Son of Man . . .
Describe the dark night of the soul.
AH: I think the dark night is simply about realizing where we are. Your heart must open—your real heart, the sacred heart with its vast power of identification with all beings. When that experience becomes real to you, then the forests are being butchered inside you, the whales are dying inside you, the poor are starving inside you, the old women are being brutalized on the streets by soldiers inside you, the dogs are being vivisected alive inside you, nature is being tortured to death inside you. The entire horror of what we are doing in the name of power becomes horribly vibrant inside you. And there is a tremendous exposure to agony.
Simultansously of course, there is a tremendous exposure to the glory of what could be possible if love were made real. The glory of the Divine trying to be born in institutions, in art, in the love between human beings, in the potential of cooperation between races, in the potential for a transformed technology. You see both at the same time and both are deranging.
The agony is deranging because, when you finally tap into what is going on, part of you faints away. And the glory is deranging because, when you tap into what is possible, another part of you faints away. You see what I am saying? Both deeply shatter any form of conventional thought. And that begins to describe the experience of the Christ heart.
when you say deranging, that is another word for madness.
AH: No. Well yes it is. But that is what I think St. Paul means, by ‘the wisdom of the cross being the foolishness of the wise.’ Once you begin to see what is really entailed on the Christ path—the total donation of yourself as a passionate living sacrifice of love—to love—for love—when you begin to see what is involved in that, then of course that’s deranging. And it seems like madness . . . it is madness, it’s madness to convention.
Jesus says in the gospel of Thomas ‘and you see that you will be troubled and then you will be astounded and rule over the all.’ But the ‘troubling’ and the ‘astounding’ go together. You have to allow yourself to be troubled by the horror and agony, the despair and the desolation, and then astounded by the possibility of living with the divine empowerment. Then slowly, slowly—this is not immediate, this is not a New Age intensive—you become aware of the powers that are given you by God’s grace, in God’s name, and they are astonishing! But you have to be prepared to go through a great deal. Love is like that, isn’t it? That’s exactly what the Christ is saying to us, go crazy and stay really sane. Don’t close down, don’t close the heart.
Is this your essential message as a teacher? At Oregon House, will you go beyond lecture to practice?
AH: Oh god yes. I rave and I talk but I do anything, everything to open peoples’ hearts. I work with the ancient sacred practices. I teach visualization so that people can enter into their own deep privacy. I help people come to profound contact with their own sacred hearts.
It’s not good enough simply to rave at people to give them these thoughts. People must be given ways of connecting and working with the heart. People must grow strong enough to stand what the heart will reveal to them. That’s what my workshops are about. They are about getting necessary information, opening up perspectives, but also helping people to get to some crucial, life transforming practices. Talk is fine, but the practices are really everything. You’ve got to have a real mystical practice, a real practice of meditation and of prayer. And then you must put your practice into practice, by serving in every element of your life.
What about Jesus’ radical egalitarianism?
AH: Jesus is such an extraordinary figure because again, and again, both in the Canonical Gospels and certainly in the Gnostic Gospels, he said ‘look, you can go further than me, you can do more than I can. You think that these things are incredible—they seem incredible to you because you haven’t come into your inner divinity. When you come into your inner divinity, this will be your normal experience. This energy will be your energy, this passion will be your passion, this power will be your power.’ Which makes ludicrous the Christian church’s erection of him into this unique Son of God. He came to God us all, to reveal how we could all be Godded in that way, if we are prepared to give enough. It’s not easy, obviously. It takes enormous faith and passion and sacrifice, as he showed.
The last thing he did was to wash the feet of his disciples in one final desperate attempt to get them free of their wretched projections. And it didn’t work. Some of the commentators say that by doing so, he enacted the role of the female servant. He not only washed the disciples’ feet, thus deconstructing the master/disciple thing, he also took on the despised feminine role. What more can you do to try and wake people up?
I noticed that you made the noun God into a verb—he “Godded” us.
AH: God is not unreachable, God is love and God is in love. In every conceivable sense of that phrase, that’s what we are here to do. We are here to God ourselves and God each other by loving, deeply, passionately, wisely and relentlessly. I mean, that’s what it’s all about. ‘I come to give life more abundantly,’ Christ said. ‘I am the vine and you are the bunches of the vine,’ he said. My god, this is wild, rich, passionate abundance! Nothing could be more completely and gloriously and transcendently sensual. ‘This is my body, this is my blood. Eat and drink of it.’ It’s the highest possible adoration of life. Life as love, life as the transmission of love, life as the great opportunity to drink the eternal wine of love in the body.
Andrew Harvey, author of numerous books on spirituality, will present a workshop on May 7-9, at Oregon House. For info, please call 541-547-3329.