Friday, March 17, 2006

Turned upside-down and inside-out

I cannot emphasize this enough. Sophisticated secularists are of the uniform belief that religiosity represents a lower order of thought, at best a quaint mythological way to represent our infantile hopes and wishes. But this could not be a greater distortion of the truth, for in reality, we must raise intellect up to religion, not lower religion down to our intellect. In order to do this, we must develop latent capacities that lay dormant in the psyche. In so doing, the familiar world we know with our senses is turned upside-down and inside-out, as we begin to see the higher in the lower. Time becomes space, in that mere duration is now experienced as the moving image of eternity. Faith becomes vision--literally.
It is not just a matter of knowing where to look, but how to look. Religions are supposed to provide structures in order to illuminate the spiritual facts of our experience. Like good scientific theories, they not only make sense of those facts, but also allow us to see new facts, in the same way that the paradigm of quantum physics allowed scientists to see an entirely new realm of phenomena that was invisible to them with the old Newtonian, mechanistic paradigm. The facts were there all along, but without a theory through which to look, no one saw them. Likewise, spiritual facts are all around and within us, but without a spiritual practice, they tend to go unnoticed. One might say that you should try to know God not because He exists, but so that He exists.
As I have mentioned before with regard to imagination, it has a positive and a negative connotation. In its negative sense, it involves abandoning ourselves to the idle machinery of the monkey mind. It is a kind of bad detachment from reality in favor of an infrahuman sub-reality. It is as much a closed circle as is mere cerebral intellectuality. But imagination in its positive sense is absolutely vital for religious understanding. Again, imagination is the membrane that makes contact with the higher world. It is dangerous to try to understand religious truths in a merely rational way, because it reduces them to the mere known and undermines their function of bypassing the ego and vaulting us out of our conventional way of knowing...
Here again, this cannot be emphasized enough. We only bring a few vital tools with us as we approach the realm of spirit, and much of our spiritual practice has to do with honing these tools, in particular, imagination, attention and memory. Attention must become focussed and yet relaxed and fluid, while memory must begin to operate vertically, not just horizontally. To the extent that attention is fragmented and dispersed in the horizontal, it is doubtful that you will be able to recollect the vertical. This is what meditation and prayer are all about. They are the keys to the kingdom, but they are not ends in themselves. Rather, they are simply exercises: "verticalisthenics," as I call them. Tuesday, March 14, 2006 posted by Gagdad Bob at 6:35 AM 24 comments United States Clinical psychologist Robert Godwin is an extreme seeker and off-road spiritual aspirant

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