Nonduality

Nonduality and Eucharist

"Thus the Eucharistic Christ goes beyond the historical Jesus -- it is a further revelation of Christ's incarnation and Trinitarian nature. By itself and with nothing further, the historical Jesus reduces the Christian belief to an unbelievable myth." Bernadette Roberts

"...the further revelation of the Eucharist is that it is not only the physical incarnate Christ, not only the mystical Christ, not only the cosmic Christ, but Christ of the Trinity AS the Eternal Form of the Godhead. Christ is not multiple forms but, like the Eucharist, is One Absolute Form." Bernadette Roberts

"Anyone can have Communion any time they want. I used to take a bit of
bread and a sip of wine in a very mindful manner. Being a good
Congregationalist I believed that no Priest or Minister was required to
make the ritual real. This cup IS the blood and this bread IS the body of
our Lord Jesus Christ. And the question is, who or what is the body of our
Lord Jesus Christ? And is that any different from OUR body?"
---David Hodges

"You know what Gurdjieff said. That during the supper it was in fact the
flesh and blood of Jesus and that it was done so as to create a link
between Jesus and the disciples so that they could be in communication
after his 'death'." James Lambert

Nonduality and Eucharist

Including Selections from the Nonduality Salon Email Forum


This is the day that in the Christian calendar is called Maundy Thursday.
It is the night of the Last Supper, the Passover meal that Jesus shared with
his disciples in the upper room. During that Passover, he used the
well-known Passover ritual to redefine terms and launched two millennia's
worth of what we here have been calling "the Eucharist".
So, on this day began and continues the spiritual transmission that began
with that first bread and that first cup. One of the things about this
ritual that makes it powerful is that one doesn't need to understand the
symbols in order to participate in the meaning. Just as I don't need to
understand Hinduism to participate in the transmission of realization from
such as Ramana or Nisargadatta, so Christians get a deep participation in
the nonDuality of spirit and matter, self and other, Being and the world.
Thus I take a bit of bread and dip it in some wine and eat. And walk out
into the garden of today, which is the only day there ever was or will be.
---David Hodges
---------------------------------------------------
Thank you for your post dear David. It is Good Friday. As usual, I
am sitting here dipping my bread in my tea. I give thanks to all the good
people who helped to make this bread and tea and allowed for this delicious
experience. I bow to the sages who have dipped their bread in the tea before
me. Our feast is the same.
---Harsha


This discussion on Eucharist is divided into four sections: Eucharist in the Catholic tradition, Eucharist as transubstantiation, Eucharist from the perspective of Bernadette Roberts, Eucharist from other nondual perspectives, especially from members of the Nonduality Salon email forum.


EUCHARIST IN THE CATHOLIC TRADITION

The following comes from http://www.catholic.com/ search on "Eucharist."

Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized it: "'I am the living bread which came down from
heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.'
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'" (John 6:51-52).

His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literally--and correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood. Jesus told them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53-56). Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct "misunderstandings," for there were none. Our Lord's listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically.If they had thought he was speaking metaphorically, if they mistook what he said, why no correction? On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:5-12). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.

In John 6:60 we read: "Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?'" These were his disciples, people who were used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, according to what their human judgment would tell them, but according to the power of God's Spirit: "It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:53; cf. 1 Cor. 2:12-14). Then Jesus eyed them and asked a simple question: "Does this offend you?" He made it clear that his hearers had to conform themselves to his teachings, not the other way around. His hearers may have been bothered by this teaching.

But he knew some did not believe, including the one who was to betray him. (It is here, in the rejection of the Eucharist, that
Judas fell away; look at John 6:64.) "'But there are some of you that do not believe'" . . . After this, many of his disciples drew
back and no longer went about with him" (John 6:66).

This is the only record we have of any of Christ's followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a
misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didn't he call them back and straighten things out?
Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have
remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.

But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have "to eat my flesh and drink my blood." John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supper--and it was a promise that could not be more explicit. Or so it would seem to a Catholic. But what do Fundamentalists say to this?


EUCHARIST AS TRANSUBSTANTIATION

"There is a place where Catholics with their transubstantiation,
Lutherans with their consubstantiation, other Churches with their own
variations on the theme, and even Humanists and Positivists with their
science-inspired rejection of all religious dogmas, can come together
without compromising their basic convictions, but rather clarifying and
deepening them. That place is this place, now, right where you are at
this moment at no distance from youself."

The excerpt above is from "Look for yourself" by Douglas
Harding(Head Exchange Press, 1996.) His website is

<headless.org/english.html>

This is the full article:

"No religious dogma that has meant great things to great numbers of
people over the centuries is likely to be altogether false or absurd.
Nor is it likely to be altogether true and workable for us now in its
traditional form. The chances are that, as a vehicle of truth, is is
breaking down -- or at least slowing down -- and that it needs not so
much minor repairs on the one hand, nor scrapping on the other, as a
thorough overhaul. So the question to ask about such a dogma isn't 'Is
it true?' but rather 'In what sense and at what level is it true and
meaningful for us at this time?' The resulting answer could well prove
very valuable indeed. Not a specious and popular new look superimposed
on the same old creaking machinery but a profound penetration to its
original and hidden design. It may then be possible to see in that
design more than the designers were fully conscious of, so that it and
they are valued more highly than ever. And, for bonus, a further result
could be the settlement of disputes that have torn the religious
establishment apart for centuries.

"Nor can we dodge such a radical overhauling on the plea that 'spiritual
truth, unlike 'scientific' and 'everday' truth, is sacrosanct. There is
only one sort of truth -- the sort that sets men free. A doctrine ceases
to make sense in religion when in every other field it is seen to be
nonsense. It isn't true on Sunday if it's false the rest of the week.
Where the genuinely spiritual contradicts common sense (which of course
it very often does), that is because it sees through socially
conditioned nonsense to what really does make sense. For true
spirituality is transparently honest, simple (and therefore difficult),
accurate, and sharper than a razor.

