Archive for December 2nd, 2009

As we go ahead on our course in life’s spiritual voyage, we come to explore the multifaceted and multidimensional character of Spirit. We look at all of its diverse manifestations and forms, symbolic expressions, signs, and personal experiences. As we progress, as typified by our education, we dive into literatures that themselves present increasing degrees of complexity and nuance. We stretch as we go from our earliest studies of simple geometries to the more complex ones and then on to even more abstract mathematical imagining.

Often ignored in all this diversity and language and intellectual sophistication, is the lowly point. We hardly give the small dot on a page much attention ( unless, of course, it separates dollars from cents, pounds from pennies). So, what’s a point anyway?

In geometry, the “point” is an object in space  lacking in extent ( volume, area, length, etc.). In the Cartesian plot, it is  a unique position in space defined by paired values x and y. In any event, we spend most of our time thinking about trends, three points or more, and the geometric shapes. What, then, of the forgotten, lonely point?

In astrophysics, there is a vibrant dialogue that has been underway for some time on “gravitational singularity.” This also refers to a “point” where the “gravity well” runs so deep that objects, including light, enter but do not re-emerge.  Singularities are points of infinite density at the center of “black holes.” It is thought that our universe began as a singularity just prior to the “big bang.” In fact, you and I began life, in a sense, as biological singularities: single points that then became ever more complex through specialization of cells.

In turning to the matter of Sacred mysteries, there are striking parallels.  Out of the very simple comes complexity. From the still point at the center, humankind has evolved complex systems of expression to capture the naked singularity that cannot be so clearly seen, but that exerts such great power on our consciousness.

Alpha & Omega are points, not trends, not triangles, not cones, nor circles. Ultimately, we will all get to the point, and it will be a return.

Practically speaking, this meditation awakens a sense of the reason we meditate at all. To get to the point, the singularity, the origin and the destination.

I include here a relevant prayer and meditation from the Liturgy of the Order of the Christos [ A Celebration of the Cosmic Heart] incorporating poetry from a number of the Nag Hammadi texts.


Glory be to you, O Father.

Glory be to you, O Word.

Glory be to you, O Grace.

Glory be to you, O Mother.

Glory be to you , O Most Holy.

We give thanks to you, O Light.

In whom darkness does not dwell.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

Who are you O Holy One that comes out of Light?

What mouth can speak your name, or mind conceive your nature?

You hold the whole of creation within the circle of your care.

You are the Center,

The Circumference,

The Origination.

The Destination.

Maranantha, AMEN!

© Brother Anton and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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There is arguably no greater symbol of suffering, except for the Cross of Christ, than his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest. The canonical Gospels tell of his unspeakable loneliness while his principal disciples slept unaware of what Jesus knew too well: that he would be taken and condemned to die on a cross.

Suffering is the single largest conundrum facing those who believe. We struggle with it and try to make peace with it. We often hear that “it is G-d’s will.” This merely rationalizes suffering as fulfilling a grand purpose of which we are unaware. At best, this is a clever dodge, a sophistry. Alternatively, others contend that if God is all-knowing and yet allows suffering, he cannot be good, or if he’s good, and not the source of suffering, than he cannot be all-knowing.

Wars, rumours of war, unspeakable violence committed against people, and grotesque, evil acts perpetrated against entire ethnic groups, raise our doubts about G-d’s goodness, or we dismiss it as beyond us, and simply avoid thinking about it to the extent possible. Of course, until the next moment of genuine despair. How do we reconcile the tragedy of the world in which we live with a theistic mindset?

Buddhism rightly acknowledges that suffering is everywhere. The Bodhisattva’s mission is not to simply fly off into a paradisiacal rapture, but to return to those who do not yet know the truth, and end suffering. What is the truth that the great teachers of righteousness sought to share?

We are the Buddha and the Christ for one another.

Buddha sets himself the task to return from samadhi to bring knowledge to all. The Christ points the way to heaven in the here and now, not later, in seeing beyond the profane, mundane, and seemingly real, to the sublime, eternal, and more real than real. Both promise knowledge that is not of reason but of the Heart.

