Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “First Vision” Account

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Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1876

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, writer, and philosopher. He often explored questions of psychology, philosophy, and religion. He wrote many acclaimed novels.

He published a short story in the 1870s in a collection called A Writer’s Diary with the title “The Dream of a Queer Fellow,” also published as The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. As Maria Popova points out, “the story sheds light on Dostoyevsky’s personal spiritual and philosophical bents with extraordinary clarity — perhaps more so than any of his other published works.” As with so much so-called “fiction,” it is perhaps a true reflection of his own deepest intuitions, spiritual experiences, and understandings. Continue reading “Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “First Vision” Account”

What is the Second Coming?

One of the most profound realizations I’ve had in recent years is that the Second Coming is something that we can effect through our “repentance” (metanoia = a change of mind, or conscious perception of the world).

I don’t mean to say that we bring it about directly, because there is a real element of Grace involved (ego is absent, so “we” end up not “doing” anything in the end), but it is not something that we wait around for as an event in an indefinite future. We can do something now (“works,” practices, service), which can reveal Heaven on Earth, and which eventually reveals the Christ. This has been known in the past, but we’ve largely forgotten it in our modern culture. Continue reading “What is the Second Coming?”

What is the Spirit or Soul?

Many religious people believe that the spirit or soul is the ego-self, our personality, the person we think we are in our heads, our psychological “self,” with all our memories and experiences and relationships, etc. But none of this existed at our birth. We had no ego, no personality, no sense of “self” in our heads, no memories, no self-awareness whatsoever. These all develop gradually throughout our childhood and life, and are mortal qualities formed through the arrangement of neural networks in our brains during mortal life. Continue reading “What is the Spirit or Soul?”

Four Types or Stages of Resurrection

It seems to me that there are at least four types of resurrection, or at least four stages of the process of being resurrected, or events that could be considered resurrection. But first, this is according to the understanding of resurrection that I have outlined in previous posts, so if you aren’t familiar with those please take a look. In short, the resurrection is not something that happens to us after biological death, rejoining our dead physical body back to our ego “spirit,” as most of Christianity has come to believe, but rather it is a falling away of the ego psychological “self” and an awakening to the true Self or true Life within us and all things. Continue reading “Four Types or Stages of Resurrection”

Margaret Barker on the Radical Original Understanding of Resurrection

The Methodist biblical scholar, Margaret Barker, wrote a book published in 1996 titled The Risen Lord in which she proposed that

“the original understanding of resurrection may in fact be Jesus’ mystical experience at his baptism, when he was raised up and transformed into the divine Son.”

Margaret Barker
Margaret Barker

Later she summarized these thoughts in a few pages in her 2008 book Temple Themes in Christian Worship, from which I’ll share a few of her intriguing, and I think accurate, insights into the nature of resurrection and how it was originally regarded in the early Christian church. Continue reading “Margaret Barker on the Radical Original Understanding of Resurrection”

John van Ruysbroeck’s “First Vision” Accounts

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John van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381)

John van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381) was a Flemish mystic and writer. He was raised in the Catholic faith, becoming a priest. He is now venerated in the Catholic Church. He was beatified in 1903 by Pope Pius X.

The following quote comes from his treatise The Sparkling Stone. Another well-known modern mystic, Evelyn Underhill, described this passage thus: “The old Mystic, sitting under his friendly tree, seems here to be gazing at, and reporting to us the final secrets of that Eternal World.” Continue reading “John van Ruysbroeck’s “First Vision” Accounts”

Ego Sacrifice & Transcendence a Common Theme in World Religions and Science

(This is the conclusion of a series exploring the nature of the human ego in the world’s religions and science, beginning with this post.)

We see this theme repeated over and over again throughout religious history into the present day, from Judaism through Christianity, in Hinduism and Buddhism, in Islam, in Confucianism and Taoism, and even into modern day scientific studies, that the overcoming of “self” or ego is central to our flourishing in an abundance of Life and Love in the world, and in realizing higher Truths that go far beyond our typical everyday minds and consciousness. Continue reading “Ego Sacrifice & Transcendence a Common Theme in World Religions and Science”