Perhaps basketball and poetry have just a few things in common, but the most important is the possibility of transcendence. The opposite is labor. In writing, every writer knows when he or she is laboring to achieve an effect. You want to get from here to there, but find yourself willing it, forcing it. The equivalent in basketball is aiming your shot, a kind of strained and usually ineffective purposefulness. What you want is to be in some kind of flow, each next moment a discovery.
The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man. The objective world remains what it was, but, because of a shift of emphasis within the subject, is beheld as though transformed. Where formerly life and death contended, now enduring being is made manifest-as indifferent to the accidents of time as water boiling in a pot is to the destiny of a bubble, or as the cosmos to the appearance and disappearance of a galaxy of stars.
Materialism is not fundamentally an economic problem, but a cultural one... a spiritual issue. It runs to the depths of our souls, and, for this reason, needs to be understood less in terms of budgets or fiscal cycles and more in terms of where we locate the sacred, of where we search for meaning and transcendence, and of how we think about justice, equality, and the future of our world.
There seems to be something poetically that doesn't work or is limiting when you call God 'God' in a poem. When I tried to be honest with myself in my relationship with God, Christ is, on the one hand, completely dark, he's transcendent and unknown. On the other hand, he is completely imminent and completely knowable as Jesus. Our tradition speaks of him in both ways as transcendent but also as a lover who comes to us, and the two word 'Dark One' seem to me to contain both things, the transcendence and otherness of Christ, but also like a kind of dark lover who comes to us.
Intelligent, heartfelt stories that tell a whole new set of truths about growing up American. Julie Orringer writes with virtuosity and depth about the fears, cruelties, and humiliations of childhood, but then does that rarest, and more difficult, thing: writes equally beautifully about the moments of victory and transcendence.
I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you.
Robin [Williams] was a world treasure. As we mourn his tragic death, we must remember him for the great waves of laughter that he was able to illicit from us, how his humor and insights - though they came from a place of pain and uncertainty - connected us and reminded us of how flawed and fragile...how human we are. How we are capable of moments of inspired transcendence and others of unspeakable despair.
The father's life is surrounded by mysterious prestige: the hours he spends in the home, the room where he works, the objects around him, his occupations, his habits, have a sacred character. It is he who feeds the family, is the one in charge and the head. Usually he works outside the home, and it is through him that the household communicates with the rest of the world: he is the embodiment of this adventurous, immense, difficult, and marvelous world; he is transcendence, he is God.
Simone de Beauvoir
My whole artistic life has been devoted to battling myself and my ability to externalize my deepest emotions. As I have gotten older, the work has become more direct, perhaps reflecting the fact that for the first time in my life I feel really free. I have been fascinated with wings all my life. I have had an obsession with transcendence, the need to push forward and metaphorically fly.
These are the only two situations possible, and you are in the sad situation. Everybody may know about you - who you are - but you yourself are completely oblivious of your transcendence, of your real nature, of your authentic being. This is the only sadness in life. You can find many excuses, but the real sadness is this: you don't know who you are. How can a person be happy not knowing who he is, not knowing from where he comes, not knowing where he is going? A thousand and one problems arise because of this basic self-ignorance.
My effort here is to create bliss, not happiness. Happiness is worthless; it depends on unhappiness. Bliss is transcendence: one moves beyond the duality of being happy and unhappy. One watches both; happiness comes, one watches and does not become identified with it. One does not say, 'I am happy. Peace, it is wonderful.' One simply watches, one says, 'Yes, a white cloud passing.'
I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us. The eternal as an idea is much less preposterous than time, and this very fact should seize our attention.
I assure you, my children, that when a Christian carries out with love the most insignificant everyday action, that action overflows with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you so often, and hammered away at it, that the Christian vocation consists in making heroic verse out of the prose of each day. Heaven and earth seem to merge, my children, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives...
Friedrich Nietzsche predicted that secular people, losing touch with transcendence, would eventually lose a reference point from which to look down and judge themselves. In the end they would lose even the capacity to despise themselves. Thus, because of the 'death of God', they would confuse heaven with happiness, and happiness with health.
Rather than protecting music as a sublimely meaningless activity that has managed to escape social signification, I insist on treating it as a medium that participates in social formation by influencing the ways we perceive our feelings, our bodies, our desires, our very subjectivities - even if it does so surreptitiously, without most of us knowning how. It is too important a cultural force to be shrouded by mystified notions of Romantic transcendence.
[Comedies], in the ancient world, were regarded as of a higher rank than tragedy, of a deeper truth, of a more difficult realization, of a sounder structure, and of a revelation more complete. The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man.... Tragedy is the shattering of the forms and of our attachments to the forms; comedy, the wild and careless, inexhaustible joy of life invincible.
There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person (dare we call it a soul?) wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can. ... There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.
When I speak about Jesus Christ, I do not speak about Christianity. Christianity has basically nothing to do with Jesus. The spirit of Christ can not be organized. Then it will not liberate you. Christ is the very essence of religion. Christ is the culmination of all human aspirations. In Christ all the aspirations of humanity are fulfilled. Christ celebrates life, he loves life, he is a song and a dance. He is also transcendental. When you come closer to him, you will find that his inner being is transcendence. You will meet the unknown, where the world disappears and God appears. You can trust him, because he is like you. He is part of your suffering, pain and sorrow, but he is also transcendental. That is why Jesus became a mile stone in the history of human consciousness. Jesus lived and loved with truth and grace. Jesus being was truth and grace. Whenever truth is there, grace is there. And whenever grace is there, truth is there. To come closer to Jesus, you have to find your own inner being, the kingdom of God. That is the whole message of Jesus. Then you will find that God is eternal. God is the whole existence. His creativity is eternal. God is creativity. God is not a person. God is existence, being. God is the energy that underlies all life, which is in the stones, in birds, in animals, in human beings and in the stars.
Swami Dhyan Giten
Nevertheless, in a passage that is very often commented upon because it summarizes the entire salvific economy of faith, the Apostle calls Christ the 'pioneer and perfecter of our faith' (Heb. 12:2), because he has to accomplish the same act as the Christian, only in the opposite direction, as it were. Whereas by venturing to let go of everything the Christian takes a stand beyond finitude and comes into the limitlessness of God, Christ, in order to make this act possible and to be its source, has dared to emerge from the infinitude of the 'form of God' and 'did not think equality with God a thing to be grasped,' has dared to set out into the limitation and emptiness of time. This involved a transcendence and a boundary crossing no less fundamental than that of the Christian, and Christ undertook it so as to entrust himself henceforth within time, with no guarantee or mitigation from eternity, to the Father's will, which is always given to him in the present moment.
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Christianity grasped perfectly that there is an element in the apparent contingency of love that can't be reduced to that contingency. But it immediately raised it to the level of transcendence, and that is the root of the problem. This universal element I too recognize in love as immanent. But Christianity has somehow managed to elevate it and refocus it onto a transcendent power. It's an ideal that was already partly present in Plato, through the idea of the Good. It is a brilliant first manipulation of the power of love and one we must now bring back to earth. I mean we must demonstrate that love really does have universal power, but that it is simply the opportunity we are given to enjoy a positive, creative, affirmative experience of difference. The Other, no doubt, but without the 'Almighty-Other', without the 'Great Other' of transcendence.
But we as a culture have lost the deep intuitive understanding that Creation exists on many levels. We have succumbed to the scientific viewpoint. Nothing characterizes 'the modern world' more completely than the loss of faith in Transcendence, our arrogant lack of any genuine appreciation for levels of reality above our little everyday affairs. The deepest wounds to the human soul have been caused by our lack of appreciation of levels. By shutting the door on transcendence, we have cut off any light from that world that might have illuminated this one, leaving us in darkness, leaving us with nothing but a dead world where scientists are merely performing an autopsy.
Voodou isn't like that. It isn't concerned with notions of salvation and transcendence. What it's about is getting things done. You follow me? In out system, there are many gods, spirits. Part of one big family, with all the virtues, all the vices. There's a ritual tradition of communal manifestation, understand? Voodou says, there's a God, sure, Gran Met, but He's big, too big and too far away to worry Himself if your ass is poor, or you can't get laid. Come on, man, you know how this works, it's street religion, came out of dirt poor places a million years ago. Voodou's like the street. Some duster chops out your sister, you don't go camp on the Yakuza's doorstep, do you? No way. You go to somebody, though, who can get the thing done. Right?
