Frontiers of Wisdom

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Box labeled "Master for Duplication". What was the intended purpose?


with the monks in the refectory, okay? And that happens at 12.30, and there's a bell at 12.25. But probably the Eucharist will end a little early, so you need some place to hang out in between. It could be the library, it could be, if it's nice out, it could be the courtyard here. Then they'll ring the bell at 12.25, and then it's time to go to the refectory for lunch, okay? I should repeat that tomorrow, but if I forget, then I've already done it, right? In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All right. Ted, did you have a poem for us at some point? Yeah, I do. I'll listen to what you're talking about and interject at the right time. All right, good. Yeah, tell me when you're ready. I'm a little bit unsure as to how to start out this afternoon. We've got this horizontal revolution. Okay, so I'll just spin off a few things. The horizontal revolution from past to future,


which tends to be a revolution from east to west as well. If you look at the Church, look at the development of Christianity, it moves from east to west, doesn't it? At least from mid-east to west. We think of the Fathers of the Church being principally eastern people, okay? Then we move west with Augustine and so on, and then west continues going. It's almost like the east stands still, too, and the west progresses. I said something like that about the Asian traditions before, about the east being, as it were, one-pointed and stationary, and the west being maybe two-pointed, you could say, and progressive or in motion. There are various ways of thinking about that. You can think about it, if you love the eastern spiritualities, if you love the Hindu or Buddhist spirituality, for instance, you can think of it slanted that way, that the real wisdom is to be found there, is to be found in the east, where somehow divinity, the ground of being, is accessible.


Where enlightenment... Enlightenment is part of the culture, even, okay? And it's not unusual, and one doesn't have to sort of completely abandon the culture in order to go for enlightenment. There's a recognized path in each tradition, one or more. Not so true in Christianity anymore. The east tends to be spiritual. The west, if you look at history in the west, it tends to go downwards, it tends to move downwards. I always think of, you know, like philosophy and thought in the west. You start out with Plato, you start out looking upward, as it were. After a while, you've arrived at Aristotle. And this is not only among the Greeks, but this is also in the Middle Ages. This is the way the Christian theology and Christian philosophy progressed. From Plato and Neoplatonism, wonderful non-dual philosophy, to Aristotle, where you're sort of in the world and analyzing the world. And then, a few centuries down the road,


you find yourself with Newton, and you find yourself with Descartes. And you find yourself with science instead of philosophy. Philosophy somehow is congealed into empirical, rational science. And then, after a little while, you find yourself with Freud, and Marx, and Nietzsche, and so on. With the deconstruction people, and with the, what would you call them? The masters of suspicion, in a way, okay? Who kind of look at society and look at humanity from the bottom. Well, there were ethicists also, like Kant. There were individuals that weighed moral good. Yeah, yeah. Now, Kant is kind of a turning point, they say. But Kant had to handle the split between the internal and the external, and so he seems to rotate around that, between freedom and determinism. And that split is still there, isn't it? I mean, over in the English department, it's freedom, and over in the science department, it's determinism,


and the science building. We're kind of moving between those two today as we talk. Much more of what I have to say now will be sort of coming from science as we talk about the West, because it seems to be science that impels history on the West, largely, isn't it? Science and technology makes the West sort of the engine of a forward-moving history. And you can see history accelerating in the West. I mean, it's like a tape spinning to its end, faster and faster and faster. You could almost believe that the end of the world was approaching in a sense. Remember that poem of Yeats, Turning and turning in the widening gyre, The falcon cannot hear the falconer, Things fall apart, The center cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. He wrote that way back, I think, in 1922. I always thought it was later, but I think of it in connection with the Second World War and so on. So, how are we going to look at this history, this progression from, say, from East to West, the progression from unity to movement, unity to history? Karl Rahner's got an interesting history of the Church.


It's like for kindergarten students, and it's in three simple phases. Okay, the first Christianity he says is Jewish Christianity, in which the faith is still contained within a single culture, and that's the Jewish culture. Second phase of the Church, and that first one ends, what, about 60 A.D., something like that, when Jewish Christianity really gives way to Gentile Christianity. The Council of Jerusalem, let's say. Maybe it's earlier than 60. No, Paul is there, so it must be around then. The second one is when Christianity moves out from its Jewish container. It's not just Judeo-Christianity any longer, but it's liberated among the Gentiles. But what happens? From our point of view, Christianity settles into a single cultural complex once again, which is the European cultural complex, or the Greco-Roman Geronic. And it stays there. It stays sort of arrested within that cultural container,


