The mystical way of perceiving is nondual. That is, the mystic can perceive difference and sameness, or any paradox, at the same time. This viewpoint is on one hand, a complete release of either/or judgment and can also be an experience of myself as the object of my perception and the object of my perception as myself. In order to behold an object as myself, I have to relinquish my separate identity and realize oneness with the other. This, again, is done by releasing the judgment that there is a difference between us. The active intelligence does not release judgment. The passive or receptive intelligence does. There are many ways to say this. Thought is active, intuition is passive. We use our sensing/thinking (Myers Briggs) to perceive and analyze factual information. We use intuiting and feeling (Myers Briggs) to add memory experience to those facts. To experience nonduality as a mystic does, one must move conscious thought and memory aside in favor of mental quietude. One must move psychically beyond thought and through any inner feeling or intuition that prevents simply being still. It is in that stillness that one can realize one's self as no thing and everything.
Mystics (those who are adept at using the full benefit of their human perceiving functions) over the ages have understood reality as One. This is reflected in every religious tradition the thought process can conjure. Although it is not practiced by a majority of sensor/thinker intellectuals, or sensor/feeler emotional separatists.
Father Thomas Keating, a Benedictine and Christian contemplative, speaks of the spiritual journey this way:
1. I am convicted there is an "O"ther
2. I try to become the "O"ther
3. I am One with the "O"ther
It is true that perception holds the key to what we call "Reality." The relationship between who I am and who God is, my relationship with other created ("originated") elements is completely dependent on my point(s) of view, the limitations of my thinking and intuitive/emotional memory.
This morning in my reading, I found an interesting coincidence of Christian and Sufi mysticism from the 12th-13thc, with regard to perception/vision/the eye. Below are two quotations, one by a Christian and the other by a Sufi, describing the perception of myself as Other and Other as myself.
"The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love." ~Meister Eckhart
In the final part of this hymnic opening to Ring Settings of Wisdom, Ibn Arabi introduces a key pun on the world insān, which can mean both “human being and “pupil of the eye.” The complete human is the pupil of the eye of reality, the mode of perception. As khalifa or regent, it is also the “seal” by which the order of reality in maintained. Were it to be removed, the articulated world would collapse in upon itself:
That one was named insān (human being, pupil of eye) and khalifa (regent)
He is named insān because of the universality of his nature encompassing all realities
He is to the real
As the insān is to the eye
The medium of vision and perception
So he is called insān
Because through him the real views its creation
And extends them compassion
He is insān , originated and eternal
He is the living being, without beginning, without end
He is the word, discriminating and integrating
He is the world
As the ringstone of the ring is to the ring…
~From Mystical Languages of Unsaying, Michael Sells
Buddhists would call this the journey into Awareness, while monotheists contextualize it as "Union with God ('The Other')," and Hindus might call it Moksha. It is the spiritual journey of a human mind toward realizing her mental potential. It is the process of enlightened consciousness.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
With a prayer for reconciliation and peace, Peggy
Ibn Arabi:July 28, 1165 – November 10, 1240) was an Arab Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher. He is renowned by some practitioners of Sufism as "the greatest master" and also as a genuine saint.
Meister Eckhart (1260 – c. 1327), commonly was a German Dominican theologian, philosopher and mystic.