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Center for Action and Contemplation

Overcoming Our Separation

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nondual Consciousness

Overcoming Our Separation
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Let’s turn to the great Christian nondual teacher, Jesus himself. Jesus teaches and fully lives what I call four “moral equivalencies,” which can only truly be understood by the nondual mind. These moral equivalencies do away with the various walls we’ve built to separate human from divine, self from other, self from God.

  1. There’s a moral equivalency between Jesus himself and other people. Jesus says, “Whatever you do to others, you do to me” (Matthew 25:40). Logically, that’s not true: there’s Jesus and there are other people. Yet he makes them the same. How you treat other human beings is how you treat Jesus. This teaching is at a high level of consciousness that is not rational or logical; it cannot be proven. Many Christians would read this statement and firmly say, “This is the Word of the Lord.” But it isn’t their actual experience. As long as they remain at the dualistic level, they can go to church and worship Jesus and be racist an hour later, not seeing any conflict with that at all.
  1. The second moral equivalency is between Jesus himself and God. This is Jesus’ ultimate nondual teaching: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). From this unitive knowing and experience Jesus says, “Follow me.” Jesus doesn’t tell us that he and the Father are one so that we’ll worship him. No, it’s to lead us to have the same experience—that you and the Father are also one. But until we’ve experienced radical union with God, we won’t think like Jesus, we won’t behave like Jesus. And in fact, most of the teaching of Jesus won’t make a bit of sense. We’ll read it, but we haven’t tapped into the power to live it. And it’s not because we’re bad-willed people. We just don’t process our experience at the unitive level yet.
  1. The third equivalency Jesus makes is between any person and God. For example, “The Spirit is within you” (John 14:17 and throughout the Gospels). Jesus has overcome the great gap between God and the individual. He’s saying human and divine, matter and spirit, are operating together. It is the principle of incarnation, the heart of Christianity, but it takes a new pair of nondual glasses to begin to see that.
  1. Finally, Jesus teaches there’s a moral equivalency between any person and every other person. For example: “In everything you do, treat others exactly as you would have them treat you” (Matthew 7:12). At the nondual level, there’s a recognition that how you treat one person is how you treat another. How you love anybody is how you love everybody. How you love yourself is how you love every other self. Love is of one piece.

Once you fall into this ocean of love, you realize that divine love is loving in a quite unrestricted way. It’s a different kind of love, without qualifications, criteria, or judgments that are determined by the worthiness of the object. Our imperfect, human love is dependent upon our preferences. If we find someone attractive, nonthreatening, belonging to our race and our religion, and with a compatible temperament, we say, “I love you.” Well, as Jesus says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32). Like Jesus, we are to love others not because of who they are, but because of who we are—all and equally the beloved of God.

Gateway to Silence:
Be here now. 

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Franciscan Mysticism: I AM That Which I Am Seeking (CAC: 2012), disc 1 (CD, MP3 download).

Image Credit: The Incredulity of St. Thomas (detail), by Caravaggio, 1601-1602, Sanssouci, Potsdam.
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