up until when? And this is where it gets more comical. Rahner says up until 1962, the Second Vatican Council, or roughly then, the years of the Council, because he says the Second Vatican Council is the initiation, inauguration of a world Christianity, a world Church, in which Christianity, for the first time, becomes able to realize the Pentecost phenomenon on a world scale. That is, when each of the cultures can be expressed, not only in its own language, but in its own forms, its own liturgical forms, and so on. That begins with Vatican II, according to Rahner. But the three-stage formula or pattern for history is very popular. There have been a bunch of those. Remember Joachim, back in when? I think he died in 1204, something like that. And he devised this system of the three ages. The age of the Father, the age of the Son, and the age of the Holy Spirit. The age of the Father, for him, would be from the beginnings of history


until the time of Christ. The age of the Son would go from the time of Christ, from the New Testament, up until, I think it was 1260, when the age of the Spirit would begin. That didn't quite happen the way he expected. He thought that in 1260, that Christians and people would become contemplative. It basically sounded like the world was going to turn into a monastery. That's not quite what happened, is it? Instead, the world has moved in the opposite direction. Instead of going up into the Spirit, it's moved down. The movement of history has been incarnational instead of spiritualizing since then. I often think of the different tracks along which that's happened, that kind of incarnational path. And I think it is a manifestation of the Incarnation. I think it's because God came into this world, took on a human body, became a human person, that history itself has followed that trajectory for the past 2,000 years, at least. You can trace it in philosophy. I mentioned Plato to Aristotle and so on,


all the way down to our deconstructionists and the kind of, what do you call it, disintegrative thought of the postmodern period. You can look at it in religion. Move from the Eastern Church, which tends to be a very vertical and spiritual church, where the liturgy is primary and the contemplative tradition remains alive, remains rather dominant in the Eastern churches, at least very often, through Roman Catholicism, which gets more grounded and where you have a single institutional form, but still it's divided between the spiritual and the practical, let us say. And Protestantism, which tends to, at first at least, to abandon that contemplative spiritual dimension, the purely vertical dimension, abandons the vertical dimension almost in every respect and moves into the horizontal, the historical, the incarnational, and into a practical execution of the Gospel. So even in religion it works that way.


And I think in politics it happens that way too, from monarchy and from emperor down through kind of parliamentary governments and down towards democracy and so on. So history has been following a kind of incarnational path. Yes? Does religion follow politics or does politics follow religion? I'd say that, it's a good question really, they move together, but I'd say that the religious, the spiritual movement, the theological movement, let me put it that way, is the basic one, okay, and then the political is sort of an externalization. I think the religious thing is deeper in people and it's like a deeper stream inside history out of which the others then flow as expressions. Now I'm prejudiced, obviously, about that, but I think the religious is prior. And notice how everything in the West seems to flow out of Christianity. In other words, at first everything is wrapped up


in a religious complex, okay, in the church, basically, for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. And then things break free, you get a differentiation. That is, science breaks free, okay, and begins to work according to its own principles. And culture, humanism breaks free, begins to do its own thing. No longer does it have to listen to the theologian, or listen to the pope, about what it should do. It just goes ahead and does its thing. And that's true of virtually everything, until you get a secular world where religion has been pushed to the margin, basically, and where there's no single authority. Even the idea of any single truth becomes suspect, let alone authority. But we're constantly mandated that everyone become Christian in that Holy Roman Empire, and then Marcel of France insisting that all of his subjects, because he wanted to dwell in the Frank tribes, did that, in some way, dilute religious faith, or did it dwell into the temporal like that? Yeah, I think it did.


It diluted it, but it promoted it at the same time, so it's very ambivalent, isn't it? Because a lot of people were converted, maybe, without wanting to, and yet the religion continued in them, and sometimes it deepened, you know. Sometimes they really appropriated it. So it's hard to judge. A lot of history is that way. It's hard to say whether it balances on the positive or the negative side, especially Western history. It's full of that kind of ambiguity. But by now we look very critically at the Constantinian moment, okay, when the Church almost seems to almost seems to take over the Empire, and at the same time it gets taken over by a kind of imperialism of its own, a kind of papal imperialism, after a while. So we tend to look at those things darkly now, but they're just facts. They're facts. How we evaluate them doesn't really affect how they turned out, with a mixture of consequences that they had. But that's part of the whole thing, part of the European thing, definitely. So where are we?


