Sunday, August 10, 2008

Using words

Marian makes an interesting comment on the Choose Again blog, regarding the terms in A Course In Miracles.
"Why would I then take these processes, no matter how benevolent and full-of-grace they may be, and name them "Jesus and the Holy Spirit?" Why does the verb have to turn into a noun? And is that really a helpful step to take? What is the difference between bare attention to these aspects of experience, and giving them names? Isn't the giving of a name an increase in separation?"

Well, I think it is OK to name, since if you're in a well, you have to use the well to get out, even if the goal is to not be in the well. And while some people will spontaneously discover the "process" called the Holy Spirit, many will be helped by having a pointer, methinks. And it's hard to point to something which does not have a name.

But it's similar to the protest I had initially at least: why use well-known terms only to redefine all of them? Isn't that just an unnecessary detour? For example, to me, "God" is/was defined as "the person who created the Universe"... and then the first thing we learn from ACIM is that he didn't create the universe and isn't a person! Why not use a different term? (I tend to use "Source". It seems it is understandable by many.)

But I guess the answer is similar: if you are in a specific well, you need to climb up from that specific well. And many, many people in this world have instinctively reached for religious mysticism only to get stuck in religious dogma. God is what they want, not "Source". So you take it and you gently redefine it. At least that's what I guess is what the Course is doing. Of course it can only help those why are not too stuck, but that will always be the case.


forrest evans said...

Your last paragraph seems to hit the mark. Christians tend to find their way to "Source" via the road that they know, as do Muslims and Buddhists. Regarding the original quote, in Zen buddhism, which was the path of my youth (and still resonates deeply with me) there is the powerful opening to the Heart Sutra, which is chanted often: "form is emptiness, emptiness is no other than form". This to me points to the simultaneous nature of life, of "Source", of understanding, and of enlightenment. While it appears that words and names separate us from essential Union, how can we ever be separate? Even in our deepest pain and dark nights of the soul, we are here and now, and connected to all. When i am truly absorbed in this mystery, i have no thoughts of separation or union. When my "self" appears, words appear, and i talk about this world in it's appearance as many particular things.
In making love, is there any separation? In looking at pictures of beautiful naked women, is there separation? To the latter, i would say yes...that when i enjoy these beautiful women, i am in a fantasy, and separated from reality. Yet i am connected and one with all, as i imagine myself separate!
Tricks of the mind, and oneness flows in any case, no matter how i philosophize...

eolake said...

Thank you very much.