Re:Jesus in the Air
Sep 07, 1995 11:42 PM
by Arthur Paul Patterson
Paul Johnson Writes:
Here's a sincere query which is likely to produce opposing answers if
anyone cares to hazard an opinion.
Art: Love to. It is a very welcome diversion from recent conversations on Jesus.
Paul: In the last 6 months or so I have been practising Surat Shabd Yoga,
as taught in the Radhasoami movement, with some modifications of my own. It
consists of three practices, only two of which I have done:
1) Simran-- repetition of the Divine Names (Nam, Radhasoami, etc.) while
focusing attention at the Eye Center (3rd that is).
Art: What precisely is this Eye center. Is it a chakra point or a metaphor
2) Bhajan-- hearing the Sound Current and concentrating attention on
listening to this vibration.
Art: This sound current sounds beyond the actual vocalisation of the name
itself. If so there is a clue there I think. You are in the South and as
you say the name that is in the air is Jesus.
3) Dhyan-- contemplating the physical form of the Master.
Art: This would be very different, since, there are no historically
accurate representations of the physicality of Jesus. The best book I have
even encountered on this is called The Faces of Jesus by Frederick Buechner
where there are artistic renditions of visual theologies of Jesus. My
favourite are the oriental ones.
Paul: Here's the question/problem. The more I have practised this yoga, the
more I find myself receptive to various forms of Christian devotion.
Getting hymns stuck in my brain for a while, for example, or various
spontaneous mantras with Christian themes. All this despite the fact that I
have no particular conscious preference for Christianity over any other
Art: I am presuming that this is not a recent phenomena brought on by the
current discussion? I hope not. But the emergence of the Christ archetype
in your unconsciousness may, as you say, be related to the collective
unconsciousness of the area. At least, you are not crushing out the
emergence of the themes because of the negative connotations that the
uncreative unconsciousness of the southern fundamentalist collect is
involved in. I admire your spiritual courage and openness.
Paul: One could also suppose that early childhood programming comes to the
surface during trance states, which Simran and Bhajan may induce.
But my question to you all is: how right or wrong is it to go with the flow
of such images, sounds, etc., rather than resist them?
Art: Right now I am discussing that with one of my tutorial students. He is
asking it in reference to Blake's non-analytical approach. Too much
structure crushes direct religious experience. No critical or analytic
perspective can lead to being taken over by the contents of the collective
unconsciousness. I tend to think that both approaches must be viewed in
tandem. To experience and withhold analysis momentarily is the best bet as
long as you are not drawing conclusions about what you are experiencing. I
like to see life as metaphor and capable of change so I see whatever I
experience as true mythically but not immune from analytical critique. Go
with the flow, trusting in the Source to guide you, and then use your
analytical perspectives to form hypothesis concerning what you experience.
Paul:I think a highly orthodox Theosophist would say something like "you're
just becoming a passive medium for other people's retrograde spirituality,
and this is a fate worse than death, so stop."
Art: That doesn't sound too enlightened to me.
Paul: On the other side, a more tolerant minded Theosophist might say "use
whatever environmental factors are available in your spiritual practice,
regardless of how politically correct they might be."
Yes! As long as the rationality it brought to bear upon primary experience
at some point. The actual contents of that rationality will be what you
have discovered so far and are trusting.
Paul: A fundamentalist might say "Jesus is calling you to abandon the
wicked occultists" for that matter.
And he would be right if your were following a "wicked" occultist but I
haven't met as many of them, perhaps none, that would be called wicked. I
like the idea that you can judge an experience by the fruit it produces. If
you encounter the Buddha or Jesus was is the qualitative moral quality that
is produced? How are you altered? This to me is very important. I don't
like the spiritual hedonism of the New Age idea that you just ride the
experiential roller coaster and never subject your experience to any
principle of self critique.
Well that's my opinion as it stands today.
Under the Mercy,
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