Friday, December 24, 2004

The Way: A Summary

Is a mystic known by doctrines? No, she is known by behaviors--specifically, those of compassion, support, kindness, and goodness. In a word, she is known not by what she believes, but by how she loves. The word "doctrine" is a major turn-off for many people. For they were reared in a system in which "right doctrine" was more important than Love. They also equate "doctrine" with "dogma." We know that the Way is a Way of life, not a set of beliefs.

Stilll, the Way does have some teachings. This gives it intercultural cohesion, and links mystics into the same tradition over the centuries. We will here look briefly at some mystical traditions or teachings. One is that of the "grand man." It goes back to at least fifteenth-century Jewish Kabbalism. The divine "macrocosm" was embodied in the "archetype" of "Adam Kadmon." The Mind that is God has a very large "human" component, and this is what Adam Kadmon symbolized. And this is expressed in creation.

"Ego," is the major fictional construct, or obsstacle, that "separates" human nature, conceptually, from the inner Divine. But this mystical teaching of the "body of God" within Mind should never be literalized, to imply that God, the Infinite, has a measurable or limited spacetime "body." For some, ignorant of mystical symbolism, have done precisely this. The Mormons, for example, have an analogous idea that God has some kind of material structure limited by spacetime. They embrace the ludicrosity that God has a "body" made of flesh and bones only, since Paul wrote that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom." But the truth is, of course, that God is entirely above and outside of spacetime altogether.

God is called the "One," or "one Mind." Mystics seem at times obsessed with the "one Mind." "Mind" implies the psychospiritual. Of course the analogy between "microcosm" and "macrocosm" goes all the way back to the Hermetic writings, in their most famous aphorism, "As above, so below." This implies that the physical world reflects Mind, like an accurate mirror.

The Mind is the "One" of Plotinus and overall mystical tradition. Mysticism is a subsystem of the philosophy called "monism." Stated simply, monism states that there is only One Mind that is absolutely real. Everything else flows from That One. And that Mind, often equated with God, has no real opposite. The implication is that God is all that is, all that really exists. All mystics are in fullest agreement. Thus, as the Dreamer of the cosmos, God is actually "truth" or Reality. In mysticism, "Reality" is one of the names for "God."

Buddhists were using a Sanscrit term rendered, "Supreme doctrine" for this foundational mystical teaching. This was centuries before the birth of Jesus. Since monism is the matrix teaching or core-teaching of mysticism, its opposite, dualism, is the source of every other error. What is dualism? It is the false belief that anything or anyone can exist "separate" from the One, from Coremind, Lovemind, the Absolute. Moving "beyond duality," is the very crux of the mystical awakening.

Here is how that happens: First, the mystic awakens to the fact that there is nothing real but Mind; secondly, she becomes aware that the nucleus and substance of this Mind is Love. Third, she is enlightened to the fact that, because she has a mind, she has Mind, as It has her. So, she becomes the Love-center of her own cosmos, which in effect is the cosmos. Fourth, she comes to know that this inner Mind, Reality, has no real opposite. (She becomes a monist.)

The positive respect, even awe-struck admiration, for both Hinduism and Buddhism, arises from the mystic's recognition that these are essentially mystical, rather than merely doctrinal, faiths. The deepest Unconscious, they recognize, is filled with beauty, intelligence, wisdom, and Love.

The lifegoal of the Enlightenment Tradition is the dissolution of personal identity. This is gradually to be replaced by identification with a much deeper Self of enormous beauty, wisdom, and a galaxy of Love.

In Hindu symbolism, all the gods and goddesses are symbols of aspects of the One, Brahman. Hinduism is not polytheism, but polymorphic monotheism; the difference is critical. Ganesh or Ganesha is our favorite among the incarnation-symbols of the One.

The great platinum mystical classics of Hinduism are the Upanishads. In fact, Part V of luminous Jewels of Love and Light, in Volume 2, is a commentary on these beautiful Scriptures. The Upanishads are so deep, so mystical, that just reading them can be an uplifting, cleansing, healing experience! And of course the "Lord of Love" of the Upanishads is the One. "He" or He/She is both the "manifested and the unmanifested." This reality is world and mind, cosmos and psyche.

Western religions are much more into the "externals." But they still present a rich heritage and powerful literature of spirituality that concerns itself with mysticism.

The "Buddha-nature" ("Christ-nature") lives within all of us, and Buddhism is primarily mystical psychology. Buddhism concerns how we sense, and so, co-create, our personal cosmos, and then, choose to react to that karmically-formed universe. But we must be careful not to replace the actual experience of the deep Lovemind with mere concepts about It. This is Zen, in a nutshell.

Buddhism speaks of the real Mind-nature. It alone is real. The egoself is a mere fiction. Mystics call ego a "role" or "mask" worn by the higher or deeper Self (Soul). Buddhism is a treasure of spirituality, and Western religion could indeed use much more of this.

The West has produced a gigantic codex of mystical literature. This is seen in the gnostic (Christian) and Kabbalist (Jewish) bodies of tradition, both of which are purely mystical. So has Islam, in the "jewels" of that faith, the Sufis.

Mysticism rejects both asceticism (selftorment) and dualism (separate being). This shows a deeper understanding of the Enlightenment Tradition and the Middle Way.

1 comment:

VirusHead said...

Impressive discriminations and integration of thought here, Richard! I completely agree with you. You have put your finger on the heart of it and clarified the common misunderstandings in a wonderfully pithy way. Thank you!