Guide The Oneness of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind (Part 3)

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The philosopher can provide some assistance here, since, among other things, he or she can help the theologian discern which models are logically inconsistent and thus not viable candidates for understanding the relationship between the divine and human natures in Christ. For most of the twentieth century, the vast majority of English language philosophy—including philosophy of religion—went on without much interaction with theology at all.

While there are a number of complex reasons for this divorce, three are especially important. The first reason is that atheism was the predominant opinion among English language philosophers throughout much of that century. A second, quite related reason is that philosophers in the twentieth century regarded theological language as either meaningless, or, at best, subject to scrutiny only insofar as that language had a bearing on religious practice.

The former belief i. Since much theological language, for example, language describing the doctrine of the Trinity, lacks empirical content, such language must be meaningless. The latter belief, inspired by Wittgenstein, holds that language itself only has meaning in specific practical contexts, and thus that religious language was not aiming to express truths about the world which could be subjected to objective philosophical scrutiny.

In the last forty years, however, philosophers of religion have returned to the business of theorizing about many of the traditional doctrines of Christianity and have begun to apply the tools of contemporary philosophy in ways that are somewhat more eclectic than what was envisioned under the Augustinian or Thomistic models.

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In keeping with the recent academic trend, contemporary philosophers of religion have been unwilling to maintain hard and fast distinctions between the two disciplines. As a result, it is often difficult in reading recent work to distinguish what the philosophers are doing from what the theologians and philosophers of past centuries regarded as strictly within the theological domain. In what follows, we provide a brief survey of work on the three topics in contemporary philosophical theology that—aside from general issues concerning the nature, attributes, and providence of God—have received the most attention from philosophers of religion over the past quarter century.

We thus leave aside such staple topics in philosophy of religion as traditional arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil, the epistemology of religious belief, the nature and function of religious language. We also leave aside a variety of important but less-discussed topics in philosophical theology, such as the nature of divine revelation and scripture, original sin, the authority of tradition, and the like.

From the beginning, Christians have affirmed the claim that there is one God, and three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom is God. In C. Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. No doubt this is an understatement. The doctrine of the trinity is deeply puzzling, and it is so in a way that has led some of Christianity's critics to claim that it is outright incoherent.

Indeed, it looks like we can derive a contradiction from the doctrine, as follows: The doctrine states that there is exactly one God; that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God; and that Father, Son, and Spirit are distinct. Either way, however, we have a problem. If the Father is identical to God and the Son is identical to God, then by the transitivity of identity the Father is identical to the Son, contrary to the doctrine.

On the other hand, if the Father is divine and the Son is divine and the Father is distinct from the Son, then there are at least two divine persons—i. Either way, then, the doctrine seems incoherent. At first blush, it might seem rather easy to solve.


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The answer, in short, is that the Christian tradition has set boundaries on how the doctrine is to be explicated, and these sorts of models fall afoul of those boundaries. Modalism confounds the persons. It is the view that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are mere manifestations, modes, or roles played by the one and only God. Ruling out modalism thus rules out analogies like the Superman analogy just given. Tritheism divides the substance. It is a bit tricky because controversial to say exactly what tritheism, or polytheism more generally, is.

For discussion, see Rea But whatever else it might be, it is certainly implied by the view that there are three distinct divine substances. Assuming the items in your shopping cart count as multiple distinct substances, then, the problem with the shopping cart analogy is that it suggests polytheism. In what follows, we will consider several more sophisticated models of the trinity: the social model, the psychological model, and the constitution model.

These do not exhaust the field of possible solutions, but they are the ones to which the most attention has been paid in the recent literature. For more detailed surveys, see Rea and, at book length, McCall This suggests the analogy of a family, or, more generally, a society. Thus, the persons of the trinity might be thought of as one in just the way that the members of a family are one: they are three individual human beings, but taken together they are a single family.

Since there is no contradiction in thinking of a family as three and one in this way, this analogy appears to solve the problem. Those who attempt to understand the trinity primarily in terms of this analogy are typically called social trinitarians.

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This approach has been controversially associated with the Eastern Church, tracing its roots to the Cappadocian Fathers—Basil of Caesarea, his brother Gregory of Nyssa, and their friend Gregory Nazianzen. Against this practice, see especially Ayres and Barnes b. Consider, for example, the children of Chronos in Greek mythology, of whom Zeus was the liberator. These children included Zeus, Hera, Ares, and a variety of other Olympian deities—all members of a divine family. Nobody, however, thinks that the fact that Zeus and his siblings nor even, say, Zeus and his begotten daughter Athena count in any meaningful sense as one god.

