What Is Nonduality?
It is unitive vision; uninterrupted sight; what the sages and mystics called union with God. It’s seeing from a whole different perspective. Our field of vision does not natively separate the playing field; our unconditioned eye sees from a kind of wholeness, a single grasp of the bigger picture. We call this nondual seeing. And yet we’ve devolved into separation-based seeing. Practices that invite nondual seeing represent an evolutionary advance in thinking and perception.
When Jesus looked out his own eyeballs, he saw a radically different world than we see when we look out of ours – this goes for his apprentices too. Most of his apprentices didn’t get it; they flattened his unitive seeing into dualistic categories. (Ie, “Which of us will sit at your left & your right in the Kingdom of Heaven?”)
Jesus wants us to get over categories like first & last – there is no order in a globe. Jesus is talking about global reality; his apprentices are hearing delayed gratification!
Jesus came as an evolutionary breakthrough in modeling, demonstrating, and seeing what human consciousness is capable of. It was missed in his own time; people flatlanded it. Only today, by God’s grace, are we getting to grasp today what Jesus is getting at in significant numbers.
Our seminaries, churches, and Sunday Schools are largely flatland, passing on a diminished vision.
A kindling is needed, another way of seeing whose roots are in spiritual practice. As we practice, we begin to see the world with Jesus’ eyes.
One of the unfortunate curveballs that Christian theology has given us is immense theological distance from Jesus – ‘Christology’ as it developed was bent no proving how Jesus is different than everyone else, the only Son of God instead of Paul’s “Jesus is the firstborn of many sisters and brothers.” We couldn’t handle this invitational revelation; we needed to admire Jesus more than be Jesus.
Jesus’ self-understanding is that of the Son of Humanity, what the Buddhists might call a Bodhisattva; an enlightened master who chooses to stay in the human condition and bring others with them.
Jesus didn’t say he was an impossible-to-follow act; indeed he said “greater things than I’ve done will you do.” Jesus was inviting humanity to a quantum leap forward – are we ready to listen?
To be continued…to see where Cynthia’s going with this, I highly recommend her book The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind.
In this series:
The Way of the Heart – Cynthia Bourgeault Part 1: What IS the Path of Jesus?
The Way of the Heart – Cynthia Bourgeault Part 2: See What Jesus Sees; Do What Jesus Does
The Way of the Heart Part 3: Cynthia Bourgealt’s Four Proposals – Beyond ‘The Imitation of Christ’
The Way of the Heart Part 4: Heartfulness Practice Transcends & Includes Orthodoxy
The Way of the Heart Part 5: Upgrading Our Operating System
The Way of the Heart Part 6: A Rorschach Blot for the Mind
The Way of the Heart Part 7: When 20/20 Hindsight Becomes Blindsight
The Way of the Heart Interlude: Kenosis Hymn
The Way of the Heart Part 8: Heart Surgery