2- The Way of Bliss

Hello. God bless you and welcome to another episode of Wisdom's Cry. 

[00:00:38] "Does not wisdom cry and understanding put forth her voice (Proverbs 8:1).".

[00:00:41] This is the podcast in which we try to discern the voice of wisdom. This week we're focusing on creation spirituality. Today's episode is all about the first path of creation spirituality: the way of bliss. My name is Charlie. I write under the name of C. E. Dorset and it's my first two names Charles Eric and I'm here to talk to you about the way of bliss.

[00:01:09] On the last podcast we talked about some things that made us different from fall redemption spirituality. Today, we're going to be talking more in depth about who we are and what we believe.

[00:01:22] The Via Positive, that literally means the positive way. I generally refer to it as the way of bliss and the reason I call it that is kind of twofold. One Joseph Campbell always said, "Follow your bliss." Your bliss is that thing within you that you just know, it gives you peace it gives you love you. You find it and you know what it is and that is what you were put on this earth to do. And one of the things that you will come to see is that the main idea in the Via Positiva is learning to trust the universe and understanding the ways of creation. And so to me those two ideas go well together and some people get confused or put off by the Latin. So I personally just feel that it's easier to say the way of bliss but it is technically the positive way. So what is the via positive. 

[00:02:28] In Passion for Creation, Matthew Fox says, "The first path that we are to travel in our deepening journey into spirituality and into God is the pathway of creation (Matthew Fox, Passion for Creation, loc 1304)." This is the path in which we look at creation as it is. We have some philosophical ideas about it. We have some theological ideas about it. We even have some of epistemological ideas about it if you're a philosophy geek like me. If you don't know what that means that means how do we know what we know.

[00:03:00] But it is the first path in his book Creation Spirituality He says, "In the Via Positiva. In awe, wonder, and mystery of nature and all beings, each of whom is a ‘word of God,’ a ‘mirror of God that glistens and glitters,’ as Hildegard of Bingen put it. This is Path One (Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality, 18)."

[00:03:30] This is what it is all about.

[00:03:31] As I said if you want to know more about how I came to call this the way of bliss, if you go over to WisdomsCry.com you'll see a link right there to go to the Via Positiva and you'll see I start my discussion with this with  Joseph Campbell's discussion of Satchitananda that these are the three things that we need to perfect in ourselves to bring about perfect and pure enlightenment, and you know his own confusion in that because perfect being, perfect consciousness. These are hard for us to understand what is. How do I know if my being is perfect how do I know if my consciousness is perfect.

[00:04:10] Ananda - Bliss - Rapture. I know when I'm in bliss. In a lot of ways that is what this path is about.

[00:04:23] Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life." That's John 5:39-40

[00:04:44] And this is powerful. This is powerful.

[00:04:48] We people look at the scriptures and think that the scriptures are something that teach them how to live. They teach them the way of life. They teach them what things are.

[00:04:58] The Scriptures are merely a hand pointing towards God. They are a hand pointing towards Jesus. And if you don't follow that finger, you know, you end up worshipping the hand

[00:05:15] We have a huge problem with bibliolatry in our time where people are worshiping a book instead of worshiping the God that the book is trying to point us to.

[00:05:31] This is the wisdom of righteousness in Proverbs Chapter 1:2-7. Solomon tells us that there are four pillars to wisdom and of these four, this is the pillar of Tzedeq. Tzedeq is justice, righteousness, rightness. What is a right or just or normal. And that is what this is all about.

[00:06:03] Now, I know that may seem confusing because I said that this is a path of trust and it's a path of learning to find what you love. But that's what this path is about. This is the path of righteousness. This is what righteousness really is. Righteousness is living in accordance, in accord with God and nature and with our fellow human beings. Righteousness is justice. Righteousness is trust. Righteousness is not following a bunch of rules written 2000 years ago. That's not righteousness. That's a good rule following. Righteousness is finding that place where you and God are living in Union and in unity. Finding that place where we all live in union and unity.

[00:06:57] Within the Via Positiva, and I could seriously talk about this all the way through. That's one of the reasons why we picked the format for this podcast that we did is I could go on for hours and hours and days and days about each individual little tiny topic here. And so this may sound like I'm breezing through things but don't worry we'll come back to this stuff we will I promise. Because there's so much in here that needs to be unpacked. There's so much in here that we need to dig into and see the glory and the power that's in there. But when we talk about the Via Positiva, when we talk about this way of Bliss, this positive way, the first thing that we need to talk about is that: in here we first discover the nature of God.

