Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Deborah

Hungry To Learn And Grow!

Recommended Posts

Did you manage to find a theology and world-view that closed the gap between your mystical experience and your mind?

 

Probably the closest thing I've found, Deborah, is panentheim with a touch of process theology thrown in. In panentheism, everything is in God. God is considered to truly be omnipresent. There is no where we can go to get away from God's presence (Ps 139; Acts 17), like in the Gospel of the Chairs. A good metaphor for this is a fish swimming in the ocean. The fish is in the ocean, but the ocean is in the fish and all around the fish. The fish cannot go where the ocean is not. Paul echoes this in Acts 17: "In God we live and move and have our being." This notion probably best explains to my head the experience of my heart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Hi Joseph,

(snip)

Do you think it is a useless effort to try and wake others up? I only ever talk about these things when they come up in a conversation and if there is interest coming from the other person. Most often than not the subject does not surface and if it does people often zone out. It's their perogative and I let it be.

Are you still in touch with fundamentalists? How do you deal with that? Do you feel a desire to wake others up? You've written a book on the subject so you are familiar with the backlash...has that made you stop trying?

Deborah,

 

From my experience, more harm than good comes from trying to force others to wake up other than making available literature and encouraging others to seek and reason for themselves . Your approach above sounds most healthy to me. In my experience, people are drawn when they are ready and not before..... or as some Buddhists say... "when the pupil is ready, the teacher shall appear".

 

Yes, i am still in touch with some fundamentalists including some family members. I don't really have a problem with them anymore or a desire to push things and i get along quite well because i understand the process in awakening which is very painful emotionally. One has to come to grips with the fact that one has been, in a sense, "duped" all their life and that is difficult for many to come to grips with, not to mention friendships that are then "taxed" in the name of religion during the process. Perhaps that is one of the reasons there is usually a lot of anger present.

 

I do not have a goal per se, in trying or not trying. Other peoples beliefs or views are not a problem to me. At times they pose a challenge but never a problem as i have nothing to prove and am confident that as long as i remain available to others those things will sort themselves out.with the grace of God.

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pretty much agree with Joseph in this matter. I don't think it's a wise idea to force others to believe or disbelieve. I think we can and should entrust them to God. Of course, my views are predicated on the notion that no one is going to burn in hell forevermore, so while I may be concerned that others might be wasting their lives, I don't fear for anyone's "immortal soul."

 

My wife and her family are committed evangelical Christians. I get along with them fairly well as long as we avoid certain topics and hot-button issues. If we discuss religious issues at all, we tend to focus on the commonalities and avoid our differences. I'll answer questions if asked, but then state that my views are how I see things.

 

One thing that I think is important is to realize that they, like us, are on journeys, and at many different points. So I would never imply to them that I am enlightened while they are in the dark, or that I am awake while they are asleep, or that I am wise while they are foolish. Even if I thought this to be the case, not only would this language come across as prideful and "holier than thou", it would demean them and, IMO, devalue what God is already doing in their lives. Again, it comes down to trusting that God is working and, as Joseph has said, believing that God's grace will sort things out. So while I wouldn't want to force my beliefs on anyone, I'd be happy to answer their questions with my own reasons and to walk beside them for as long as I can. This is not always easy to do, because bumps in the road do come along. (For instance, my daughter is gay and I'm okay with it. The family is not.) But love can definitely be the tie that binds and I think if we err on the side of grace and love, we will seldom come out on the wrong side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It's when I reconnect with the sensation of my experiences with God that my mind stops churning and I feel completely ok, with no fear. Perhaps its a useless endeavor, but I'd like to get my brain to catch up to my heart and spirit. I guess that's why theology and spirituality is so intriguing to me.

Did you manage to find a theology and world-view that closed the gap between your mystical experience and your mind?

