Awkward

A reader of my blog has written to me to ask for advice on reading the mystics. He notes, "they embrace very traditional theology that is awkward for me in the 21st century."Indeed.There is no one single "Christian mystical theology." I would be suspicious of anyone who tries to distill the teachings of all the great mystics into a single summarized statement of "this is what you do in order to become a mystic." It just doesn't work that way. For one thing, the mystics stretch across two … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

You might stare for hours at a sunset, and suddenly disappear into the World Soul, and feel yourself at one with all nature. This is well and good. But nature is not the source of this intuition. Worms and rats and foxes and weasels do not stare for hours at the sunset, and marvel at its beauty, and transcend themselves in that release — even though their senses are in many cases much sharper than ours, even though they see nature more clearly than we! No, nature is not the source of this B … [Read more...]

Ken Wilber Class through Evening at Emory

Registration is now open for the class I'll be teaching on the philosophy and spirituality of Ken Wilber, through Emory University's Center for Lifelong Learning here in Atlanta, starting on Thursday, July 21. To register, click here.Here's the write-up on the class, from the Evening at Emory website:A Brief History of Everything: An Introduction to Ken Wilber American philosopher Ken Wilber's writings combine eastern and western spirituality, psychology, biology, cultural theory, and other … [Read more...]

Wilber & World Mysticism through Evening at Emory

Happy first day of spring, happy feast day of St. Benedict, and happy birthday to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit — today is the 67th anniversary of the monastery's founding!A reminder to everyone who lives in the Atlanta area — I have two classes coming up through the Emory University Center for Lifelong Learning ("Evening at Emory"), and registration is open for both of them. I hope I'll see you at one or bothIntroduction to Ken WilberEvening at Emory - Humanities and Cultural Stu … [Read more...]

Relations, Integrally

Happy New Year, everyone. May this be a year of good and beautiful dreams come true.The other night at a Christmas party I had an interesting conversation with my friend Joe and a couple of young men who are students at the Art Institute of Chicago. We spoke about the relationship between art and politics. One of the students was very interested in this connection, and felt that "justice" was a category that could be applied to how we understand pretty much any kind of artwork. Does any given … [Read more...]

Natural Mysticism and “The Genuine Article”

A reader writes: Hi Carl, I have gathered that Christian mystics distinguish between ‘natural mysticism’ and what they see as the genuine article. However I am unclear on the difference. In addition I wonder how this critique maps onto mysticism in other traditions – does it amount to anything more than faith or belief in the necessity of orthodox Christian doctrine as the ‘skeleton’ of practice? Thanks for a great question, and I'm sorry that for now I can only give the briefest of replies (toda … [Read more...]

Concerning Gnosis and Gnosticism

Yesterday I made the following off-the-cuff remark in a comment to my post Theosis and Kenosis: It’s less about knowing who we are (that’s the error of gnosticism) and more about simply a way of being, a way of doing life. And in reply, a reader named Tomasis left a simple frowning (sad) emoticon:  :-(   To this, I replied, I don’t know if it’s ever possible to affirm what one believes without sooner or later saying something that will elicit a “frowning face” from those who walk a different path … [Read more...]


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