The Ground of Faith

Exploring Science Mysticism and Experience together

The Ground of Faith


AUGUST 2003 
The Whole-ly Spirit

Editorial:The Whole-ly Spirit
: All intuition, all leading comes from Spirit,  in and above All-that-is, and is holy.
Ways of regarding Spiritual Guidance.
Can it ever NOT be the Holy Spirit?
 "I fundamentally disagree with the premise that primary reality is 'one' and the perception of separateness is illusion rather than reality."  See: Letters to the Editors
The Rev Sue Pickering Spiritual Resources Ministries
Reductionism and Holism
The helpful and unhelpful philosophy that leads both to truth and to falsehood.
The Point of View of the One helps to make sense of quite a number of things that we talk about in Christianity
Illuminating quotes from physicist  Victor Mansfield .    Look at his Home Page
Chaos Theory  Victor MacGill "Becoming What We Already Are: A Complexity based vision of Spirituality, Identity, and Ethics".
The Singing Stone :  A wonderful story of meaningful coincidence.
Oliver Sacks: The man who mistook his wife for a hat. Brain-damaged twins able to perform seemingly impossible mathematical calculations.
Questioning St Stephen
on how both he and we may become apprised of knowledge without use of the physical senses.
Meister Eckhart
George Herbert John Keble   Aldous Huxley  Alfred Tennyson


        The psychologist Lawrence LeShan has written an illuminating and clarifying book Alternate Realities, [NY: M. Evans, 1976.] At pp. 92ff, he writes: "All objects and events are part of the fabric of the totality of being and cannot be meaningfully separated from it".  He is describing the point of view of the ONE as opposed to the MANY.  See the editorial of Issue No.1
He begins to describe the point of view of the One.
The theorem of physicist John S. Bell
John S. Bell
Bell's Inequality) has it that "either the statistical predictions of  quantum theory or the principle of local causes is false."  But QM predictions are correct, therefore "the idea that happenings are autonomous events is an illusion".

"Thus", writes physicist David Bohm,
David Bohm
"one is led to a new notion of unbroken wholeness  which denies the classical idea of analyzability of the world into separately and independently existent parts." [ read pp.314 ff. in Gary Zukav Dancing Wu Li Masters, 1979]

continues "all things primarily are each other, since they are primarily one."  In this mode one denies the reality of past, present and future. Things simply "are".  Perhaps you are familiar with the Latin phrase sub specie aeternitatis "seen with the eye of eternity". That's the point of view of the One.
       He writes: "One can only be fully in this mode when one has, if only for a moment, given up all wishes and desires for oneself (since the separate self does not exist) and for others (since they do not exist as separate either) and just allows oneself to be and therefore to be with and be one with the all of existence. To attain this mode, one must - at least momentarily - give up doing and accept being. Any awareness of doing or the wish to do disrupts this mode."
        The Holy Spirit  must be the Whole-ly Spirit, the Spirit of the Whole.

      Of course, we don't seem to be describing life in a suburban back-yard, or life as represent- ed in our newspapers.    The thinking may seem arcane, very theoretical. But we can get our heads around it all, if we think in other terms.             Firstly, consider Romans 7 and 8  where St Paul talks about the conflict of Spirit with the Flesh. Those who live as their human nature tells them to, have their minds controlled by what human nature wants. Those who live as the Spirit tells them to, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants.  
      Secondly, consider prayer. "Prayer is a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice of self, and of self-will, and of the consciousness of that physical self " [Stephen pp 209-210"] Prayer brings us into the One.
       Similarly, worship catches us up into the One.
"We must first look and think and feel through the Source that has the wider perception. This is the whole point of our worship, our devotions, our studies, and our feeling with each other and for each other." [Stephen p.112] Thus also LOVE: this too sacrifices separateness, and approaches more and more the world of the ONE.

Ways of Regarding Spiritual Guidance
  People of all religions speak of spiritual guidance, intuitions, awareness of distant events, awareness that a loved one is experiencing a crisis, or of being lifted out of oneself to higher consciousness, of enhanced love. Depending on our language, culture, and personal beliefs, we might  speak of the work of the Holy Spirit, Fate, or the will of God.
         Some QM physicists and the mystics would say that it is when we are in this mode of the One that "supernatural" knowledge can be ours.
        LeShan writes
Valid information is not gained through the senses, but through a knowing of the oneness of observer and observed, spectator and spectacle. Once this complete oneness is fully accepted, there is nothing that can prevent the flow of information between a thing and itself. [ pp. 92-3] [see "Questioning St Stephen" Note that Stephen's words closely parallel those of LeShan.]
Can it ever NOT be the Holy Spirit?