 

Deborah you are experiencing the spiritual already, but by your interest to understand the mind you will be able to enjoy it more often. My mind has and had many questions and they can't and should not be ignored because if we don't face them they will just come up again in a different form so to quiet the mind we must face them if we want to remember our spiritual nature. The journey from the head where we make representations and concepts to the soul sometimes symbolized as the heart is where we learn to love. We can see in the cycles of our life’s experiences the intention of science and spirituality to find the truth, which leads us to the growing amount of knowledge that is outside and inside the awareness of our consciousness. It is not that we are going to try and measure the spiritual, but simply understand that science is the language of the material world that is temporary and love is the language of the spiritual world that expands to Eternity. Ralph Waldo Emerson who started as a minister in Boston before being an American essayist, poet, and popular philosopher presented intellectualism and transcendentalism to our continent said, “Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.” Science is a step in a journey of experiences that is unpredictable and far-reaching beyond our sight bringing a surprise at the end where we become aware that we never traveled at all, we are already there. It is only a journey from here to the same place in the present moment. Albert Einstein agreed, “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

 

It is interesting that Bill a scientist seemed to arrive at a spiritual experience through scientific symbols leading to a mystical experience beyond words. My major was also science so my questions come from this view point and are answered by science. Once answered my mind quiets down and the spirit can be heard or as a Christian we might say God. Science has a profound impact on all aspects of life spreading into our thoughts and culture, transforming paradigms, inspiring and changing our perceptions about the universe and our relationship with it. Christian mysticism on the other hand, is about developing a direct insightful experience, relationship and communion with the beautiful, reasonable energy of the universe and its awe-inspiring power deep within, calling it God. Science and mysticism offer us the depth to be able to change the direction of our basic concepts and outlook of the world around us by pointing to Infinity and something beyond matter.

 

With my Christian background I have benefitted from Buddhist and Vedic thought which helped me navigate the psychology of the mind to help it qiet it down, but only you know your backgroundd and interest and which way to pursue to get to the point where you are witnessing the mind observing its thoughts from the soul. In Christianity we stand very close to the picture so we see only a small part of it so taking a step back with another theology or science can usually help one to see a bigger picture that does not destroy Christianity, but expands it beyond our narrow vission.

Edited by soma
grammar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Replying to Bill, Joseph and Soma.)

 

Thank you Bill for sharing which worldview has closed the gap between mind and heart for you. It makes sense to me and I think I'm heading in a similar direction. Although process theology is something I'm still wrestling with. I, Deborah, will not change in essence, my views and opinions are always in process, but in essence I will always stay Deborah (I think). Perhaps then I am projecting onto God, but it seems to me that in essence God does not change either. Our perception of God changes all the time though. I'm comfortable with applying process theology to the Bible.

I think there are very clear themes of progression within the Bible...which IMO says more about the authors' progression in their perception of God, than that it says about God changing.

And I think that progression is beautiful, it highlights our humanity and our ability to change our thinking, a precious gift and ability, in my mind. So does God change his/her thinking? A difficult concept to get my head (and heart) around, which again perhaps says more about my limited view than about God. What are your thoughts on that?

 

And Hi Joseph, yes, awakening is a painfull process. I think for me the pain was foremost in losing my identity. My identity was so wrapped up in what I believed. Shedding an identity is perhaps even more frightening than changing one's views. For me they were connected, intertwined even. Knowing that pain, I wouldn't want to push it on anyone else. It was life's circumstances that started the shift in me, I certainly did not choose it (at least not consciously)! So yes, I agree with you, when the student is ready the teacher appears.

 

And thank you Bill for your input on this. And I think you are right, that kind of thinking (asleep vs awake etc) just causes an us vs them mentality, something that I personally find hard to move away from, but want to grow in. Not believing in a hell of eternal conscious torment certainly helps and takes a lot of the aggression out of the tone, it does help in allowing everyone to be where they are at. A much more gracious and beautiful approach! Much more Christ-like if you ask me, and again, something I want to grow in.

And the other thing is, fundamental beliefs work for some people. They are quite happy there...who am I to take that away from them? The only reason I left fundamentalism is because it wasn't working for me anymore. Perhaps that says more about me than about them...?

