Tag Archives: Buddhism

States, Structures, & Shadow

I’ve come recently to really enjoy listening to Ken Wilber, father Thomas Keating, and Rollie Stanich discussing the subject of Christianity, its current state, its future, and seeing it as a window into vast spirituality indicated to buy a vast array of human spiritual inquiry and tradition.

Recently these three joined together in the talk, now available from Integral Life in three parts titled Esoteric Christianity. (http://integrallife.com/node/57029) Here, I will touch on a few of the gems from that conversation.

I think that it is in part one where Ken offers a view of state stage proficiency in this way: (and I paraphrase) that there is God/Spirit/the non-dual arising each moment and if we are paying the right kind of attention, we are present to that in our awareness in a fundamental way. However it’s possible, that we aren’t paying that kind of attention, and miss that deep “quality” of being, whereby we may still find ourselves noticing the causal form of the moment, a vast witness of the movement from non-duel into form. Again, it’s possible that we are paying less attention than that, and missed that as well. At this point we still have the chance to see the subtle forms taking shape, the actual divisions of manifestation into qualities, feelings, emotions of being… and yet…. Still we might find our attention lacking to even that quality of being, leaving us to experience the world in our perception is nothing more than gross forms, a concrete, material flatland void of any depth or feeling.

I think Ken said it much better than I managed here and definitely encourage you to listen to his description of this, however it did leave me wondering. I’ve been stricken lately with the idea of perception as being a matter of scale, simply an arbitrary slice of a vast continuum extending infinitely in all directions. I find myself looking for the ends of these spectrum, where do my ideas of being merge with the mystery, and what is the nature of those boundaries and borders?

In the particular spectrum described above, I imagine it’s possible also to miss the gross nature of manifestation were not only does one have no sense of depth or subtlety, but not even a sense of a manifest condition, only the autistic self arises in one’s awareness… and what if one misses even that, what is the quality of awareness that fails even itself?

It seems like there is a short arc described in all of this from non-dual to non-awareness, is really the world that could be described by human thought and expression so slight as to be nothing more than a white cap on a wave of some great ocean? And why the insistence of these finite metaphors, is it possible that language itself, even ourselves as utterances of the Great Perfection are not adequate to express the infinite?

This seems like a reasonable segue to one of the other beautiful gems of the discussion. In the second part, Rollie offers a beautiful description of Christ always knocking on the door just outside our own borders. Beautifully invoking the question that Christ asks “who do you say I am?” Mr. Stanich invites us to look for the second coming, and the second coming, and the second coming of Christ always beckoning us onward through our own spirals of development.

The last thing I would like to mention of this dialogue actually correlates to the title of part three: “the Five Non-dual Paths”. In this section, Wilber beautifully illustrates five of the world’s great non-dual paths and their description of ultimate reality, what causes this to become obscured in our consciousness, and what we might do to return this to the grace of that full awareness. Again, I would urge a listening to the description directly. I have also noted the description into a simple table, offered below.

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