The Christian Meaning of Enlightenment

The Christian Meaning of Enlightenment

In “The Christian Meaning of Enlightenment”, Franciscan priest Richard Rohr gives a Catholic perspective on western faith and the loss of its non-dual perspective. He refers to his teaching as a “Franciscan alternative orthodoxy.”

He makes many excellent points though I’d disagree experiencing a “unitive” experience once will do the job. It may certainly change one’s perspective. But actual non-duality is not an experience. It is a lived reality with the resulting seeing he speaks of.

For example, he spoke about us not having the software to see – right after making a statement about the exclusive uniqueness of Christianity that was both dualistic and false.

I’d also suggest he misses why it was lost. When the means to unite with the divine is lost, so too is the seeing. Then things degrade into concepts, then beliefs, then dogma.

I’d agree you should follow the golden thread. But don’t hold on to it. That’s the dualistic ego trying to control. Allow it to unfold.

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Last Updated on April 26, 2018 by Davidya

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  1. Carl Smuda

    What an exciting time to be alive. as a young Catholic learning TM and then having my program light a true desire for the Faith of my Father, it’s been quite a ride. As clouds left my young brain because I was meditating I learned to love my family faith. then I found literature telling me TM was evil. that really screwed me up. The very thing that naturally gave rise to a love of my Faith was now evil. talk about confusing.

    Fast forward 20 years. with effortless meditation as my foundation I also had really learned to love Paul’s letters. I consider them to be on equal ground with the Upanishads. So here is the thing: I began to wonder what really was the state of mind of the primitive Christian? I hope I can make time to listen Father Rohr. Because I began to suspect a couple years ago that the actual Christian conversion in the first century must have been some kind of enlightenment. Because I experientially realized that Paul was not describing an Ego-Only trip.

    1. The “TM is evil” thing came out of the fundamentalist church to counter its popularity in the 70’s. That was pretty distorted, like the “secret meaning” of the mantras as prayers to Hindu gods. But the mantras are not used with meaning or as a prayer.

      Dunno if you’re aware of Father Meija of Columbia. He’s a Catholic priest who’s helped 10’s of thousands of abandoned children. Got them off the streets, housed & fed, in school, and taught TM.

      Big topic but spiritual movements are typically started by someone enlightened with the means to give it to the students. So the apostles were very likely awake also. History shows this usually lasts 3-400 years then the means gets lost, enlightenment fades and it shifts to philosophy and beliefs, then dogma. Happened to Buddhism etc too.

      This process is very easy to see with something like TM. A little effort creeps into the practice and results fade… By the time of the Council of Nicea, things had fragmented quite a bit.

      Jesus was clearly very awake and there is evidence he traveled to India during the “lost years” and returned there after the end of his Biblical story, living a quiet life. Both Muslims and Hindus view him as a prophet and there are stories in India of his time there.

      “When you make the two one, and you make the inside as the outside and the outside as the inside and the above as the below, and if you establish the male with the female as a single unity… then shall you enter the Sovereignty.”
      ― Jesus, Gospel of Thomas

      1. Michelle

        Thank you David,
        I wonder if you, or Carl, have read THE YOGA OF JESUS by Paramahansa Yogananda, I’m just about to read it.
        I was so reminded of the teachings of Christ when I read Yogananda’s autobiography that it made sense to me that the spiritual ground of Jesus was in India.

        Also appreciate Cynthia Bourgeault’s THE WISDOM JESUS, she describes him as the West’s first non dual wisdom teacher whose teachings on the practice of transformative Love were completely lost/misunderstood in what became Christianity. She also refers to his teachings in the Gospel of Thomas and Mary Magdalene.

        Thanks David for your insight and information and all that is shared here.

        1. Hi Michelle
          I have not myself, though I’ve skimmed it. Adyashanti, with a Zen background, has also written about the teachings of Jesus from an awake perspective. His book is called Resurrecting Jesus. Have not seen Cynthia’s book.

          You’re more than welcome.

  2. Jane McCarroll

    Thank you, David. I so enjoyed this talk. My experiences of unity have transformed me, they are the call to open to oneness and that is enough. Just to be here in the unfolding with no need to ever ‘get there’. Breathing Yahweh, now that’s a keeper!

  3. Uli

    Meher Baba:

    “There is one secret about Jesus which the Christians do not know. When Jesus was crucified, he did not die. He entered the state of Nirvikalp Samadhi (the I-am-God state without bodily consciousness).

    On the third day, he again became conscious of his body, and he traveled secretly in disguise eastward (with some apostles) to India. This was called Jesus’ resurrection.

    After reaching India, he traveled farther east to Rangoon, in Burma, where he remained for some time. He then went north to Kashmir, where he settled.

    When his work was finished on earth, he dropped his body and entered Nirvikalp Samadhi permanently.

    Saints in India have verified these facts about Jesus’ travels. Mankind will soon become aware of the true life of Jesus.”

    23 August 1925, Meherabad, LM3 p752

    1. Hi Uli
      Yes, I’ve seen similar stories, including a documentary about where he lived in Kashmir and the green building that houses his final resting place. Also, early copies of the gospels that suggest they were written in the area or traveled there early on.

      1. This story, particularly the part about him ending up in Kashmir , fits with other narratives I’ve heard which state it wasn’t Jesus who was crucified, it was someone else, and that Pilot found him not guilty and released him after three days. Which is from where the resurrection narrative originates.

        1. Hi Gina
          It’s very difficult to know the actual details. There is evidence to suggest common themes from prior stories were added to the Jesus story. Over the years, it evolved further with all sorts of narrative variations now. Yet it’s good to be reminded that the details of the story are really only to illustrate a deeper reality. The teachings are far more important than the play of karma.

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