Mystics and Non-Dual Thinkers: Week 1
You Are What You Seek
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Over the next several weeks, I will introduce you to a number of mystics who are important in my lineage of spiritual wisdom. We’ll explore these non-dual thinkers from various traditions and religions in somewhat chronological order, beginning where I left off with the early Eastern Church and moving to modern times.
Please do not let the word “mystic” scare you. It simply means one who has moved from mere belief systems or belonging systems to actual inner experience. All spiritual traditions agree that such a movement is possible, desirable, and available to everyone. The experience of divine union is the goal of all religion.
The spiritual wisdom of divine union is first beautifully expressed in Sanskrit in the Vedas (the oldest Hindu text, around three thousand years old) as a “grand pronouncement”: Tat Tvam Asi. This phrase contains condensed wisdom that could likely be translated in the following ways:
YOU are That!
You ARE what you seek!
THOU art That!
THAT you are!
You are IT!
As I understand it, the meaning of this saying is that the True Self, in its original, pure, primordial state, is wholly or partially identifiable or even identical with God, the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena. That which you long for, you also are. In fact, that is where the longing comes from.
Longing for God and longing for our True Self are the same longing. And the mystics would say that it is God who is even doing the longing in us and through us (that is, through the divine indwelling, or the Holy Spirit). God implanted a natural affinity and allurement between God’s Self and all God’s creatures.
Religion has only one job description: how to make one out of two. For Christians, that is “the Christ Mystery,” whereby we believe God overcame the gap from God’s side. God is saying in all incarnations that “I am not totally Other. I have planted some of me in all things that long for reunion.” It is mimicked and mirrored in erotic desire and the sexual pairing of animals and plants. The biblical Song of Songs, Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, and John of the Cross could use only highly erotic images to communicate their mysticism. Any notion of God as the “absolute other” will create only absolute alienation. Add to that any notion of God as petty, angry, or torturing, and the mystical journey is over. So God created similarity and compassion in the human person to overcome this tragic gap. God-in-you seeks, knows, and loves God, like a homing device that never turns off.
Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, pp. 29-30;
Yes, And . . . Daily Meditations, p. 355;
and Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, pp. 98-100
Gateway to Silence:
“I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through.” —Hafiz