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.
David, if you start talking about epistemology you can certainly expect we'll take it up!
I'd say the central issue is the 'authenticity' of the source, not of the messenger. People can be convincing hypocrites; and people can be mistaken; but the very givenness of life is Light manifest to each human being.
The difficulty is that people socialized into contemporary culture don't believe they're supposed to accept that givenness as 'real' -- even though that experience: "being 'here', experiencing" -- is the one pure datum we can't be wrong about (Since that's the kind of 'seeing' that any 'believing' necessarily relies on -- The act of 'seeing' any thought in our minds, even a mistaken idea, is direct evidence of something we loosely-call 'thinking' going on. We might even be dreaming -- might or might not realize we were dreaming at the time -- but the phenomena of the dream would still be happening to 'us', whatever 'us' means.)
Life continues to present itself 'Splat!' in our faces. The content of that experience could be more or less illusory; but the continual presentness of it is not an artifact of data-processing, but God's ongoing creation of us-all.
I have come to suspects that silence too can be a form. Which leads me into a cul de sac (or perhaps down the rabbit hole, depending upon the metaphor).
I also think minimizing the constructs is good. However I'm skeptical about our capacity to eliminate ALL such constructs. And suspect those of us convinced we have done so are mired in constructs outside of our ken. The stuff we take for granted is the stuff that catches us up.
I have been meaning to share this extract from Isaac Penington with you for some time and will use the occasion of this thread to do so. I read this quote, at least, two times a week and it brings your Meeting to mind whenever I read it:
Wow, talk about a life that removes all occasion for violence through outward weapons of war and the violence of outward ideological imposition!
And I'm noticing the political language hear: rule, authority, etc.
A tract writer articulates their case against an interlocutor/dialogue partner. Who is Penington distinguishing himself from here? How does this colour how e read his truth claims?
You are correct when you write: "I also think minimizing the constructs is good. However, I'm skeptical about our capacity to eliminate ALL such constructs. And suspect those of us convinced we have done so are mired in constructs outside of our ken. The stuff we take for granted is the stuff that catches us up." It is true that many of us who know the immediacy of the inshining Light as our guide throughout our daily activities often find we turn from that immediacy, relatively speaking, and become mired in (our identified with) various outward forms. However, in my experience and in many who share the immediate and daily guidance of the inshining Light itself, this Life in immediacy itself is as true and a life "mired in constructs." As Penington writes:
Many of us do literally and exactly know the direct and immediate experience of the inshining Light anchoring our very conscious and informing our conscience during all our activities in daily life. Your admission of being skeptical does not mean that the Witness (experience) of immediacy is any less true as your skepticism.
Thank you Keith for the Pennington quote. It is an idealistic vision of the spiritual life, yet also realistic - in that it makes room for the reality that we all may be at different places towards this 'inshining Light' realization; encouraging acceptance and treasuring of the measure of Light others experience.
David, yes, I too have pondered the paradox that silence itself as a practice for experiencing the inward Christ, is a form of sorts. It does seem to be a "safe" form - in that it does not block, manipulate or steer the inshining Light from sources outside ourselves. And the group silent worship practiced by Conservative and liberal Quakers serves as a check against indulging in our private delusions. There appears to be power in that group experience. I'm not sure why, but it is a subtle power that is indeed a 'protector'. Perhaps it is due to the Oneness with others within that silence.