 

And thank you Soma for your insights. I like it how you see the mind as a tool and not something I have to try to negate in my spiritual quest. As I wrote in one of my posts in the "square peg" thread, my intellectual study has helped loosen me from past prisons of thought. But lately it has been causing me more anxiety than freedom and I think its because I was looking for another belief system to adhere to, so that it could give me my new identity. The stress of having to choose which belief system is the 'right' one for me, caused the anxiety I think. The loss of identity has been so painful for me that I've been looking for an alternative. But as I was working this out with 'fatherman', I discovered that I was looking in the 'wrong' places...I can better discover my identity within my deeper self and within my connection with the Divine (how I experience it), where I feel no fear...discovering the essence of me and letting that define me...after all, beliefs constantly change and therefore shouldn't be defining. Being able to change one's mind is, in itself, something to be celebrated, not something to be afraid of. These are new insights for me and I still need to process them, but I am glad for them. Because you are right, I am already experiencing the spiritual. Sometimes my mind gets in the way, I need to see it more as a tool, not as defining...then the fear dissipates and I can let the s/Spirit lead me on the deeper levels of my being.

Edited by Deborah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deborah,

 

>>Our perception of God changes all the time though.

 

I suspect that is the case. My own perceptions will probably continue to change or shift or be tweaked.

 

>>I think there are very clear themes of progression within the Bible...which IMO says more about the authors' progression in their perception of God, than that it says about God changing.

 

I think so, though I can't say for sure. But maybe, over the centuries, the "glass darkly" has cleared a bit. I hope so.

 

>>So does God change his/her thinking? A difficult concept to get my head (and heart) around, which again perhaps says more about my limited view than about God. What are your thoughts on that?

 

It is very difficult for me to get my head around. Process thought was not initially religious in tone. But as progressive theologians considered process thought, yes, they considered that if nature/the universe is "in God", then God also changes with nature. It is more of a Greek notion (Aristotle) to consider God to be the immovable mover. But Judaism, Christianity, and Process Theology posit that God does respond to us and our world. My own thoughts on this are that, if God responds, then God does so through us. In other words, there is no arm bending down from heaven or angels to save us. If God is "here", then God is here and interacts through and in us. But my ideas about all of this are still very much in flux, though even the bible says that we are the body (arms, legs, heart) of Christ. This is not really such an unorthodox view. Many Christians have said, down through the ages, that when/if God acts, God does so through his/her people.

 

So when *some* (not all) Christians assert that we can't be like Jesus because we have sinful natures or we just human, I think they distort the main message of Jesus which was a call to join him in loving God and loving others and working for transformation in this world. Process Theology says that God cares about the world, but he/she is not going to step in and save us, that we need to grow up and do what Jesus and the gospel calls us to do. This is quite different from *some* gospels that say to sit back and wait for Jesus to return to fix everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very, very interesting! when you put it like that it does make a certain kind of sense. And looking around me I would agree with the idea that God 'intervenes' via us.

I'd be hesitant though to limit God's workings to 'just' that. Other experiences, which some would call miracles, also seem to happen to some extent... what does one do with those?

I've had my share.

But this story still trips me up: A friend of mine, who is very down to earth and not at all prone to drama tells of his experience...: he was riding his motorbike and was nearing an intersection.

From the adjacent road another vehicle ignored their red light and was headed straight for him from his left.

A collision was so imminent that my friend expected his demise and not knowing what else to do, called out 'Jesus'...still expecting to feel the impact, hoping to survive, but knowing it was unlikely.

The next moment the vehicle was on his other side, as though it had passed right through him and he rode on unharmed.

He cannot explain this to himself and has confessed that it is the reason he hasn't left the faith, even though in other circumstances he certainly has had reason to.

This is one story. There are plenty of such stories.

Was it quantum physics? Did he mentally transport that other vehicle, or himself? That's so in the realm of the strange that one might as well just call it a miracle.

What do we do with those?

But why the random stories of protection, when other people, who also pray, do die??? It seems so random! Does prayer play any kind of role?

All I can say for sure, is that the charasmatic formulas that I grew up with do not work for me. If someone got healed or protected then it was attributed to God and considered a miracle. If the opposite happened, then it was simply their time to go home...or it was blamed on a lack of faith on the part of the person praying or of the person receiving prayer. All these clauses to try and explain away the seeming randomness of 'God's' intervention...and yet I can't seem to negate that 'miracles' do happen (the seemingly supernatural ones). Have you wrestled with those questions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1) yes, they considered that if nature/the universe is "in God", then God also changes with nature. It is more of a Greek notion (Aristotle) to consider God to be the immovable mover. But Judaism, Christianity, and Process Theology posit that God does respond to us and our world. My own thoughts on this are that, if God responds, then God does so through us.

