Saturday, June 21, 2008

Approach to an Unknown God: Religion collapses back into Mysticism | Sanctuary of no-thing-ness

Eli, Eli,
lama sabachthani?

- Jesus Christ at the Cross at ninth hour, Matthew 27:46

My God, My God,
why have You veiled YourSelf (from me)?
- a mystical interpretation of mysticsaint

In the end, religion collapses back into mysticism as it recognizes that after we have said all we can say about God, we are still surrounded by an imprenetrable silence. Thomas Aquinas devoted his most rigorous thinking to trying to establish how we could speak about God based on analogies taken from human experiences.

But after our minds have erected the ladder of analogy as high as possible toward God, he concludes, "we remained joined to Him as to One Unknown." Augustine, after writing endless words trying to explain the Trinity, admitted in the end, "I only write in order not to be silent."

Mysticism counsels us to follow the via negativa, to honor the infinite distance that separate the finite and the infinite, to live within "the clouds of the unknowing" (Jacob Boehme), to respect the silence of the Godhead where nobody is at home (Meister Eckhart), to recognize the hiddenness of God (Martin Luther's "deus absconditus"), to understand that we can only speak about God in symbolic, parabolic and poetic way.

We are caught in a paradox called human condition.

If you are beginning to experience metaphysical vertigo, a fear of falling into the endless interlocking mysteries, don't worry. Relax. Yield to the vertigo and the falling will become the flying, the no-thing-ness will become the sanctuary.

- Hymns To An Unknown God, by Sam Keen

The idea of God can become the final obstacle to God.
- Meister Ekhart

How can we live without the Unknown before us?
- Rene Char

Mystery within Mystery. The gateway to all understanding ... The Tao that can be told is not the Eternal Tao.
- Tao Te Ching

Qul huwa Allahu Ahad.
Allahu as Samad.
Lam yalid walam yoolad.
Walam yakun lahu kufuwan Ahad.

Affirm: The Divine Being Is Absolute Oneness,
The Eternal, The Absolute Is.
Divine Being begets not, nor is begotten.
And Is beyond the realm of comparison.
- The Quran 112.1-4

In the Islamic tradition, the affirmation of faith access the Transcendence of God by the via negativa first, in the sacred mantra of La ilaha - illa Allah. La ilaha, there is no other Divine Reality; illa Allah, except One Divine Reality. The beginning part, La ilaha, is the via negativa. It is the Zen like emptying out of all created, imagined concepts generated
through paradox of human conditions about GodHead.

The Honorable Prophet Muhammad said: "Meditate upon God's blessings, but not upon His Essence [dhât]." God in His very Essence, as Ibn 'Arabi often remarks, remains unknowable to us. No created thing can know God as God knows God. What we can know is simply what God chooses to disclose to human consciousness. In Sacred text of Quran it's revealed 2:255 "They encompass nothing of His knowledge save as He wills".

There is a beautiful prayer in Isha Upanishad, the Hindu sacred text, which, after accepting the mysticism of Unknown God, utters the heart prayer:
O my Lord!
Sustainer of all that lives,
Your Real Face is covered
by Your dazzling effulgence.
Kindly remove that covering
and exhibit YourSelf to Your pure devotee.

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