Life’s central task
is consciously knowing
what we already unconsciously know
who we already are:
our True Self.
We already have
everything we need
our only need
The two trees in Eden
are metaphors for two minds:
dualistic and unitive.
The Tree of Knowledge
splits everything into either/or
(God forbids us to eat from this Tree).
The Tree of Life
symbolizes unitive contemplation
and promises access to eternity.
Separation of things by the Church
into sacred (Church)
and secular (world)
meant the Church treated the world
with contemptus mundi.
The Church thought it had everything
to teach the world
to learn from it.
Scripture and tradition
not philosophy or science
are indeed the final norms
for revealing what is truly human.
The philosophy of non-being
in Heidegger, Sartre, Dostoevsky and Berdyaev
to the transitoriness of all things
and to the power of the demonic
in souls and history.
is not religion’s worst enemy –
In the New Age
there is passion
because God is only within/immanent.
But to conservative religion
God is only without/transcendent.
First find the Inner Authority
of your True Self in God
then balance/integrate it
with the Outer Authority
of Scripture and Tradition.
Balance/integrate God totally within
with God totally without
you have stable yet creative religion.
dominate with Outer Authority
and hate the passion of artists
who break people out of slavery
by waking them up
to imperial ideology.
Totalitarians rule by power and money
but human reality is constituted
by meaning not matter.
Meaning not money
is the foundational reality.
It is a spiritual universe.
John of the Cross
put it all together
as a mystic, theologian, and spiritual explorer
who discovered Treasure Island:
that in Christ are buried all treasures
of wisdom and meaning.
Mindfulness of Christ brings
joy, peace, and happiness.
In distress consciously breathe in
the peace of Christ
and consciously breathe out
the healing of Christ.
Catherine of Siena heard Jesus say
“I want people to meditate
on the greatness of my mercy
before contemplating their shortcomings.
Self-knowledge of sin
must be tempered by and subordinated to
knowledge of God-alive-in-you.”
Jesus: God is nowhere
But religious power-leaders
maintain vested interest
in (unconscious) dualism:
We (superior) versus them (inferior)
“We have true religion, they don’t.
(Our pay depends on this).”
The Bible: do not fear.
But religious power-leaders
invent code names for fear:
Reinhold Niebuhr: sin manifests in
“I am holier than thou.”
Curia: Church is hierarchical/juridical.
Second Vatican Council Fathers:
Church is historical, dynamic, biblical
William Johnson: civilization is destroyed
by violence to the feminine:
endless war, rape, oppression of women
slaughter of the unborn
of Mother Earth.
Friedrich Nietzsche: now the horizon of meaning
within which people lived and moved and had their being
now that God
masculine and feminine mythologies
grows out of freedom, to hear
make a conscientious decision
and where appropriate, say “no.”
knuckles under out of fear.
Authentic nuns lead the revolution
David Bohm: a change is needed:
the Divine Feminine needs to rise
is more fundamental than matter
the unmanifest quantum memory network
builds matter around itself
from molecules to humans –
the unmanifest knits the universe together
like a child in the womb.
Diarmuid O’Murchu: change and decay
but at the unmanifest quantum level
nothing is ever lost –
continuity in a transformed state
is the rule.
Uncentered people are easily hurt
their lives filled with
drama and tragedy.
Saints are hard to upset
because their unmanifest center is God
they have no need
Richard Rohr: We have no access
to who we really are
except in God.
John Chrysostom: Nothing
is equal to prayer, for prayer
makes the impossible
Prayer makes sinners saints.
John XXIII: The Church is meant to be
the Mother of all people
spreading the fullness of Christian charity
The Church is meant to be
the Divine Feminine Rising.
In Heidegger’s concept of “Being”
God is no concept
no transcendent Creator-God
but Activity in the World
All mystics agree
no magical/mythical Being
totally transcends the world
but Infinite Consciousness
lives in the world
in community, in peoples’
joys and sorrows.
the wicked try to flee
who is everywhere –
God the One
who never abandons the wicked
in their sin and sorrow.
