajectory of God’s diverse features moving toward the essential state of unity. However, with the totality of antinomy split outwardly, that essence must actually be a re-unity in a different state; i.e., a space-time reality evolving toward Oikonomia — the “reunion of created and uncreated realms” (Bourgeault, HT, p. 182). The unmoving Alpha is ever-moving toward Teilhard’s Omega Point.

While this reframing may seem like semantics or reasoning in a circle, the focus on a trajectory and reunification provides a different position for viewing the incarnation and the Trinity. Otherwise, we are led too quickly to simply seeing God as love and as longing to know itself.

Given the three Job happenings listed above, Yahweh’s long-distance relationship with creation can no longer be justified— self-aware humans now know too much, as does Yahweh. His antinomy has split apart and omnipotence is ruling the roost destructively. His creation could no longer be what we might call a virtual reality operating from an obedience-based software program. The covenant relationship has been too prone to failures to assure his dispersed and opposing qualities will be united again. In short, Yahweh could longer relate as a long-distance creator of cosmic reality; he had to be that reality throughout its invisible and visible realms. More precisely, Yahweh had to be forever becoming, unfolding and enfolding the cosmos through stages of rising consciousness and finally to transformed consciousness; i.e., Teilhard’s superconsciousness accumulating in the noosphere and culminating in Oikonomia. Emanation had to transition into immanation.

Yahweh’s features (or “names”) emanate out in their own separate ways, primarily vibrating to their independent subtle energetic frequencies as psychic forces. To gather these psychic forces together, Yahweh’s essence of Oneness had to reside in a conscious being who could contain and live from a unified, non-dualistic knowing. Enter Jesus. How does the infinite become finite and restore its perfect wholeness forever? The way and the means are revealed in the life and acts of Jesus the Christ, but not as directly as first appears and has traditionally been understood. Moreover, as wisdom students we know that the Jesus events did not take the divine trajectory to its destined target point — Oikonomia.

So what was the role of Jesus? First, he embodied his “father’s” essence not in a state of unity but as a flow of unifying energy. At the same time in history, he embodied the consequences of psychic forces run rampant. In his Job encounter, Yahweh ran smack into (or, in wisdom speak, witnessed) the consequences of the conditions and endless choices imposed by separated opposites entrenched in a reality of “hard edges” — a dualistic reality (Bourgeault, WJ, pp. 97-98). The full implications of Yahweh’s exposure to the dark side of creation have to be experienced by him in some experiential (i.e., incarnated) way, not just virtually.

A second role of Jesus was to be a sacrifice (an act of making sacred). For Jung, this sacrifice served to expiate Yahweh’s immoral treatment of Job — divine mercy must finally correct a divine wrong (Jung, p. 43). We can from our reframed position go a step deeper and see the sacrifice as an atonement for the Endless Unity’s initial violation of its essence, the rupturing of its perfect wholeness and rest. On the micro level this amounts to expiating the original state of separation (sin) that humans are born into.

With his embodiment role and redemptive death, Jesus as the first anointed self-aware being was prepared for his third role — his reconciling act in the “harrowing of hell,” as Cynthia insightfully suggests (WJ, pp. 119-124). Expressed through our reframing, Christ carried the unifying vibration into the manifesting world’s center (heart) where the psychic forces enter physical reality as spiritual realities. Thus, Christ is not only the model of divine re-unification, he is the initiator of it — the Holy Reconciler. He has established a way for re-unification in the new dimension of creation.

Let’s pause here to make some associations explicit. With consciousness being any form of communication, Christ through self-aware intentional consciousness has set up a specific line of communication by embodying the flow of unifying essence. Through his unflinching steady position (as demonstrated by Job), Christ holds all dualities together and stirs the deeply buried spirit of Oneness embedded in every psychic force. Thus, with this conjunction, the exchange between opposites is grounded in a mutual give and take to restore wholeness. This is in the Christian wisdom tradition called love, relieved of any emotional fixation. It involves kenotic giving and humble taking in the unfolding of unity in diversity.