[00:07:45] The nature of God in Hebrew: God is both Yesh and Ayin. God is both being and nothingness. Now by nothingness we don't mean that there is an absence. What we mean is there is literally no thing there. This is really hard to understand. We'll talk about this more tomorrow when we talk about the Via Negativa. When we talk about the nothingness of God what we're talking about is that there is no word that can be applied there. It is literally no thing. But when we talk about the Yesh of God, the being of God. This is something that we experience every moment. Right now, You are experiencing the Yesh of God, the being of God. Right now you are. You may not realize it but you are.

[00:08:39] How? You exist. God is in all things and all things are in God. As the apostle Paul says, God is the one in whom we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). We have our being in God. The very fact that existence exists, that's God. That might be hard for you to get your head around and I really do want to do an episode about this at some point in the future because it's such a fascinating concept, but this is one of the first things that we need to come to terms for here in the Via Positiva: the fact that there is existence, that is God. God is existence. God is the ground of being on which everything else is based.

[00:09:34] Out of this grounded being comes what we call the Dabhar, the Divine Word, the Word of God, The Word of God is not a book. And anybody who tries to tell you that the Word of God as a book hasn't read the book that teaches about the Word of God. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. The Word of God is the Cosmic Christ. The Word of God is the power that creates the world and holds it together. The Word of God is the very laws of physics that we're discovering. The Word of God is that feeling that you have between you and someone else when you are in love. The word of God is that power that comes out of Martin Luther King Jr's mouth when he stood at the Lincoln Memorial and cried out, "I have a dream." That is the Word of God. It is the power of God. It is the manifest power and glory of God flowing through everything. It is what holds us together.

[00:10:36] The Word of God that is gravity holds the planet together. The Word of God that is light shines from the sun. The Word of God that is love holds us together. The Word of God that is family keeps us in each other's arms un times of need. The Word of God is power.

[00:10:59] And because the Word of God is the heart of the cosmos, we believe that creation itself is a blessing.

[00:11:10] That's hard for me to say today because I'm sure you guys can hear it like this on yesterday's podcast. Here I am today. I've got a runny nose. I have allergies. But that's my problem. That's nothing wrong with the world. The world is perfect the way that it is. It's my body not wanting to be a part of it's my body, quite literally, this is my body's sin. In saying, "You know that pollen and mold and whatever's coming out the window. That is not what I want inside of me." Oh that's tough because that's what's out there. You know I have to learn to deal with it. And so you know I take my medicine and sometimes it works it doesn't like today. And so I apologize if I'm a bit late nasal but it doesn't distract from the fact that the world itself is essentially a blessing. And we'll probably spend a whole week on that one.

[00:12:11] We have to, as a result of the world being a blessing, learned to recover the sacred art of savoring it. We miss this so much especially in our world. Our world moves so fast that we forget to take that moment, take that time. When was last time you really ate an orange, or really drank a cup of coffee and tasted that rich velvety bitterness for all of its glory and just sat there with it and experienced it for what it is and savored it for what it is? When was the last time that you took a bite of chocolate and felt how it melted so sensually in your mouth? Its sweetness, its bitterness in perfect balance. When was the last time you sat with a friend and just looked into their eyes and savored the fact that you were together? When was last time you looked into your beloved's eyes and did the same? We moved too fast and we have to go back to this, quite literally, miraculous power that we have to savor, to just love, to enjoy that which is around us. It's amazing. It really is, and I invite you to play with that.

[00:13:39] Humility is earthiness. That's a mouthful. Humility comes out of the earth. If you want to know what it looks like to be humble, look at the Earth itself. The river does not leave its banks and when the river leaves its banks it's not because it's angry, it's not because, it's selfish, it's not because it just wants to be somewhere else. It only leaves its banks because it has to. There's so much rain up stream that there's nowhere else for the water to go. Everything in its place that's what humility is. Everything in its proper place. And sometimes that proper place is too big and people have to move out of the way like with a flood. And sometimes that proper place is too small because there's not enough rain and so there's not enough water. And just because we learned to be humble doesn't mean that we stop trying to perfect ourselves or perfect the world. 

[00:14:43] Perfection, reconciliation is always, always what we are about. It's always what we're trying to do. But we have to realize that there is no moral evil thing being what it is.

[00:15:02] We are cosmic. We are universalist. We believe that God in this Via Positiva, in this positive way, in this way of bliss, we encounter a God that is so great and so grand no word can adequately ever describe the Divine. No word can touch the Godhead. We can speak in whispers and hints of this amazing, amazing being, but this is a being that is so great that even the word being itself doesn't adequately describe God. We learn in the Via Positiva that we are not Perfect. None of us are. We learn that our understanding is our understanding and we learn not to be arrogant and think that our way is the only way. We learn that we must find a way to coexist and to learn from each other to make the truth whole and that is an eternal, internal struggle.

[00:16:23] In this path, we learn to trust. We learn the value of trust. Faith is trust. Life is trust. Whether or not you eat dinner is trust. Think about it if you don't trust the food that's in front of you or you don't trust the person who served you the food or you can eat it. Trust is the fundamental currency of the universe. A lot of people don't see that. But it's true. You have to learn to trust you have to learn to have the capacity, when appropriate, to give of yourself, to give your heart to something that is greater than you, or part of you, or next to you. When you're sick you have to trust that your caregivers are trying to make you well. Without that trust why would you even let them help you.

[00:17:23] We learn, and here's a big Hebrew phrase, about the yetzer ha-ra, our inclination towards separateness. Literally, it means or inclination towards evil and exactly what that means for us. Our yetzer ha-ra is the manifestation of God's Yesh within us. Is that part of us that sees ourselves as separate. And this is why trust is so important here. Yes, sometimes you feel that you are separate. This contrasts with what we'll be talking about tomorrow with the yetzer ha-tov, the inclination towards goodness, the inclination towards unity. And we have to learn that while we have to rein in our inclination toward separation our sense of separateness, we can't entirely lose it. As the Apostle Paul often said, a hand is not a foot. A hand is not a body. And our hand to say that it is a body is foolishness (cf Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:22-31). So you have to recognize your individuality. I like to talk. I'm a writer. Those are two things about me that make me individual. I like to draw. As much as I want to be a singer and a musician, I am not. Trust me, I've tried. And so respecting that individuality is important. No one should expect me to be a singer and I shouldn't expect myself to be a singer. And so learning to rein in this inclination towards separation this inclination towards separate self, without destroying it. That's a tricky one. I really spend a whole week on that one eventually too.

[00:19:12] You're kinda getting an idea of what all this podcast is going to be about this week aren't you.

[00:19:16] In the Via Positica, we learn about panentheism. We've talked about this before that God is in everything and everything is in God. This is different from pantheism that everything is God. Everything isn't God. Everything is in God and God is in everything. So when you act to something you have to look for that little bit of the Divine that's in love, even in the most foul person has a little bit of God in them. Just a little bit. It's there. If only it would come out. If only they would nurture it and bring it out. Things would be better.

[00:19:55] In this path. We learn about our royal personhood. That we are beings with consciousness and with conscience. That we are beings with the agency to be cocreators with the Divine in the art that we make, in the buildings we raise up, in the societies that we are a part of.

[00:20:20] We have a realized eschatology. That's a long one. God is here. The kingdom is here. We'll spend a week on that one at some point in the future.

[00:20:32] And that finally holiness is cosmic hospitality. If you want to be holy, you have to be hospitable. Again going back to this idea of the Faith is trust. Faith is trust. Faith is learning to trust people. All of this together is righteousness. If you want to be holy, you have to be cosmically hospitable. How have you treated the planet lately? Driving an SUV. How hospitable is that? How do you treat the animals in your life? How do you treat the people in your life? How do you treat those who are different from you? These are all questions that we approach in the Via Positiva. These are all parts of the positive way, the way of bliss. This is the first way that we understand our spirituality and it is a very important rubric that lets us look at our life and say, ah, this is a moment of Voa Positiva. This is a moment where we are on the way of bliss. And in learning that We gain further insight We'll talk about that more in a future episode.

[00:21:48] I'd like to thank you so much for listening. Tomorrow, we'll be talking about the Via Negativam the negative way, the way of silence, and it's important to realize that these are parts of a dance.

[00:22:05] This isn't an instruction manual to a then B then C then D. You can have feet on multiple paths at the same time. But learning to see that will give you a tool that will help your life, that will strengthen your life and help you to find meaning and your way through no matter what comes your way.

[00:22:29] I hope you enjoyed this introduction to creation spirituality. Like you said tomorrow, we will be picking up with the way of silence, the Via Negativa. You can find out more at WisdomsCry.com. You can hit me up on Twitter, I am @WisdomCriesOut over there or you can hit us up on Facebook. You can find links to all of this and more over at our website WisdomsCry.com. Thank you so very, very much for your time. Thank you for listening. God bless you and we'll talk again. Tomorrow.