The Real World is Within – 8 quotes from Bede Griffiths book – A New Vision of Reality: Western Science, Eastern Mysticism and Christian Faith

by Mark Votava

6770561. Going beyond concepts

“The only way to know God is by unknowing, by going beyond concepts, beyond the rational mind and receiving a ray of the ‘divine darkness.’ This is mystical language. One has gone beyond and has experienced God in the darkness, as the light beyond the darkness, and as the light in the darkness, as it were. So that is the essential Christian mystical experience.”

2. Unique manifestation

“Each one of us as a person is a unique manifestation of the One, and each has a unique destiny to experience the divine and to experience unity with all the others…”

3. Revelation and experience are always interdependent

“Revelation and experience are always interdependent. As the human soul opens to the divine mystery, so the divine mystery reveals itself to the soul. Humanity has always been faced with the divine mystery. From the very beginning human beings have been in the presence of that mystery which is, in fact, nothing but the mystery of existence and they have been exploring this mystery… The process is that on the one hand the mystery is revealing itself as the human soul opens to it and on the other hand the human person is striving to apprehend the mystery.”  

4. A community experience

“…the Christian experience, although certainly personal and individual, is always also implicitly or explicitly a community experience. This is very important…God is always seen in relation to the human world, to human history and to human relationships…”

5. The real world is within

“…the real world is the world within. We project a world outside ourselves which has an appearance of reality, but the real world is always within. Through grace one discovers that in one’s own self as the image of God the whole creation is contained.”

6. Made in the image of God

“The human person is made in the image of God and recovers that image when it returns to itself…”

7. When we recover our own unity

“Now when we recover our own unity we rediscover the unity of the whole of humanity…”

8. Total transparency

“But in the Christian mystical understanding each person is unique. Each is a unique expression of God, a unique manifestation of the divine, and each is in all and all are in each. There is total transparency. All are one in God and one in each other. But we are not lost in this oneness; we are found in our total being. ‘He who will lose his life shall find it.’ When we lose ourselves totally in that abyss of love, we find ourselves… The nature of love is such that we become persons by loving. We have a capacity to transcend ourselves in love, to go out of ourselves and to experience one another in love, and grow as we communicate in love. It is all a matter of interpersonal relationship. In this understanding the basic need of human existence is growth in interpersonal relationships, in love, and that is so basic that we are called into being by love…”  

Do you agree that the real world is within?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist