It’s a concept that is difficult to define, but easy to illustrate: Metatheology, as I use the term, is what you encounter “beyond that bounding rim” of religious doctrine, symbology, practice, and even the spiritual path that brings you to the edge of the wheel.
In his abridged version of The Perennial Philosophy, Aldous Huxley wrote: “Many Catholic mystics have affirmed that, at a certain stage of that contemplative prayer in which, according to the most authoritative theologians, the life of Christian perfection ultimately consists, it is necessary to put aside all thoughts of the Incarnation as distracting from the higher knowledge of that which has been incarnated.” That “higher knowledge” is Metatheology –or, in the broader sense, Metaphysics, and the fact that it uses theology as the path to the jumping off point into “what can be known but not told” is what makes it this specific expression of Metaphysics.
It stands to reason, then, that metatheology also represents a convergence point of many different theologies, a point beyond the boundary of where one can go via discursive reasoning. This is, of course, simply Reality in its natural state, which is pre-verbal and pre-conceptual, and requires passage from dual to non-dual perception.
In the diagram to the left (like any map, this is an oversimplification, and has some inaccuracies –“Allah” should be “al haqq“), the mystic path through each of the major religious groups involves shifting from the outer circle toward the center. The middle circle is where preparation of the mind and heart for non-dual perception is honed. The next step to the inner blue circle is that passage itself.
Metatheology is the red dot. For “the Tao/Logos/Brahman etc that can be named is not the Eternal.” It is in the direct, immediate experience of the nameless Reality represented by this red dot that All That Is can be known beyond knowing, sensed beyond sensing.
The articles in this section will attempt to flesh out this basic skeletal concept of the inward path, from exoteric to esoteric to mystic to metatheological, and show that this is not only possible or desirable for certain adepts, but the true “end game” goal of ALL theological pursuit as we evolve toward unitive knowledge of the Self as sentient beings.
In the diet of our personal spirituality, theology –religious belief—is the comfort foods, and metatheology – metaphysical experience—is the leafy green vegetables. Both are necessary for optimal spiritual health.
In our own way, the Avant-God are all working together independently to disseminate, in a wide array of contexts and languages, the idea that a Oneness of immeasurable scope unites everything that exists in a web of “interbeing.”
America in the 21st century is a metaphysical disaster area of epic scope, and the rest of the world is falling all over itself to follow suit.
Success in the spiritual life is the ultimate cul-de-sac. Religion is a program of systematic futility, one level of failure to achieve after another, until it breaks you of the achievement habit.
We are the timeless essence of Existence, expressing itself in time as you and me, him and her, this and that, giving each its own unique perspective of the Whole. The experience of the soul –perhaps the verb “souling,” however clumsy for its newness, is the clearest way to convey it– is to be uniquely aware of the the universality of this expression.
Theology is the beginning of a trail of bread crumbs leading from literalism to esoteric practice to mystic experience and eventually into the cloud-hidden realm of metatheology. Most religious people, realizing they’ve found manna from heaven but ignoring the trail, crowd into the trailhead and fight over the limited apportionment of crumbs, and likewise most atheist rebuttals of faith only address this crowd because it is like shooting fish in a barrel.
What we generally call the ego, then, is not the natural experience of subjective selfhood, but that ghost-like feeling of observing our observations, of cataloging them within a nexus of memories, plans, ideas etc. and calling that nexus “Jane Doe” or “Joe Self” or “Waldo Noesta.” It is literally whatever you think you are in response to what you think you’re not.
There is nothing extraordinary about the mystic experience –in fact, once you know what it is, you will see that it is the most hyperordinary state of awareness you’ve ever experienced, and “normal” consciousness will seem like the mutation.
A monist God is as invisible as the retinae in your eyes –you won’t see it anywhere until you realize it is the ground of everything you see, then you will literally see it in/as everything.
In short: if the Flying Spaghetti Monster didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him. So someone did. Someone said, “if an absurd image of God is what it takes to unite us in our opposition to a stifling and ultimately dangerous mode of thought, here it is.”
Glimpses of a Creative Universe, by Christopher Chase...
Insights into Nonduality and Living Awake & Engaged . . . by Eric Putkonen
Books and publications by Waldo Noesta
The Writings of Poffo Ortiz
Considerations on the Process of Recognition and Liberation
A Philosophical and Spiritual Guide
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