First, let’s lay a little groundwork.
Contemplation is a way of savoring life in the state of wholeness.
It includes the linear distinction of particulars, but it does not dwell there. Contemplation causes us to dwell within the wholeness of wisdom. And the fruit of contemplation is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; which is the fruit of the Spirit.
Contemplation is the inner working of the spirit that causes us to dwell with God. Our perspective is an eternal perspective expressing itself within our time-space continuum.
So we have the language for our interior life, such as in no other time or culture in history. As a friend of mine held up his Bible while preaching one Sunday, “I love this book, but if this is all that God has to tell us, He doesn’t have much to say.” My friend wasn’t discounting Scripture, but he was pointing to the fact that every discipline we develop reveals more and more of the impossible depth and glory of God, like the slowly unfolding of a rose.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at the contemplative concept of: ‘abiding in the vine,’ through the lens of our three states of consciousness. Like the unfolding of a rose, we are looking at a process, not doctrine.
Jesus tells us to abide in him
- From the first level of consciousness, we see ‘dwelling with Jesus’ as what saves us from Hell, and prepares us for Heaven. So we work for Christ.
- From the second level of consciousness, we see ‘dwelling with Jesus’ as what we can do, learn, and develop in a life of doing Jesus. So we imitate Christ.
- From the third level of consciousness, we see ‘dwelling with Jesus’ as a state of being, of mutual spirit, of Presence, ‘that which we live out of’. So we incarnate Christ.
The first level of consciousness sees only itself and ignores everything else.
The second level of consciousness includes the first level, is baffled, and dismisses the third.
The third level of consciousness includes all three levels in a synthesis of application which is Wisdom herself.
Yes, this is a gross simplification of very complex things. Life is fluid and is impossible to pin down. So I mean it as the beginning of a conversation of things I’ve noticed, that we need to talk about.
- Those who live mostly in the first level of consciousness tend to emphasize Jesus.
- While those who live mostly in the second level of consciousness tend to emphasize the Holy Spirit.
- And finally, those who live mostly in the third level of consciousness tend to emphasize God.
* The Trinity is an icon created by a Russian painter Andrei Rublev in the 15th century.