"These are bald assertions, but they can be illustrated. Take, for
instance, the ancient and revered dogma of transubstantiation in the
Eucharist, according to which the whole substance of the bread and the
wine is changed into Christ's flesh and blood, only the appearance of
bread and wine remaining.

"Well, what was the body of Jesus Christ really like, not as seen by
others but in his own first-hand experience? Let us consult him on this
matter and take him at his word, since no one else is in a position to
speak for him. What he tells us all to do he surely did himself:
becoming as a little child he saw, within himself, not a convoluted mass
of anatomical plumbing but the Kingdom of Heaven. His Eye being single,
his whole body also was full of Light, having no place dark. Leaving
aside theological specualation, let us suppose he meant just what he
said, and that he spoke not metaphorically but literally, in terms that
would be understood by little children. In that case, he saw his body as
actually replaced by the Light that lights everyone that comes into the
world. This Light was what he really was, his interior secret, the true
inside story that read so differently from the outside story or his
appearance to others. Which body, then, does he offer to the communicant
in the Mass -- the seeming one or the real one, the outer human one
(which would make the communicant a cannibal) or the inner divine one?
Obviously the latter. And the truly enlightened communicant accepts it
as such, as the opaque matter of earth transubstantiated into the clear
Light of Heaven.

"Nor can our enlightened communicant stop at that immensely important
realisation. Taking the words of his Lord seriously, he sees that he,
too, is all Light within. Childlike, he notices, with thankful
astonishment, that he too is furnished with a single Eye which takes in
the Kingdom's boundless and immaculate brilliance. Indeed it is his own
interior Light which alone enables him to receive from the officiating
priest the true body of the Lord, so that the light entering the Light
is not darkened and communion becomes union.

"What can all this mean to the honest and open-minded sceptic of today?
It can make perfect sense -- proved he is really open to the evidence.
Speaking for myself, I find that the miracle of transubstantiation is
re-enacted at every meal. Of course the bread there on my dining table
has the ordinary appearance of bread, crust and crumb, and the wine
glows red as wine should -- when viewed from this dining chair. But when
I put forth a hand to bring them to me, and they traverse the distance
of a foot or so that separates us, they are mysteriously and
marvellously transformed. I watch them grow, become blurred, lose form
and texture and color, and then vanish altogether, not into a mouth and
throat but into this immense and empty Maw. Undone and 'spiritualised'
by stages on their way to me, they are voided into the Void, visibly
absorbed into the Clariy which is my true Nature. If they are eaten and
drunk, then this is a very different sort of eating and drinking from
the strange gongs-on over there in the other dining chairs, where
absolutely insipid foreign substances are being poked into toothed slits
in people's faces. Here, by contrast, edible and potable things are
becoming unthinged and merging with the N0-thing that I am. All eating
and drinking by the First Person as such (emphatically not by the third
person as such) is a veritable Holy Communion whenever it is realized to
be just that.

"Thus the believing communicant isn't mistaken. The miracle of the
Eucharist is neither a pious fraud nor a beautiful by dying myth. The
inermost story of the Lord at the Last Supper with his disciples in
Jerusalem, of the present bread and wine on the altar, of the celebrant
and of the communicant himself, is one and the same story. However
different their date and circumstances, at heart they are one and the
same. Here are facts that can be verified by anyone interested.

"There is a place where Catholics with their transubstantiation,
Lutherans with their consubstantiation, other Churches with their own
variations on the theme, and even Humanists and Positivists with their
science-inspired rejection of all religious dogmas, can come together
without compromising their basic convictions, but rather clarifying and
deepening them. That place is this place, now, right where you are at
this moment at no distance from youself. Transubstantiation, the
miraculous switch-over from appearance to Reality, from accident to
Essence, from so many shades of darkness to the One Light, can never be
observed from a distance, remembered, or anticipated. It doesn't happen
elsewhere or elsewhen. Out there, bodies put up a show, they keep up
appearances, veil upon veil, but the veils cover one indivisible and
Self-luminous Substance, all of it on show right now and right here,
awaiting instant inspection. This is that one Sight which it is
imperative to see, and the one which, happily, can never be mis-seen.
More happily still, it is quite obvious and natural and ordinary, as
soon as it is attended to. See it, and this chapter will make good
sense. Merely think or feel it, and the point is missed."


EUCHARIST FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF BERNADETTE ROBERTS

The following are selections from her book What Is Self?

"As a youngster...I was put off by God with form or the belief that God could assume a particular form; what kept me from total rejection of Christ was the Eucharist -- the incarnate Christ without form (as I then saw it). The point is that the divine Christ taking on human form is the beginning level of a great Truth or revelation -- namely the oneness of Form and Formless. Since, like Christ, we too have form, the historical Christ illuminates or verifies our own human experiences of oneness with a formless divine. Our identification with Christ in this matter, however, is but the first step of his revelation. Beyond realizing we (and Christ) are one with God, there is much further to go. What we must come to first of all, however, is Jesus' own human experience of oneness with God; only after this can we begin to penetrate the true mystery of Christ's Trinitarian nature -- and consequently our own ultimate destiney." (p. 131)

