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“I am God.  I do not recognize the hell.  I do not recognize the three worlds of heaven, hell and earth.  I am the Lord, the Controller.  I am still the witness after everything else is dissolved.  Nobody else is God for me; nobody else controls me.  I am I-less, I am my-less. ” Sankara

INTRODUCTION

In this article I hope to demonstrate some parallels between modern Physics, Eastern Mysticism, and Barbour’s ideas based on Process Philosophy.  I will examine the three perspectives within the context of the dynamic interplay of energies, the emergent and convergent universe, and finally the transcendence of God.

MODERN PHYSICS

According to Classical Physics, Newton’s mechanical model views the world as deterministic.  All that transpires in the universe has a definite cause, giving rise to a categorical effect.  The philosophical basis of Classical Physics is a fundamental division between the “I” and the “world,” the dichotomy of the subject and object.  The world is in motion with respect to fixed laws, according to which material points move.  This mechanistic model is adequate for the description of physical phenomena at a submicroscopic level, where essentially, protons, neutrons, and electrons are the material particles that interact with finite space and linear time to effect movement in the world (Capra: 1972, 56-62).  At the atomic level, the actions of atoms can be determined; however as quantum physics shows even at this level the reaction cannot be predetermined, for even the observer can have an impact on the outcome or results.

The first three decades of our century have seen a radical transformation of the entire interpretation of physics based on Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum physics.  Modern physics has shattered all the principle concepts of the Classical world view based on universal order and fixed laws.  The theory of relativity and quantum theory have transformed our view of absolute space and time, elementary solid particles, the causal nature of physical phenomena, and the objective description of nature (62-63).

In 1905, Albert Einstein initiated the two revolutionary trends of thought in the theory of relativity and the beginning of the quantum theory.  (The complete quantum theory was worked out twenty years later by a team of physicists.  In quantum theory one deals with the probability of finding a particle at a given position.  The theory attempts to combine the principles of quantum mechanics with those of relativity in an effort to describe processes such as high-energy collisions in which particles may be created or destroyed).  Even though Einstein refuted classical understanding of the universe, he still advocated nature’s intrinsic harmony and integrated foundation.  The physicist replaced the erroneous constants of the past, showing that they were only relative, but nevertheless made the speed of light a constant in his physics.  He tried to located God’s order in a universal, while through his theory of relativity, constancy of time and space were disproved.  Einstein, therefore, commented that God does not place dice, so that the natural world is comprised of total harmony and order, and nothing is left to chance.

According to the relativity theory, time is not a separate entity; moreover, space is not three-dimensional.  Both are interconnected and a four-dimensional continuum emerges as time-space, as space and time lose their absolute significance. In contrast to the classical theory of absolute space and, absolute time, the modern theory of physics emerges, where both space and time become elements of language used by a particular observer.  The most important consequence of Modern Physics is the realization that mass and even matter are nothing but forms of energy.  Matter can through processes change into energy and vice versa, challenging the materialist conception of the universe based on static, tangible perception of matter, and even matter itself must be rediefined as it has changed into something dynamic and fluid.  Furthermore, space can never be separated from time as the latter is affected by the presence of matter. l Both space and time however are flowing at different rates in different parts of the universe.  For example, the mass or weight of a human being is not inseparable ffrom space, so that a 160 lbs. man on earth may weigh only 60 lbs on the moon, and 300 lbs. on Jupiter.  Clearly, the space that the human body occupies influences its mass.  The Classical concept of absolute space and time is also nullified, since the force of gravity, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, has the effect of curving space and time.  Clearly, the relativity theory has revolutionized our interpretation of physical phenomena.  The classical distinction between matter and energy is discarded in favour of the contemporary idea that matter can transform into energy and vice versa; therefore there can only be conversion among the different forms of matter and energy, even if neither is actually unchanging (62-70).

