Integral Wisdom: beyond theism, atheism and religionless spirituality

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The Holy Name of Jesus is witness to glory that is profoundly mysterious, not something that is observable in a science laboratory, but which manifests in any oratory of the desert if we put in practice the living tradition’s spiritual injunction to turn and see.  Glory appears on the horizon as a sacred origin and a sacred destination once turning grounds faith and seeing lives the timeless life of contemplation.  Outside faith, unbelief regards all this as desire, as desire’s need to believe that all will turn out right.  Outside faith, division’s incision is decisive and the traumas of confusion are what constitute our very existence.  From without, faith’s glory is a self-projection of desire onto a lost golden age, a projection of its hope onto an age to come and therefore the way projection rejects the given and avoids intuitive awareness.  From without, God is out and confusion and division are in for good.  From within, confusion and division fall away, and God is in the midst for good, and nothing remains outside his Kingdom of glory.  

Faith knows from direct experience that wisdom leaps over desire and cuts through projection, so wisdom trusts glory which she discerns, even though she knows that for faith to be genuine and true, the trusting heart must be purified of wishful, self-interested thinking.  Sanctification is intrinsic to glorification, and it includes atheism as a purification of self-interested theism.  For atheism, therapy ends when confusion and division are faced and accepted, whereas for integral wisdom, therapy never ends because glory never ceases to overcome the divisions of narrow theism and the confusions of shallow atheism, both of which are ever-shifting projections that wisdom transcends.  Pre-modern theism bequeaths a deep magical or mythic belonging that may be preserved, though transcended by world-centric modernity .  Modernity differentiates what pre-modernity confused and unites what it divided, only to introduce a new and confused materialism that divides the world from its traditional roots.  Post-modernity is spiritual again but without religion, curing, within its limits, the confusions and divisions of modernity.

Integral wisdom embraces what is of lasting value in premodern theism, modern atheism and their transcendence in religionless spirituality, whilst transcending their violent exclusions of one another and their ideological blind spots.  It includes magic as shamanic poetry, myth as polyvalent symbolism, reason as liberation from literalistic reification and post-rational spirituality as a welcoming dwelling place for wisdom.  But when the Holy Name is invoked and an integral embrace turns and sees, sacred tradition is renewed as glorification on this side of antique theism, vintage atheism and religionless spirituality.  Glory no longer reifies as narrow theism or annihilates as shallow atheism, but rises from religionless spirituality into integral wisdom, glory transcending glory.  Apophatic asceticism is integral to glorification because all vainglory, being premature closure and an idolatrous God substitute, is released, so that the Name is hallowed and the Kingdom comes.  How this apophatic glorification looks to the eye of integral wisdom is only now unfolding as wisdom enfolds each epoch into a transcendent and inclusive glory, which never stops gloriously transcending and including.

Wisdom includes paradox and dialectic in her phenomenology of glory, and is not bound to fixate on one or the other.  With regard to fullness, her completeness embraces dialectic that transcends and includes, but with regard to self-emptying, her mystical kenosis embraces paradox, letting ‘dazzling darkness’ work its mysteries of immanent transcendence without interference from premature, rational resolution.  Reason’s binary fixations no longer confine wisdom as they did when metaphysics imprisoned her in warring Scholastic or Cartesian double binds.  Today, pre-modern, modern and post-modern epochs are beginning to transform into new forms of integral embrace, often opening to older traditional roots in order to transcend the impasse that their separation entailed.  Integral Hesychast wisdom is open in ways that were unimaginable in the centuries of her metaphysical  and theological imprisonment.  But the assimilation of her wisdom takes time, even though the illumination of the eye of the heart is sudden.  Critical tension is characteristic of the conflictual face of this transformation, but release is prior, being great peace transmitted by the  Name beyond conflictual tension.  

Once paradox opens beyond solutions and resolutions, the Kingdom puts the last first, as outsider’s find they were always already in and insiders find that religion’s literal interiors were actually always external.  The shock of all this will take time to assimilate, but since the timely time of awakening is timeless, wisdom follows glory into and beyond every age.  The vintage violence of theological imperialism no longer reigns, so integral wisdom is free to embrace the past in new and different ways.  Wonder opens to an awesome wisdom in the light of glory, unseating usurping powers in the midst.  When the Magnificat finally begins to sink in, the Lord’s Prayer will discover that its Kingdom was never actually ruled by alienating powers and that its hallowed Name, ‘I AM,’ was always unconditional release.  Then, every epoch will ripen fruits of glory that wisdom will delight to gather.