Gnosis: The Wisdom of Experiencing


When my God-image was wholly masculine I was like a computer in a darkened room. My head was a storehouse of data and my mind was a whirlwind of non-stop activity filling every corner of the screen with a continuous flow of thoughts, words, ideas, questions, and concerns. I knew many facts and theories about the outer world, and I knew how to make them sound and look good, but I understood little about my inner life. In effect, the bright screen I presented to the world was only a pinpoint of light in a vast darkness. Meanwhile, beyond my dark room was an unknown universe of light, feeling, meaning, sensation, and beauty.
My introduction to that universe was gradual. In the 30 years between 17 and 47 I underwent three crises of meaning triggered by life experiences that compelled me to question the purpose of my life and the spiritual beliefs I looked to as guides. Each time, after searching for new sources of spiritual sustenance, I was given a glimpse into the realm beyond: twice by way of physical, sensory experiences that had no traditional, logical, or scientific explanations, and the third time by way of some “big” dreams that provided invaluable guidance. Through these experiences my believing was gradually replaced by knowing that something sacred existed in me that had nothing to do with my ego. I knew it because I had experienced it.
I had no idea where my experiences came from or why they happened, and I can prove nothing about them to anyone. But they happened, these physical, sensory, life-altering, inner events. These “feminine” spiritual awakenings. These gifts of grace. And they changed me, inflaming my languishing spirit and restoring meaning to a soul that had practically dried up for lack of it.
Jung pointed out that “the ideas which form the content of every religion are not primarily the product of an externally originating revelation, but of a subjective revelation from within the human psyche.” For him, for the Christian Gnostics, and for everyone who has ever struggled to overcome the limitations of the spirit of the times which does not address the spirit of the depths, a new kind of certainty arises from unexplainable, personally compelling phenomena. Belief in outer authorities simply cannot stand up to an interior event — whether it is a powerful new insight, dream, vision, synchronistic experience, or profound emotion — which opens our hearts and fills us with awe, wonder, reverence, compassion, and meaning.
Once Dr. Jung was asked if he believed in God. His reply was something like, “I do not need to believe in God; I know.” In Jungian psychology our minds and spirits are equated with the masculine principle and our bodies and souls with the feminine principle. Dr. Jung’s reply indicates that he had experienced the Great Mystery in the feminine Way that originates in the right hemisphere of the brain, and that he had used its unique language to inform and enrich his own spiritual journey. His recently published The Red Book is a brilliant testament to the value of this way of connecting with the Mystery as a life-transforming spiritual path.
Personally meaningful spiritual experiences give rise to gnosis, the spiritual knowing that transforms our ego’s heroic struggle for consciousness from single-minded self-centeredness into centeredness in the Self, the source of all our spiritual striving.
What spiritual experiences have helped you become more centered in the Self?

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  1. I am a friend of Sally Thomason’s and a fellow dream group member at Idlewild Church. Would you please add me to your blog? Thanks. Janie

  2. divine…..We are all researchers in the world , some with desires and the others with the lack of it ,some with thoughts,others with no-thoughts , some with burden of wealth and the other with freedom from wealth,
    some find knowledge tiring,the other mourn the lack of it,that is why knowledge never refered as”science “.
    Scientific experiments and research results, applied to real situations make principles and their applications results into theories and any thing going beyond theory is termed as special theory.
    zero or cosmic intelligence is special theory ,beyond knowledge, beyond science, beyond creation and destruction……….Zero is our childhood acquaintance as we approach with the innocence of a child ,the state of oneness or now or zero , ZERO embraces us to make zero.What is the dimension of zero ?
    Zero is neither positive or negative reminds again first childhood introduction……………
    “I am beyond every known and unknown dimension but with in love of no dimension.”
    The dimension of zero we know from our childhood time and research of that dimension again is enlightenment, the real wealth of life that is happiness, happiness and happiness……………….
    An enlightened master is one aware of this dimension of eternal happiness while living .
    Children are real enlightened masters ignorant about this fact while playing.
    Ignorance of this is blissfulness… that way……………….

    1. Yes, I agree that enlightenment is a return to the state of blissful, vitally alive oneness, or what you call Zero, we had as children. For me there is a difference between the way we experienced this state as a child and the way we experience it as an adult who has left it and is in the process of returning. Whereas as a child I was totally unaware of being in this blissful condition but simply reveled in it, as an adult who lost it and has mourned my loss and struggled mightily to recapture it, the return is, as T.S. Eliot puts it, a joyful experience of “returning home and knowing it for the first time.” In other words, during the return phase it is all the more precious because we know how meaningless our life was without it.
      As I see it, the in-between state of ego-development is crucial because that’s a time of growing consciousness, and without consciousness we can never leave the self-centered state of childhood to become the maturely compassionate, morally responsible, integrated beings who are blissfully centered in the Sacred instead of the ego.
      So yes, the childhood ignorance of this dimension of eternal happiness is bliss, but in adulthood, our loss of it is intolerable and the only way to regain it is to grow more conscious. Then consciousness is bliss!
      Thanks for the stimulating discussion.
      Always my best,

  3. divine…..a human body has a self analysis program….as we lose oneness of
    right and left brain as we grow…..left brain which represents body….lives in the dimension of time….between past and future…… there are stress caused by growing distance between past and future….the stress of actions….and there is growing distance between right brain and left brain….soul and body……causing emptiness ….loss of oneness……stress of non action and mind is a bridge between the body and soul ……so from blissfulness of childhood…..we move in a dimension of multidimensional body…mind…soul…stresses….
    there are several sciences we go through like yoga,meditation, music, sports……..which try to fill the gap between past and future……and also gap
    between soul and body…..the emptiness……
    so adulthood is to go through these to know back the oneness of childhood
    times…..the timeless happiness …..
    you are absolutely right about ego development…..and then witnessing the process of graduation ….so to give a meaning to life…..the mirror of god…
    since we been mirror of god in childhood time ….so we know it’s taste…once it matches with adulthood wisdom…….we call this stage enlightened state of spirit… child is happy but does not know it and its worth….once lost……we search again……once found….and matched with childhood oneness… become own hallmark of knowing…….
    difference between a child and enlightened master is child is unaware of
    cause of happiness……and master is aware of cause of happiness….
    love all…

  4. “Jung pointed out that “the ideas which form the content of every religion are not primarily the product of an externally originating revelation, but of a subjective revelation from within the human psyche.”
    Awesome quote. Where in the CW is this?

    1. Rob, I love this quote too. Unfortunately, I wrote this post three years ago and don’t remember where I found it. I can’t locate it now because I’m spending the summer away from my home library. I apologize for not citing it at the time. Perhaps the internet can be of help? Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Everything about your writing is very much needed today. You are a spokesperson for thousands who are grasping for Light. So much damage and delusion in the minds of those both…WITH religion and WITHOUT religion. There is a necessity to BECOME, or rather to EXPERIENCE what we so earnestly read.. the truth of it.
    Since our mind needs tools to liberate it from confusion, the only thing I would clarify about this post is the monumental difference between…
    Many traditions use the term “BEING” to describe that eternal divinity, because our mistaken identity clings to “SELF” as the individualized center-point of personal desire, the ego-centric sense of SELF.
    So in my attempts at explaining this similar idea of “Gnosis”, I’ve etched a line between SELF and BEING, so my circle of listeners can begin to see that the highest truth cannot be experienced from a solitary location, but expands and engulfs the WHOLE as its perspective, altruism, compassion..
    Nothing wrong with your statement at all, its brilliant, I just prefer Non-Self or No-Self as the semantics to describe our liberation..
    God bless !!

    1. Thank you for writing and for your kind words, Michael. I agree totally that this kind of information is so needed, and that it’s crucial for people to understand the difference between personal desire and the big picture. I like your distinction between SELF and BEING. It’s so hard to include everything I want to say in one post, so I’ve handled this concept in other posts from a psychological perspective using Jungian language. I’ve explained the difference between the ego-self and the “sacred” Self (with a capital S), which was Jung’s term for the core and circumference of the psyche and our link to the Mystery beyond. He also called the Self our god-image or religious impulse. I’ve written that our goal is to move from being self-centered (centered in ego), to Self-centered (centered in the Sacred Mystery of love and unity that pervades the universe as well as our souls and lives.)
      So yes, there are many ways of describing our liberation from personal desire. I’ve described this process in my newest book by describing the ego’s development through three epochs of awareness, culminating in what I call Mandorla Consciousness, which is when the ego steps aside to allow the Self its rightful place in the psyche as our core and circumference and acquires the attributes of the WHOLE that you mention, compassion and interrelatedness and union being among the most important.
      I look forward to checking out your work and wish you the best with it. We are obviously on the same wavelength here, and I very much appreciate hearing from a fellow traveler like yourself!
      Blessings, Jeanie

      1. Thank you very much, it is an honor to hear your response. So much to digest and reflect upon. I am not a man of renown, or publishing, just a man burdened for.. and working to liberate the Christian mind. Very lonely out here in this ocean of dogma as we attempt to bring the life and light out of the narratives of the scriptures. “The narratives of the doctrine are its clock” Zohar.
        Thank you, if you are so inclined, feel free to visit my little avenue of discourse.. as SoularMind.

  6. We share the same mission: to liberate the dogma-bound mind and “bring the life and light out of the narratives of the scriptures” and into our bodies, minds and lives. Love the Zohar quote! Thanks for your link. I will, indeed visit as time permits. Jeanie

    1. LOL, I misspelled a significant word.. “The narratives of the doctrine are its CLOAK”.. not “clock” as I wrote.
      God bless!

      1. I took it literally and thought about it a bit. Then decided that doctrinal narratives are like a clock that relentlessly imprisons us in minute (as in very small) units of time, thus preventing us from experiencing timelessness and eternity. Makes sense to me!

  7. I was thinking the same thing. But I’m sometimes accused of “over-thinking”, when its really just my feeble grasps at intuition. But certainly the same wavelength for sure…! Probably an Aquarian wavelength.. LOL
    Sometimes syntax mistakes are revelations. Truly, every narrative has a prescribed time period where humanity can identify with it. And seeing that we are in the “Age of Aquarius”, the energy of the new age affects the nature of our approach toward God,
    The previous age, with its Piscean Mind will struggle to escape the old dialectic, if it does not ADJUST to the Aquarian dynamic.
    Once again, God bless you !

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