From the perspective of the quantum theory, the classical deterministic laws of nature have been dismantled.  In contrast to the Classical view of solid material objects, quantum theory interprets phenomena as wave-like patterns of probabilities.  The probabilities are not of “things” but rather probabilities of interconnections.  Subatomic particles have no existence as concrete, isolated entities.  Phenomenal reality can only be understood in terms of the probability of interconnections.  Quantum theory, thus, reveals an essential unity of the universe.  The world cannot be deconstructed into independently isolated “building blocks.”  Rather, a dynamic interplay exists between the various parts of the whole.  These relations also include the “observer.”  The human observer becomes the final link in the chain of observational processes, since an essential interconnection exists in all phenomena.  The attraction between positive and negative forces emerges as a vigorous interplay of energy waves that order the phenomenal world.  The property of matter and light becomes concomitantly “particle” and energy “waves,” spread over a large region of space.  The energy of heat radiation continuously appears as energy packets.  Einstein calls them “quanta” and recognizes them as an essential aspect of nature (68-81).

According to the relativistic quantum field theory, particle and field are complementary manifestations of one and the same thing.  The relativistic field theory asserts that:

“the ultimate material reality that physics can apprehend is the ‘field’ and in the aspect of the quantum field, it is both a continuum and a discontinuum, the discontinuities being temporary condensations of space-time where the field is unusually intense giving rise to matter (Pantda: 1991, 154).

According to the field theory, reality is nothing but the transformation and organization of the field quanta.  Particles are interactions between fields, and are ephemeral manifestations.  They only appear to be substantial as a result of the dynamic, energetic interplay of the quantum fields (155).

All types of particle-pairs are constantly generated and absorbed by the field.  The “dance” of all possible particles, may be regarded as the fundamental activity of Nature so that:

“what was considered to be ‘sunya’ (void), vacuum or nothingness before the discovery of relativistic quantum field is now accepted as ‘purna’ (full) or plenum by the quantum physicists (157).

In microphysics, the vacuum-ocean is a positive entity, having ripples and larger waves full of fluctuations.  The vacuum-ocean is absolute because it is inactive, calm, and free from fluctuations.  Unmanifest energy manifests itself and then again becomes unmanifest as an eternal dynamic process of the universal materialization and confluence that takes place (156-158).

EASTERN MYSTICISM- SHIVA’S COSMIC DANCE

In East Indian mythology and philosophy, the concept of the cosmic dance is very ancient, representing the Eastern mystic’s dynamic view of the universe.  They have used the image of a “dance” to convey their intuition of reality, personified in the form of the cosmic dance of Shiva (or Nataraja).  The word Shiva means “one whose actions are good,” and the name Shiva is considered to be derived from Shankara meaning auspicious and benevolent.  Shiva is worshipped in the form of a phallus, which symbolized the Divine Father.  The phallus symbol penetrates into ‘Shakti’ (energy) represented in the form of the ‘yoni’ ( the womb or vagina), a symbol of the generative organ of the Divine Mother.  Proto-Shiva was a fertility God of the Indus Valley Civilization, and his dancing today symbolizes creation.  Interestingly, the same Shiva assumes destructive or sanguinary aspects, for destruction and cannot be separated from creation.  Shiva needs to destroy in order to create anew.  Rudra represents destructive aspects in their totality as he dances for the annihilation of everything.  Shiva and Rudra are two images that seem to be antagonistic to one another initially, but the Hindu tradition has a forceful strength to assimilate bifurcating ideas.  Shiva collects Rudra’s attributes into himself once the latter declines in popularity after the Vedic period.  The Eastern Mystics commingle the two contradictory concepts, and form an integral concept from the collapse of Rudra’s destructive powers into the new, more powerful Shiva.  The contradictory nature of Shiva appears paradoxical, however in reality it is a bipolar synthesis, in which the opposite poles cannot exist without the other (156-158).

Eastern mysticism recognizes only one Reality as the Transcendent, and yet It is conceived in many forms.  ‘Advaita’ (Non-Dual) Vedanta recognizes Brahman as the Ground of Reality, or  as  the Ultimate Reality whereas the phenomenal world is ultimately unreal (maya or mithya).  The theistic or devotional schools of medieval India accepted God not only as Formless but often worshipped the Lord in many forms.  Therefore, God in Advaitic understanding was Formless and One, a conception that became remote in the myriad forms that many Hindus worshipped in ardent devotion in daily life.  The Hindu tradition tried to synthesize these myriad forms into the Trimurti (the Hindu trinity).  As a coin has two faces, likewise the Divine has three presiding phases, attributes, or deities:  Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (maintainer), and Mahesvara (change, destroyer i.e. Shiva).  The Nataraja concept of Shiva contains simultaneously his creative, sustaining, and destructive activities.  His Nataraja form is consistent with religious, philosophical, and scientific investigation.  Creation and dissolution are taking place each moment and are symbolized by the Rudra-Shiva dance.  The universal dancer is considered to be Nataraja whose dancing creates the outflow and inflow of the universes, and encompasses all with His eternally still presence as a multidimensional aspect of the cosmic dance (159).  In this supreme cosmic dance:

 

“particles and antiparticles appear from akasa (space; these micro-particles may generate newer particles; the particles dance vigorously, suddenly they appear, transiently they live…then they disappear.  When they disappear they apparently vanish; but they don’t become nothing…(160).

 

In the beginning, the particles were unmanifest (avyakta), in the middle they become manifest (vyatka), and in the end they become again unmanifest (avyakta).  There is no gain or loss in the whole process, for the cosmic dance is eternal.  Creation and annihilation are merely part of the cosmic dance.  Their difference lies in degrees of subtleties as they alternate from coarse to subtle existence.  The cosmic process of creation, destruction, manifestation and non-manifestation, worldly evolution and change are fundamentals of Shiva’s eternal dance (158).

The symbolic imagery of the dancing Shiva is as follows:

“Shiva’s aureaole of fire (the prabhamandala) represents the rhythm of the universe and emanates from the lotus pedestal, the Hindu symbol of Enlightenment.  Shiva dances on the prostrate form of Apasmargaurusa, a symbol of human ignorance.  The back right hand carries the damaru, a drum symbolizing creation.  The back left hand holds agni, the fire of destruction.  The front left hand carries a disc and is in the yajahasta (elephant trunk) position. The front left hand is in the abhya-mudra pose (pose expressing fearlessness)  (154).

 

Shiva’s dance is further considered to be tandava (energetic).  The foot held aloft signifies release.  His arms are balanced and yet reflect dynamic gestures that express the rhythm and unity of Life.  The balance of the two hands represent the dynamic balance of creation and destruction.  In the centre of the two hands is Shiva’s face, calm and detached, which signifies the transcendence over the polarity inherent in creation and destruction.  Shiva is pictured dancing on the body of a demon who symbolizes human ignorance, which must be conquered before liberation is achieved (256-255).

 

Shiva’s dance represents the dynamic flow and ‘dance’ of the universe.  The dancing universe is a ceseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns, which merge into one another in a dynamic universal interplay.  His dance symbolizes the daily rhythm of birth and death, and the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction.  Shiva is a reminder that the many forms in the world are maya (not constant, but ever-changing), while He is eternally Real as He continually keeps creating and dissolving the forms in the external flow of His dance.

 

The Eastern mystics have a dynamic view of the universe similar to that of modern physics.  The parallels of Eastern mysticism and modern physics become particularly striking when sound is considered as a wave with a certain frequency, which changes with the sound.  Particles are also waves with frequencies proportional to their energies.  According to modern physics, each particle perpetually sings its song, and produces a rhythmic ‘dance of energy in dense and subtle forms.’  Modern physicists use phrases like the ‘dance of creation and destruction’ and ‘energy dance.’  The conception of rhythm and dance emerge naturally when one tries to imagine the discharge of energies going through the patterns that make up the particle world.  Modern Physics and eastern Mysticism, therefore, demonstrate that rhythm and motion are essential aspects of the phenomenal universe.  Another parallel is the understanding that all matter, whether here on Earth or in outer space, is participating in a continual cosmic dance (Capra: 1975, 256-259).  Moreover, both of them agree on the idea of the emergent and convergent universe.  According to Eastern Mysticism, the world of maya (illusion) changes perpetually, since the cosmic dance of Shiva is a rhythmic, dynamic dance.  In the active principle of the cosmic dance, the entire universe is in action, manifest and emerging, while in its non-active principle the entire universe has converged into an unmanifest essence.  Similarly, modern physics has discovered the expanding universe as supported by the kinetic of the Big Bang theory.  And, presently the universe has been shown as expanding, but at a slower rate than previously due to the changes in the gravitational force.  Moreover, the reverse phenomenon of the collapsing universe will take place at some time in the future, when the gravitational pull will be greater than the receding force, and then the universe will converge (Panda: 1991, 131).