As for karma itself, it is apparently only that which binds "jiva" (sentience, life, spirit, etc.) with "ajiva" (the lifeless, material aspect of this world) - perhaps not unlike that which science seeks to bind energy with mass (if I understand either concept correctly). But it is only through asceticism that one might shed his predestined karmic allotment. I suppose this is what I still don't quite understand in any of these shramanic philosophies, though - their end-game. Their "moksha", or "mukti", or "samsara". This oneness/emptiness, liberation/ transcendence of karma/ajiva, of rebirth and ego - of "the self", of life, of everything. How exactly would this state differ from any standard, scientific definition of death? Plain old death. Or, at most, if any experience remains, from what might be more commonly imagined/feared to be death - some dark perpetual existence of paralyzed, semi-conscious nothingness. An incessant dreamless sleep from which one never wakes? They all assure you, of course, that this will be no condition of endless torment, but rather one of "eternal bliss". Inexplicable, incommunicable "bliss", mind you, but "bliss" nonetheless. So many in the realm of science, too, seem to propagate a notion of "bliss" - only here, in this world, with the universe being some great amusement park of non-stop "wonder" and "discovery". Any truly scientific, unbiased examination of their "discoveries", though, only ever seems to reveal a world that simply just "is" - where "wonder" is merely a euphemism for ignorance, and learning is its own reward because, frankly, nothing else ever could be. Still, the scientist seeks to conquer this ignorance, even though his very happiness depends on it - offering only some pale vision of eternal dumbfoundedness, and endless hollow surprises. The shramana, on the other hand, offers total knowledge of this hollowness, all at once - renouncing any form of happiness or pleasure, here, to seek some other ultimate, unknowable "bliss", off in the beyond...
Worship, then, needs to be characterized by hospitality; it needs to be inviting. But at the same time, it should be inviting seekers into the church and its unique story and language. Worship should be an occasion of cross-cultural hospitality. Consider an analogy: when I travel to France, I hope to be made to feel welcome. However, I don't expect my French hosts to become Americans in order to make me feel at home. I don't expect them to start speaking English, ordering pizza, talking about the New York Yankees, and so on. Indeed, if I wanted that, I would have just stayed home! Instead, what I'm hoping for is to be welcomed into their unique French culture; that's why I've come to France in the first place. And I know that this will take some work on my part. I'm expecting things to be different; indeed, I'm looking for just this difference. So also, I think, with hospitable worship: seekers are looking for something our culture can't provide. Many don't want a religious version of what they can already get at the mall. And this is especially true of postmodern or Gen X seekers: they are looking for elements of transcendence and challenge that MTV could never give them. Rather than an MTVized version of the gospel, they are searching for the mysterious practices of the ancient gospel.
James K.A. Smith
In a society where rationality has ruled so long, the church frequently fails to see that in forsaking the weekly pursuit of the transcendent, we have given up the only ground that was uniquely ours in this world. In attempting to make the church something that can attract and add value to secular mind-sets, we have turned our backs on our one true proposition - transcendence.
As persons, so Mournier maintained, we possess both a spiritual and temporal dimension; we exist in history, in relationship with others, but open to transcendence and ultimately to God. This concept of the person, he believed, was denied as much by an atheistic totalitarianism of the Left as by the bourgeois materialism of capitalist society. To the extent that Christianity had become infected by the bourgeois spirit, it had become a prop in what he called, 'the established disorder.
Danny begins to walk fast and it strikes me that I don't know where we're ultimately headed. This bothers me. I'm calibrated for destination. It's partly why I've been imagining divinity as some sort of beam-me-up-Scotty experience. But maybe transcendence isn't about leaving. It's about being present. Life is a performance piece. Like dance and song, the art is in the process. Like hula and oli, the process is the prayer.
Leigh Ann Henion
But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed... infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while?
By employing classical concepts of idealized beauty and changes in perspective, icons speak to us of reality transformed and transfigured, both in and through God's presence. They speak of transcendence and mystery. As iconographers, we point to a reality that we have never seen with our own eyes. In fact, all our images of God, heaven, the angels, and the saints, whether in poetry, prose, ritual, music, or icons, represent our limited attempts to speak of the unspeakable.
