‘Peace,’ a feature of the Divine …
In the Center for Action and Contemplation daily meditation published on July 29, Friar Rohr relates the teaching of Life School faculty member, Dr. Barbara Holmes. Writing about “God’s Abiding Presence,” Rohr quotes at length from Holmes’ book, Joy Unspeakable [Fortress Press, 2nd ed. (2017)]:
Holiness is a concept that makes ordinary people nervous. . . . The holiness that Jesus describes has less to do with pious character traits and more to do with the hosting of God’s abiding presence. It is not effort but invitation that opens the human spirit to the possibility that God may sojourn with us.
While often misunderstood as moral purity, actually, ‘holiness’ is Christian discipleship jargon for wholeness, that is, not-two (both/and). Rohr continues quoting Holmes’ Divine union by “invitation” thought:
The human task is threefold.
- First, the human spirit must connect to the eternal by turning toward God’s immanence and ineffability with yearning.
- Second, each person must explore the inner reality of his or her humanity facing unmet potential and catastrophic failure with unmitigated honesty and grace.
- Finally, each one of us must face the unlovable neighbor, the enemy outside of our embrace, and the shadow skulking in the recesses of our own hearts. Only then can we declare God’s perplexing and unlikely peace on earth.
“…God’s perplexing and unlikely peace on earth.”
It’s not a question of G-d’s Immanence, G-d is Present. How do I know? My own experience has shown me. Then, too, my experience is affirmed by the Divine-immanence recounted in the Christmas narrative (G-d Emmanuel), the consistent witness of the Holy Spirit, as well as the writings of many mystics down through the ages.
The pertinent question is: are we conscious of G-d’s Presence?
Clare Graves/Spiral Dynamics [SD] worldviews aside, is the reality of G-d’s Immanence an ordinary part of your consciousness? If so, then you know that offering a coherent witness and testimony as to G-d’s Presence with language (or nondiscursive means) is no mean feat.
In Graves’ and SD developmental terms, the first point in Holmes’ ‘three-fold task’ finds a spiritual grounding for a developmental corollary: e.g., the opening of (exiting) RED [CP] to (entering) Blue [dq] —note: this introduces here a more nuanced way to distinguish/designate a specific developmental stage.
So, for example:
- PURPLE/red [BO/cp] = exiting/overwrought PURPLE, 2nd stage: human-bond, tribal values
- Red [cp] entering/naive Red, 3rd stage: ego, power values
- Red [CP] = mature Red, 3rd stage: ego, power values
- RED/blue [CP/dq] = exiting/overwrought RED, 3rd stage: ego, power values
- Blue [dq] = entering/naive Blue, 4th stage: order values
- Blue [DQ] = mature Blue, 4th stage: order values
- BLUE/orange [DQ/er] = exiting/overwrought BLUE, 4th stage: order values
“Overwrought RED” is an apt description of the individual’s realization of the limits of the individual. “…turning toward God’s immanence and ineffability with yearning,” describes, in spiritual terms, an opening to human development beyond an exclusively self-referential values system. Not nearly as poetic as the mystics, yet a basic grasp of SD language and the RED to Blue developmental transformation (in spiritual terms: conversion) does offer a dynamic point for Spirit, Graves, and SD to meet narratively.
Images of non-duality
Objectivity and subjectivity are not-two.
Heaven and earth are not-two.
The sacred and profane are not-two.
I’ve previously related my möbius way of describing the non-duality of Reality, that is, seeing through the not-twoness of interior/exterior perspectives (e.g., the co-emergent dynamic of subjectivity and objectivity). Similarly, all dualities are a construct, a differentiation of language, especially the sacred/profane division. Our (quadrant) holism mnemonic helps us keep these concurrent, dynamic relationships top of mind.
Intersection of soul and Spirit
Holmes is arguing that union with G-d and peace are found in the honest reckoning and holistic embrace of both our light and our shadow. Recall, Saint Paul reminds us: “we live and move and have our being” in G-d [cf. Acts 17.28]. I am taking the human ‘soul’ to be that aspect of a person that integrates body, mind and spirit (good and bad) in relation to Spirit. The human soul is the point of human/Divine interface. A visualization:
In The Marriage of East and West, Bede Griffiths writes:
There is no objective world outside us as opposed to a subjective world within. There is one Reality, which manifests itself objectively outside us and subjectivity within, but which itself is beyond the distinction of subject and object, and is known when the human mind transcends both sense (by which we perceive the ‘outside’ world) and reason (by which we conceive the mental world of science and philosophy) and discovers the Reality itself, which is both being and consciousness in an indivisible unity. (pg. 24)
I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?