Friday, May 26, 2017

But We Have the Mind of Christ

Artwork by Jennifer Baird
The Christ we seek is within us,
In our inmost self,
Is our inmost self,
And yet infinitely transcends ourselves.
Christ himself is in us
as unknown and unseen.
We follow Him,
We find Him,
And then He must vanish,
And we must go along without Him at our side.
Because He is
even closer than that.
He is ourself.

~ Fr Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk

In the Christian tradition, illumination (also called enlightenment or awareness) is named, “being made in the Image of Christ.” The Apostle Paul called this having the Mind of Christ.

The title Christ is derived from the Greek term Khristós meaning "the anointed one." The symbolism of anointing in this sense is recognition of something spiritual, sacred and Godly. Khristós is also related to Keres, associated with anointing to purify or heal the body or rid the self of negative influence. Thus, as is the case in Paul’s writings, anointing can be understood as a state of mind (and body) in which both negative influences are dispelled and sacred Godliness is assumed; or in the context of re-ligare or reconnecting (the origin of the word, "religion"), to perceive with an illuminated or enlightened awareness. The notion of awakened mind or anointed perception was understood across sacred traditions preceding the first century. Thus, the Christ-mind may be called Buddha-nature (“buddha” literally means, “awakened one”) or bodhi in Yogic Sanskrit. Enlightenment is the threshold of nondual awareness, a singular or ongoing perception of unified thought, in which subject and object are not opposites, but one and the same. Enlightened, nondual awareness reconciles opposites and is a benefit of contemplation.

This enlightened/aware/Christ mind is one that thinks conceptually, intuits and feels with appropriate balance between the three. Richard of St Victor  (12th century mystic) wrote that humanity was given three sets of eyes: the eye of the flesh (for seeing without), the eye of reason (for thinking and judging) and the eye of true understanding (for creating wisdom by using seeing, thinking and intuiting simultaneously).[1] The third eye as enlightened consciousness is an ancient concept predating Christianity.[2] The New Testament authors use this language all the time, Let he who has eyes see. Let she who has ears hear. (Matthew 13:9-16; Mark 8:18, Revelation 7, 11, 17, 29, for example) Everyone has all three eyes, but we don’t all use them to their capacity. Contemplative practice (meditation) can cultivate the use of these in balance. 

for, "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

May you quiet your thinking long enough to realize the amazing openness and expansiveness that lives within you; so that you may “see” with your third eye and that you may express yourself as an authentic “Imitation of Christ.”

[1] David Berreby, Us and Them: The Science of Identity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005). 
[2] Richard Cavendish, Man, Myth and Magic – Volume 19. (New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish, 1994), 2606.