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Center for Action and Contemplation

The Perennial Tradition Explores Divine Reality

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wisdom Lineage Summary

The Perennial Tradition
Sunday, December 20, 2015

As I shared in last week’s meditations, the development of consciousness is a gradual, lifelong process. Though Spiral Dynamics and other models of development show a trajectory toward non-dual thinking and unitive experience, it’s not typically a straightforward journey. We may catch a glimpse of Divine Reality, but often it’s too much for our small self, and so we recoil until great love, suffering, or contemplative practice help us surrender a bit more.

We see this dance—three steps forward, two steps back—mirrored in sacred texts. Human authors at different levels of consciousness portray God in different ways. At times in most religious histories God has been described as violent, exclusive, and judgmental. It’s easy to point the finger at other religions and forget our own religion’s lower levels. For example, despite recent criticism, the Quran is not more violent than the Bible; our scriptures also hold many punitive, dualistic, and exclusionary passages. But also running throughout the world’s sacred texts is the thread of God’s desire for union, inclusivity, non-violence, forgiveness, mercy, and healing. I hope what we have taught this year can help you both see and connect these dots, and see where the positive trajectory is heading. [1] We are indeed slowly evolving toward love instead of punishment.

The things I teach come from a combination of inner and outer authority, drawn from personal experience and a long lineage of the “perennial tradition” as Aldous Huxley, Huston Smith, Ken Wilber, and many others have called it. I don’t believe God expects us to start from zero and reinvent the wheel of faith in our one small lifetime. Thankfully, we can each participate in the “communion of saints,” and draw upon the force field of the Holy Spirit. The Great Tradition, the perennial philosophy, has developed through the ages, and is an inherited gift.

The Perennial Tradition points to recurring themes and truths within all of the world’s religions. At their most mature level, religions cultivate in their followers a deeper union with God, with each other, and with reality—or what is. The work of religion is to re-ligio—re-ligament or reunite what our egos and survival instincts have put asunder, namely a fundamental wholeness at the heart of everything. My calling (and the CAC’s work in the last twenty-nine years) has been to retrieve and reteach the wisdom that has been lost, ignored, or misunderstood within the Judeo Christian Tradition. Any truth that keeps recurring and gathers humanity’s positive energy is called wisdom and most assuredly has to be from the One Holy Spirit.

Gateway to Silence:
Keep me in Your truth.

[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture As Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2007), 4. This is much of the theme of the entire book, in which I try to “connect the dots” pointing toward love.

Nature, by greyerbaby.
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