Well, we can think about three ages. I like to follow Rahner's thing in a slightly different way. There's a first age, there's an age, let's say, basically of unity. The second age, you take it way back before Christianity, or just within Christianity. Let's do it within Christianity. Think of the first age as the age of the Eastern Church, okay? An age of unity, a kind of unity and a plurality within unity. The second age is an age of a single external form in the Western Church, and that's the Roman Catholic Church, up until the Reformation, okay? The papal thing, the fact of the Pope as a single monarchical leader for the Church and the Church law, which makes it into, I don't think, a single organism, but a single legal structure, is very singular in Europe. You can almost say that everything else follows either by going along with that, being determined by it,


or reacting against it, in a sense. Rosa Sarkozy has a theory of Western history being governed by a series of revolutions. The first one is the revolution of the papacy itself becoming supreme against the emperor. But the next ones are all against that papal leadership, against that papal principle, against the, what do you call it, centralization, the central power, and so on. But to think of the Roman Catholic Church as being distinguished as the church of the second age, the second age being the age of the Son. Now, what is the Son of God? What is the Word of God incarnate? It's a single, objective realization of divinity, is it not? There's only one original Son of God. There's only one Christ. We participate in Christ. We are children of God in Christ, but there's only one Messiah, in that sense, only one original Son of God. So the church resembles the Son, in that sense, resembles Christ, in that sense. You see, the first age


is the age of the Father. The second age is the age of the Son, of a single, objective realization of divinity. And the third age is the age of the Spirit, when instead of that single objectification, that single form, that single institution shatters. Instead you have a splintering and a plurality and a diversity and endless fragmentation in the end, okay? That is, after the Protestant Reformation and as that moves forward. Which is, and each of these both has a truth in it and at the same time is a travesty of what we call the age of the Spirit. Because to think of the modern age since 1500, since the Reformation as the age of the Spirit seems quite paradoxical, doesn't it? But in some way there is that parallel. So that's one way of thinking of it. And where are we now? Well, the one obvious thing is that we are at a global threshold. We are at the beginning of a world something or other, aren't we?


Global consciousness, whatever you want to call it. So that puts us at a singular moment in the history of the world and the history of Christianity as well. And you can, if you want, if you are strongly Christocentric you can say that that very global moment is a further working out of the event of Christ, okay? And you can look at the coming of Christ, look at the working of religion, look at the development of Christianity in terms of unity, as Rosenstock Lucy did. First he talks about the unity of God, that is, the tribes and their gods being converted into religion of the single God, the true God that we worship, the God of Christians and the Jews. The second phase, the second millennium being the unification of the world in two ways. First of all by exploration and by conquest, colonization or whatever you want to call it, but the world is round and during the second phase


we know that roundness. In fact, at the end of the second phase we can even see it from outer space, that famous photograph of the earth. But also by science. The world is united by science. How? Well, science has created a single fabric of understanding, hasn't it? All the sciences tend to fit together now. Not without a seam, but they fit together. For instance, chemistry and biology. You've got molecular biology where you begin to look at life in terms of molecular structures and so on. So chemistry with its determinism has somehow merged with biology where another principle, this principle of life and ultimately of freedom is taking over. So where are we going with all this? Well, what I'm trying to do is understand a bit the relationship between Christianity, the Christ event, and history. And I tend to see history... The Christ event is the central event in history


and which determines history largely from that moment, that moment when it happened 2,000 years ago, but unevenly and often not quite visibly. But these things become visible in our time at this global threshold. A time when a lot of our decisions, even political decisions, are made on the basis of should we think about ourselves or should we think about all of humanity? Should we think about the needs of the United States and our people, or should we think about everybody? So doesn't that ordinarily leave human rights as more or less just a lip-servicing that our diplomatic people may refer to usually in furtherance of other ends? Often, sure, often. Lip-service is service to that goal, that objective, or whatever you want to call it. That's the key, as opposed to what had been, say,


under the Romans, you just crushed the maker. Or what the Nazis basically tried to do, tried to resurrect that whole mindset, you know, the full revenge, the relations around everything. So even lip-service... So, lip-service is still a progress. It recognizes the ideal. It may be betraying it practically, but it recognizes the ideal. It doesn't attack that. It doesn't dare. It has to preserve it. So it does support it in a way, but it can betray it in a way which really underlines reality. So it depends on the case, doesn't it? It depends on the concrete case. Some expectations you're making, so we'll talk about real politics and just side-step it while pursuing imperial goals. That's right. We've seen a lot of that in our own country. But we tend to be kind of innocent about things, and we think that, basically, that we're in the right position, you know, and so are our leaders, but we found out different several times. Did Wilkie have that idea when he was propoting the one-world idea? I don't know. I was just a kid then, and I was not... I was a kid.