 

2) So when *some* (not all) Christians assert that we can't be like Jesus because we have sinful natures or we just human, I think they distort the main message of Jesus which was a call to join him in loving God and loving others and working for transformation in this world. Process Theology says that God cares about the world, but he/she is not going to step in and save us, that we need to grow up and do what Jesus and the gospel calls us to do. This is quite different from *some* gospels that say to sit back and wait for Jesus to return to fix everything.

 

 

1) Bill I like that phrase that God is the immovable mover. I like to refer to God as an ocean of pure consciousness, which includes everyone, nature and all of creation so if my consciousness or form changes in that ocean of pure consciousness, I change, but the ocean does not. God does not move, I am moving within Him/Her/It. The ocean does not move similar to the Quantum Unified field containing subtle and crude energies that move within it.

 

I agree with you that God responds through us. I feel our minds deal with the cruder energy forms so we use it to analyze, categorize, seek shelter and food ect. dealing mostly with the iceburgs in the ocean,which are also H2O a cruder energy component, but we have a soul that deals with the subtler energies which is where God would respond through us. I feel our problems come when we identify with our mind influenced by the senses so the cruder energies overwhelm our circuits and we don't hear the subtle messages coming from the soul, but every now and then we get a short and have a mystical experience beyond the mind.The ocean doesn't move, but the energies in the ocean are active. Our egos pushing up out of the ocean saying we are different, separate and unique a wave that is still part of the ocean but when we leave the mind on the surface and dive deep within we have that spiritual experience that we are all connected, one in God the Father. Back on the surface I look over the top of my wave and say no we are separate and different because I identify with the wave, but when i go beyond the mind dive deep within the unity appears.

 

2) I also agree that Jesus was trying to get us to step out of the ego boat and dive deep within the Divinity within and have that experience, "I and the Father are One" Our creater created us to solve the physical/spiritual dilema, not to rescue us but for us to figure it out our self. The paradox of At-One-Ment.

 

Deborah on another thread you said your husband and you have different ways to have communion with God, I agree my wife and I are totally different in our ways to commune, and we both totally respect the different ways we have knowing we are uniting in God, I think this is what Jesus was driving at when he answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." We say he is God and Man, which is mind and soul with Jesus identifying more with the soul. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, " We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience." We think we are minds having a mystical experience, I think Jesus was saying we are souls with a mind and body and not the other way around. There is only one way which would be throught the soul, but God being Infinite has an infinite number of ways as individuals demonstrate to commune with the ocean of pure consciousness or God. So there are many rivers pouring into the sea and many paths up the mountain, but when we get there it is only one way in the unity that is so broad it connects everything.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Soma, I like your analogy of ocean and wave and yes, I agree that we are spiritual beings having a human experience!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deborah,

 

>>And looking around me I would agree with the idea that God 'intervenes' via us.

 

Probably a good question would be: “Well, if it is “us” that intervenes, then why bring God into the equation? Why not just be a humanist?” I wonder about this myself. My best answer, at this point, is that there is an overwhelming claim (not proof, but a claim) that people have done what they have done by tapping into a Higher Power, that they have found some Inner Power that, in their opinion, gave them leadings or strength or courage to do what they did. Could this all be self-delusion? I suppose so. But I think the claims bear serious consideration.

 

>>I'd be hesitant though to limit God's workings to 'just' that. Other experiences, which some would call miracles, also seem to happen to some extent... what does one do with those?

 

I don’t know. Weird things happen in this world. Wonderful things. “Interventions”, so-to-speak. But if we are going to attribute those to God’s actions, what do we do with all the tragedies? Is God capricious? Fickle? Does he play favorites?

 

>>He cannot explain this to himself and has confessed that it is the reason he hasn't left the faith, even though in other circumstances he certainly has had reason to.

