What Jesus Does

Jesus does come to teach us how to live, which, incidentally, has the potential to save us and the world. He teaches us the en-Christing process, which opens the conduit between self-consciousness and deep mind, and puts us in touch with our divine reality, as well as the morality inherent in the process. Jesus does not teach some abstract idea of “salvation,” of being saved from our sins, or from hell in a putative life to come. Instead, he teaches an observable process that allows sin and its fantasies, and guilt, to fall away in the process of beholding, which leads to new life, a new creation, paradise in the here and now. The more self-forgetfulness is at work, the less the possibility of sin. (85)

Maggie Ross | Silence: A User’s Guide, Vol. 1

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Institutions

The development of institutions, particularly religious institutions, which are hierarchical and linear and preoccupied with self-perpetuation, invariably destroys the flow between language and silence; institutions cannot help but have a stake in stunting the maturity of their adherents, even if this means they must destroy the original visions and insights on which the institutions originally were founded. When praxis is allowed to lapse, or is suppressed, interpretation of the metaphors of the work of silence becomes confined to the level of the merely verbal and logically linear. They are read “literally” instead of literarily. Institutions reify what was once global and relational and alive into lifeless artifact; they move away from manifestation to re-presentation. What was once holographic and open becomes closed, hierarchical, systematized; language is no longer provisional but carved into stone as doctrine or dogma; praxis is forgotten, and language that was once full of resonance is reduced to slogan. (27-28)

Maggie Ross | Silence: A User’s Guide, Vol. 1

Beyond Imitation

In psychological terms, to put on the mind of Christ means relinquishing imaginative stereotypes and projections into the silence, and receiving back a transfigured (in the literary as well as the psychological and theological senses) perspective, so that we are freed from the trap of our own circular thinking; while “imitation” means pursuing a life based on our own imaginative stereotypes and projections, impressions that are easily formed and controlled by a hierarchy.

In other words, imitation does not allow us to break out of the circular squirrel cage of our own constructs and prejudices. However piously and devoutly meant, imitation becomes a kind of religious performance art, regressively reductive with the passage of time. Imitation breeds dependence and fear. By contrast, the mind of Christ results in a healthy autonomy and an inviolable integrity for the sake of the community. This is not to say that these two points of view or mutually exclusive: it is possible for the failure of imitation to point the way to the work of silence. The implications of these observations for today’s celebrity and consumer “spirituality” are only too obvious. (4)

Maggie Ross | Silence: A User’s Guide, Vol. 1