Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
When the measure of presence or illumination of the inshining Light is so strong and bright that identity, meaning, and purpose, is complete in the Light ( or inherent self-existence) itself without reference to any other outward forms, traditions, feelings, ideologies, institutions, practices, etc., then ridicule, mischaracterization, innuendo, caricature, and illusions, do not deflect or turn from direct Witness (or inherent self-existence) itself in itself. That is, the heritage of inherent self-existence is not enchanted.
When our Witness of the sufficiency of the inshining Light itself in our conscious and conscience is darkened by the enchantment of outward weapons like ridicule, our Witness is further darkened by reflections in the mirrors of anger, frustration, hurt, and on and on. These mirrors manifest through ridicule and innuendo which are engendered and nurtured by the person or people who ridicule. We then further lose our Witness by focusing upon these mirrors of anger, frustration, and hurt. In watchfulness, we are able to recognize our enchanted conscious and conscience, and then, acknowledging the reality of these mirrors before us, we re-turn to our faith in the Light itself by entering into patient and quiet waiting. In this waiting, we gaze upon the manifestations of anger, pain, and frustration, that others have successfully transferred upon us through their ridicule and accusation. In holding to the Quiet itself, the inshining Light begins to re-fill again into dark spaces and corners of our conscious and conscience. Only then, when our Witness of the sufficiency of the direct and unmediated experience of the inshining Light itself in itself, are we in a position to respond. However, even then, the only true opening to respond comes when the Light itself remains and guides the conscious and conscience in the very act of speaking and writing the response. The relative increase, decrease, or stasis, of the Light itself anchoring our conscious and informing our conscience is our guide. The extent to which we are unable or able to respond in the sustained Light itself, in the very activity of responding, is the extent to which we are open to respond.
To respond outside the covering of the Light itself, is to borrow or steal from the underlining anger of those who ridicule as an excuse to response. Ours is not to borrow or steal from others to excuse turning from our Witness of the sufficiency of direct and unmediated experience of the inshining Light itself anchoring our conscience and informing our conscience as our guide. Ours is to hold and to sustain in the inshining Light itself is all circumstances and in all things without regard to person.
This is the peace of Heaven on earth. The Kingdom is come and is coming.
It's very difficult to direct pointy weapons of any sort against the Principalities which are our true enemies without also poking their unwitting minions.
Using words for weapons is better than using rocks, but is still a bad idea for various reasons:
1) It makes it difficult to convey: "Hey, I'm not trying to poke you, but merely to say something."
2) You can take off a head when you really only intended a friendly poke in the butt.
3) You can't always be sure what direction that pesky point is actually pointing.
4) After awhile, people don't want to play words with you anymore....
For those of us of a Christian persuasion (whether or not we & others of that description agree-with or even like each other) we are not supposed to be taking pot-shots, but rather praying for that ornery bastid's good. Thinking up the best way to really thump him might get in the way.
Thank you Forrest. I think the traditional rejoinder here is , "This Friend speaks my mind."
Right on, David. With an understanding having been meet relative to "inshining," I feel comfortable moving to the next paragraph you wrote early on this thread. I'll re-post it:
Just as a preface. I suspect here we may have to go back on forth a bit, but maybe not.
Yes, I am affirming the sufficiency the direct and unmediated experience inshining Light itself in the conscious and conscience as the sole source of identity, meaning, and purpose in my life. This is what I literally witness (experience) in my life and it is my testimony. It is true my testimony is in abstract or outward words and concepts. The words and concepts are of value to me only as a way to express the experience. I do not "think about" the experience personally. The words and concepts are of no value to me personally relative to the experience. To go further, when I speak or write these words or concepts I am living the experience immediately, I am not reflecting on the experience, although it may be a reflection for those who do not know the experience. That is, speaking or writing the experience does not mean I have left the experience and have engaged in interpreting it for myself. However, I am engaged in interpreting it for others. I am personally not attempting to understand or reflect on the inshining Light in my conscious and conscience because it is my conscious and conscience.
I too am not a mystic in the sense you have stated. However, the power of the inshining Light in my conscious and conscience has become the anchor of my being and my biography. So that, while I act in the world, what I do in the world is not my foundation. For example, when I volunteer to do Natural History interpretation for the public schools; while in the activity, my conscious is still anchored in and my conscience is still informed by the direct and unmediated experience of the shining Light itself. In the very activity of interpreting Natural History to students at the school, I am in (directly experiencing or aware of) the inshining Light itself and the inshining Light itself makes up who I am, not my role as a Natural History Interpreter. In fact, if I were unable to know and to be sustained in the inshining Light itself in that activity, I would reassess my role as a Natural Historian or reassess engaging it interpretation in that context. It is the immediate witness or awareness of the sufficiency of the inshining Light itself in all activities, circumstance, and events that is my testimony, anchor, and guide. This is not, in my experience, a peeling away of me ... it is rather the finding and living in the "real" me. That is to say, I am not a Natural Historian, an interpreter, etc. I am neither, jew nor greek, male nor female, free nor slave. (Gal 3:28). None of these make up my meaning, purpose, and identity in this world. The inshining Light of Christ is sufficient in itself as the foundation of my identity, meaning, and purpose, in all my activities on this earth and the relative increase, decrease, or stasis, of the inshining Light itself, anchors my conscious and guides my conscience relative to my activities in this world.
