Saturday, April 15, 2017

Notes from Shanghai, April 12. This morning, my friend P. sent an essay by Cynthia Bourgeault, below. It was published at the Center of Action and Contemplation web site. 

On the subject, in this post for the day before Easter, my own comments.

We are invited to come into the kingdom of heaven. It is a real force that can enter us. In doing so, everything changes, because we are invited to live in communion with Christ and the Father. That oneness of God is a real thing, not some hypothesis or scientific premise about the cosmos which translates into religious ideas. It isn't a concept or a theory. It is a real force that comes into us, and that force is Love.

Love isn't theoretical either; at its highest level, it is the glue that binds the physical substance of the universe together, and every particle in our bodies is bound by that. Our consciousness is created by it; our awareness is animated by it.

As I put it to P. in an email earlier this morning,

…this Presence of God is a normal understanding for me every day. It has been melting my soul for years now. Clearly, to me, everyone ought to be intensely focused on this question and the question of submission. 

We can live within the glory if we submit. This mystery is true even though we are these tiny, helpless, and greedy little creatures, because God is so generous.

 That's my message for this week. Perhaps it doesn't square with the Gurdjieff work and all the things that are said about how we are, how we can't do, what consciousness is, and so on and so forth, but when God comes into me all that stuff goes out the window and I am just within Grace. 

That is what I live for, to try and be a worthy receptacle for that force. Maybe I will never amount to much more than that. I'm not sure what I am supposed to amount to, but I am sure of this practice.

Now, I rarely put things so exactly, because I'm sure it sounds like some sort of bragging. Yet in this case, I just want to make it clear to readers that I am witnessing, which is an ancient tradition in Christianity.

I am a witness to truth on this matter, and I think that every human being who cares about their inner work, their soul, and cares about others human beings and cares about God has the right to know that what Christ says about the Kingdom of Heaven is true.

It is real. I affirm it. It is my duty as a human being to affirm it, because so few voices speak out about this in the midst of the terrors we have created for ourselves on this planet.

Below is Cynthia's essay.

The Kingdom of Heaven
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Guest writer and CAC faculty member Cynthia Bourgeault continues exploring Jesus as a wisdom teacher.

Throughout the gospel accounts, Jesus uses one particular phrase repeatedly: “the Kingdom of Heaven.” The words stand out everywhere. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like this,” “The Kingdom of Heaven is like that,” “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you,” “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Whatever this Kingdom of Heaven is, it’s of foundational importance to what Jesus is trying to teach.
So what do we take it to be? Biblical scholars have debated this question for almost as long as there have been biblical scholars. Many Christians, particularly those of a more evangelical persuasion, assume that the Kingdom of Heaven means the place you go when you die—if you’ve been “saved.” But the problem with this interpretation is that Jesus himself specifically contradicts it when he says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (that is, here) and “at hand” (that is, now). It’s not later, but lighter—some more subtle quality or dimension of experience accessible to you right in the moment. You don’t die into it; you awaken into it.
The other approach people have consistently tried is to equate the Kingdom of Heaven with an earthly utopia. The Kingdom of Heaven would be a realm of peace and justice, where human beings lived together in harmony and fair distribution of economic assets. For thousands of years prophets and visionaries have labored to bring into being their respective versions of this kind of Kingdom of Heaven, but somehow these earthly utopias never seem to stay put for very long. Jesus specifically rejected this meaning. When his followers wanted to proclaim him the Messiah, the divinely anointed king of Israel who would inaugurate the reign of God’s justice upon the earth, Jesus shrank from all that and said, strongly and unequivocally, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
Where is it, then? Author Jim Marion’s wonderfully insightful and contemporary suggestion is that the Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. [1] It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place.
Marion suggests specifically that the Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus’ way of describing a state we would nowadays call “nondual consciousness” or “unitive consciousness.” The hallmark of this awareness is that it sees no separation—not between God and humans, not between humans and other humans. These are indeed Jesus’ two core teachings, underlying everything he says and does.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

1 comment:

  1. 'Perhaps it doesn't square with the Gurdjieff work and all the things that are said about how we are, how we can't do, what consciousness is, and so on and so forth, but when God comes into me all that stuff goes out the window and I am just within Grace.'

    Yes, I never saw much of this language in the Paris foundation....all very you know...


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