Thursday April 18, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Question and Response

Fear of self-emptying being replaced by something worse than I had when I emptied out.

What does the concept of self-emptying connote to you.

From letting be and opening, non-clinging to just getting ride of stuff, purgation, could even be violent.

I am a little bit the odd man out. I would never put purgation in the class of self-emptying. In a way I regret the word “self-emptying” as a translation for kenosis which rightly understood is simply a letting go which is essentially a physiological motion of non-restricting. It does not mean a weakening. It means an expanding.

Kenosis is learning how to encounter the new in a state of internal non-constriction and non-defendedness. We learn how to walk into the new with a more open container. It is an earmark of the brokenness of our era that we have had to set things up with egoic protecting, seeing the world as toxic.

There is a way you can learn to draw on the power of the infinite to create a space of extraordinary strength.

When a person lives from real undefendedness, nobody messes with them.

You are drawing on the strength of a deeper force to allow things we would normally think of as toxins not to get in. A person of deep surrender is invulnerable in a deep way that a person who is boundaried in the egoic sense never is.

English language seems to be quite messed. Any suggestions on how we can transition to a new language that might have less dualism. Any examples of how we can use the word being “unique” in way it actually means.

Christians say, “Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God”. People hear it as him only. But, if you look at the etymology of the word “unique”, it would mean he is the one, whole, full, ultimate, real deal package. One who is whole in himself. The undivided one.

Most of the languages we use in the modern west have strengths and weaknesses. We are set up on the subject/object/verb paradigm. We translate the world into subjects that act upon objects.

There is a real difference in musicality and the use of vowels. English and German are notoriously more difficult to sing in because of the absence of awwws. The syllables like aww, ahh, ohhh, have a lot more punch for calling into being certain parts of your being. This is why Gregorian chant sung in Latin has more feeding than when sung in English. It has more to do with the vibration of the syllables than with the actual structure of the language. People find singing the Lord’s prayer in Aramaic is a whole different experience.

The real language that transcends duality is music, particularly music in harmony. As we recover skills of chant we will move away from reducing everything to the cognitive and realize that the real transmission is vibrational.

How does the end of memory relate to our understanding of the eucharist.

The remembrance talked about in eucharist is anamnesis which is living remembrance and is in the sense of vertical dimension.

I like to say “Do this in remembrance with me.”

The tragedy that beset eucharistic theology was that we came to feel we were dong this in memory of someone who wasn’t there.

It is Jesus re-membering us. It is Jesus putting us back together.

As the recollection of a group deepens the capacity to experience Jesus as present in the eucharist sky rockets.

Part of contemplative liturgy is that as you develop a group of people who can hold the vertical silence; you develop a group of people who can hold the energy and Jesus once again uses these elements to hold his aliveness and presence.

The eucharist is valid regardless of the efficacy of the celebrant.

A eucharist experienced as living remembrance when both celebrant and people have been prepared in the heart to receive that possibility carries an inescapable awareness of that presence. It is heartbreaking to see people fussing about the form.

I see remembering as becoming whole together.

The word re-ligion comes from re-legio – to bind back together again, pick up the broken pieces and bind them back together. It is a beautiful concept.

I had always thought form follows function but we seem to have it the other way around.

The work we are doing begins with the prepared heart. That is where the contemplative piece comes in.

The church, particularly the Protestant church, drifted in the direcition of being contentious, dialogical, and argumentative. The very things that nurutre the heart were neglected, then we didn’t notice the diminishing depth in our capacity to be present and to comprehend. The beginning of the recovery of contemplative practice is to create the conditions in which the thing actually want can actually happen.

Are there any models of ego-less conscioiusness

The Dalai Lama, maybe the new Pope looks like ego-less consciousness. We see in moments beautiful servants who are able to draw on a depth of being: Thomas Keating, Bede Griffith, Brother Roger at Taize for the years just before he died.

There are folks who model that there are ways to truly live. It is the natural maturation of the human being. Ego-less consciousness is the full flourishing of the soul.

How can I picture the unitive experience?

At the more immature edge it is depicted in terms of the emotion and sensation of bliss.

But that is only the first level.

Bernadette Roberts in The Real Christ.

Don’t worry. Bernadette Roberts is on the darker side. There is less compassion and more sheer intelligence. People experience things differently.

Final paragraph in Huston Smith, Why Religion Matters – talks about the pealing away of the final layers of the onion skin and says that after death he is sure there is some consciousness that will hang around. But after a while there will be no one around who remembers you and then there is not much point in hanging around any more and then you will be in “I Am” state until even that will be boring and I would rather just be the sunshine. Nothing is wrenched from our hands.

It is only as we live to the full our capacities and our responsibilities at every level that things are thinned out. Why do I need to carry around all this stuff.

What is holding personhood?

There is no sense of that terrible sense of loss of identity because you are never disappearing into something that you were not already. I could disappear as a conscious viewing platform and God would still be ok.

My own sense of the journey is a very absolute unquestionable conviction that personhood survives the grave. And to the extent we are living out of personhood and not ego we can let go of this physical material realm without fear or anxiety. There are two deaths: the death of the body and then the death when that personal energy field gives itself back.

Don’t be afraid. The rewards in love and tenderness are enough to assure you that you are heading in the right direction.

Want to go back to the ego-less consciousness becuase all the examples you used were all men and they are all living.

Edith Stein, Etty Hillesum, maybe Pema Chodron. Too many of the women are too strident still. I don’t know the hidden ones.  Individuation in this kind of way knows no gender distinction.

How does age or stage in life influence this process?

There are two cycles that mesh together in different ways. There is the human personal cycle of what you are called to do in your personal life. There is a time in each stage of life for pulling back. There is a time for completion. The  refusal to make space can screw things up. This sometimes conicides with ends of eras.

Whatever else you want to say about our age is that as this changing of the guard is coming about, it is coming about in some conditions that didn’t exist 50 years ago, or at least that people didn’t see. We know we live in a finite planet where things are connected. There is no place we can hide the rubbish. We have reached the ceilings of expansion. We have to begin to think in ways we have never thought before and our cultural traditions and language structures are not only not helpful, but are in many ways actively counter-productive. 2500 years of accumulated culture may or may not be relevant to what is happening.

We face unusual conditions now, which lay a lot on the young, particularly in light of the fact that there has been a drain on spiritual resources in the last generation.

Much of this sounds like Gurdjieff.

What makes the Gurdjieff body interesting is that his metaphysics, as cranky and eccentric as it is, is based on principles that scientists are working with today. Gurdjieff was already in tune with the modern universe. A lot of wisdom people are gravitating to Gurdjieff because it has more resonance with the modern world, even though the language is cranky and antiquated.

People at a certain level of understanding will tend to see the same things broadly across traditions.