For this reason, social trinitarians are often quick to note that there are other relations that hold between members of the trinity that contribute, along with their being members of a single divine family, to their counting as one God. Richard Swinburne, for example, has defended a version of this view according to which the unity among the divine persons is secured by several facts in conjunction with one another. First, the divine persons share all of the essential characteristics of divinity: omniscience, omnipotence, moral perfection, and so forth.

Second, unlike the deities of familiar polytheistic systems, their wills are necessarily harmonious, so that they can never come into conflict with one another. Third, they stand in a relationship of perfect love and necessary mutual interdependence. On this sort of view, there is one God because the community of divine persons is so closely interconnected that, although they are three distinct persons, they nonetheless function as if they were a single entity.

One might think that if we were to consider a group of three human persons who exhibited these characteristics of necessary unity, volitional harmony, and love, it would likewise be hard to regard them as entirely distinct. And that is, of course, just the intuition that the view aims to elicit.

Still, many regard the sort of unity just described as not strong enough to secure a respectable monotheism. Thus, some social trinitarians have attempted to give other accounts of what unifies the divine persons. Perhaps the most popular such account is the part—whole model. More recently, J. Moreland and William Lane Craig have argued that the relation between the persons of the Trinity can be thought of as analogous to the relation we might suppose to obtain between the three dog-like beings that compose Cerberus, the mythical guardian of the underworld.

One might say that each of the three heads—or each of the three souls associated with the heads—is a fully canine individual, and yet there is only one being, Cerberus, with the full canine nature. At this point, therefore, it is natural to wonder what exactly it is that makes both proposals count as versions of social trinitarianism.

Unfortunately, this is a question to which self-proclaimed social trinitarians have not given a very clear answer. However, this answer is less than fully illuminating. What is needed is some characterization of the common core underlying the diverse views that are generally regarded as versions of social trinitarianism. The following two theses seem to capture that core: i the divine persons are not numerically the same substance, and ii monotheism does not require that there be exactly one divine substance—rather, it can be secured by the obtaining of relations like the part—whole relation, or necessary mutual interdependence, or some other sort of relation among numerically distinct divine substances.

One of the more serious problems is that it is inconsistent with the Nicene Creed. Likewise, the Creed says that Father and Son are consubstantial. This claim is absolutely central to the doctrine of the trinity, and the notion of consubstantiality lay at the very heart of the debates in the 4th Century C. But the three souls, or centers of consciousness, of the heads of Cerberus are not in any sense consubstantial.

Other versions of the part—whole model raise further worries. A cube, for example, is a seventh thing in addition to its six sides; but we do not want to say that God is a fourth thing in addition to its three parts. The reason is that saying this forces a dilemma: Either God is a person, or God is not.

If the former, then we have a quaternity rather than a trinity. If the latter, then we seem to commit ourselves to claims that are decidedly anti-theistic: God doesn't know anything since only persons can be knowers ; God doesn't love anybody since only persons can love ; God is amoral since only persons are part of the moral community ; and so on.

Bad news either way, then. Thus, many are motivated to seek other models. Historically, the use of psychological analogies is especially associated with thinkers in the Latin-speaking West, particularly from Augustine onward. Augustine himself suggested several important analogies, as did others in the medieval Latin tradition.

However, since our focus in this article is on more contemporary models, we will pass over these here and focus instead on two more recently developed psychological analogies. Thomas V. Morris has suggested that we can find an analogy for the trinity in the psychological condition known as multiple personality disorder: just as a single human being can have multiple personalities, so too a single God can exist in three persons though, of course, in the case of God this is a cognitive virtue, not a defect Morris Others—Trenton Merricks for example—have suggested that we can conceive of the divine persons on analogy with the separate spheres of consciousness that result from commissurotomy Merricks Commissurotomy is a procedure, sometimes used to treat epilepsy, that involves cutting the bundle of nerves the corpus callosum by which the two hemispheres of the brain communicate.

