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A Noble Endeavor

This week on Integral Spiritual Center....

Universal Catechism - Vidyuddeva/Ken Wilber
Thoughts on Thoughts - Fr. Thomas Keating

Universal Catechism (audio)


One of the seminal insights of Integral spirituality is the distinction between structure-stages and state-stages.  Human beings develop through a set of structure-stages, making available an increasingly wider and higher set of perspectives, and through a set of state-stages, embodying a progressively deepening sense of unity with the Divine.  The insight is breathtaking, and it leads to a breathtaking injunction:  the creation of a Universal Catechism.

In this week’s featured audio, ISC Teachers Vidyuddeva and Ken Wilber discuss the emerging need for such a catechism.  Because the developmental approach is an insight of the modern West, not much more than a century old, the great religious traditions can’t be expected to have incorporated its contributions.  But what we’re left with is a set of stories, written from a certain level of consciousness, and conversely effective at a similar level of consciousness.  The further away the perspective (or “Kosmic Address”) of the perceiver is from the Kosmic Address of the perceived—whether above or below—the more likely that something will get lost in translation.

Take Christianity, for instance.  The Vatican recently published the Catechism of the Catholic Church, one of the most comprehensive statements to date of the Christian faith.  But because development is not explicitly taken into account, readers can get implicitly lost in one part or another.  Parts of the Catechism would make sense to an elementary school child, and parts of it would be beyond all but a serious theologian.  One could almost take a set of colored highlighters to the document—amber, orange, green, teal, turquoise—and come out with five separate versions, each eminently more applicable to its intended readers than the document is as a whole.

A truly Universal Catechism would tell the stories of the world’s great traditions, but would tell them from a series of developmental altitudes.  A magenta version of a given tradition’s story could be told to someone coming from a magical worldview, an amber version to someone from a mythic worldvie, an orange version to someone from a rational view, etc.  Such an approach would be deeply respectful of the context of its audience—both developmentally and culturally—thus providing, with the most skilful of means, what is appropriate for each station of life.  The Universal Catechism could be the very engine of the conveyor belt that leads human beings from the childhood productions of Spirit, to the adolescent productions of Spirit, to the adult productions of Spirit, and beyond….

Thoughts on Thoughts (video)

Our experience of prayer or meditation can be very like sitting beside a river, watching our thoughts like rafts on the water, coming and going.  Once in awhile (or perhaps every few moments!) we might get fascinated by one in particular, hop aboard, and find ourselves way downstream.  Father Thomas Keating talks about thoughts during prayer and how to approach them such that we are neither disturbed by them, nor consumed by them.
Published Friday, May 02, 2008 10:54 PM by rollie

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