Thus, the way is established by Christ, which is integrated into the means for walking the way. In a fourth and fifth roles, Christ resurrects and leaves humanity a Paraclete, a mediator — the Holy Spirit. His resurrection is the penultimate reconciliation as death (suffering, pain, evil) becomes intrinsic to the transformation of mortality into immortality. Thus, Christ’s resurrection is not so much conquering or denying death (i.e., anti-life) as it is transforming physical life into transfigured being.

Could it be that the energy involved in the cosmic reconciling and the third force alchemizing of the life-death collision into the new arising of a transfigured risen Christ was densified by, or even created, the Holy Spirit? Perhaps this idea about the Holy Spirit brings together the paradoxical first and second laws of thermodynamics by injecting in them the spiritual law of a cosmic trajectory toward re-unification. The heat loss (entropy) from the reconciling “work” is gathered in the Holy Spirit.

At any rate, by whatever process, the Paraclete (mediator) can be viewed as a reconciling force flowing and accessible in this world’s reality. By opening our centers of being (our hearts) to this spiritual energy, we have the means of becoming complete humans working toward a new humanity, as envisioned by Teilhard. The creator’s means of communicating with its creatures is no longer restricted to visions, dreams, myths, and symbols as with all his previous spokespersons. We now have a direct and personal party line, carrying the unifying spirit between us and the Endless Unity. We can experience this direct line in such practices as Centering Prayer, during which heart/mind connections and neurological re-patterning are occurring, as being verified by a growing body of research.

The bottom line is the infinite and finite have a new relationship built on reflective consciousness entering into creator/creature exchanges (communications) with the mutually beneficial intention of re-unification. Moreover, as Christ taught, our transformed consciousnesses of non-duality are forming a body, a new (transfigured) humanity, referred to as the body of Christ or the Oikonomia manifested.

With the reframing developed so far in these posts, we can approach with renewed wonder the wisdom formula depicting the flow of the Absolute into matter where each factor is a densification of the previous factor:

Endless One > psychic forces > spirit > energy > matter

In this formula we can see Boehme’s idea of the big bang and Teilhard’s observation that “particles can now be treated as transient reservoirs of concentrated power” (Teilhard, p. 13). Also, although “for science energy currently represents the most primitive form of universal stuff” (p. 14), Teilhard posits that “all cosmic energy is fundamentally psychic [spiritual]” (p. 30 and p. 230). Thus, “some rudimentary psyche exists in every corpuscle (in the infinitely small, that is infinitely diffuse, state)” (p. 217).

With these thoughts we can extend the above formula as a starting point for reconsidering the Trinity in the final post. As a confirmed scientist, Teilhard eschews metaphysical inquiry, but he repeatedly flirts with it and challenges us to take up the task of broadening the boundaries of science.


Peggy Zimmerman has been as a technical editor, environmental and urban planner, university instructor, mental health counsellor, and human resources manager. Since retiring sixteen years ago, she has participated in environmental activist work. In that time she also rediscovered her Christian roots and set out on deepening her spiritual life, largely through a personal study of the Christian wisdom tradition. She arranged for the introduction of Centering Prayer to the Comox Valley, facilitates a weekly sit at her church, initiated and continues to facilitate a monthly Taizé service.


References:

  • Alden, Robert L. Job. Vol. II in The New American Commentary series. Broadman & Holman Pub., 1993.
  • Anonymous. Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. Robert Powell, trans. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putman, 1985, 2002.
  • Armstrong, Karen. A History of God. NY: Random House, 1993.
  • Barr, James. “The Book of Job and Its Modern Interpreters”. Lecture delivered in the John Rylands Library, 10 February 1971. Available at www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk.
  • Boehme, Jacob. Genius of the Transcendent: Mystical Writings of Jakob Boehme. Michael L. Birkel and Jeff  Bach, trans. and eds. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2010.
  • Boehme, Jacob. The Way to Christ. Peter Erb, trans. Toronto and NY: Paulist Press, 1978.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia. (HT) The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2013.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia. (MMag) The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2010.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia. Teilhard for Our Times. Spirituality & Practice, 2016. Available at https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ecourses/course/view/10182/teilhard-for-our-times.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia.  (WJ) The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind — A New Perspective on Christ and His Message. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2008.
  • Bourgeault, Cynthia.  (WWK) The Wisdom Way of Knowing. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.
  • Bruteau, Beatrice. God’s Ecstasy: The Creation of a Self-Creating World. NY: Crossroad, 1997.
  • Clement, Olivier. The Roots of Christian Mysticism. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1993.
  • Delio, Ilia. The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2013.
  • Gospel of Thomas. Lynn Bauman, trans. Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press, 2004.
  • Hart, David J.H. Christianity: A New Look At Ancient Wisdom. Kelowna, BC: Northstone Publishing, 1992.
  • Jung, C. J. Answer to Job. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973.
  • Miles, Jack. God: A Biography. NY: Vintage Books, 1995, 1996.
  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 3rd ed. Michael D. Coogan, ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. The Human Phenomenon. Sarah Appleton-Weber, trans. Chicago, IL: Sussex Academic Press, 1999, 2003, 2015.
  • Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism. New York, NY: Image Books Doubleday, 1990.

Wagner, Einstein, and Teilhard

Dr. Rudy Hwa Rudy is an emeritus professor of Physics at the University of Oregon as well one of my one of my senior Wisdom Students, both chronologically (we’ve been traveling this path together for nearly two decades now) and in his recognized eldership in the scientific and Wisdom communities. This delightful blog post seamlessly weaves together his scientific rigor with his passion for music. It’s a delight and a privilege to share it with you here.

~ Cynthia Bourgeault


At a symposium held many years ago on a day between the performances of the third and fourth operas of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the musical director of the Ring said in answer to a question about Wagner, “Music without Wagner is like physics without Einstein.” That statement struck such a chord in me that I have been exploring its implications ever since. As a physicist I know Einstein’s work more than I do about the works of Wagner and Teilhard [de Chardin]. But my love for music, especially for Wagner’s operas, and my journey in spirituality put me at a place where I can enjoy a panoramic view of all three. My words to describe that view, however, will be inadequate, like any description of something beautiful or profound.

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner was not just a musical genius but also a unique dramatist. He described the realm beyond worldly experiences through his musical dramas in ways that have never been done by anyone before nor afterwards. He wrote the poetic libretto of his operas himself. His Ring of the Nibelung, which consists of four operas that add up to more than sixteen hours, is conceptually connected to his last opera Parsifal in the context of redemption. The Ring is about the greed for power and the cleansing of that corruptive human inclination by love through self-sacrifice, but the redemptive process is not completed until the fool Parsifal gains wisdom through compassion in the next opera. Parsifal is a mystical journey of deep spirituality described in ethereal sublime music. The transformation that occurs in the five-opera sequence Ring/Parsifal is an outward manifestation of the change in Wagner’s own inner life, at the later stage of which he turned favorably to the Christian belief in redemption through suffering and love. Actually, he was more influenced by Buddhism than by the traditional Christianity ruled by a hierarchical church: he saw the failure of nineteenth-century Christianity in restraining industrial Europe from its greed for power. Wagner used art to rescue religion by creating a musical cathedral on the theme of suffering and compassion in the spirit of the Gospels. He willed that Parsifal not be performed outside of Bayreuth because he did not want this opera that he regarded as sacred to become a theatric amusement. Thirty years after his death Wagner’s family finally authorized its performance elsewhere, and more than 50 opera houses in Europe put it on in the first eight months of 1914 before WWI temporarily ended its universal appeal.

Einstein is probably best known for his energy-mass equation, E=mc2, the significance of which is transformative in physics. At the root of that equation is the theory of relativity, whose role in revealing the nature of the universe has cosmic and religious implications. In simple terms Einstein unified time and space. Energy and momentum are similarly unified in such a way that mass may turn into both energy and momentum. More difficult to imagine is that large massive stars can warp space-time. Without Einstein’s fundamental contribution to our understanding of nature, cosmologists would not have been able to determine from modern observations the properties of the universe at its beginning when even the notion of space and time is not well defined.

