How can we think about consciousness in Christianity? About being spiritual beings for whom Christian language such as A Course in Miracles is most resonant and helpful? About the world and the living and the others that arise in perception?
I have been helped in this regard – have seen thinking clarified – with prisms.
Growing up, there was an enormous white quartz rock in the cow pasture. Half buried in a little hill, it was larger than I was. I often sat on it, or leaned against it. In sunlight it was redolent with tiny rainbows. I used to try and chunk pieces off so I could take the rainbows into my bedroom. Though I have collected many quartz rocks and crystals and prisms since, none has ever replaced that one.
When sunlight passes through a crystal – quartz, say, or any prism – it refracts and disperses. One sees not the light but the spectral wavelengths – the colors – of which light is comprised.
The quartz does not create the subsequent band of rainbow colors but it does enable their appearance.
Can we say something similar about consciousness? About our experience?
That is, can we say that the senses of the body – which together comprise the machinery of perception – disperse consciousness or experience out of oneness and into diverse and vivid loveliness? That the body brings forth a world fitting to its structure?
Here is the yellow of dandelions, here is the sweetness of cider, here is the warmth of a fire, here is the scent of lilac, here is the feel of another’s arms pulling me near . . .
On this view, what we call Creation, might simply be the continuous play of sensual experience bringing forth flowers, warm beverages, soft flannel sheets and partners with whom to share it all. Indeed, we might call this experience “consensual” because it is not ours alone but appears synchronously with the sensual experiences of others, including dandelions, apples, ants and grains of sand. The world is its observers.
As spiritual seekers whose living occurs in and through language, we want an end to our journey that we call Heaven or God or Oneness or Source. We want intimate knowledge of this one. But I wonder if we might say that rather than some tangible origin, there is simply this ongoing consensual narration?
This “ongoing consensual narration” is love, of course, because it comes forth of its own accord. Giving merges continuously with gift and given. We did not invent communicating or tasting or seeing. We didn’t invent organization. Self, other and world come forth in a fluid movement that already knows itself, already wants itself, already cares for itself.
On this view, God is not so much the first cause or commander or even overarching principle but the welter itself, the arising itself, the knowing itself itself. Less the bearded patriarch, more a moisty loam.
On this view, God is not so much the Creator, but rather the awareness in which and through which living and loving appears in all its lovely complexity. Human beings are structures in which this awareness is especially acute and refined, especially reflective and reflexive. It begets a lot of thinking and praying and searching but the end is always sure.
The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains . . . Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly, and all creation recognizes You, and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are home, where You would have us be (T-31.VII.12:3-4, 6-8).
So that is a way of thinking about experience and spirituality and so forth that may or may not be helpful. It is a way of reading A Course in Miracles that may or may not be helpful. I don’t say it’s right but perhaps it is interesting. Perhaps it will inform attention in a nurturing way.