a Christian perspective on Advaita

Personal Reflections on Bede Griffiths 'Unity beyond Duality'

We were created to be in unity with God, in a perfect relationship of oneness of love, joy and peace. Original sin is the FALL into duality. Our consciousness was divided in the fall. With the knowledge of good and evil we lost a pure spirit relationship and fell into the psyche, the ego or separated self. This is why we fear… we fear others and we fear for ourselves. From this core negative emotion sin is born and we begin to question and doubt. 'What will happen to us in the future?' There lies the impetus of our self-centered lifestyle. Because we see good and evil, right and wrong, we lack trust in the spirit. We can see that things do go terribly wrong in this world, so we lack the trust to say everything is in the hands of the MASTER creator.

Mature spiritual life is being engaged and compassionate enough to wrestle with the gravity our world’s situation, and YET strive daily to go beyond it all into the UNITY to which we are being called. From this position we have POWER to stand in courage against what is wrong, evil and destructive because we have been immersed daily in the SPIRIT of love. Though the way of the world is trying desperately to split our consciousness and lead our hearts away from God we are empowered by something ETERNAL and WHOLE. We can gather up the broken shards of PAIN and suffering and HEAL them in the LOVE we have been given.

The rational mind separates us from God and others, but behind all of that duality is the unified spirit. Worship and pure prayer or meditation is the WAY we step back into that UNITY. Jesus broke down the dividing wall, opening up HIS unity of spirit to ALL, reconciling humanity as ONE body through the CROSS. Free from dualities we were restored to being ONE with God, all others and the WHOLE universe.

We had to go through this stage of duality, realizing right and wrong. Throughout the JEWISH history, we see the duality of good & evil, judgment and condemnation. Yet Jesus came through the HEBREW tradition, through the dualistic language and led us into a NON-DUAL relationship. He said that we are one in HIS spirit just as HE is ONE in the FATHER and ALL that the father has given to him is OURS! According to JESUS there is nothing held back, nothing less than the FULL supernova of LOVE in store for us when we prepare our hearts to ENTER into the mystical UNION with God that Jesus speaks of to the Father in John 17: 21-23.

The duality of the conscious mind separates us from this unity in Christ. Yet, as we learn to stop our mind in meditation, we get beyond the dualism. This is where Christ is leading us, to go beyond the brokenness into wholeness. In all we say and do the GOAL is unity of hearts and minds in Jesus, in God who is ONE source of love, healing and ALL goodness. His command is to worship in spirit and TRUTH and it is here we see clearly the most compelling point of spiritual life, losing the self and finding ourselves in unity with God. Worship is the expression of a pure heart in love. It cannot be split. This is the goal of all we do. In music, we strive to LOSE ourselves in the sound. With the self out of the way the process becomes a transmission of pure JOY. The SOUND of the SPIRIT speaks through non-verbal expression, and we may become an INSTRUMENT for the LIGHT of the Holy Spirit to be poured through our hearts. (as Paul expressed to the Romans) This losing of self is the highest calling we can strive for and must be expressed throughout any and all of our work and relationships.

Non-duality is not one and it’s not two therefore it is not rational. Jesus is not the father but yet ONE with the father. The Holy Trinity is a non-dual mystery and this communion of love is what is calling us today! We can see many examples of seemingly non-rational commands from Jesus. At times he is like Zen teacher who shakes us up by breaking down our rational logic along with the habits of mind patterned towards the worldly desires in our hearts. He brings our attention to the source of our mental preoccupations. We are commanded to re-orient the desires our hearts, which in effect will renew the patterns of our mind. The goal is PURITY of heart, our minds not being run by the empty desires of the self-oriented world. In this purity as Jesus said we can SEE God as we stand in the present ready to serve HIS kingdom.

~ Paul Z Livingstone July 2011 (México DF)

John 17:20-23

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.


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