Thursday, July 3, 2014

A blindness of sensation

It is in the nature of all things that what is above always flows downward into things below, insofar as the lower things are adapted to the higher: for the higher things never receive from the lower, but the lower receive from the higher. Now since God is above the soul, God continually pours into the soul and cannot fall away from her.

The soul can indeed fall away from Him, but as long as a man keeps right under God, he is immediately receptive to this divine influence unmixed from God, and is not subject to anything else, neither fear nor joy nor sorrow, nor anything else that is not God. So, cast yourself then completely under God, and you will receive His divine influence wholly and solely.

This divine influence—inward flow— that Eckhart speaks of is identical to the permanent sensation that Jeanne de Salzmann calls us to discover. Swedenborg might have conceived of it as the energy that flows into us through the inner eye, which "sees" and receive divine emanations from God. 

If I begin to see at all, I begin to see through this eye; and then perhaps I begin to understand that my blindness — this biblical blindness which afflicts my inner sight — is not a blindness of the eye, but a blindness of sensation. This, too, is light and I receive such light; but it is the light of the body, the inner light, which has a fineness and a clarity of a very different order.

Only by coming under this influence on a perpetual basis do I begin to understand the question of obedience. 

In The Reality of Being, de Salzmann passes on to us many notes which she wrote to herself on this matter. It's worth remembering that these were notes to herself about her own work; they serve as a detailed record of her own struggles and discoveries. As such, the perspectives in them are unique to her, although they inevitably relate to a much larger body of spiritual inquiry.

Even under this influence, I discover, I am largely helpless. The chief "use" of such influence, insofar as it has use— and the use it has is not my own use, let me make that clear—is in the tutelage it brings, the inner teaching that helps me to see what I am. God's influence is the real teacher; and until this teacher comes, every other teacher is nothing more than a preparatory assistant, assigned to lay a foundation through which, with grace, this influence might arrive. This is why de Salzmann says we cannot teach—we can only work. All of us are somewhat confused about this; I can only leave it to the inner energy to remind me of this principle, and when it is active, quite surely it does so. I can measure its absence by my arrogance; they are in inverse proportion to one another.

This influence, organic in nature and on the order of the "pure, burning sensation" de Salzmann refers to, cannot be denied if it is real. I attune myself to this mystery; and I submit to it constantly, insofar as I am able. 

This submission is always and everywhere a confession; an inner gesture towards the higher in which I acknowledge the Lord. This confession is the intelligence I seek to bring to my inner word; a feeling intelligence, unmarked by the stain of my rationalizations. I ought to be quite careful, inside myself, to distinguish between the parts that submit and the parts that have other agendas. Both exist at all times side by side; and unless I discriminate, I will easily confuse the two. 

I want to confuse them; and this is the difficulty.



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