I really was. I was in college, and he came and talked to us. He served on a truck. They wouldn't let him in the campus, but he came on a truck, a flatbed truck, and parked just outside the campus, and we could all go down and listen to him talk. Now I could tell you more about baseball in those days. So getting back to our kind of big scale, I mentioned that this historical progression can often be looked at as a movement from east to west, and it's very crude, you know. It only works out when you take the largest, kind of the biggest picture. And also, from the unity of the beginning to the unity of the end, and I mentioned two figures, both of them are Christians, both of them are religious, who represent for me the two terminals, the two ends of that long spectrum, the eastern and the western. One is Abhishek Tananda, who did the best he could to get to the unity of the beginning,


which is nonduality, which is Advaita in the Vedanta tradition. And Teilhard de Chardin, who did the best he could to get to the other end, to the western terminus, that is the future. One goes backwards, back to the undifferentiated source, which is typical of monasticism, of the aim of monasticism. Panikkar one time defined the monastic archetype as the center, and it's that same reality, I think, the nondual reality, the single point. It seems very, very difficult to reconcile that with a scientific approach, because you have a yogic god speaking to a warrior at a time when people are supposedly living hundreds of thousands of years. Yeah, well, there's a lot of mythology. It seems like a real mythic kind of fantasy. A lot of it is, but the realization itself is not mythical, okay? That is the experience of nonduality, which is not consistent, it's not uniformly the same


in the different eastern traditions, but it's present in all. There's a wonderful book by David Deloy called Nonduality, A Study in Comparative Philosophy, where he talks about nonduality as being the center of these three great traditions, of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, okay? And that experience is a real thing, because it's witnessed in powerfully convincing terms, which are not mythological terms at all, okay? They're not externalized in that way. So, at the heart of those religions, he proposes that that same reality is there, but with different tonalities, slightly different realizations in the different traditions. And I believe that. I believe it's true. I believe the same reality is in Christianity, but in a different way, in Christianity's own way, which becomes incarnational. Is it purposeful that you neglected the great schism and haven't mentioned the orthodoxy split? The split with orthodoxy? Right. Well, when I mentioned the movement from Eastern Church to Roman Catholic Church, that was implicit there, okay?


The break between the two happened, what, 1054, officially, something like that. Well, they still exist, but I don't know how impactful they are. Well, there's a lot of Eastern Christianity, but it's been under Islam and very much burdened, you know, very much tormented for centuries and centuries. So, in spirituality, we hear quite a lot about and from the Eastern Churches, because they maintain a monastic and a contemplative and a sapiential spirituality when the West has taken all these other roads. At the same time, they can be very conservative and stay within their own boundaries. But with the Nicene Convention, was part of that making Jesus as God, was that not a non-duality Yeah, very good, it is, it is. In fact, that's the point at which Christianity both joins and separates from those Asian religions, okay? Because, especially in John's Gospel,


you see it, because Jesus, in assuming the divine name, I Am, that's a non-dual statement, okay? Not only that He and God are one, but that in assuming that identity of God, when He speaks, I Am, He has various predicates on it, but there are at least half a dozen, six or eight times when He says just absolutely I Am without any predicate, okay? Without I am the bread of life or any other end of that sentence, that statement. When He says that, He's assuming the identity of that magnificent name, okay, which has no predicate because it has no specification. It is the absolute identity, the absolute being, which is undifferentiated. Differentiated in the Son, yes, okay, or differentiated in the three persons, but He's saying that in an absolute way in which the identity of God is that non-duality that we're talking about, I believe at least, okay?


But the difference in Christianity is what? That the non-duality has become a human being, that the non-duality has become incarnate, that the Word has become incarnate. The Word, as it begins in John's Gospel, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was God. So the Word was itself non-duality. The Word was itself the absolute. But then the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, John tells us, a little later in the same prologue. But I thought that was the whole point now of having an inversion of consciousness that's what's happening right now within the global consciousness is that that's going to that beginning again. It's going to be internal. Well, internal but not only. See, the point of Christianity is that it's not still only internal, that it becomes externalized. In other words, look at the unity of the beginning as that absolute non-duality of God, okay? No creation yet, no incarnation yet, let's say. Then look at the unity of the end


as an embodied non-duality in which all of humanity, and in some way the universe itself, has become one. The non-duality which is God has become incarnated, has become embodied. First of all in all of humanity, okay? And then by extension somehow in the universe as well. So the whole process of history then being that unification which takes place through incarnation, through embodiment. So the event of Christ would be right smack in the middle of it. Where the embodiment is in a single individual and then almost by a kind of infection or a kind of ignition, it passes out gradually into all of humanity. And the time when you begin to be able to see humanity coming together, which is our time, when it begins to become one human world, one human family, is a critical time in that process when you begin to see it externally, okay? Yes? Is this kind of a reference to the mystical body idea? Yes, it's a different language for the mystical body.


