Ultimate Reality

Grace and peace to you …

Over the past two weeks we have reflected on the gift and the danger of religion. First is was Solomon “building a house for the Lord” and then he realised that the Lord is way too big to fit into any human made house. The problem arises when we forget that God is bigger than any of our attempts to define or name. The gift and purpose of the temple was to remind people that God is present and accessible to all, yet the danger was that God would be trapped in the temple and controlled by those who run the temple.

Throughout history there are those who are sent to us to remind us that “nothing in heaven or on earth can contain the Lord”. Thomas Keating is one such person. He is a Trappist Monk and is known as one of the “fathers” of the Centering Prayer Movement. I would recommend anything that he has written – he is a faithful guide for any who want to journey into the depths. The depths of ourselves and the Divine. Keating has been inspirational in the Snowmass Interspirituality Dialogue which has convened over a thirty-year period with religious leaders from the major world religions. Here is a short list of the points of agreement that they believe all religions share, and which I find very helpful:

  1. The world religions bear witness to the experience of Ultimate Reality, to which they give various names.
  2. Ultimate Reality cannot be limited by any name or concept.
  3. Ultimate Reality is the ground of infinite potentiality and actualization.
  4. Faith is opening, accepting, and responding to Ultimate Reality. Faith in this sense precedes every belief system.
  5. The potential for human wholeness – or, in other frames of reference, enlightenment, salvation, transcendence, transformation, blessedness – is present in every human being.
  6. Ultimate Reality may be experienced not only through religious practices, but also through nature, art, human relationships, and service to others.
  7. As long as the human condition is experienced as separate from Ultimate Reality, it is subject to ignorance and illusion, weakness and suffering.
  8. Disciplined practice is essential to the spiritual life; yet spiritual attainment is not the result of one’s own efforts, but the result of the experience of oneness with Ultimate Reality.

Grace and peace, Alan

Read – Reflect – Renew

In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know,
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess,
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not,
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

~ TS Eliot


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