Suffering differs from pain in that the former involves strong emotional perseveration. We suffer  in direct proportion to the degree to which we hold on to our pain and add anxiety, dread, anger and fear to it. We magnify it and so the pain endures. Suffering is the scarring of mind and spirit associated with pain and loss. It is at the core of the human tragedy.

Pain is a given. Tragedies occur. Suffering, however, is a matter of consciousness, and increases the more we are asleep to the Sacred Mysteries.

One of the loveliest and most enigmatic of the apocryphal texts in the Nag Hammadi Library is “The Acts of John,” attributed to Leucius Charinus, a second century disciple of John, the Beloved Disciple. It has within it the Hymn & Dance of Jesus, a poem that narrates mystical events occurring on the night before Jesus was put to death ( captured in an exquisite musical composition by Gustav Holst) . It is a remarkable homily on suffering and, like so many of the Nag Hammadi scriptures, is a theological bridge between Western & Eastern mystical traditions.

This morning, I focus my meditation on one section of the Hymn in particular, one in which Jesus prepares his disciples for his death on the Cross; an event that surely was an inconceivable loss for them after having given up everything to follow him. The Hymn offers explanation, however, with emphasis on the esoteric significance of the event, and not simply the personal and sociopolitical reality of the moment.

The hymn transcends the events happening to Jesus alone and the disciples closest to him. In preparing them for the tragedy to come, he orients their vision toward the cosmic significance of it ,while dancing and singing in praise of the Mystery

His intent is a conversion of consciousness, achieved by a dance, that creates a shift from ordinary discourse to a dialogue with the noumenon.

Now answer thou unto my dancing.
Behold thyself in me who speak,
and seeing what I do,
keep silence about my mysteries.

Thou that dancest, perceive what I do,
for thine is this passion of the manhood, which I am about to suffer.
For thou couldest not at all have understood what thou sufferest
if I had not been sent unto thee, as the word of the Father.
Thou that sawest what I suffer sawest me as suffering,
and seeing it thou didst not abide but wert wholly moved,
moved to make wise.
Thou hast me as a bed, rest upon me.

Who I am, thou shalt know when I depart.
What now I am seen to be, that I am not.
Thou shalt see when thou comest.

If thou hadst known how to suffer,
thou wouldest have been able not to suffer.
Learn thou to suffer, and thou shalt be able not to suffer.

What thou knowest not, I myself will teach thee.
Thy God am I, not the God of the traitor.
I would keep tune with holy souls.
In me know thou the word of wisdom.

Again with me say thou:

Glory be to thee, Father;
Glory to thee, Word;
Glory to thee, Holy Spirit.

And if thou wouldst know concerning me, what I was,
know that with a word did I deceive all things
and I was no whit deceived.
I have leaped:
but do thou understand the whole,
and having understood it, say:

Glory be to thee, Father.


Jesus says: “Learn thou to suffer, and thou shalt be able not to suffer,” and “Behold thyself in me who speak.”

Much in the realm of Spirit is paradox. Much of what is true and real befuddles the mind. But here, as in Buddhist scriptures, the answer to suffering is to know how. The how, it seems to me, is to dedicate oneself to removing it wherever we find it among our brothers and sisters.When we face losses, to embrace those who also have them is to step beyond suffering. Our loss propels us toward and not away from others.

To say that suffering is G-d’s will is simplistic, reductionistic, and projects a finite perspective on infinite things. All scripture presents the truth as very different from the “G-d’s Will” point of view. The natural world is a dangerous place. Bad things happen to good people, and it doesn’t and will never make any sense.  So, we best stop trying to “make sense of it.”

Rather, the Beloved’s will is that we learn to not suffer by being the Christ and the Buddha for others. In finite space-time, things begin and end, are born and die, rise and set. This is the way of chiaroscuro, light and shadow. The dance of opposites is the nature of the world ( the Dance of Shiva).

But all this polarity sprang from homogeneous nothingness. To see with finite eyes into the Heart of the Infinite requires a collapse of opposites and the birth of a new consciousness. It is the call of the Cosmic Heart to recognize who and what we really are.

It is the Hero’s Mystical Journey of return to where we’ve already been ( before our birth), but now adding to the Cosmic consciousness as we take part in the infinite dance of all toward the Teilhardian Omega Point, the fullness of the Christic Path!

© Brother Anton and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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