What is this Self, and how did the Shaiva philosophers of Kashmir experience It? They assert that the Self alone has absolute existence. This Self is within every human being, and in recognizing and experiencing It within ourselves, we are actually at one with the divine. What is more, the Self exists within us at all times, whether or not we recognize and experience It. As living beings we are always aware of our own existence, and the experience of existing is always present in us. Further, we never require the help of any aids in feeling our own existence. Even when we are in a state of deep dreamless sleep in which the senses and the knowing mind and intellect are no longer functioning, the Self continues to experience Itself as a witness to this state. Had the Self not existed as a witness during this time, how could we, upon awaking, recollect the void experienced in deep sleep? Thus the Self is always self-existent, self-evident, and self-conscious, and is Itself Its own proof. Shaiva philosophers, relying on their experiences of deep revelation (turya) during meditation, assert that the Self is Consciousness, and that Consciousness is actually a kind of stirring. It is not physical or psychic in nature, but it is described as a spiritual stir or urge. All living beings feel in themselves this urge in the form of a will to know and to do, and so we are always inclined toward knowing and doing. We can recognize this urge in all forms of life, even in a healthy newborn baby, or in a chick just hatched out of an egg. Knowing, the first urge, is itself an action, or something we do. The act of doing, the second urge, cannot occur without knowing. Yet neither of them is possible without willing. Willing is a sort of extroverted stirring of the above mentioned natural and subtle urge of Consciousness (Sivadrsti, I.9, 10, 24, 25). This stirring appears as a vibrative volition known in Kashmir Shaivism as spanda. It is neither a physical vibration like sound or light, nor mental movement like desire, disgust, or passion. Rather, it is the spiritual stirring of Consciousness whose essential nature is a simultaneous inward and outward vibration. The inward and outward movements of spanda shine as subjective and objective awareness of I-ness and this-ness respectively. The inward stirring shines as the subject, the Self, the transcendental experience of the pure 'I', while the outward stirring illuminates the object, the other, the immanent 'that-ness' and 'this-ness' of phenomena. Because of this double-edged nature of spanda, the pure Self is experienced in both its transcendental and immanent aspects by yogins immersed in the state of Self-revelation (turya). Beyond turya, one can experience the state of Paramasiva, known as pure Consciousness (turiyatita). Paramasiva, the Ultimate, is that Self illuminated within us by the glowing awareness of Its own pure Consciousness. There It shines as 'I', which transcends the concepts of both transcendence and immanence. It is 'I' and 'I' alone. It is the infinite and absolutely perfect monistic 'I', without any sense of 'this-ness' at all. Shaivism uses the term samvit to describe this pure 'I'. Samvit consists of that superior luminosity of pure Consciousness, which is known as prakasa and as its Self-awareness, known as vimarsa. The 'I', existing as samvit and samvit alone, is absolutely pure ptentiality, and is the real Self of every living being. Samvit is not the egoistic 'I'. The egoistic 'I' revolves around four aspects of our being: (1) deha, the gross physical body, (2) buddhi, the fine mental body, (3) prana, the subtler life force, and (4) sunya (the void of dreamless sleep), the most subtle form of finite, individual consciousness.
Viewed in this light, life itself appears as a dynamics of integration that is equipped with auto-therapeutic or 'endo-clinical' competencies and refers to a species-specific space of surprise. It has an equally innate and - in higher organisms - adaptively acquired responsibility for the injuries and invasions it regularly encounters in its permanently allocated environment or conquered surroundings. Such immune systems could equally be described as organismic early forms of a feeling for transcendence: thanks to the efficiency of these devices, which are constantly at the ready, the organism actively confronts the potential bringers of its death, opposing them with its endogenous capacity to overcome the lethal. Such functions have earned immune systems of this type comparisons to a 'body police' or border patrol. But as the concern, already at this level, is to work out a modus vivendi with foreign and invisible powers - and, in so far as these can bring death, 'higher' and 'supernatural' ones - this is a preliminary stage to the behaviour one is accustomed to terming religious or spiritual in human contexts. For every organism, its environment is its transcendence, and the more abstract and unknown the danger from that environment, the more transcendent it appears.
The real difference between yoga and religion is this: Religion says believe, do not doubt, often citing the word of God and promises of an eternal afterlife, reciting dogma (unsubstantiated pre-modern myths), while yoga only points the way and urges its students to practice and experience for themselves. In this way yoga is very scientific in its approach to self-knowledge, transcendence and enlightenment. Its message is: Try the practice for yourself and only then can you truly believe.
Contemplation is purer still, yet more sophisticated. This comes from a strongly developed base of concentration-basically, constancy-through any temptation, including altered states of consciousness, that leads one to meditation (effortless engagement), from which is born an intuitive connection to that which is being focused upon (often, the nature of being in the moment, which is the default 'focus'). Some people can attain this state accidentally through some combination of surprising events, which is sometimes called revelation. Fewer still can cause this to happen intentionally, mainly because you have to surprise yourself to have it occur. In any case, it requires a real sense of the value of paradox. One leaves a single position behind (such as 'I like this' or 'I don't like this') and expands in comprehension to simultaneously experience its opposite as well. From there, one rises above the two through a creative burst of intuition, and looks down on them both. What you might call transcendence, although I prefer mildly amused.
In the construction of one's life, we define ourselves largely by the problems we engage and the debts we incur. The greater and more sophisticated the problems, the greater and more sophisticated the person. True resolution, or transcendence of endless dichotomy, is rare indeed. To truly make a debt vanish requires, in a way, a certain kind of magic. In all traditions, this is looked upon as one of the great mystical tricks. It is not forgotten, fixed, or hidden perfectly; it disappears. To have this occur, one must do more than simply forgive (another or oneself), although in action that's an important step. One intuits the value of the problem as the birth of possibility.