Okay, I hope that's a start concerning the content of the paragraph quoted above. Please feel free to question me further if needed.
This does look to be an answer to my long-term question: 'What should our optimal Divine/human interface look like?'
It doesn't come with a 'How-to-get-there' method; but then such methods seem to naturally become ends-for-their-own-sake & distractions. Since this isn't a result under our direct control, "Knock and the door will be opened" is probably the most suitable approach, & the only one we'll ever need.
On another hand, we really don't know that this sort of experience is a generic one-size-fits-all; it might not even be the way Keith's experience is Intended to continue indefinitely (since the important consideration is not "How does this experience feel?" but "Is God the direct source of it?" -- something Keith might know but which really isn't a question under our jurisdictions.
So far as I'm increasingly aware of God taking a hand in all things, I'm happily awaiting further developments.
Thank you for the clarification.
I suspect that further discussion would be helpful for neither of us. To fall back on my philosophical roots again, I am a social constructivist. Like you I rely heavily on my experience of conscience and like you I trust that there is something transcendent in that experience. But I also believe that my experience of conscience is socially constructed — it reflects at least in part my experience of the claims others in my social network make on me and have made on me in the past. Further my experience of conscience is that it is often fallible and that sometimes that transcendent dimension shows itself forth when I learned that my conscience is a wrong.
Given that understanding you can see that I wouldn't know where to begin to unpack the notion of unmediated experience because all experience to a certain extent is mediated. And so yes when Fox in the early friends speak of immediate (i.e. unmediated) experience I simply understand them to be speaking out of an epistemology I do not share.
Unless this discussion becomes a kind of chess match and both are philosophical positions seen as the opening gambits I don't know where this can go. The best we can expect from the endgame's agreement to disagree (stalemate). Such arguments tend to entrench mines rather than lead to convincement.
Thank you, David. I appreciate your taking the time to question me and share your comments. It meant a great deal to me. I will spend time with your words for some time.
Though it might be possible to persuade someone else that your experience was 'unmediated' -- most likely someone else who'd received something similar, it's not possible to logically 'prove' to them that an experience is unmediated.
For that matter, it is not possible to logically 'prove' to anyone else that you're experiencing anything whatsoever, in that physical signals, ideas, emotional reactions to you might be the same even if you were an extremely-well constructed machine...
but in fact we usually do assume that about each other. (As the machines get more cunningly programmed that might well become harder to assume.)
Can we in fact know, via reception of some spiritual/intuitive signal, what we aren't able to know from other means? It seems to me that we can (even if our reading of such signals is imperfect) -- and that possibility turns much epistemology into a sort of game:
"What things can we know with plugs in our ears and bags over our head? -- And so what; why don't we just take these silly bags off?"
So my intuition was correct and we're going to start talking epistemology and language.
I think Forrest shows the way out: the central issue isn't whether the issue is "mediated" or not -- the issue is authenticity. Although it does make me want to head back Barclay's Apology. I have quite frankly read his use of "immediate" (17th c. equivalent to our unmediated) as a political stance: i.e., "without benefit of clergy/other authority figure". But now I should go back and confirm (verify OR disprove) that understanding.
During my life I have experienced great openings where just a little bit of willingness on my part ("willingness" for "what" in particular, I was unaware) has led to my being bathed in Light. Like the earliest Friends, this has led me to conclude there is indeed an ocean of Light we are all swimming in.
So, I have concluded that the more we can eliminate constructs (imposed by ourselves or others), the more we are able to navigate joyfully and successfully in this ocean of Light like a fish who has realized his natural home.
This is why I deeply comprehend the importance of "openness"; the removal of all unnecessary constructs that become entrenched in an effort to direct our navigation in this spiritual "ocean". When these constructs ("forms") become entrenched, they become our idols that draw us from this Light.
This is why silence (as acclaimed throughout the ages) is a "safe" place to create space for a state of "openness". And a community participating in the unadulterated silence, unhampered by constructs ("forms''), is nothing more than a verification of the Light within all of our beings.
Here are a few of many examples of Issac Penington's use of "immediate."
From "The Works of Isaac Penington" Philadelphia, 1863