Sunday, January 16, 2011

Infinite Depth

One morning in bed, which is where and when the best insights come, this phrase “Infinite Depth” came to me. Another term for what we call “God.” Out of that depth come all creative ideas, an infinite variety of physical forms, answers to intellectual questions, solutions to problems, and so on and on and on. The wisdom of this Depth comes to us because it’s within us. It’s the Within.
Teilhard de Chardin teaches us that consciousness and matter are aspects of the same reality, the Within and the Without of things. Evolution of all forms physical and spiritual is a progression in consciousness—humans are increasingly more conscious of our own consciousness, more aware of our own Within.

But we fail when we try to capture it in words because words refer to individual ideas, and the Within is beyond any individuals. There’s a story that an Eastern sage tried to express the inexpressibility of what we call “God” by saying something like this: Think of all the ideas and objects that exist or could exist—this could go on forever—and after each thought, ask, “Is this God?” Always we answer, “No, not this.” The Source is beyond all and yet Within all. The second part of that has largely been missed in Western religion.

In Christianity the apophatic tradition appreciates the Within, but our liturgy perpetuates misconceptions with its insistent, boring, misleading repetition of “He” and "Lord" and "Father." I keep mentioning them because, in the present reactionary climate, deleting them or at least lessening their use would be the simplest way to educate humanity about God’s transcendence.

In public discussions about “God,” it is assumed to be an individual entity, a somebody with humanlike thoughts and will, a person or thing separate from us and the rest of creation. And so the misunderstanding persists. Public discourse about religion focuses on externals such as church attendance and religious teachings and which religion attracts more adherents.

The common purpose of all religions—to mediate the Within of things—gets no press. Unfortunate.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only meditating on the Within makes one's religion like a bird with only one wing. Our meditating to be true to reality needs to be informed by the God Without who has been and is being revealed to the Within by the Word of God (the Bible),the Son of God (Jesus Christ) and the Spirit of God (aka known as the Holy Spirit).

thinkaboutit said...

Another failure of religions.....to bring about communication...., to be the medium with the Divine. Religion has done more to separate me from the Divine Within, than secularism and materialism.
Western religions only leave room for their telling and interpetations of the myths of what they perceive as the Truth. That truth rarely touches on the inner path to the Divine. It doesn't seem to have time as it is too busy being RIGHT.

Jeanette said...

I would like readers to know that Teilhard de Chardin was a paleontologist, a Jesuit, and a mystic renowned far beyond Catholicism for his elegant descriptions of the Within and the Without.
These comments illustrate the need for spiritual systems to respect each individual's unique way of envisioning spiritual reality.