Those who have undergone this procedure typically function normally in daily life; but, under certain kinds of experimental conditions, they display psychological characteristics that suggest that there are two distinct spheres of consciousness associated with the two hemispheres of their brain. Thus, according to this analogy, just as a single human can, in that way, have two distinct spheres of consciousness, so too a single divine being can exist in three persons, each of which is a distinct sphere of consciousness.

Precisely this feature of the analogies, however, also raises the spectre of modalism. In the case of multiple personality disorder, there is no real temptatiom to reify the distinct personalities, to treat them as distinct person-like beings subsisting in or as a single substance. They are, rather, quite straightforwardly understandable as distinct aspects of a single, albeit fragmented, psychological subject. Similarly in the case of the commissurotomy analogy. It is highly unnatural to treat the distinct centers of consciousness as distinct persons; rather, it is most plausible to treat them as mere aspects of a single subject.

Note, too, that it is hard to see how the personalities and centers of consciousness that figure into these analogies could be viewed as the same substance as one another, as the doctrine of the trinity requires us to say of the divine persons. Again, it is natural to see them merely as distinct aspects of a single substance.

This, then, seems to be the primary objection that proponents of these sorts of analogies need to overcome. More formally:. If this claim is true, then it is open to us to say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same God but distinct persons. Notice, however, that this is all we need to make sense of the trinity.

If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same God and there are no other Gods , then there will be exactly one God; but if they are also distinct persons and there are only three of them , then there will be three persons. The main challenge for this solution is to show that the Relative Sameness assumption is coherent, and to show that the doctrine of the trinity can be stated in a way that is demonstrably consistent given the assumption of relative identity.

Peter van Inwagen's work on the trinity , has been mostly concerned with addressing this challenge. Their suggestion is that reflection on cases of material constitution e. If this is right, then, by analogy, such reflection can also help us to see how Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can be the same God but three different persons.

Consider Rodin's famous bronze statue, The Thinker. It is a single material object; but it can be truly described both as a statue which is one kind of thing , and as a lump of bronze which is another kind of thing. A little reflection, moreover, reveals that the statue is distinct from the lump of bronze. For example, if the statue were melted down, we would no longer have both a lump and a statue: the lump would remain albeit in a different shape but Rodin's Thinker would no longer exist.

This seems to show that the lump is something distinct from the statue, since one thing can exist apart from another only if they're distinct. If this is right, then this is not a case in which one thing simply appears in two different ways, or is referred to by two different labels. It is, rather, a case in which two distinct things occupy exactly the same region of space at the same time. Most of us readily accept the idea that distinct things , broadly construed, can occupy the same place at the same time.

The event of your sitting, for example, occupies exactly the same place that you do when you are seated. But we are more reluctant to say that distinct material objects occupy the same place at the same time. Philosophers have therefore suggested various ways of making sense of the phenomenon of material constitution. One way of doing so is to say that the statue and the lump are the same material object even though they are distinct relative to some other kind e.

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The advantage of this idea is that it allows us to say that the statue and the lump count as one material object, thus preserving the principle of one material object to a place. The cost, however, is that we commit ourselves to the initially puzzling idea that two distinct things can be the same material object. What, we might wonder, would it even mean for this to be true? It is hard to see why such a claim should be objectionable; and if it is right, then our problem is solved. The lump of bronze in our example is clearly distinct from The Thinker , since it can exist without The Thinker ; but it also clearly shares all the same matter in common with The Thinker , and hence, on this view, counts as the same material object.

Likewise, then, we might say that all it means for one person and another to be the same God is for them to do something analogous to sharing in common all of whatever is analogous to matter in divine beings. On this view, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same God but different persons in just the way a statue and its constitutive lump are the same material object but different form-matter compounds. Of course, God is not material; so this can only be an analogy. But still, it helps to provide an illuminating account of inter-trinitarian relations, and it does so in a way that seems at least initially to avoid both modalism and polytheism.

Brower and Rea maintain that each person of the trinity is a substance ; thus, none is a mere aspect of a substance, and so modalism is avoided. And yet they are the same substance ; and so polytheism is avoided. This account is not entirely free of difficulties however. Critics also object that this view does not directly answer the question of how many material objects are present for any given region, lump, or chunk.

Is there an objective way of deciding how many objects are constituted by the lump of bronze that composes The Thinker? Are there only two things statue and lump or are there many more paperweight, battering ram, etc. And if there are more, what determines how many there are? The doctrine of the Incarnation holds that, at a time roughly two thousand years in the past, the second person of the trinity took on himself a distinct, fully human nature. As a result, he was a single person in full possession of two distinct natures, one human and one divine.