And in fact Teilhard, and a lot of this is coming from Teilhard, the idea of the Christ Omega, the embodied unity as the end of history, the terminus of evolution, okay, comes from Teilhard. And Teilhard will speak of the body of Christ. But if you want to speak to those outside, you have to use other language, don't you? And you can very well talk about the unification of humanity without a particular religious... cast to it. But yes, that's what it is. It's emphatically physical, the body of Christ. And Teilhard emphasizes that again and again and again. It's a physical reality. It's also spiritual, of course, but it's emphatically physical. That's shocking and also refreshing once you get used to it. It is what we are. It is as physical as we are. And remember that Christians are promised a resurrection. I mean, human beings, in Christianity, through Christianity, are promised a physical resurrection, a resurrection of the body. Whatever that means in terms of relation of that body,


the risen body, to the body that I have now. I hope for an upgrade at the time. You will too, when you get to a certain age. Well, if we're resurrected in Christ as part of the body, we'll be with him, and we'll be him, in a sense. That's right. We'll be, at the same time, ourselves, and also individuals, free individuals, and we will be what he is. In fact, we already are, in some way. We already are sacramental. And St. Paul talks about there's no man or woman, there's no... No slave or free... No slave or master... You're all one in Christ Jesus. And he identifies that with your baptism, because you're baptized into Christ, you're all one. Yeah, that was part of that, being part of the mystical body through baptism, in a sense. That's right. After the resurrection, we would be in the heavenly mystical body.


Yes, but it's the same body, OK? So we're the same mystical body with those in heaven. Well, yeah, but we wouldn't have to be like we are now. We don't have to eat, or go to the toilet, or do anything like that. No, that's right. It's a very different state that is still physical. We don't have to wear clothes either in heaven. Well, we don't know about that. So would baptism be considered like the first non-duality, the first... You know, the first ritual, I don't want to say. He says the initiation to non-duality. Baptism is initiation to non-duality. Yeah, in the sense that you are... In the old days they would say you were divinized, OK, in baptism. Divinized. Remember how the Fathers of the Church will say, well, God became a human being in Christ so that human beings might become God.


That's divinization, and that's the non-dualization, you might say, OK. So then where does that get lost between, you know, if that's the... in terms of baptism, then where does that get lost as far as the human world? Well, it gets lost easily in the complexity of our ordinary life, OK, because we're just not living in a non-dual world. And we have to... Everything on the outside is dualistic, OK. So it gets lost existentially in our personal life. In history it gets lost too, doesn't it? And why does it get lost in history? Why does that fundamental, secret mystery of Christianity, the non-dual core of Christianity, why does it get lost? It became much less emphasis on original sin, as far as the... Well, part of it... You seem to be saying two different things. When the original sin thing gets over-emphasized, then the unity gets lost. It gets forgotten because the duality between us and God, the separation is accented,


and the unity is almost entirely suppressed. So that's one thing. That happened in the West especially, OK. And part of it is that the church gets in the middle in some way, OK. And it's kind of hard to govern non-duality. It's hard to... It's hard to mediate a religion of immediacy, OK, and of unity, of absolute personal non-duality. So the church has to. It's not necessarily a sinful thing, but the church in some way has to step in and try to put a structure in the middle, a theological structure and then an institutional structure and so on, you know. And so it happens. And pretty soon the non-duality is out of touch because it's not something we experience all the time anyway, at least in ordinary life, OK. But it's there. It's inside us. And you can say that our life is led between the non-duality of God and the complexity, the duality of the world. And that somehow we mediate that non-duality


into the duality of the world, OK. It's very simple in that sense. And that's what we do by faith, by hope, and especially by love, you know. Yes. So here's a poem. This is a poem that I was thinking about and it captures a blending of... It speaks to multiplicity and unity. And this is by Rabia, who was a Sufi saint, the first woman Sufi saint in 800 A.D. thereabouts. And she's having a conversation with her servant girl. And so the servant girl says, she speaks about the multiplicity. She says, Rabia, it's springtime. Come outside and see all the beauty that God has made. And Rabia responds back, more in unity. She says, servant girl, come inside instead and see the maker of them all, naked, without a veil.


She ties those together. That's interesting. Servant girl reminds you of Paul and the servitude to the law, you know, from slavery to freedom. And for Rabia, it would have been, she was more or less a slave, so I don't think she ever had a servant girl. So the servant girl was her senses. And Rabia, this was her heart. So that both are necessary. One gets to see all the multiplicity, but then our heart sense gets to integrate with the unity. That's one way to get to the non-dual. It reminds me of Martha and Mary. Mary was still at the feet of the Lord, and Martha was busy about many things. Almost kind of... Herman has said, you know, in Siddhartha, instead of chasing about to find that happiness outside of himself, actually it was within. And so he took a trip within.


Yeah. So we find a good deal of talk about interiority in the West, but not much talk about non-duality, not much talk about unity. And I think Christians have been afraid of that, because we need to keep firmly in place those dogmas, okay? Dogma of incarnation and the two natures of Christ. Also, the Church needs to keep reminding us of our distinction from God. I remember Cardinal Ratzinger, one time before he was Pope, wrote a letter, was it about meditation? And he said, wrote in the letter, that we must never make the mistake of putting ourselves on the same level as God, okay? And that was a great big, a great big loophole that B. Griffiths found, okay? So he shot his arrow directly into the middle of it and said, well, we've already been put on the same level of God as Christ, in Christ. And we have. That's the meaning of the New Testament, is that that vertical distance between God and humanity, between the human person, is abolished. And yet, obviously, it still exists.


