Oscillating Consciousness and God
“To say that God is infinite is to say that He may be apprehended and described in an infinity of ways. That circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, may be approached from every angle with a certainty of being found. Mystical history, particularly that which deals with the Illuminative Way is a demonstration of this fact. Here is the establishment of the ‘first mystic life,’ of conscious correspondences with Reality, the self which has oscillated between two forms of consciousness, has alternatively opposed and embraced its growing intuitions of the Absolute, comes for a time to rest.
“To a large extent, the discordant elements of character have been purged away. Temporarily at least the mind has ‘unified itself’ upon high levels, and attained , as it believes, a genuine consciousness of the divine and veritable worlds. The depth and richness of its own nature will determine how intense that consciousness shall be.
“Whatever its scope, however, this new apprehension of reality generally appears to the illuminated Self as final and complete. As the true lover is always convinced that he has found in his bride the one Rose of the World, so the mystic, in the first glow of his illumination, is sure that his quest is now fulfilled. … He has yet to pass through that ‘night of the senses’ in which he learns to distinguish the substance of reality from the accidents under which it is perceived; to discover that the heavenly food here given cannot satisfy his ‘hunger for the Absolute’.” ~Evelyn Underhill
I’m not sure I can agree with Underhill that saying God is Infinite means He can be be “described in an infinity of ways.” It is more like God is so complex that in order to make Him somewhat comprehensible, we describe a limited part of Him, a single aspect. In this way, we can comprehend, to some degree, that one aspect, but it is not a true and accurate description of God. Describing a brick is not an accurate description of a brick wall. Even describing each and every brick in the wall is not accurate, for the whole is more than the sum of the parts. That is even more true of God.
To tell you the truth, I am not fond of this Zen description of God as a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. Turning God into riddles does not, in my opinion, aid understanding. Besides, I think it would be more accurate, since the rules of space and time do not apply to God at all, to say that He is a circle with a center everywhere and a circumference everywhere. In other words, all of God is everywhere, yet He is not in one location only, not in the physical sense of location. Continue reading “Oscillating Consciousness and an Infinite God”