The Council of Chalcedon C. For example, it seems on the one hand that human beings are necessarily created beings, and that they are necessarily limited in power, presence, knowledge, and so on. On the other hand, divine beings are essentially the opposite of all those things.

Thus, it appears that one person could bear both natures, human and divine, only if such a person could be both limited and unlimited in various ways, created and uncreated, and so forth. And this is surely impossible. Two main strategies have been pursued in an attempt to resolve this apparent paradox. The first is the kenotic view. The second is the two-minds view. We shall take each in turn.

According to this view, in becoming incarnate, God the Son voluntarily and temporarily laid aside some of his divine attributes in order to take on a human nature and thus his earthly mission. If the kenotic view is correct, then contrary to what theists are normally inclined to think properties like omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are not essential to divinity: something can remain divine even after putting some or all of those properties aside. The problem, however, is that if these properties aren't essential to divinity, then it is hard to see what would be essential.

If we say that something can be divine while lacking those properties, then we lose all grip on what it means to be divine. One might respond to this worry by saying that the only property that is essential to divine beings as such is the property being divine.

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This reply, however, makes divinity out to be a primitive, unanalyzable property. Critics like John Hick 73 complain that such a move makes divinity out to be unacceptably mysterious. Alternatively, one might simply deny that any properties are necessary for divinity. It is widely held in the philosophy of biology, for example, that there are no properties possession of which are jointly necessary andsufficient for membership in, say, the kind humanity. That is, it seems that for any interesting property you might think of as partly definitive of humanity, there are or could be humans who lack that property.

Thus, many philosophers think that membership in the kind is determined simply by family resemblance to paradigm examples of the kind. Something counts as human, in other words, if, and only if, it shares enough of the properties that are typical of humanity. If we were to say the same thing about divinity, there would be no in-principle objection to the idea that Jesus counts as divine despite lacking omniscience or other properties like, perhaps, omnipotence, omnipresence, or even perfect goodness.

One might just say that he is knowledgeable, powerful, and good enough that, given his other attributes, he bears the right sort of family resemblance to the other members of the Godhead to count as divine. Some have offered more refined versions of the kenotic theory, arguing that the basic view mischaracterizes the divine attributes.

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According to these versions of the kenotic view, rather than attribute to God properties like ommniscience, omipotence, and the like, we should instead say that God has properties like the following: being omniscient-unless-temporarily-and-freely-choosing-to-be-otherwise, being omnipotent-unless-temporarily-and-freely-choosing-to-be-otherwise, and so forth. These latter sorts of properties can be retained without contradiction even when certain powers are laid aside. In this way, then, Jesus can divest himself of some of his powers to become fully human while still remaining fully divine.

Feenstra, — Unfortunately, however, this response only raises a further question, namely: if Christ's incarnation required his temporarily surrendering omniscience, then his later exaltation must have involved continued non-omniscience or the loss of his humanity. However, Christians have typically argued that the exalted Christ is omniscient while retaining his humanity. It is hard to see how this view can respond to such an objection.

But for one response see Feenstra Moving away from the standard version of the kenotic theory, some philosophers and theologians endorse views according to which it only seems as if Christ lacked divine attributes like omniscience, omnipotence, and so on. They are views according to which the apparent loss of divine attributes is only pretense or illusion. Among other things, this raises the concern that the incarnation is somehow a grand deception, thus casting doubt on Christ's moral perfection. More acceptable, then, are views according to which it somehow seems even to Christ himself as if certain divine attributes which he actually possesses have been laid aside.

On this view, the loss of omniscience, omnipotence, and so on is only simulated. Christ retains all of the traditional divine attributes. But from his point of view it is, nevertheless, as if those attributes are gone. Crisp , Ch. One concern that might be raised with respect to the doctrine of functional kenosis is that it is hard to see how a divine being could possibly simulate to himself, without outright pretense the loss of attributes like omniscience or omnipotence.

But perhaps the resources for addressing this worry are to be found in what is now widely seen as the main rival to the traditional kenotic theory: Thomas V. Morris develops the two minds view in two steps, one defensive, the other constructive. First, Morris claims that the incoherence charge against the incarnation rests on a mistake. The critic assumes that, for example, humans are essentially non-omniscient. But what are the grounds for this assertion?