So it's there and it's not there. We are one with God and we are not. It's up to... The mystical body puts us right there. That's right, yeah. So, the meaning of Christianity is our unification with God, and then the unification of humans in that unity. Yes? Maybe it's that we're one in potential. Well, it's potential, but it's also actual in some way, okay? It's got to be real. Even if it's only a seed, even if it's only Christ present within me who joins God and the human person, it's got to be real. And our baptism does that. It's a sacramental event. Yeah. I remember how the idea of the mystical body itself would get so diluted that people would think of it as a metaphor, just as a convenient metaphor for something which is not really physical like that. But Teilhard and others just emphasize that that is physical,


that is body, that is matter that we're talking about, okay? So that the realism of that, and then the realism of that unity within us. And occasionally, once in a while, we may have a strong taste of it. Where did the idea of the mystical body come from in history? Paul. Paul? Yeah. Remember, he uses it explicitly in several of his letters. It's a fundamental idea for Paul. Remember, in the body there are different members. There are the preachers, the teachers, the prophets, all of those things. It's a favorite metaphor. You are the body of Christ. The body of Christ is one, and yet it's diverse in its members. And it's more than a metaphor for him. It's real, because he'll say, because there's one bread, the body is one. So it's connected with the Eucharist. It's sacramental, and it's very real. Yes. A combination of Paul's images. There's the body of Christ,


and also the temple that's being constructed. We're all living stones in the temple. That is being constructed now. And also, back in Romans 8, with the idea of the whole cosmos being born, and us are involved with that. Our priesthood, the universal priesthood of all people, in that event of the birth of the cosmos. And also, another powerful example of us identified with God is John 9, with man born blind. He says, I am just like Jesus says that. And it's beautiful, because Jesus goes to congratulate him after he gets thrown out of the temple. And yet, that person has now got to cope with the fact that he's been ejected, that he's been thrown out of the temple. So on the one hand, he's identified with God, and Jesus congratulates him for that. On the other hand, he's still got to wrestle with life and all the hard facts of life. And it's in that wrestling that's kind of how we're contributing to the birth process. Yes, just as Jesus has to wrestle with it all.


And he doesn't exit on a chariot. He exits through death, you know, on the cross. So that's the extreme of the dualism, isn't it? I think the cross of Christ. Even that image has got an image of contradiction, an image of those stark right angles, perpendiculars, you know, contradiction, conflict. And out of that and in that is the energy. So where have we got ourselves? Let's read another poem. Here's one that sort of fits in a little bit with what we've been talking about. It's Yeats. And it's from a longer poem called Vacillation. This is only one short part of it. This is the best-known part of it. We haven't got numbers on those pages, but it's the page with Yeats and Auden on it. Vacillation, part four. My fiftieth year had come and gone. I sat a solitary man in a crowded London shop, an open book, an empty cup on the marble tabletop. While on the shop and street I gazed, my body of a sudden blazed.


In twenty minutes, more or less, it seemed so great my happiness that I was blessed and could bless. Isn't that marvelous? Here's Yeats, who's not really a religious man. I shouldn't say that. He always claimed to be religious, but he made up his own religion. That was the only problem. And he wouldn't identify with being a Christian, even though he had obviously come out of Christian education and so on in the beginning. But this is the kind of beatitude, I suppose, of the poetic person, of the person who follows his own path, is in some way blocked from a direct contact with divinity the way that Christians contact divinity in their faith, and yet comes to a certain mysticism in spite of all of that. Lord Byron, the former poet laureate of England, had commented somewhere, He knowest lives and knowest dies, who makes and keeps his self-made law.


And that was Byron's take on it, humanistic agnostic. Yeah. I don't know much about Byron. There's one more little thing here from W. H. Auden, which is a poem, a longer poem, it's just one section on the same page, called In Memory of W. B. Yeats. And Yeats died in January 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, wasn't it, in Europe. And Auden wrote the poem in February of 1939. Yeah. So, and I especially like this last part, which almost, the rest of it is more complicated. The lines are longer and so on, and the thought is not as direct. But this has got the power of Yeats in it, these last stanzas of that poem. A wonderful statement about the power of poetry. Earth receive an honored guest, William Yeats is laid to rest. Let the Irish vessel lie, Emptied of its poetry.