***

"Another limitation with regard to the historical Christ is the tendency to equate the incarnation solely with the appearance of the historical man Jesus. The incarnate historical Christ appeared 2,000 years ago, yet the incarnate Eucharistic Christ is with us today -- still in the here and now. The historical Christ is different than the Eucharistic Christ. In the former we have the human body that appears; in the latter we have Christ's mystical body that does not appear. Yet both are equally the incarnate Christ. This tells us that there is more to the incarnation than the historical Christ and that as long as we tie the incarnation solely to the historical Christ we miss the furthest reaches of his revelation. The Eucharistic Christ reveals a dimension of Christ and the Trinity that the historical figure could never do; it is to reveal this further dimension that Christ remained with us. The Eucharist is all part of Christ's revelation of ultimate Truth; where the historical Jesus is the Christ that WAS, the Eucharist is the Christ that IS. Thus the Eucharistic Christ goes beyond the historical Jesus -- it is a further revelation of Christ's incarnation and Trinitarian nature. By itself and with nothing further, the historical Jesus reduces the Christian belief to an unbelievable myth." (p. 135)

***

"It is important to emphasize that the Eucharist does not stop with Christ's humanity; it is equally his divinity inseparable from the Trinity or true nature of the Godhead. Thus the Eucharist is not only the body of the incarnate human Christ but equally Christ's mystical body or divine nature prior to his incarnation and humanity. To go one further, the Eucharist is not only the mystery and reality of Christ's eternal body but the ultimate mystery of our body as well. This means that our body is more than its present historical physical experience -- what we see, know and experience of it. Just as Christ's physical body in the Eucharist cannot be physically seen, known or experienced, so, too, the true nature of our own eternal physical body cannot be seen, known or experienced. So the Eucharist is telling us that the body is of a different nature than what we ordinarily see and know; it tells us that our true body is what we do NOT see and know. But whatever this body is, or whatever its eternal form, we know it is not separate from the physical body we see and know -- anymore than Christ's incarnate body is separate from his eternal mystical body. Ultimately then, the physical body we know is not separate from the phsyical body we do NOT know. This is a tremendous truth to ponder; it means that there is no separation between our eternal body (that we do not know) and our physical body (that we know) and that in death there is no non-physical spirit leaving the physical body. In a word, there is no such thing as the separation of body and spirit, or separation of a physical and non-physical body. To think otherwise is not what the Eucharist reveals to us. Christ's physical body is not separate from his eternal divine or mystical body, and anything Christ reveals to us is our Truth, nor merely his Truth.

"The Eucharist, then, goes beyond the visible form of Christ's physical body as it walked this earth, and beyond our own body as it, too, makes this same passage. Neither at his death nor at his ascension did Christ 'leave' his body, and so, too, neither at our death or dissolution into God do we 'leave' the body. Nothing so reveals this truth as the ascension experience when Christ's body seemingly evaporated into a cloud -- disappeared from sight. Yet his body remains ('I go in order to come.'); it has gone nowhere, and being nowhere in particular it is everwhere. Since we cannot point to everywhere, the Eucharistic Christ is the microcosm of everywhere and no different from 'everywhere'. We do not know where Christ is NOT, but we do know where Christ IS -- the Eucharist.

"We might compare this mystery to the fact that the Eucharist as One and indivisible is nevertheless multiplied the world over. It belongs to no one, is never exhausted, and is always with us leading us from the One (microcosm) to everyone, to everywhere. In truth the body of Christ is the true body of all that exists, all that is manifest of the Father. This does not mean Christ is 'matter' as it is defined scientifically, but 'matter' as it cannot be defined or seen with the senses and known with the mind or intellect. It means Christ is the Eternal Form of the Formless Father and the backbone of all we know to exist. So the further revelation of the Eucharist is that it is not only the physical incarnate Christ, not only the mystical Christ, not only the cosmic Christ, but Christ of the Trinity AS the Eternal Form of the Godhead. Christ is not multiple forms but, like the Eucharist, is One Absolute Form." (pp. 138-140)


EUCHARIST FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF NONDUALITY SALON MEMBERS

My background is Christian, and
in the denomination in which I spent most of my life (until the new wine
split the old wineskins) we called it Communion, and also, the Lord's Supper.
I have taken communion many times, and, in my role as a Deacon, served
communion many times. And, a few times, I have lead communion services at
informal prayer-and-praise services. My most vivid experience of communion
was at a summer conference, a Christian family retreat, at which communion
was served in an informal, serve-yourself manner in a rustic wooden chapel.
After taking communion that night, I felt the love of Jesus as strongly as
I ever had, it seemed to emanate right from my center - solar-plexus or
heart level, and it was like being held by someone of infinite compassion
and forgiveness.

Serving communion was a deep privilege. Love would fill that church and
in passing of the elements I knew that I was involved in the giving of a
sacred gift. People would cry during those services and many were deeply
moved. Communion, when approached as a living ritual with sincerity and
openness, is still a very powerful experience, and a real mystery. Most if
not all practising Christians would tell you this.

I hesitate to theorize about what Communion is about but I know that the
traditional teachings and formulas of my church didn't even get near to
explaining it satisfactorily. But that is as it should be - communion is
the embodiment of spiritual experience - literally - puts in right in the
body. And if we can follow it there we find that gateway to the infinite
that others have been writing about.

Anyone can have Communion any time they want. I used to take a bit of
bread and a sip of wine in a very mindful manner. Being a good
Congregationalist I believed that no Priest or Minister was required to
make the ritual real. This cup IS the blood and this bread IS the body of
our Lord Jesus Christ. And the question is, who or what is the body of our
Lord Jesus Christ? And is that any different from OUR body?
---David Hodges


It seems to me, what she is expressing with the Eucharistic Christ is
something very closely related to the Holy Spirit- It seems like a
unique groove has been made by the Incarnation and Ascension. The groove
of coming into the unitive state was already established before the
incarnation and continues to be worn in as a fold in the fabric of
grace.

The Eucharistic Christ is a new fold in the fabric of grace that
supercedes the previous grooves, deeping them but surpassing them.