Unless we think that we have some special direct insight into the essential properties of human nature, our grounds are that all of the human beings we have encountered have that property.

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But this merely suffices to show that the property is common to humans, not that it is essential. As Morris points out, it may be universally true that all human beings, for example, were born within ten miles of the surface of the earth, but this does not mean that this is an essential property of human beings. An offspring of human parents born on the international space station would still be human. If this is right, the defender of the incarnation can reject the critic's characterization of human nature, and thereby eliminate the conflict between divine attributes and human nature so characterized.

This merely provides a way to fend off the critic, however, without supplying any positive model for how the incarnation should be understood. In the second step, then, Morris proposes that we think about the incarnation as the realization of one person with two minds: a human mind and a divine mind. During his earthly life, Morris proposes, Jesus Christ had two minds, with consciousness centered in the human mind.

This human mind had partial access to the contents of the divine mind, while God the Son's divine mind had full access to the corresponding human mind. The chief difficulty this view faces concerns the threat of Nestorianism the view, formally condemned by the Church, that there are two persons in the incarnate Christ. It is natural simply to identify persons with minds—or, at the very least, to assume that the number of minds equals the number of persons.

If we go with such very natural assumptions, however, the two minds view leads directly to the view that the incarnation gives us two persons, contrary to orthodoxy. Moreover, one might wonder whether taking the two minds model seriously leads us to the view that Christ suffers from something like multiple personality disorder. In response to both objections, however, one might note that contemporary psychology seems to provide resources which support the viability of the two minds model.

As Morris points out elsewhere, the human mind is sometimes characterized as a system of somewhat autonomous subsystems. The normal human mind, for example, includes on these characterizations both a conscious mind the seat of awareness and an unconscious mind. It does not really matter for present purposes whether this psychological story is correct ; the point is just that it seems coherent, and seems neither to involve multiple personality nor to imply that what seems to be a single subject is, in reality, two distinct persons.

Morris proposes, then, that similar sorts of relations can be supposed to obtain between the divine and human mind of Christ. First, a brief note about terminology. But it is not a neutral term. Rather, it already embodies a partial theory about what human salvation involves and about what the work of Christ accomplishes. In particular, it presupposes that saving human beings from death and separation from God primarily involves atoning for sin rather than say delivering human beings from some kind of bondage, repairing human nature, or something else.

Obviously these terms are not all synonymous; so part of the task of an overall theology of salvation—a soteriology—is to sort out the relations among these various terms and phrases is salvation simply to be identified with eternal life, for example? That said, however, we do not ourselves intend to advocate on behalf of any particular terminology.

In what follows, we shall discuss only three of the most well-known and widely discussed theories or families of theories about what the work of Jesus accomplishes on behalf of human beings. All take the suffering and death of Jesus to be an integral part of his work on our behalf; but the first theory holds Jesus' resurrection and ascension also to be absolutely central to that work, and the second theory holds his sinless life to be of near-equal importance.

Discussing these theories under three separate headings as we do below may foster the illusion that what we have are three mutually exclusive views, each marking off a wholly distinct camp in the history of soteriological theorizing, and each aiming to provide a full accounting of what Jesus' work contributes to human salvation from death and separation from God.

As we have already indicated, however, a variety of terms and images are used in the Bible to characterize what Jesus accomplished and, in contrast with the doctrines of the trinity and incarnation, we do not have for the doctrine of salvation an ecumenical conciliar prononouncement i. Consequently, it is no surprise that many thinkers appropriate imagery from more than one of the theories described below or others besides to explain their understanding of the nature and efficacy of Jesus' work.

The ransom theory, also known as the Christus Victor theory is generally regarded as the dominant theory of the Patristic period, and has been attributed to such early Church Fathers as Origen, Athanasius, and especially Gregory of Nyssa. One might question, however, whether any of these theologians ever intended to offer the ransom story about to be described as a theory of the atonement, rather than simply an extended metaphor.

What does seem clear, however, is that they at least intended to emphasize victory over sin, death, and so on as one of the principle salvific effects of the work of Christ. The ransom theory takes as its point of departure the idea that human beings are in a kind of bondage to sin, death, and the Devil. The basic view, familiar enough now from literature and film, is that God and the Devil are in a sort of competition for souls, and the rules of the competition state that anyone stained by sin must die and then forever exist as the Devil's prisoner in hell.

As the view is often developed, human sin gives the Devil a legitimate right to the possession of human souls. Thus, much as God loves us and would otherwise desire for us never to die and, furthermore, to enjoy life in heaven with him, the sad fact is that we, by our sins, have secured a much different destiny for ourselves. But here is where the work of Christ is supposed to come in.

According to the ransom view, it would be unfitting for God simply to violate the pre-ordained rules of the competition and snatch our souls out of the Devil's grasp. But it is not at all unfitting for God to pay the Devil a ransom in exchange for our freedom. Christ's death is that ransom. Are there Christian practices that can help people cultivate an experiential understanding of nonduality? Centering Prayer is probably the most effective direct trajectory to laying the neurological foundations for the stabilization of nondual teaching.

Image courtesy of unsplash. Christ must have studied the Vedas. I would say to most Christians put your bibles away discover Vedanta and the Bhagavad Gita then return to the bible. It could be said that Christ was there when the Vedas was organized. Just as Christ was there when the universe was created and with Abraham as he responded to the call on his life. Christ is with me as I write this and with you as you read this. Christ is everywhere. In Christ all of us live and move. Our very existence depends on it. We need time and lines between inside and outside but God does not.

What if our experience of separation is real? It seems very popular these days for spiritual teachers to begin with the premise that separation is an illusion. Who decided that I wonder? Not even evolution supports that theory. There seems to be a highly ill-defined context for spirituality these days and almost always coming from the relatively wealthy quite often getting wealthier by teaching it. That is simply false. Say what you may about it. Condemn it to hell. Christianity makes the startling claim that we are in fact separate.

Yes, we may have emerged from the ocean of evolutionary consciousness and are still deeply grounded in it, yet we are also each fundamentally distinct from it and each other. It may very well be the thing that pushes those who live in the real world as opposed to that of the intelligencia over the edge of complacency in regards to finally standing up and taking hold of the responsibility each of us has been given to become what has been born of our very real separation.

It seems that Christianity is reduced to a mere set of beliefs that offer comfort to those who have not yet awakened out of their illusory ego identity. I would like to know how Christians that accept non-duality reconcile this. It is for this reason that non-duality must be understood within a Christian context, without necessarily borrowing from, and certainly not as dependent on the Eastern Traditions.

In lieu of this, it is noteworthy that in Scripture, we are called upon to deny and lose our ego-self, but it is always in hopes of gaining our true-selves in return, and that as such we are to remain in relationship as individual selves. The Trinity serves as the main example that the person in relationship will always arise even in the context of non-duality, Oneness and the Persons interrelating, this is Christian Non-duality. There are two unique perspectives: the perspective of the separate self, and the non-dual perspective.

The thing that props up the belief in the separate self is the ego, i. Accepting a savior means relinquishing your own illusion of control. Love is metaphorically and emotionally a dying of your separate self and a rebirth in unity.

The only thing separating us from God is the illusion of separateness. Yes, good point. I feel that this is answered contradicted? Apparently we do not have to believe in Him, but rather to Love in order to have salvation. We do not have to believe or accept anything, we must simply Love and in doing so, we will experience our divine nature and oneness with God. This is where scripture becomes inclusive to the 4.

I love the teachings of non-duality and yet I also love the teachings of people like G. Chesterton and C. I think both are true. We are both separate AND one. Richard Rohr can be more than a little vague about it too. I agree with Cassiodorus. The later can be said to be illusory but not the first. I see it that we all can be reconciled and free from separation.

Nisargadatta is one who speaks of there being no individual. I have studied nonduality for 5 or 6 or so years but it was the fortune getting the mantra from Ramakant Maharaj and the inspiration to use it that has helped a lot. But he says that any mantra will do as he says at some point in his book Selfless Self and I have to believe him.

We just keep the mantra in mind as much as possible throughout the day and it works as an antivirus to the thought stream that we seem to value. This is not so much an effort as being free of effort that we think and feel is real. Effort is just a word and what it refers to is no more real than anything else we think of as real.

I recently watched a video of Rupert Spira saying that even blinking and even breathing is a slight effort, which I find interesting. But no effort is involved when Selfless Self is real. I can see that Centering Prayer might work well too. The whole perennial movement has, ironically, robbed all the great religions of their salt, their flavour.