Now this is just before war is breaking out. In the nightmare of the dark, All the dogs of Europe bark, And the living nations wait, Each sequestered in its hate. Intellectual disgrace Stares from every human face, And the seas of pity lie Locked and frozen in each eye. Follow, poet, follow right To the bottom of the night. With your unconstraining voice Still persuade us to rejoice. With the farming of a verse, Make a vineyard of the curse. Sing of human unsuccess And a rapture of distress. In the deserts of the heart Let the healing fountain start. In the prison of his days Teach the free man how to praise. Of course, before the days of inclusive language, we always have to apologize for the things that we read. That gets us back to the issue of poetry. I wanted to say something more about poetry. What's our time thing? Five to fifteen.


All right. We don't have too much time. Let me try to do this in a hurry. And I got one poem when it's ready. I think that I really keyed off of what you talked about in the backwards and the forwards. And I tried, I racked my brain and my heart to come up with a poem that tied those together. And one came so at the right time. Oh, good. Good. So this is another Sufi saint who lived around 1300 AD. His name was Yunus Kemra. And he was a, lived at the same time as Rumi, maybe. They probably knew each other. But he wrote a poem that kind of ties definitely backwards, and it does pick up the forwards and the newness and the fontanality that you talked about. So what Yunus said is, what sweet, he says, what sweet news of love shall I bring? I shall speak to each one. And I say, well, listen.


At first, before earth and sky existed, there was a ground of love, an infinite beginning, able to bring all things into one. Don't compare love with anything. It's not possible. There is no substitute for love in this world and the next. People tell Yunus, you're too old to be a lover. And Yunus says, but this love is so new and fresh. So he's taking that backwards, just bringing it through. And he is a fountain. The fontanality is just pulsing through. Yes. The Sufis are amazing. I think that somehow, it's like a New Testament within Islam. It's like a gospel within Islam. Like a gift of the Holy, an event of the Holy Spirit is springing forth of a fountain of living water inside Islam. I think it's expressed in Sufism. In contrast and in opposition to all of that rigidity


and all of that fanaticism. Because that's what we see of Islam today, what's on the front pages and so on. Yunus has another line where he talks about that rigidity. And he says, Love is an ocean. Law is a ship. Some have never left the ship, never jumped into the sea. They may have come to worship, but they sought a ritual. They never entered the inside. So they do pick up that primordial faith that got lost throughout the manifestation. Sometimes I think it's because of the privation that they're in, in a sense, theologically or religiously speaking. And even, often economically speaking, politically speaking, because of that privation that living water springs out. This wonderful free creativity that comes out of a lack of structure,


a lack of, what do you call it, a lack of constraint, you know? That complete freedom, it seems like, of the Sufi poetry, which springs out, Yeats says it somewhere, he says, Out of stone, out of a rocky source, out of stone, out of a desolate source, love springs upon its course. Out of rock, out of a desolate source, love springs upon its course. It's that contrast, you know, maybe it even produces that freedom, the necessity to break out of that. Yes? I think I, and I might have misunderstood you, but did you just say about the Holy Spirit into the Islam, like, could we say that the Holy Spirit could be a universal kind of non-duality? Yeah, it is. I think we have to be careful with the term non-duality, but it is, okay? The Holy Spirit, B. Griffiths is very good on this, the Holy Spirit somehow infuses the entire world, okay, and it's available to everybody,


it's accessible to everybody. There are different degrees, you know, different degrees of the gift and different degrees of the reception of the gift, okay, but it's there, it's everywhere. So someone can have the Holy Spirit without needing to? Absolutely, you know. In fact, you could say that everybody has a gift of the Holy Spirit from the beginning, you could. You know how Matthew Fox wrote a book called Original Blessing? That's his best idea, I think. Original Blessing, instead of Original Sin. Original Sin is around, but it's not quite original, it's not the first thing. The first thing is Original Blessing. And Original Blessing can be interpreted like Rahner has, what does he call it, the something existential, what is that? Or it can be interpreted simply as the Holy Spirit, the presence of the Holy Spirit that's breathed into every human being at the beginning. Yes? Was that a tenet of the old Roman Catholic, Baltimore Catechism, which had the human body as the temple of the Holy Spirit? Does that still apply? Sure. In different degrees, you know.


And usually, usually that's been considered in the Christian context. By Paul, for instance, he considered that in the Christians, the baptized Christians, that they were the temples of the Holy Spirit. They're social and somehow universal. That's what the human being is made for, in a sense, you know. The human being is made to be divinized, made to be one with God, made to be one with non-duality. The Holy Spirit is the, what would you say, the infusion that makes that happen, that makes it true. I'm sorry, can you repeat that? Yeah, the human being, I think, is created to be one with God, okay? Created to be divinized. And it's the Holy Spirit that makes that happen. So, just as Rahner would say that there's transcendence in every human being. Every human being has an immediate contact with God, immediate access to God. And the Holy Spirit is another expression for that. His expression is transcendence, human transcendence. So someone can be divinized without being a Christian? Absolutely, yeah. The Holy Spirit. These mystics


