Monday evening

It’s not really dark in that dark night. It’s not really a void in the cloud. There’s plenty there to see. But you need to use a different set of preceptors to perceive in the cloud.

What is the true self? If you stop short in this teaching, you can sometimes get the idea that the true self is simply the healthy ego. This is a great trap in the teaching.

The movement we make is from the personal self to the transpersonal self, or from the psychological self, the experience of our self as basically psyche, to perceiving ourselves as more and more consciousness itself.

What is it that is deeper than the personal self, that undergirds all the characteristics of the personal, that bubbles up in us?

The movement is from your self as soul to your self as spirit. We move from a more boundaried, finite, descriptor based on a feeling  or identity of “you” (“I am my feelings, my history, my stories about myself, my reactions, my gifts, etc.”) to a relationship with ourselves where we perceive ourselves as a living moving conscious realization. We find a consciousness that is unboundaried.

Don’t stop with your psychologically well-adjusted self. What’s deeper than that?

There is something in us which is already at this point living beyond death and is in itself unboundaried. The real trick, which is sometimes referred to in mystical language as the union of soul and spirit, or the marriage of soul and spirit, is about somehow making connection in our self between that part of us which is truly and rightly finite and personal and that which is truly and rightly not finite and not personal.

There is that within us which has the capacity to grow so broad and tall and deep that, like an oak tree, it connects the earth and the heavens. That’s what we are here for. To do this we have to learn to fall into the ground and die. At every level we are being asked to die to something less real in order to be born into something more real.

It may be that you are bigger than all the stories you have told yourself. (Nun: “My story” is a “My-stery”) You become lost in the wonder of your being, not because its your being, but because it is Being and you’re a part of it.

This is the passage into unitive consciousness, into a oneness that doesn’t cancel out the particular.

We have tended to get confused between mystical experience and visionary seeing. We tend to think that mystical experience means reaching these great altered states of consciousness, very exuberant oneness kinds of intimate encounters with God. Those things do happen to some people and they don’t happen to other people. It depends more on temperament than anything else.

But unitive seeing is a quality of being that can and should come to everybody, the fruit of a consciousness grown mature and ripe. It ought to be the normal human state by the time you reach 60 or so. Because what really is involved in unitive seeing is simply seeing from that place of oneness within you, seeing from centre within you. And you already know how to do that. You know the place from which unitive seeing comes. All you have to do is learn to work it and trust it.

Only unitive seeing can be truly compassionate. They are almost synonymous. Because, as long as you are trapped in binary thinking with its judgments, and its either/or, and its standards, you can’t possibly be compassionate. You are always going to be judging. Whenever you are judging someone is left out in the cold. You can’t have judging without a judged. We have to learn to move beyond the thing which sees in terms of opposites, one of which is good and one of which is bad.

Centering Prayer (CP) is a practice of surrender. It is a meditation form based entirely on the gentle art of surrender.