The end goal of this groove, or this new universal attractor in the
fabric of grace, is, ultimately,the revelation of the relationship or
bridge between the created and uncreated- specificaly between the
Eternal Unmanifest divine to the Eternal Manifest divine. She expresses
that no previous revelation has established this relationship or this
bridge.

She goes on to comment that in Hinduism, the created is a dream in the
mind of Brahman- and hence no bridge is revealed
and that in Judaism, the divine stands seperate from man and creation-
hence no bridge.

She also says something I've never heard articulated before (earlier in
the book)- that both Identity (I am that..etc) and relationship
(I-thou)- represent limitations on the divine manifest. I've noted
Nisigardatta say something to that effect when he speaks of beyond the I
am or witness.

So the Eucharistic Christ is the divine groove left by the ascension-

I was thinking, how similarly, saints, sages and realizers have left
behind their own contributive groove or deepening of grooves. Some
grooves may be particular to arriving at a certain point such as
breakthroughs into the unitive..etc

This maybe why saints play an important role in catholicism- they each
offer their own contribution to the groove- so some folks pray to them.
Similarly with Mary, mother of Jesus.
---Tomas Diaz de Villegas


Jelke Wespelwey wrote:

Could the Eucharist not simply be the (only) way people who identify
themselves with their bodies (and thus see others, including Christ, as
bodies) can have the experience of the Christ 'within'? Which they
intuitively 'feel' to be the ultimate spiritual experience?


Jerry Katz wrote:

Yes, as I see it. That connection, the mystical Christ, seems to be the
bottom line, as you point out, Jelke. Bernadette Roberts, who had no
connection with her body or mind, at one point in her journey saw
Eucharist in this way:

"The sole Christ I could hold out for which inhibited total rejection
was the Eucharist. If it had not been for the Eucharist, I do not see
how I could have remained a Christian. In this form Christ was not a
problem; in focusing on the mystical or Eucharistic Christ, I did not
have to deal with the images or the human form and personality of the
man who lived two thousand years ago. I figured that if he was not God,
then his historical humanity was dispensible anyway. Thus I realized
that the problem with Christ was not the mystical Christ, Christ of the
Godhead or Trinity, but with the historical Christ who came and went. I
had already learned the hard way that anything that came and went was
not God."


Jelke wrote:

I am reminded of the belief in physical resurrection. Isn't this because
people see themselves as bodies and thus need this belief in order to
live after death? To give life meaning? E.g, the Jeh. Witn's do not
believe that man has a soul that survives death, but their believe in
physical resurrection is one of their main tenets.

Jerry wrote:

Yes, it would seem. Again, Roberts: "The resurrection, then, is the
revelation of the true nature of the body, its eternal nature. The body
(and all form) is Eternal Form; it is the divine Christ and all that is
manifest of the unmanifest Father. The unmanifest void (Father) is not
Eternal Form (Christ); at the same time neither are they separate. As
One they constitute the eternal Godhead of the Trinity."

So Eucharist has meaning for those attached to the body, those attached
to history, the historical Christ, those who intuit a transubstantion
going on, those who are attached to the many religious and social and
intellectual levels of fulfillment of Communion, to those attached to
the intuitive feel of Christ within, and so on.

Beyond that there is Roberts, who says Eucharist is "the final word on
Christ." It is what remains. "Everything else is sheer burden," she
says. Part of that sheer burden is everything we mentioned above:
resurrection and everything else spoken. Eucharist becomes the gateway
to nondual reality.

We may even turn our attention to the second half of the first verse of
the Tao Te Ching, and re-write it a little (okay, a lot):

This is my blood, drink of it
So that you may know secrets beyond what I say and do;
This is my body, eat of it
So that you may know the manifestations of the secret
And see the secret in all its manifestations.

For my blood and my body come from the same source.
They are distinct yet the same.

This pairing is the mystery of mysteries,
The gateway to nondual reality or their radical sameness,
Whose gate is held open by the Eucharist.
**********************

There are so many ways of looking at Eucharist. It is a koan, too.

 


Peter J. Lima wrote:


> Thus "0 = 1 = 2" (or Crowley's "0 =2") is no more silly than "Atman is
> Brahman!" Both are arbitrary symbolical representations of what is at root
> ineffable experience.

Hi Peter,

I'm no fan of all this magickal stuff, but it is interesting that the
equation 0 = 1 = 2, can very nicely be applied to Eucharist.

Jerry


Dear Tomas and Jerry..

You both have written about this so intelligently that I hesitate a bit
to enter here.. but my heart is moved to do so.

Tomas.. I listened to your questions.. I read your words slowly and
intuitively.. and arrived, I believe, at perhaps an aspect of the
genesis of your question. What do we mean when we say Eucharist.. to
which state of consciousness does it refer? Is it ok that it might have
a plethora of understandings. Is this word Eucharist a euphemism for
That which fuels our experience of Life and Love while on this plane..
and might, as so much else, it mean different things at different levels
of understanding? I agree that Bernadette Roberts offers a bit of a
middle or bridged understanding. Bridging personal, symbolic and
transpersonal.. allowing for a fuller understanding.

After your request, I copied pages from a comparative Encyclopedia of
Religion and thought perhaps I'd extract aspects of the history as
understood about what Eucharist is or has been understood to be.

But it simply felt too dry to pursue... then suddenly as life would have
it, three times in the past three days.. I have encountered a very real
human expression of what Eucharist means to individuals who are walking
with us here now.. including from a wonderful collection of essays by
Andres Dubus who speaks of his daily encounter with the Eucharist as
that which keeps him from the descent into madness he might otherwise
engage in after having lost his leg, his wife and his lifestyle.
Somehow, the listening to the very real Presence of what this "Holy
Communion" means as a beacon Light and LifeForce we can ingest and allow
to act as guiding force, feels of more significance for me.

So, I thank you deeply for your questions and for the response which
seems to arise from the intelligence in Jerry's heart and I join you
both in deep reflective listening here.

Jerry.. I don't know if these books will specifically answer the
Eucharist question but they each work in their own way with Christianity
and aspects of the larger whole as integrated with more of an Eastern
worldview.

"Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality" by Philip St.Romain

"Christ the Yogi: A Hindu Reflections on the Gospel of John" by Ravi
Ravindra

and one I just discovered and think you'd like is..

"The Alchemy of Love: A Pilgrimage of Sacred Discovery" by Robert
Boldman (who has known many energies and states since childhood.. he
shares his journey through Kundalini, Vedanta.. eventually needing to
empty through Zen and then being reawakened to an integration of all in
Love through a rather simple and awesome awareness given him by a
retired Priest).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ..oo00oo.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I also experience the "Body of Christ" being embodied in these such
fellowships..

Practicing the Presence with you,
Christiana


From http://www.earthecho.com/hello/spirit.html

by Fred Casselman

The Eucharist

The Eucharist is the central part of the Catholic Mass.
In this most beloved sacrament, the priest consecrates
the bread and the wine, transforming it into the body
and blood of Jesus, which is then consumed by the
faithful. A great and lovely sense of mystery surrounds
this sacrament.

Some recent insights have brought me a greater
understanding of this beloved sacrament. Catholics and
indeed most Christians believe that everything that is
has been created through the Christ. There is nothing
that is that was not created through the Christ. (For
one who is not a Christian, a corresponding statement
would be that everything that is has been created
through the energy of unconditional love). So, whenever
we eat, whenever we drink, we are eating and drinking of
the Christ. We are receiving the Christ whenever we eat
or drink, anything--pizza, lemonade, etc. etc. Thus each
meal we receive becomes a divine sacrament.

One might think that this perspective would make the
sacrament of the Eucharist seem less viable, less
important. My experience is to the contrary. To me the
Eucharist is more precious and beautiful than ever
before. One thing that has changed, however, is that the
mystery is diminished. The Eucharist is just a natural
part of our expanded view of the way things are.

Another result of this perspective is the realization
that all others on the planet also partake of the Christ
as they take of food and drink. Thus all on the planet
are our brothers and sisters in Christ, in the energy of
unconditional love. All are One.

Contributing to the Eucharist

At mass one typically observes with a sense of awe and
reverence as the priest consecrates the bread and the
wine. But we can do more that just passively observe. We
can add our own contribution to the bread and wine
during the consecration. I've tried many ideas in this
regard over the past several years, but the easiest and
most powerful seems to be the contribution of our love.
Adding unconditional love from our heart center feels
wonderful. That love is then received by all who receive
the bread and the wine.

If you want to do a bit more, send love to all the bread
and wine being used for consecration throughout the
world. And feel that love coming back to you. If you
want to do a bit more yet, send love to all the food and
drink consumed by all on the planet. Feel that love
coming back to you. Perhaps the ultimate is to send love
to all the food and drink consumed by all throughout the
Omniverse, and feel that love coming back to you. What a
wonderful feeling this is, extending your love to all
that is!


The Gnosis of The Eucharist

by Stephan A. Hoeller

from http://www.gnosis.org/gnosis_eucharist1.html

The Mass, or, as it is sometimes called, the divine
liturgy or the Eucharist, is the most solemn of all the
Christian sacraments. Through it we are led step by step
to the purpose of our earthly lives -- union with the
divine -- for at its climax the faithful are made one
with God and each other by receiving the body and blood
of Christ under the earthly forms of bread and wine.

Although these mystical aspects of the Mass have been
known and proclaimed by all the branches of Christendom
that have not abandoned the ancient sacramental system
(including the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and,
with some ambiguities, the Anglican), the rationalistic
tendencies that have arisen since the Second Vatican
Council in the Roman Catholic Church are robbing the
Mass of much of its numinosity and psychospiritual
utility.

Similarly, many in the occult, metaphysical, and New Age
movements have little appreciation for the magic and
mystery of the time-honored sacramental system of
Christianity and within it for the supreme sacrament of
the Mass. The older of these movements bear the imprint
of nineteenth-century thinking, which was
hyperintellectual, moralistic, and at times
materialistic. The groups that have sprung up since the
1960's are a bit more favorably disposed toward ritual
than their predecessors, but their appreciation of the
sacraments is still small. Much of alternative
spirituality is thus in danger of losing touch with one
of the most valuable aspects of the mystico-magical
heritage of the West.

To be sure, there are valid objections to ritual. Its
practice has often been accompanied by blind
superstition. Still, it must be remembered that a lack
of consciousness will regularly turn meaningful and
transformative practices into superstitious ones. The
fault is not with the ritual, but with the practitioner.
Ritual, provided it uses authentic symbols, is no more
or less than what H.P. Blavatsky called "concretized
truth." This may be covered up by superstition, but the
hidden truth is always discernable beneath the covering.
Gnostic studies of the sacraments are intended to free
the kernel of truth from the accretions of
unconsciousness and misunderstanding that have been
permitted to obscure it.

In the following we shall deal with several separate
approaches to the greatest of the Christian mysteries.
Some of these may contradict each other, while others
tend to complement one another, and still others will
restate truths present in other approaches.