 

In conclusion, I have examined some fundamental ideas inherent in Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism.  Interestingly, the emerging views in each of the two systems of thought parallel each other.

by Deborah Morrison

Works Cited

Capra, Fritof. The Tao of Physics. London: Wildwood House, 1975

Panda, N.C. maya in Physics. Delhi: Motilal Banarisdass Publishers, 1991

 

 

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In this article I will analyze, from my own perspective, the merits and demerits of the book ‘Gandhian Mysticism’ by Mohit Chakrabarti.  I will consider the quality of the book in terms of its contribution to the understanding of mysticism, by means of its structure and content.  Finally, I will conclude whether I feel the author has accomplished his task; –that being a scholarly study of Gandhian mysticism.

 

Chakrabarti defines mysticism as a “beyonding of consciousness” (Chakrabarti, 1).  Further, Chakrabarti refers to Gandhian mysticism as “growth eternal from Truth to Truth” (Chakrabarti, 1).  Chakrabarti’s main focus of his book ‘Gandhian Mysticism’  is to study Gandhi’s understanding of mysticism from various avenues of Gandhian thought.  Gandhian Mysticism is further explained in relation to non-violence, in terms of the concept of joy, as well as in view of its practical application in face of social tension.

 

Firstly, the author attempts to explain Gandhi’s ideas on the various dimensions of mysticism.  Gandhi thinks that “service is the symbol of self-sacrifice and self-purification leading to enlightenment in the mystic vision” (Chakrabarti, 2).  Gandhi believes in living a life based on simplicity, non-violence, and Truth, as revealed by his mystical vision.  Gandhi suggests that all persons have the potential and ability to live likewise.  Gandhian mysticism may be termed “spirituality in action” (Chakrabarti, 2).  Gandhi’s mysticism as spirituality in action is further described as:

“Spirituality in its essence is the direct experience in one’s own consciousness and one’s whole being, of Oneness of all Existence without the least doubt or wavering.  Awareness of such oneness in one’s own consciousness without any feeling of separateness with any thing in the universe…such awareness is said to have two stages, not necessarily one after the other: the perception of Oneness…which is attended by a momentary sense of fulfillment and ecstatic joy.” (Chakrabarti, 3)

 

Gandhi’s personal aspiration and ambition, in terms of mysticism is described as wanting to “see God face to face” (Chakrabarti, 3).  In order to achieve this mystical experience, Gandhi takes on the spiritual discipline of maintaining vows, for the purpose of self purification.  By the process of self purification the ego is transcended.  Thus Gandhi is able to experience the mystical state of being called Superconsciousness.  Gandhi considers mysticism as “the essence of the human soul” (Chakrabarti, 6).  Also Gandhi prescribes the practise of self purification as a means of hearing the voice of God within: 

“Having made a ceaseless effort to attain self-purification, I have developed some little capacity to hear correctly and clearly the still small voice within” (Chakrabarti, 8)

 

To be a continual visualizer in the mystic vision, Gandhi gives prominence to the “still small voice within”  (Chakrabarti, 8).  The Gandhian concept of mysticism suggests a “return to the roots of consciousness, as mysticism makes inroads to higher feeling” (Chakrabarti, 9).  Love, not hatred, is the single factor that has, as Gandhi points out “an abiding force to see inwardly and see in fullness” (Chakrabarti, 10).  The mystic merges in Love, and Love merges in the mystic.

 

Gandhian mysticism in general then progresses to a study of Gandhian mysticism in relation to specifics such as non-violence, the concept of joy and practical applications in face of social tension.

 

In relation to non-violence, Gandhian mysticism has a practical application  of approaching life in terms of “action based on the refusal to harm deliberately” (Chakrabarti, 36).  Gandhi understands non-violence to be the “law of our being” (Charkrabarti, 36).  Gandhi’s mystic vision is that materialism be transformed in the vision of spiritual harmony.  According to Gandhian mysticism, the spirit is more important than matter.  Through the practise of non-violence the spirit can transform matter, by means of the Truth-force or Soul-force generated.  Thus the mysticism of Gandhi aims at a philosophy based on non-violent action.