“I Am” in Church
born of Spirit, born of humans
Sacrament of Divine Liberation.
Although the anti-Paul
in Timothy I and II
wrote women into silence
St. Thecla, second century celibate-ascetic
was more popular than the Virgin.
separating soul (good) from body (bad)
made men uncomfortable
with women’s bodies and sexuality
but feminist theologians see
Wisdom as Co-Creator
working in female (and male) bodies
creating right relationships.
Womanist theologians see
God and God’s desires
in daily intimacy, daily communion
with God’s Beloved People
the Everlasting Rock of the spiritual life.
Christians and Buddhists
mindlessly practicing rituals
find little joy
because human meaning
is evolution becoming aware of itself,
Like Hindu and Taoist mystics
scientists now open their eyes
and see the universe for the first time
as a unified web.
Like a spider’s web
shimmering in the sun after rain
God catches scientists
in the web of life.
No longer pure observers
scientists now see everything
not as objects or idols
but as icons
of Infinite Consciousness
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
and all things
One Cosmic Family.
HOW GOD, THE UNIVERSE, AND YOUR LIFE WORKS
Order, disorder, reorder. You can detect this universal pattern on a macro, micro, and personal level.
If there was only order, there would never be any change, creativity and growth. If there was only disorder, things would be total chaos.
The universe goes through periods of order, followed by disorder, and then reorders everything at a new level over vast time periods. There was God (order) before the Big Bang (disorder) and then giant stars eventually formed (reorder). This new order had limited chemical elements, but the giant stars exploded (disorder) and seeded the universe with all the elements of the periodic table in new smaller, more stable stars (reorder).
God created natural laws and then let nature obey those laws. Rather than controlling everything, God wanted to see all the creative new things nature would produce on its own: butterflies, jaguars, whales, etc.
Theologically, this theory is called “deism” which, although appealing, is problematic because God is reduced to a kind of detached observer of the universe. The opposite problem, if God is too dictatorial, reduces God to ‘tyrantism.” Then destructive volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires, and floods become acts of (a cruel) God.
The same problem occurs at the human level. If God is not involved, God does not care, and if God is too controlling, we become robots. If there is no human freedom, there is no love. The solution is for God to allow us to be free and also for God to be involved in the form of persuasive love. That desire for greater fulfillment all humans have is God’s persuasive love constantly calling us to new levels of integration.
According to “process theology,” nature as a whole moves inexorably towards greater consciousness and love because God constantly lures it to new levels of fulfillment.
Most of the time nature is orderly, but some of the time, in obeying its own laws, nature creates disorder. Sometimes forests burn down but new plants and animals emerge. A giant meteor collided with Earth, ending the dinosaurs but allowing mammals such as humans to eventually exist.
Religions also go through order, disorder, and reordering. Conservatives can get stuck at the first stage – they want too much order and fear change and creativity. Religious liberals can get trapped in deconstructing religion and not be able to put their faith back together again, so they end up in chaos or virtual atheism. However, there are always people who seek to reorder their religion at a higher level. Examples in Christianity are Thomas Berry, Marcus Borg, and Brian McLaren.
In your own life you might experience order for a while. You seem to have it all together and then disorder happens through divorce, illness or unemployment. If you are resilient and follow God’s inner calling, you may be able to reorder your life and make sense of it in a new way.
Disorder and suffering are caused by the freedom of nature and humans, not by God. God only allows them so new growth may occur. For example, you might learn to appreciate being single or happily remarry, learn better health care or to cope with your disability, or find more fulfilling work.
Hopefully, whatever happens, you can reorder your life with more compassion, gratitude and wisdom. This is God’s desire for you as God’s persuasive love calls forth the best that is in you in each new year.
Bruce Tallman is a London spiritual director, marriage coach and religious educator of adults. brucetallman.com