Dogmatic and Rationalistic Views

The non-Gnostic church after the third and fourth
centuries A.D. regarded the Eucharist as a commemoration
of the meal Jesus is said to have shared with his
apostles, where he is said to have blessed bread and
wine, admonishing those present to do the same in
remembrance of him. Christendom made it into dogma that
Jesus mystically changed these substances into his body
and blood and gave authority to his apostles to perform
the same sacred miracle until the end of time. The
mystery of the Eucharist was thus transferred to the
mental realm of belief, although mythic elements
continued to subsist under the façade of dogma.
Protestant Christendom gradually came to deny this
mystically inspired any mythically reinforced dogma. The
Eucharist became a mere memorial meal, a sign rather
than a symbol.

Today, the Roman Catholic Church is undergoing an
internal reformation whose effects on the Mass are not
unlike those produced by the revolt of Luther and
Calvin. Twenty-five years ago one could still observe
nuns herding their small charges to the communion rail
while admonishing them, "Don't chew the Baby Jesus,"
while today almost all awe and reverence for the Mass
and the consecrated elements seem to have evaporated.
Kneeling for communion, receiving the sacrament on the
tongue, and other ancient rules reflecting numinous
dignity have gone by the wayside. A
traditionalist-inspired pun declares that the present
Mass ought to be spelled "mess," and this writer tends
to agree.

The trivialization and desacralization of the Mass are
but a natural outcome of the intellectualization of this
mystery, which in essence began at the time Constantine
established the church and the church established its
dogmas, while casting out the Gnosis. The mind is the
slayer of the real; numinous myth and transcendental
mystery cannot survive rationalism, whether in the form
of Aristotelian theology or in the shape of the
modernism of Hans Küng and his fellows. Dogma is the
murder of mystery, even if it takes centuries for the
victim to die.

The Mass As Sacred Mystery Drama

The mysteries in the pre-Christian era were elaborately
devised ritual dramas contrived to intensify the
spiritual transformation of the initiate. They were
usually patterned after the mythic life, death, and
resurrection of a particular deity to whom the mystery
was dedicated. The candidate was usually made to
symbolically undergo certain events in the life story of
the hero. This is still evident in the initiation
rituals of Freemasonry, particularly in the sublime
degree of Master Mason, where the candidate undergoes
the death and rising again of the Masonic hero Hiram
Abiff.

It does not take much imagination to see in the
Christian Mass the elements of the same ritual drama,
wherein the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of
Jesus are symbolically reenacted by the priests and
worshippers. The fact that the Eucharist is a mythic
dramatization of the career of Jesus has been recognized
by the church for a very long time. As Pope Innocent III
stated, "The Mass is arranged upon a plan so well
conceived that everything done by Jesus Christ or
concerning Him, from His Incarnation to His Ascension,
is there largely contained either in words or in
actions, wonderfully presented."

The Gnostic would contend that this is undoubtedly true,
but that the reenactment of the drama does not concern
the historical Jesus alone, but involves the Divine Man
resident in each human being. Myth is truer and more
powerful than history, and the events in the life of
Jesus are elevated to mythic significance by the
symbolic relation of his drama to the drama of the
transforming human spirit. As Joseph Campbell said, the
Mass is "a metaphor open to transcendence," and as such
it is capable of miraculous effects in transforming not
only bread and wine, but the human personality as well.
The great fault of non-Gnostic Christianity has always
been to reduce myth with a meaning to history with a
moral, and this is what happened to the Mass at the
hands of the theologians.

The pagans of antiquity were convinced that humans could
undergo apotheosis, that they could become gods and
goddesses. The Mass is closely connected with this
process, since in its mysteries earthly substances are
transmuted into divine ones, and, more important, humans
may be similarly transformed in their psychospiritual
natures. The ancient Gnostics for the most part seem to
have held that Jesus was a human being who, very much
like a hero in the pagan tradition, became divine as a
result of his spiritual virtue. Jesus the hero became
Christ the God. (This event is said to have been
finalized, as it were, on the occasion of the baptism of
Jesus in the river Jordan, which was called the
Epiphany, or the manifestation of Christ to the world.)

The imitatio Christi, when understood as copying the
moral qualities of the Christed Jesus, borders on
absurdity. How could a fallible mortal imitate the
Divine One descended to earth? On the other hand, the
main body of the liturgical work of the church is
involved in an imitation of a different order. In the
church calendar the events of the life of Jesus are
relived, from Christmas to Ascension and beyond. The
four-day cycle of Easter (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday,
Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday) is an intense reliving
of the core drama of the Passion and resurrection. And
the celebration of the Eucharist is a daily reenactment
of this same drama, fortified by the mystical communion
one may partake of with the hero himself. The imitation
of Christ is the deification, the transformation, of the
human being, and the Mass continues to be the most
efficacious means of that transformation, at least as
far as the Christian tradition is concerned. Only
Gnosis, experienced within the Gnostic tradition,
discloses this fact to us in all its promise and wonder.

The Mass As Magic

Ritual that reenacts authentic mythic themes always
possesses a magic of its own. While magic may be
anathema to the rationalist, it is an old friend to the
lover of myth and ritual. The magic of the Mass is the
operational effect of the lived myth upon the
participants. People can have visions, experience
expansions of consciousness, undergo healing, and engage
in effective prayer during the Mass. Still, to
overemphasize the magical element of this rite would be
inaccurate, and would put one in the same league as the
person who defined the combustion engine as "noise,
speed, and stink." It is wise to have a balanced
attitude toward this issue and to refrain from any
attempt either to rob the Mass of its magic or to turn
it into ceremonial magic pure and simple. (The
much-publicized but rather infrequent phenomenon of the
Black Mass is an example of the latter.)

The magical aspects of the mystery are acknowledged in
the very liturgy of the Eucharist itself: Prayers are
said for the living, for the dead, for particular
intentions. It has always been considered legitimate for
persons attending the Eucharist to pray for private
concerns. On the other hand, one ought to participate in
the mystery of the Mass for its own sake, and not in
order to "get results" of any particular kind. If one
comes only to obtain specific favors from the deity,
this would interfere with the nature and amount of grace
received. Eventually one would miss the true
significance of the Mass entirely. A mystery of such
magnitude should never be allowed to degenerate into a
forum for airing petty concerns in the face of
transcendence.