I don’t say this in callousness at all, but if the only reason I am a Christian is because I think God will protect me from harm, well, I would find such faith, for me, to be insufficient.

 

>>But why the random stories of protection, when other people, who also pray, do die??? It seems so random! Does prayer play any kind of role? Have you wrestled with those questions?

 

Certainly. I write about this a lot in the “God’s Sovereignty” thread here where I talk about my granddaughter’s death. Allow me, briefly, to share with you how my daughter rationalizes this. She is a charismatic Christian (which I used to be: Pentecostal Holiness, AoG) so she very much believes that God is active and in control of ALL events in her life. Charismatics usually claim a very personal and real and constant connection with God. So, for my daughter, God helps her to get parking places close to the doors at WalMart. God helps the Dallas Cowboys to win football games. She continues to smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day because, God, being in control, could take away her craving for cigarettes if he wanted to. Therefore, it must be God’s will that she smoke. Because she believes that everything happens according to God’s will, she also believes that Moriah’s death was preordained by God and that it is a “miracle” that she, her husband, and her other daughter survived the accident. She believes that guardian angels protected her, her husband, and Bella, but that God took Moriah home.

 

There might be some kind of comfort in taking this few of God, God’s will and miracles. But this view just doesn’t work for me. Perhaps this is the only way in which she can deal with the loss. I’ve recommended psychiatric loss-therapy to her, but she considers that to be “ungodly.” She would rather choose to believe that all went according to a divine plan.

 

Is she more “Christian” than I because she believes in God’s sovereign will and that it was a “miracle” that her, her husband, and her other daughter walked away from the accident? Is it a case that she won’t face the truth of how Reality works? Or is it that I am an unbeliever because I don’t trust “God’s will” in this matter? Does she have true faith while all I have is doubt? Why can’t I accept the “miracle” that 3 people walked away from the accident? Is it because I question God’s goodness in knowing that Moriah’s little skull was pushed into her brain? How do we account for miracles when there are also so many tragedies?

Edited by BillM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, My condolences for losing someone who gives you so much to remember and my respect for facing your difficulties with it.

 

I share you feeling about the church and I feel it uses laws and authority to reach a mind conditioned to the five senses in order to bring people to God while our spirit uses multidimensional, spiritual experiences to develop a spiritual consciousness inside that goes deeper within the soul. In other words, the institution is finding God in the outward expression of our mind, separate for our inner being while spirituality is discovering the innermost secret of God in the deepest privacy of our soul. God turns Herself/Himself/Itself inside out for the mystic demonstrating that everything is a part of God, agreeing with science that matter can also be considered to be energy. “It is in God that we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:38) At this level of awareness the mystic and for that matter the atheist contemplates the whole creation with no restrictions except those that are self–imposed, which can include anything that integrates and gives meaning to the different experiences of life. The Kingdom of Heaven is with us now in our consciousness so the mystics intend to discover how to make ourselves open enough to accept and become aware ofthis revelation that we are all one in an eternal birth that continues without end. The medieval German mystic Mechtild of Magdeburg said, “The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw–and knew I saw–all things in God, and God in all things.”

 

Bill, I feel in the privacy of your soul you are diving deep into the meaning of the different experiences in your life and I can only say I respect you deeply for it.

 

 

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” (Charles Darwin) Science is not competing or against religion and religion should not be against science because they can work together to find and describe the truth. People who set out to find truth and in the process have to lay down their former beliefs are dedicated to truth, understanding and awareness, being brave and courageous due to the threats of everlasting damnation. Science not only changes, adapts and fine-tunes its understandings, but aligns them with studies, experiments and perceptions to form hypothesis, theories and projections on what might exist. Therefore, Religion and science can help each other where science can show, explain and demonstrate connections and interactions among phenomena, religion working with noumenon can push science to new frontiers in order to understand the first cause beyond the tangible world. We Christians can use science to purify our institution from miscalculations and misconceptions that we have learned and made about creation, which science studies carefully. Becoming a Christian does not mean that we have to spray paint our eyes shut or believe false prophesies that millions of people have repeated taking one book literally, but being humble enough to look at the universe and what it has to offer with an open mind to accept what it has to teach us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...