 

As a seeker of non-violence, Gandhi always makes an inward journey into his own consciousness.  This inner journey, according to Gandhian mysticism, enables one to become more self-aware and to discern right from wrong.  What is remarkable in Gandhian mysticism, is the pursuit of the benevolence of humankind as the means toward achievement of mystic fulfillment.  One begins the journey inwardly, by the process of inward vision.  However, through the observance of outward activities based on non-violence, one continues the journey.  Gandhi always affirms goodness and welfare to all living beings.  He equates non-violence as the means to achieve his mystical vision of Truth, Peace, and Love.

 

In relation to the concept of joy, Gandhian mysticism highlights the conscious awareness “to feel within oneself the spirit of joy arising out of the sense of goodness and love  derived by means of non-violence as the symbol of mystic contentment” (Chakrabarti, 99).  Gandhi mystically visualizes the joy in humanity that must manifest itself in brilliant radiance.  Gandhi’s testimony to the world reveals his mystic concept of joy:

 

“There is a spirit which, I feel, delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things…as it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thought to any other.  If it be betrayed it bears it:  for its ground and spring is the mercies and forgiveness of God” (Chakrabarti, 100).  Gandhi believes that as soon as one achieves control over oneself, the joy in oneself comes out (Chakrabarti, 101).  Gandhi, the mystic visionary, embraces the world as the eternal fountain of joy.  Gandhi insists that we ‘illumine or perish’ (Chakrabarti, 103).  Gandhi says that the ‘gateway to the world of joy is always open for those who come to have an unhindered entry through the vision of joy’ (Chakrabarti, 103).

 

Finally the book on ‘Gandhian Mysticism’‘ relates Gandhi’s mysticism to practical applications in face of social tension.  Gandhi thinks that the modern social pattern of utilitarianism necessitates a mystic breakthrough.  Gandhi feels that much of the modern world is devoid of mutual co-operation, cohesion and of feeling for one and all (Chakrabarti, 105).  Gandhi envisions mankind as becoming “conscious of the inner worth of humanity and so alleviate the sorrows and sufferings consequential to poverty (Chakrabarti, 106).  Gandhi believes that social change can be achieved through a “silent inward revolution” (Chakrabarti, 107).  This inward revolution teaches humanity how to live honestly and with devotion to Truth and goodness.  As a mystic visionary, Gandhi delves deep into social miseries, suffering and poverty.  Gandhi believes and actualises in his activities the fact that Love is the cure for all wrongs and sufferings of distressed humanity (Chakrabarti, 111).

 

The above dimensions of Gandhian mysicism, from the standpoint of his unique strategy of non-violence, brings forth a new awareness of the future potential of humanity.  The potential of social progress, Love and Truth manifest in the world.  Gandhian mysticism encompasses the two aspects of firstly an inwardness of vision and secondly an outward action in response to one’s vision.  Gandhian mysticism thus becomes second to none as a technique of applying the inner essence of humanity toward the good of one and all.

 

I feel that the merits or strengths of the book ‘Gandhian Mysticism’ are found primarily in the depth of insight within the content of the text.  The author has a refined understanding of Gandhi’s mystical understanding and visions.  Furthermore, the author supports his views well with direct quotes from Gandhi, in order to strenghen the content of the text.

 

The structure of the text is good; beginning with an overview of Gandhian mysticism, then focusing on specifics in terms of modern day social tensions.  I feel that the author has accomplished his aim of enhancing the reader’s understanding of Ganhian mysticism.

 

However, I think the text has the demerit of being somewhat too short in length.  An in depth analysis of Gandhian mysticism in relation to Satyagraha (passive resistance) would have enhanced the quality of the text.  Nevertheless, in view of the strengths found in the text, I would recommend ‘Gandhian Mysticism’ as excellent reading.

Written by,

Deborah Morrison

 

Works Cited

Chakrabarti, Mohit ‘Ganhian Mysticism’ 1989.

                    Atlantic Publishers and Distributors,

                   New Delhi, India.