C.W. Leadbeater, the theosophist and Liberal Catholic
bishop, in his work The Science of the Sacraments, made
some fascinating observations on the magic of the Mass.
With his paranormal faculties Leadbeater perceived
certain recurring patterns of forces not ordinarily
visible that manifested at each celebration of the
Eucharist. The pattern seemed to organize itself into a
form that described as a sort of structure resembling a
spire or cupola.

Personal experience of the writer may be of interest in
this connection. About 1948 or 1949, the writer acted as
a part-time assistant to a Roman Catholic prelate in
Austria, Abbot Alois Wiesinger, O.Cist., who was writing
a book on occult phenomena. While perusing the abbot's
files he discovered a drawing prepared some years before
by a rural seer, representing a form clairvoyantly
perceived by the seer every time the Mass was said in
the village church. Some six or seven years later the
writer discovered a representation of the "Eucharistic
edifice" in Leadbeater's book. It matched the Austrian
one in eerie detail! Moreover, the chances of an
illiterate Alpine peasant ever having encountered
Leadbeater's book are very small. That two persons of
such different characters should have perceived the same
structure of magical forces in the Eucharist is evidence
that cannot be easily dismissed.

But this magical attitude toward the Mass must be kept
in bounds also. People may be tempted to participate in
it in order to take a sort of "astral shower bath" while
neglecting the devotion that is required to receive
sacramental grace.

C.G. Jung and the Mass

That great modern representative of the Gnosis, C.G.
Jung, had a great interest in the Christian sacraments,
particularly in the Mass. He repeatedly stated that he
considered Catholicism a far more complete religion than
its Protestant counterparts. The mystery of the
sacraments, said Jung, had great value, and produced a
degree of psychological health among Catholics that was
not found among Protestants and atheists. (One wonders
whether he would have made the same statement about the
post-Vatican II church, with its folk Masses and burlap
vestments.)

Jung contended that the Eucharistic sacrifice contained
a vital mystery that was not entirely negated by the
dogmatic structure in which it was veiled:

The ritual act [of the Mass] consecrates both the gift
and the givers. It commemorates and represents the Last
Supper which our Lord took with His disciples, the whole
Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.
But from the point of view of the divine, this
anthropomorphic action is only the outer shell of husk
in which what is really happening is not a human action
at all but a divine event. 1

Jung emphasizes that those involved in the celebration
of the Mass are ministering causes of the divine event.
The priest does not cause the mystery; he is merely a
minister of grace and power. The same is true of the
congregation and of the seemingly inert substances of
bread and wine. The Mass is not an action executed by
humans, but by divinity.

To revert to magical terminology once again, there are
two main categories of magic. Low magic is personalistic
and egotistical: It envisions its operators as the
causes of magical acts. But when humans become the
ministering agents of divinity, having mystically sensed
that divinity wants to manifest itself through humanity,
then we are dealing with high magic.

According to Jung, the Mass, when properly understood,
is best treated as an act of high magic. In this regard
he wrote:

Wherever the [low] magical aspect of a rite tends to
prevail, it brings the rite nearer to satisfying the
individual ego's blind greed for power, and thus breaks
up the mystical body of the Church into separate units.
Where on the other hand, the rite is conceived as the
action of God himself, the human participants have only
an incidental or "ministering" significance.2


Jung does go on to state that the lesser, human
consciousness, symbolized by the priest and the
congregation, is confronted with a situation that is
independent of human action. Divinity and its
sacrificial mystery exist on a plane that is timeless
and transcends consciousness as humans know it. It
impels the human being to act as a minister of grace by
making him an exponent, in time and among humanity, of
an event that is timeless and divine.

Jung's attitude differs, commendably, I believe, from
the prosaic, humdrum interpretation offered by
rationalizing theologians, who reduce this sublime
mystery to the trivial proportions of their own
thinking. It also differs from the arrogance of some New
Age teachers, who insist upon humans "creating their own
reality."

Humility in the face of transcendence; this is Jung's
great characteristic as a man, and it is also his advice
to us. "The hammer cannot discover within itself the
power which makes it strike," as he remarked in the
essay quoted above. What seizes the human being in the
mystery of the Mass or in any other mystery is something
outside humanity: a sovereign power, as free from
limitation as light is from darkness. Ordinary human
consciousness cannot find anything within itself that
would cause humans to perform a mystery. It can only do
so when it is seized by the mystery.

The human soul is at once near and far from the divine.
On the one hand we are all suffering from the great
alienation, the great estrangement; yet there also
dwells within is a portion of the free and eternal one
who is forever united with all that is holy, great, and
good throughout the aeons of aeons. The dazzling spark
of the divine lives in the outermost darkness. When
viewed from without, it appears clothed in darkness,
having assumed some of the likeness of this darkness.
The Gnostic myth declares that the sparks of our
indwelling divinity have come forth from a central
flame, and that they partake of two aspects: They have
the quality of "sparks" (separateness) and of "flames"
(union) at the same time. (This recognition is in fact
the central idea behind the much-discussed Gnostic
"dualism.")

