This post begins the exploration of the three faces of the Ultimate, which is called by many names in our wonderfully wide variety of spiritual traditions and paths. In my last post I introduced the three perspectives (represented in four quadrants) and said that individuals seem to lean more heavily toward one perspective, as do the spiritual traditions of the world. One of the cornerstones of Integral Theory is that each perspective is partially true. Therefore experiencing all three gives us a more complete and inclusive experience. As you read this post, I invite you to notice how you respond to the description of the Third Face. Do you find it familiar? Odd? Uncomfortable? Reassuring? Noticing your own reaction is a clue to the perspective you inhabit most fully.
Seeking and experiencing Ultimate Reality from this third person perspective takes the form of contemplating, thinking, studying and talking about God. Our hearts, minds and senses open to the mystery of existence, to the great It. We see the wonder of Mystery in nature, other living beings as well as in the world of ideas. Here we see how Spirit manifests itself as our world.
One of the gifts of this perspective is the wisdom of each of the spiritual traditions. The sacred writings of the traditions speak beautifully about the Ultimate. While it may seem odd, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics and ecology also speak to us about the Mystery of existence. Another third person view is found in the stunning beauty of the ocean or a star filled night sky. Experiencing the deep connection to the Earth and its rhythms is yet another gift of this perspective. Art, nature mysticism, philosophical and mystical contemplation are all ways in which we experience the Spirit present in the manifest universe.
These words and images help us soak in the Third Person of Spirit . . .
What I experienced was a grand epiphany . . . nothing short of an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness. I actually felt what has been described as the ecstasy of unity.
Apollo 14 Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell from: The Way of the Explorer
If we could see the miracle of a single flower, our whole life would change.
The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whispering of grasses, and shimmering of leaves.
Terry Tempest Williams from: Talking to God: Portrait of a World at Prayer