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After a thorough perusal of the Book of Job, one can only conclude that Job learns a great deal from his experience.  Of significance is Job’s theophany, his mystical religious experience of communicating with God.  Job’s religious experience results in his new awareness of God’s omniscience and omnipotence.  Job learns to be theocentric, rather than anthropocentric.  In contrast, Job never does learn about the generic cause of his suffering.  The cause being the wager between Satan and God.

 

Job had always been a pious man and had lived a life of material comfort.  Throughout chapters one to thirty-seven in the Book of Job, Job experiences misfortune.  As a reaction to the extreme suffering that Job must contend with, he falls into a deep and continual state of despair.  A despair that threatens his faith in God.

 

Job repeatedly proclaims his innocence.  He feels as if he were being punished by God, with no just cause.  Where there is faith there is hope.  However, Job’s faith in God becomes progressively weak.  Job begins to lose all hope.  The weakening of Job’s faith becomes apparent when he says:

“I tell you that God has wronged me and enveloped me in his net” (Job 19, 6)

As Job’s faith in God becomes weaker, it is evident that Job begins to lose hope of ever seeing happiness again.  Job replies to Eliphaz:

“My days are over, so are my plans, my heart-strings are broken… Where then is my hope?  Who can see any happiness for me?” (17, 11-15)

 

Friends and relatives give advice to Job.  However, everyone believes that Job must have sinned and is being punished.  Job proclaims his innocence and finds no comfort from others.  God seems far away and evil appears to be triumphant.  Evidently, until chapter thirty-seven of the Book of Job, Job maintains an anthropocentric perspective.  If human beings were the centre of everything, then Job’s understanding of his suffering might bring some light to his situation.  However, Job has more to learn.

 

The three sages, the friends of Job, have failed to justify God.  Thus, Job is in a state of ever deepening despair, until God speaks to him.  The discourses of Yahweh are a major turning point for Job.  Job’s theophany, (mystical religious experience), is his direct discourses with God, where he learns the most.  Job’s profound learning restores his faith in the Divine.

 

The first discourse with Yahweh teaches Job about the Creator’s wisdom.  Job learns that God is omiscient, all knowing.  Yahweh asks Job many questions:

“Have you grasped the celestial laws?” (38, 33)

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?  Tell me since you are so well informed!” (38, 4)

“Who decided its dimensions, do you know?” (38, 5)

Job begins to realize that the human intellect is limited in understanding.  Job replies to Yahweh:

“My words have been frivolous!  What can I reply?  I had better lay down my hand over my mouth, I have spoken once, I shall not speak again:  I have spoken twice, I have nothing more to say.” (40, 4-5)

 

Thus, Job acknowledges God’s omniscience.  Job realizes that perhaps he doesn’t understand his own suffering completely.  However, God being all knowing, would have the absolute wisdom necessary to understand Job’s suffering.

 

Secondly, through the discourses of Yahweh, Job learns that God is omnipotent.  God asks Job:

“Do you really want to reverse my judgement, Put me in the wrong and yourself in the right? Has your arm the strength of God’s, Can your voice thunder as loud?” (40, 8-9)

Yahweh reminds Job that he is not strong enough to save himself, let alone anyone else.  Yahweh challenges Job by stating:

“Let the fury of your anger burst forth, humble the haughty at a glance.  At a glance bring down all the proud, strike down the wicked where they stand.” (40, 11-12)

Job finds comfort, as a result of his mystical religious experience, communicating directly with God.  Job comes to know God more completely.  Job has overcome his weakening faith.   Now, he has a stronger faith and a deeper understanding of God.

 

Job also learns of God’s omnipotence.  Yahweh reminds Job of the strength of Divine power.  Through faith in God, Job’s hope is restored.  The suffering that Job experiences must be temporary.  Eventually, Job will experience happiness once again.  The progress of Job’s learning is portrayed in his final answer to Yahweh:

“Before, I knew only by hearsay, but now, having seen you with my own eyes, I retract what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes.” (42, 5-6)

Job’s learning is progressive; from an anthropocentric (human centered) to a theocentric (God centered) perspective.  By understanding that God is in the centre, Job begins to see himself as a small unit within a larger, yet Divine plan.  Job realizes that everything cannot happen for his benefit alone.  By means of God’s omniscience and omnipotence, eventually Divine justice will reign supreme.  Job reaffirms what he has learned through his experience by answering Yahweh:

“I know that You are all-powerful; what You conceive: You can perform.  I was the man who misrepresented your intentions with my ignorant words.” (42, 2-3)

 

In contrast to all the profound learning that Job gains through his experience, Job has learned nothing about the generic cause of his suffering.  Initially, there was a wager established between Satan and God.  Misfortune and suffering, were originally thrust upon Job due to Satan challenging God.  Satan, was sure that Job would lose faith in God, if tested by severe suffering.  Both Satan and Yahweh knew all along about the wager that led to Job’s suffering.  Even after Yahweh’s discourses, Job never learns about the wager between Satan and God.  The real purpose behind Job’s suffering is never revealed to him.

 

One can only conclude that Job’s theophany, his mystical religious experience of speaking directly with God, results in a progressive learning experience.  Before his religious experience, Job understands his suffering from an anthropocentric perspective.  After learning from his mystical religious experience, Job becomes theocentric, or God centered.  In contrast, Job never learns anything about the real cause of his suffering– the wager between Satan and God.  In the heart of the tempest, while in the depths of despair, Job’s faith and hope are restored.  Job learns more about the Divine nature of Yahweh–the attributes of omniscience and omnipotence.  Profound learning results from Job’s experiences, both the suffering and the theophany.  Job’s happiness is re-established, and his love for God deepens.

By

 Deborah Morrison

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

All references to the book of Job in this article refer to:

The New Jerusalem Bible.  1990.  Bantam Publishing Ltd., London

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“The Secret” reinforces an important message of taking inventory of our thoughts and focusing them in a positive direction to create life changes that we desire. This is a wonderful message, yet without critical examination and thoughtful application, the ideas can prove unskillful in our interactions with individuals who suffer.

The idea that we attract everything through our thoughts is on the one hand a powerful message. However, it can also be a dangerous message when taken to an extreme perspective. We can end up blaming victims for their plight, such as: Individuals in poverty, survivors of disasters, the disabled or the abused.

I believe that at critical moments such as with Hurricane Katrina or with the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, our desire to alleviate suffering is most important. The extreme perspective can also assign wrongful thinking for causing diseases or illnesses. I feel uncomfortable when positive thinking is taken this far because it can allow us to become distant from another person’s need or suffering, since we can at some level just say, “Well, they must have brought this upon themselves.”

If taken to an extreme this perspective of our thoughts alone ultimately influencing the universe can approach arrogance. Certainly our thoughts, intentions and our ability to select our reaction to events are powerful tools for personal transformation, yet this message needs to be balanced with humility and compassion. Thoughts play an important role, yet at times our response needs to come from the heart not the head..

At a human level, we need to balance our positive thinking attitudes with compassion for ourselves and others. When individuals are in need, our hearts need to respond to them with empathy, care and understanding. If our positive thoughts disconnect us from compassion, then even if we succeed at an individual level, we may fail at a social level – we may achieve material success but lose our “soul” in the process.

When we approach positive thinking or “the law of attraction” with a mechanical attitude, then we risk limiting our growth to self-interest rather than growing in our compassion. From a higher perspective, we know that spiritual growth starts within our hearts and is not limited to our thoughts alone. The mind and heart work in harmony in order to create a life that is fulfilling at all levels.

In “NEXUS: A Neo Novel” our focus has been on personal transformation of people who in one way or another are stuck. Through the journey of people in our book, we discover many insights to expand both our mind and our heart – to develop a positive mind along with a compassionate heart.

Peace & blessings,
Arvind Singh
Co-author of Nexus

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Deborah Morrison & Arvind Singh from Ontario, Canada explore their gifts as novelists through a captivating book called NEXUS. Deborah has previously written a book of poetry called Mystical Poetry, and she has published many articles on health and spirituality. Arvind has published a number of articles on spiritual and philosophical thought both in English and South Asian languages and this is his first book.

NEXUS is an amazing spiritual adventure of Personal Transformation & Empowerment. Readers have described it as Insightful, Captivating and Inspirational. It builds on the experiences of both authors as teachers of relaxation, breath and yoga therapies. Through a poignant journey to a retreat, each person in the novel is looking to overcome personal pain including the main character, Logan Andrews.