In addition to the views of the mass discussed above,
there is also the notion that this mystery is of the
nature of a sacrifice. The sacrifice, in its Gnostic
sense, involves the return of the alienated spark to its
original flame. Neither philosophy, metaphysics, nor
dogma can accomplish this longed-for union, for it is
not a matter of concept but of experience. If we wish to
join our shining twin in heaven by removing the
dichotomy, we must do a work, an opus, as the alchemists
of old would have called it. We must offer the bread and
wine of our lesser nature to a power from above, so that
this human self may be transformed into the likeness and
indeed the substance of the wholly other, the alien God,
the One beyond and above all the aeons, who in some
utterly mysterious way is still our own, true, inmost
Self. God in man returns to himself in the sacrificial
mystery. As Jung expressed it:

The dichotomy of God into divinity and humanity and his
return to himself in the sacrificial act hold out the
comforting doctrine that in man's own darkness there is
hidden a light that shall once again return to its
source, and that this light actually wanted to descend
into the darkness in order to deliver the Enchained One
who languishes there, and lead him to light
everlasting.3


This return is not an act that can ever be performed by
the lesser human consciousness. This lesser self can
only offer itself as an instrument, an offering on the
eucharistic altar of Gnosis. Words cannot describe,
thoughts cannot penetrate, senses cannot perceive the
true character of the mysterium tremendum et fascinans
(awesome and bewitching mystery) enacted on the altar.
Only the still mind, the reverent emotion, and the pure
will directed toward the goal of divine union can bring
us closer to the secret that blazes forth at the center
of the mystery. Myths may bring us nearer, magic may
illuminate, philosophy may elucidate, but the mystery
remains, as it must, for it is in us and we are in it.

The Cruets (below) contain the sacramental wine and
water. The Ciborium (right) is a covered chalice which
holds the hosts (sacramental bread) that are distributed
to the congregation. The Chalice (left) is the cup in
which the priest consecrates the wine during the Mass.

This article originally appeared in Gnosis: A Journal of
Western Inner Traditions, (Vol. 11, Spring 1989), and is
reproduced here by permission of the author.


Notes

1.C.G. Jung, "Transformation Symbolism in the Mass," in
Eranos Yearbooks, Vol.
2: The Mysteries (New York:
Pantheon Books, 1955), p. 314. 2.Ibid., p. 314.
3.Ibid., p. 317.


from the "Egodeath" email list on Yahoogroups:

   Date: Mon, 26 May 2003 02:54:47 -0700
   From: "Michael Hoffman" <mhoffman@egodeath.com>
Subject: Book lists: Eucharist/Lord's Supper

The ultimate and best and only really legit form of Eucharist is the
entheogenic form.  Eucharistic doctrine is strongly formed and constrained and
shaped by the entheogenic nature of the Eucharist.  If there is an
entheogen-shaped hole at the center of religion, this is truest of Eucharistic
writings.  Where does Christian doctrine come closest to the entheogenic
truth?  In the Eucharistic writings.

For example, the debate over the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is
effortlessly solved by removing historical Jesus and replacing him by the
entheogen as the true "logos/word made flesh".  In *general*, it's very clear
that true Christianity (and ancient and Judeo-Hellenistic religion in general)
was and is centered around the entheogen -- that puzzle is solved, but a minor
puzzle remains: why is there no *explicit* discussion of entheogens in the
Christian writings?

Writings on Eucharist are clearly talking about the entheogen, but it's not
clear why they always talk implicitly rather than explicitly.  Suppressing the
open discussion of the entheogenic nature of Eucharist and of Jesus "the drug
of immortality", a financially profitable monopolistic franchise was
established.  Entheogens evidently were widely known and widely influential in
Christian doctrine, but effectively suppressed.


Eucharist (Catholic authors)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/11DVRCK2C8894

Eucharist (Catholic authors II)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/1MWCNTZ0JO370

Lord's Supper (Prot., E. Orth, Ecum.)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/2MLGGGJ5CHR2O

The active eucharist that reveals the kingdom of God
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/1WMWVXJ8FZPJD


-- Michael Hoffman
http://www.egodeath.com -- simple theory of the ego-death and rebirth
experience


PHILOSOPHY OF THE SACRAMENT
Hazrat Inayat Khan*


The true meaning of the sacrament, which is said to be symbolical of
the flesh and blood of Christ, shows that those who give importance
to the flesh and blood of the Master, are mistaken; that the true
being of the Master was bread and wine. If he had any flesh and
blood, it was the bread and wine. And what is bread and wine? The
bread is that which is the soul's sustenance, and the soul's
sustenance is the knowledge of God. It is by this knowledge that the
soul lives the eternal life. And the blood of Christ is the love
element, the intoxication of which is a bliss. And if there is any
virtue, it comes from that principle.

Man is not made only of flesh, skin, and bone, but is also composed
of many fine and gross elements, and therefore, for him to life, many
different properties are needed. But man generally considers only his
food to be that which nourishes his physical body, and seeks for a
stimulant for that body, not realizing that besides this much of his
being is starved for food all through his life. Man's ignorance of
this other part of his being allows it to die, at least to his
consciousness. The words of Christ, `The spirit quickeneth, the flesh
profiteth nothing,' indicates this.

We read in the Bible of Christ telling his followers to eat his flesh
and drink his blood. What does that mean? It does not mean, `Eat the
flesh of my physical body and drink its blood.' It means, `The being
in which I am living is God's being. Take this as food to nourish
your finer being; drink this to stimulate your spiritual being.'

There is a verse of Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad, `I am the bird of
the spiritual spheres dwelling at present in earthly spheres, but my
food is the knowledge of God and my drink is His beauty in
manifestation.' Those who are conscious of the earthly spheres live
on earthly food and stimulants; but those who become conscious of the
higher world are nourished by the thought of God in their bread. And
that which stimulates them like wine is their vision of God in the
sublimity of nature. This is the real sacrament, given symbolically
in churches as bread and wine.

*Hazrat Inayat Khan was a Sufi teacher from India who started "The
Sufi Order in the West" (now called the Sufi Order International) in
the early part of the 20th century.