Question:  In Acts 10, we read how Gentile (and therefore beyond the pale and 'unclean') Cornelius had an angelic command to visit St Peter, who at the same time was having a vision which led him both to accept  that nothing that God had made was unclean., and that "God treats all men on the same basis". Was this the action of the Holy Spirit?

Question: Fifty years ago, with other undergrads, I had tea with famed classicist, internationalist, and psychic researcher, Gilbert Murray.  I mentioned telepathy. He responded with stories of ESP experiments with his daughter. With proper experimental safeguards he had correctly guessed that she was thinking of "a man sitting in a Viennese restaurant eating female lobsters". She had taken this scene from a Russian novel that she was reading, knowing that her father knew no Russian.  So was this the action of the Holy Spirit?

 And what about The Singing Stone synchronicity?
       Plainly the answers to these questions will be many and varied.  Astrictly Reductionist scientist will dismiss the Acts story as fairy-tale, and say that Gilbert Murray was either lying, or an incompetent observer. With regard to the "Singing Stone", it has to be said that regardless of the apparent impressiveness of this and like stories, Reductionism forbids seeing meaning in them, as it forbids taking seriously any personal experiences of a "spiritual" or "paranormal" kind.
        Certain holist QM physicists and mystics will see all these stories as fitting in with their understanding of reality.  How you and I would answer, would depend on our theology or lack of it, and whether or not we would reserve the term "Holy Spirit" for important things or not, or whether we want to put some kind of scientific label on it all, and call it parapsychology. (We might even say  that Peter, Cornelius, and also Gilbert Murray were "psychics", whatever that means. )

  The view of the physicist and the mystic would be to regard these stories as beloning to " The mystic heaven and earth within", and our varying terminology as being dependent on the context in which we have our experiences.

Letters to the
Editors :
"I do have a problem.. with your use .. of the  word "psychophysical" to characterise the quantum mechanical view of the world...."
  The Editors reply

.The Rev. Sue Pickering, (co-ordinator of Spiritual Growth Ministries formation programme for spiritual directors) writes to the Editors and suggests a number of  most valuable resources of interest to readers of this e-Journal.

3. "
I fundamentally disagree with the premise that primary reality is "One", and with the perception of separateness as illusion rather than reality." Read letter and answer

. Grateful thanks for the congratulations and warm wishes of so many readers. This indeed encourages us to continue with the Journal.

Meister Eckhart
When someone leaves what is theirs in obedience, God must of necessity enter in again, for if someone does not want anything for them, God must will for them in the same manner as he does for himself. For I have surrendered my will into the hands of my superior and I want nothing for myself, therefore God must will for me, and if he neglects me in this matter then he neglects himself. DW  V, p.187 From Talks of Instruction, tr. in Selected works of Meister Eckhart, Penguin Classics. Oliver Davis, 1991   Meister Eckhart

George Herbert
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for thee.

A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye,
Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav'n espy.

All may of thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean
Which with this motive, "For thy sake,"
Will not grow bright and clean.

George Herbert(1593–1633)

John Keble
There is a book who runs may read,
Which heavenly truth imparts,
And all the lore its scholars need,
Pure eyes and Christian hearts.
The works of God above, below,
Within us and around,
Are pages in that book, to show
How God himself is found...

Two worlds are ours: 'tis only sin
Forbids us to descry
The mystic heaven and earth within,
Plain as the sea and sky.
Thou who hast given me eyes to see
And love this sight so fair,
Give me a heart to find out thee,
And read thee everywhere.
 John Keble
 John Keble (1792- 1866)

Keble was an English clergyman and poet who helped start the Oxford movement in the Church of England. He based the doctrine and devotion of his important poetical work "The Christian Year" on the Book of Common Prayer which led to a professorship of poetry at Oxford.