Logan, a journalist in his mid-20s, struggles with depression to the point of suicide. Can he control his troubled mind before its too late?

In a vivid dream, Logan is guided to a spiritual retreat where he meets his lost love, Sarah, along with an arrogant millionaire, a grandmotherly woman and two insightful teachers.

Problems soon emerge for Logan and others at the retreat. What happens to each character and the depth of their personal experiences makes NEXUS a journey of transformation and a compelling read.

I’ve read many spiritual books but this one succeeds where others fail. It successfully combines a poignant story fraught with true human emotions of personal pain along with remarkable spiritual insights. James Bertrand

Nexus made me laugh and it made me cry. The story touched on many issues that I have struggled with in my own life and it gave practical advice on transforming my life. Its perfect for anyone looking for an Inspiring, Spiritual book filled with practical wisdom. Harpal Singh Khalsa.

A simple story with a simple message, Nexus invites you in to explore the characters’ thoughts and feelings along side your own. Nancy Noble

This book is totally amazing!!! It works like a dream at a subconscious level of understanding even if consciously you’re unaware of its full spiritual dimensions. Aaron

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Compassion forms the primary message contained in the pages of Nexus, where through empathy and genuine feeling of oneness with others, transcendence from ego-centeredness is possible. Then compassion and genuine love can be enshrined within.

The following excerpts by the Dalai Lama shed practical wisdom on bringing compassion into our daily lives:

Where Compassion Starts

“Compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness. ”

“The next matter to be understood is whether it is possible to enhance compassion and love. In other words, is there a means by which these qualities of mind can be increased, and anger, hatred, and jealousy reduced? My answer to this is an emphatic, Yes! Even if you do not agree with me right now, let yourself be open to the possibility of such development. Let us carry out some experiments together; perhaps we may then find some answers.”

“For a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical. Of the two, it is the mind that exerts the greatest influence on most of us. Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of basic necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life. If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace rather than physical comfort.”

Transforming the Mind

“From my own limited experience, I am convinced that through constant training we can indeed develop our minds. Our positive attitudes, thoughts, and outlook can be enhanced, and their negative counterparts can be reduced. Even a single moment of consciousness depends on so many factors, and when we change these various factors, the mind also changes. This is a simple truth about the nature of mind. ”

Developing Compassion

“Self-centeredness inhibits our love for others, and we are all afflicted by it to one degree or another. For true happiness to come about, we need a calm mind, and such peace of mind is brought about only by a compassionate attitude.”

“Many forms of compassionate feeling are mixed with desire and attachment. For instance, the love parents feel for their child is often strongly associated with their own emotional needs, so it is not fully compassionate. Usually when we are concerned about a close friend, we call this compassion, but it too is usually attachment. Even in marriage, the love between husband and wife…depends more on attachment than genuine love. Marriages that last only a short time do so because they lack compassion; they are produced by emotional attachment based on projection and expectation, and as soon as the projections change, the attachment disappears.”

“Compassion without attachment is possible. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Because of this firm foundation, a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other.”

“When you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others; you wish to help them actively overcome their problems. This wish is not selective; it applies equally to all beings. As long as they experience pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.”

“Given patience and time, it is within our power to develop this kind of universal compassion. Of course our self-centeredness, our distinctive attachment to the feeling of a solid I, works fundamentally to inhibit our compassion. Indeed, true compassion can be experienced only when this type of self-grasping is eliminated. But this does not mean that we cannot start to cultivate compassion and begin to make progress right away.”

Our Connectedness & Universal Compassion

“I believe that at every level of societyfamilial, national and internationalthe key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in a particular ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities. I believe that the cultivation of individual happiness can contribute in a profound and effective way to the overall improvement of the entire human community.”

“We all share an identical need for love, and on the basis of this commonality, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress or behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people. It is foolish to dwell on external differences because our basic natures are the same.”

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“Nexus” is now being offered with “The Secret” at a special price on Amazon.ca when both books are puchased together. Click on the icon below to visit the link.

Buy Nexus with The Secret by Rhonda Byrne today!

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Total List Price: CDN$ 46.41
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