I received an email promoting an upcoming course by Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God series. His is a powerful story of finding himself homeless and living on a park bench and then turning to prayer and discovering that it was possible for him to have a direct conversation with G_d.
The promotional email quoted Neale writing about the soul— to begin with that it was real; that for much of his life he ignored it and that nobody ever taught him about the soul. He then wrote the following:
“But here’s what I know to be true after 70 years on Earth, and after many, many conversations with God about the meaning and purpose of life:
The human soul is a direct expression and a singular individuation of Divinity, much like a drop from the ocean is both part of the ocean but not the entirety of the ocean itself.
The soul entered into physicality, or the individual reality of each and every one of us, in order to create an unlimited experience of Divinity, not a limited experience of humanity!”
When I read that something in me intuitively sensed that this didn’t feel quite right to me. It’s not that I think he’s wrong. It’s just that what he said about the soul entering into physical reality “in order to create an unlimited experience of Divinity, not a limited experience of humanity” didn’t resonate with me. Maybe I’ll interview him one day to get a more nuanced understanding of what he meant.
But why would the soul incarnate into human form in order to have an “unlimited experience of Divinity”? Given that the soul took all the trouble to assume flesh and blood on Earth, why wouldn’t the soul want the deepest experience possible of Humanity? One that informed and animated by Source, yes of course. In fact, I would say that we can’t have a fully human experience if we’re disconnected from Source. But I feel like I’m here to experience the human condition, and to participate in the emergence of a new Humanity.
There’s a lot of spiritual by-passing that goes on in spiritual circles, and I am in no way implying that this is true of what Neale Donald Walsch is doing. I haven’t read enough of this writing to weigh in on that. And as I say, I have great respect for his deep commitment to the spiritual path. But I wouldn’t say, for example, that what Jesus was about was trying to have an unlimited experience of Divinity. I think he was about plummeting the depths of the human condition, in loving relationship with his “Father/Mother”, and then to initiate his followers into their Humanity.
I will write more about this in the future but I am enjoying New Testament theologian, Walter Wink’s, take on the “son of the Man”, an image derived from Ezekiel’s vision of “one like a human being”, sitting (surprisingly for Jewish piety) on a heavenly throne. One like a human being assuming a divine throne?! It has mystified scholars for 2000 years why Jesus used this title “son of the Man” (or Human One or Child of Wisdom) as the one title he used about himself. The phrase is used 87 times in the New Testament. Yet strangely, scholars fall silent, or they simply conflate it with “Son of G_d”.
Wink suggests that it is an archetype which, in and around the time of Jesus, was activated in the consciousness of humans,
including Jesus. It was evolutionarily ripe for integration in our species. It is an image or a symbol of what the human being is becoming, the fullest expression of The Human One. This full flowering of the human being is ever-emergent. This is what constitutes its divine nature. It is eternally becoming, eternally giving expression to G_d in human form. We get a mere glimpse of it in Jesus of Nazareth, but as the author of 1 John put it: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is that: when the Human One (the son of the Man) is revealed we will be like it (or “him”)…(1 Jn.3:2).
And here’s the kicker:
“If God is in some sense true humanness (as in Ezekiel’s vision and which is suggested by Jesus appropriation of the title), then divinity inverts itself. Divinity is not a qualitatively different reality; quite the reverse, divinity is fully realized humanity. Only God, as it were, is truly Human. The goal of life, then, is not to become something we are not—divine—but to become what we truly are—human.” (Becoming Human, p.29)
It strikes me that this task is quite enough, for we have not yet, as a species, come close to this full flowering. Despite Jesus’ initiatory attempts, and his willingness to lay down the template for a fuller humanity, we are very much a work in process. Wink describes theologian, Gerd Theissen’s insight: people were once especially eager to find the “missing link” between primates and human beings. Now, however, it is dawning on us that we ourselves could be that missing link.
Our souls still need grace and re-Sourcing to complete this process. As Elizabeth Howes put it: “When I work to become human, is it not God in me that is striving to become human?” I don’t know, it just seems like reversing this spiritual new age tendency to imagine that we’re on the path toward becoming divine, and to imagine rather, that through us, God is on the path of becoming human, makes more sense. That’s a task I feel that my soul can sink its teeth into.
What do you think? Please leave a comment, and then comment on other people’s comments, if you feel so moved.
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