Thursday, 6 September 2007

Who, not what

In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing that he no longer knows what God is. He may or may not mercifully realize that, after all, this is a great gain, because “God is not a what,” not a “thing.”

That is precisely one of the essential characteristics of contemplative experience. It sees that there is no “what” that can be called God. There is “no such thing” as God because God is neither a “what” nor a “thing” but a pure “Who.”

He is the “Thou” before whom our inmost “I” springs into awareness. He is the I Am before whom with our own most personal and inalienable voice we echo “I am.”

~ Thomas Merton
That's exactly it. As Lao Tsu said, I don't know what it is, so I call it Great.

Godde bursts the boundaries of all our attempts at definition. Every time I try to rationalise or quantify or describe the experience of the Divine, I experience some kind of diminution of the opening, expansive Presence. But it must be remembered that the Divine is both expansion and contraction, both darkness and light - the heartbeat of the universe. The rejection of the darkness of Godde diminishes the Presence. The wave and the wind are one motion: the the trough of the wave is the peak of the wind, and the trough of the wind is the peak of the wave, and each is in the heart of the other. Yin and Yang in the eternal Tao.


MikeF said...

"That's exactly it. As Lao Tsu said, I don't know what it is, so I call it Great."

Can I call you Sister?

Yvonne said...

I am going to refer to It from now on as the Universe, because the name God or Godde or even gods and goddesses limits it too much, and implies "Creator God" (which I don't believe in). I rather like the concept of the Queer God in Queer theology, though.