Concerning space-time, it is interesting to note that in Act I of Parsifal, the young fool who does not even know his own name finds himself in the forest of the knights of the Grail without feeling that he has trekked a long distance. The wise old man, Gurnemanz, explains to him, “You see, my son, time here becomes space.” It is amazing that Wagner thought of the unification of time-space thirty years before Einstein, though for a different reason. He wanted to lead his followers on a redemptive journey to a realm beyond ordinary consciousness in ordinary space-time. One has to be like Parsifal in not knowing anything to enter the domain that is timeless and of no specific space. It is not self-degradation here to become a fool. In wisdom tradition that means one empties the mind in order to be open to transcendent consciousness. Wagner dared to compose music that represents timelessness on a stage that offers nearly no motion for long periods (in theater time), yet holds the audience spellbound and transported to a realm where suffering is not just feeling of pain, but a part of the kenotic process of redemption.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Whereas both Wagner and Einstein were broadly recognized in their lifetimes for their achievements, Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, was forbidden by his Jesuit superiors to publish his anti-establishment writings. He was a paleontologist and theologian, and saw the necessity to synthesize Christian faith with evolution because he did not believe in the literal interpretation of the Genesis story of creation. That did not go well with the Roman Church, and many philosophers and most scientists on both sides of the schism. In his view spiritual and physical evolutions are not in conflict but follow the same movement in consonance with each other, so he unified incarnation and cosmic/biological evolution in his Christogenesis through four phases, which Cynthia Bourgeault calls the four Cs: cosmogenesis, complexifcation-consciousness, convergence, and Christ-Omega. To a reductionist Teilhard’s work may sound as repugnant as what the music of Ring-Parsifal does to a non-Wagnerian. But for one who is on a spiritual quest, the Teilhardian synthesis provides a refreshing alternative to the traditional dogmatic theology; more significantly, it offers a pathway to the mystical field of unitive awareness of the Oneness beyond space and time. That is transformational. It has been suggested that Teilhard is the fourth major thinker of the western Christian tradition, after St. Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas.

Teilhard did not build a bridge between science and religion that leaves the schism as deep as it ever has been. Like the unification of space and time, he amalgamated the physical and spiritual realities such that a seeker from either side cannot find a clear line separating the empirical and the transcendent. But one has to want to seek in order to find what he offers. Teilhard said it better:

You are not a human being in search of spiritual experience.
You are a spiritual being immersed in human experience.

The amazing feeling I get in reading Teilhard’s writing is that he was so immersed in the wholeness that he could move effortlessly from space-time to non-space-time to describe that intimate union at the gut level where the mind is truly in the heart. In his treatise The Human Phenomenon the word God cannot be found anywhere until the epilogue. Yet the universality of the love he envisioned is clear in his statement, “A love that embraces the entire universe is not only something psychologically possible; it is also the only complete and final way in which we can love.”

That’s great, but how do you do that? This question reveals my awareness of my being at a particular point in space-time attempting to do something. Loving in finite space-time will always be contingent. To transcend that one has to love not as an act of doing, but as a state of being. Doing is carried out by the mind; being resides in the heart. In all wisdom traditions the practice is to let go of thinking through contemplation. That is to become like Parsifal, the innocent fool, who responds to suffering. In a loose analogy that compromises the rigor of physics thinking, it is like mass in matter converting to kinetic energy that transmutes into love energy.

With Wagner’s music I can be passionate; with Einstein’s physics I can be dispassionate and explain what I know. But with Teilhard’s theology I can do neither. It requires both thinking and believing, which are hard to do simultaneously, much like particle-wave duality. Indeed, the Teilhardian synthesis is just like quantum physics, that unifies seemingly incompatible classical properties. I admire his passion and ability to use love energy to integrate his profound thoughts and experiences into one coherent description of the Wholeness.

Wagner, Einstein, and Teilhard: all three of them were visionaries, using different languages to express different yet similar transformative experiences. Feeling, thinking, and believing are what mathematicians would call orthogonal functions, which all of us have in varying degrees. The world has been enriched gloriously by what these three giants have shown us on how these three functions can harmoniously be combined to beautify the Whole.

Rudy Hwa – Eugene, OR