and the other religions, you know, they're genuine. The ones that we read about in the great literature, for instance, of Hinduism or of Buddhism or of Sufism. So where's the problem? If this is true, then where is the universal problem? Well, there's a problem as soon as you get to theological discussions and things like that, okay? In other words, as soon as you... Well, you've got to have some kind of distinction. You've got to know what we're going to do on Sunday and what we're going to do on Friday, you know, for instance, you know. People start fighting about those things. But that's come down to it. There's been division since the beginning, okay? And we move from that. You say... You don't want to say original sin, say original division, original fragmentation, original conflict. We move from that towards unity. Yesterday you speak of Catholic, perhaps you should be more Catholic, more encompassing. And I thought of Hindus and Buddhists and they had Sikhs bring up with the idea in mind that they were going to unify those two differing faiths and they ended up both hating the Sikhs


and all rivaling each other apparently for Congress. Yeah, in the end, unity has to be a gift of God, doesn't it? This idea of back to the future is not a new idea really because that's what Confucius had. His idea of the previous or the kind of legendary history of China was considered so perfect in his idea and that's what he hoped it would come back. Okay, well... His people become a stronger and more unified nation again. That's the cyclical vision of history. The cycle of history that Christianity departs from and Israel departs from before Christianity. And where you get the extreme of the departure from it is Teilhard who makes the future and the end tangible for you in that Christ Omega and that body of Christ, okay, in its physicality and in its universality in the end.


So a lot of our story is between those points, between the cyclical thing and the unity of the Eastern spirituality and the linear with its terminus, with its end over here somehow in this final Christ event, the realization of the Christ Omega. Which some people talk about as the second coming, which is harder to visualize in a sense. Yes, and we could go, you know, in a sense we're thinking of the back to the future when we think of Eden and before our original sin. But what I'm trying to get across is... And eventually coming back to that. Yes, but we're not going back to it. That's the thing. It is a progression. Well, it's a future event which will rebuild that back up into something maybe bigger or better than it was originally. Yes, because the essential thing often for us is the progression, is the difference, is what we can do in the meanwhile, okay, what we can build.


Not just what we have to repent for, not just what we have to quit doing, not just what we have to turn away from, but what we can do and what we can make and where we can go, okay. That we can actually do something. That's the big new thing. The new thing in the whole of this history is that the human person becomes able to do something positive. That's Teilhard's big thing. That the human person, instead of just renouncing, instead of just humbling oneself and so on, becoming smaller and smaller, hoping to be divinized in that way, going back to, as it were, to the original gift, where to go forward and use everything we have to move towards the goal, okay. That's Teilhard's point. And it's perfectly true. It's not that we can neglect the interior and the spiritual. That goes without saying, okay. But this new factor is decisive for us. Moving towards God's future. Brahman will speak of God as the future, the absolute future. That's wonderful. That gives us something to live for. That gives a Western person some way to accept herself or himself, okay.


And accept what's really ours, what we're really made for. Well, and it's kind of like Nirvana in a sense. Those ideas that you have in some of those other Eastern religions, too, that we're looking forward to something that is all-inclusive. Well, Nirvana, by and large, is the opposite of this, though, okay. Because Nirvana is the cessation of activity. The withdrawal from activity into the center, as it were, or into the source, okay. So, and what we're talking about is the energizing of activity towards a goal that we can help creatively to realize, okay. That's a Western thing. And, as I say, Teilhard's a great prophet of this. He stood alone almost, you know. Nobody else talked like that. Nobody else talked like that. Well, he has adherents. So, Kirtan Shazen has devotees that meet once a month in the U.N. Secretariat building


down in the East River. No, he's got a lot of descendants. He's got a lot of offspring. But in his time, he was alone. I don't know if anybody else had thought like that. My other question was, where's the Teilhard of poetry, okay. Because I think there is a parallel between science and poetry. I leave that as a puzzle. If there's a parallel between science and literature or imagination, between reason, human reason, and human imagination, human creativity, where is the unity which Teilhard has discovered, or made up, whatever you want, between Christianity and science to be found in the field of imagination and poetry? I believe there is a valid parallel between the two, and I believe that there is such a place of meeting, a point of meeting, okay. So, I'll leave that just as a puzzle. But, when you think about it, one point is that the scientist works with the objective, the poet works with the subjective, okay. So, if you look at Teilhard's structure of evolution, meeting Christianity,


and finding its center, its core, in Christ, Christ event, you discover that what he's talking about is an objective reality. Even the Christ omega that he talks about is objective. Visible, as it were. Whereas poetry is working with the subjective. So, how does the parallel work out between the objective picture and the subjective realization? Some of the poems that we were reading about nature, for instance, about the love of natural things, the delight in the natural thing, I think is a big clue to that. So, maybe we can come back to that tomorrow. I think we should quit now, because it's half past. Thank you very much.