The move to nondual from our usual egoic way of being requires an upgrade to a whole new operating system. The software you run on is ego – the characteristic is perception by separation and delineation. Brain studies confirm that we see in binary – the grammar of looking at the world is subject and object, predisposed to manipulate a playing field of consciousness, parallel opposites. Male/female, foreground/background, more/less, et al.
Our egoic mind will interpret the “search for True Self” as the search for the correct label when in fact it is the discovery of a Self with no definition at all.
The Egoic Operating system is very useful. But it can’t do two things:
1.) Ask “Who am I?”
2.) Ask “Who is God?”
These can’t be discovered by perception of differentiation; they require perception of union.
The parables are subversive nondual teaching (See Keating’s Meditations on the Parables*), stunning reversals. Politically subversive, yes, but also putting hand grenades into the mental/egoic operating system of the brain – they’re very much like Zen Koans.
If you perceive the world from separation, you’re going to see a separated universe – even if you’re an activist, trying to create a more just and fair world. If your lenses are off, your vision will be off.
Jesus is about destabilizing. The parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard is a representative hand grenade:
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.
“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
*I have to say, priest & chef Robert Farrar Capon‘s omnibus Kingdom, Grace, & Judgement has forever altered the way I see Jesus’ parables – in a beautiful way that I’m sure Cynthia would resonate with. And to see where Cynthia’s going with our operating system updgrade, I highly recommend her books The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, and The Wisdom Way of Knowing. To be continued..!
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