Aldous Huxley :
“The ground in which the multifarious and time-bound psyche is rooted is a simple, timeless awareness. By making us pure in heart and poor in spirit we can discover and be identified with this awareness. In the spirit we not only have, but are, the unitive knowledge of the divine Ground.” [Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philsophy 1945, p. 29]
singing stone
  The Singing Stone
A woman relates the following experience:
[The synchronicity] began with a friend of mine telling me the name of Seneca Lake in Havdensvance, or Iroquois, Ganadasege ti karneo dei. He told me the spirits of the lake love to hear the old name as no one says it much anymore. . .My mother, accommodating one of her daughter’s cooky whims, chanted the old name of the lake for a while too as we walked the shore line. . .[The narrator relates how she felt compelled  intuitively to go to  a particular spot]. . I looked down at the ground and as my eyes scanned the small rocks below my feet, I saw a face looking at me. It was a stone with two holes for eyes, two small nostrils, and a large hole for the mouth, open as if it were singing a song. There was a rush of recognition, a feeling of deep meeting. . . .I brought the stone home and for a few weeks kept it by my bed. At night before sleep, I would ask, “What song am I to hear?” I listened but there was no answer. . [Her brother-in-law discovered that by blowing through it, eight notes could be sounded] We named it “the singing stone”. I continued to ask it what I was to learn, what was I to hear.
The answer came late one night. I had been at a philoso- phy class and got home about 11:30 p.m. It was a beautiful starry night, clear and cold. I spent some time outside gazing into the night sky, when I felt I should go in and look at my bookshelf. When I got there, I was drawn to two books. One, a Native American story book, and the other by Ramana Maharshi, a Hindu sage.
I opened the first book, the words before me read, “The Story of the Singing Stone.” A chill ran over my body. I sat and read. It was the tale of a young woman looking for the Singing Stone, supposed to be magic for the one who found it. The tale described her adventures through the four directions searching for it. The result was this. She ends up on a bluff with her family below. They looked up and upon seeing her hold out their arms and say, “Welcome home Singing Stone.”
She was Singing Stone. The Singing Stone was herself.  The book went on to interpret the tale as addressing the question, “Who am I?”
I then felt compelled to go on and pick up the second book. I opened it. The chapter title read, “Who am I?” Another chill ran through my body but this time it was accompanied by a certain sense of reverence.
The stone had answered me! And this was the song. A joy welled up inside. I read every word of that chapter with great interest. In the text, Ramana Maharishi suggested ways to contact the Pure Self or Silence that is the true nature of who we are.
 Abridged from Synchro-
nicity, Science and Soul Making
[pp 125-6] by the physicist * Prof.
Victor Mansfield  With permission.

Questioning St Stephen:

Once again we had been questioning Stephen about how he knows things, how he learns about things.  How would he go about answering a question such as that about the strange parallel coincidences between the circumstances surrounding the assassinations of US presidents Lincoln and Kennedy? He answered:
" I do not delve into a store of knowledge nor do I look into great books, where this knowledge is recorded and written, as we might imagine.
The mirror concept is good: I have to think back, and become a mirror image stretching back. You have given me four mirror images. These images I must pick up, I will see in the minds of these images, and I will hear the words, the words that are ordained, but then the coincidences of mind.
I may then become the second assassin, [I had asked about the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy] I am sure I am this assassin, for the coincidence told me so. Now I will assassinate. For this is the image that my mind has created, this is the truth that I have accepted, this is the knowledge that I have partly received. This is what my mind will believe... I feel this."  pp. 169-70 The Stephen Experience
 Michael Cocks

Prayer of St Stephen
: "Lord, let me forget that I am me, Let me know that I am with thee, Let me not separate myself from thee Because I am me" The Stephen Experience, Michael Cocks. Kelso 2001.

From Tennyson:
Speak to Him, thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet,
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you there, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower - but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Point of View of the One
helps to make sense of quite a number of things that we talk about in Christianity

God as creator,
the omnipresence (everywhere- ness) of God,
the omniscience (the all- knowingness) of God,
The Love (connectedness) of God holding all things together,
The Spirit of God in our hearts and minds, (we are connected with All-that-is) so that it is not possible for that Spirit to be absent from us;
 the idea that we are in the image of God (imaged by God),
 since the part must give some idea of the Whole;
the idea of prayer to God for others (of course it is possible and is of value for we are all one in the whole;
the idea of the afterlife (if we are in the mind of the Whole how can we drop out of it?)
the idea of spiritual healing (of course it is possible for we are created in this Whole, (in just the same way that a cell in our bodies is created by the body, and can be healed by the body.)

the importance of faith (of course it is important, because faith is trust in the mind and spirit of God at work.)