Re Heschel’s “Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.” (1971:7) “If amazement is a good thing why would we want to alleviate it?”

Some comments re Heschel’s,
“Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.” (1971:7)

A member of our One Garden group asked for comments on; “Assuming amazement as something good I want to enhance or amplify it not alleviate it.” (?)

As a question I’m reading that as, “If amazement is a good thing why would we want to alleviate it?”

COMMENTS:
It’s not the amazement that needs alleviating it is our spiritual hunger that needs alleviating – the hunger to be at-one – and to be free of the burden, and suffering, of egoic self.

Concepts, like food snacks, won’t satisfy us compared to the real thing, a proper spiritual meal – which is to rest as our Nondual self – to rest as awareness (substantially ) free of self.

The ‘snacks quotation’ relates to the ‘Citizens of two realms’ quotation. Here is a slightly longer version of the ‘Citizens of Two Realms’ extract’;

“The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another.

Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap.

They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion.

A saying not by Heschel is helpful “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” – (source unknown though many have used it e.g.Huston Smith)

My reading of Heschel is that he is describing the dual world as the ‘island of knowledge’ and the nondual as ‘wonder’ – the ineffable experience of the Whole, of Mystery – that another great mystic, Einstein, wrote about so beautifully;

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. This insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms— this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.” http://sciphilos.info/docs_pages/docs_Einstein_fulltext_css.html

Wonderment is the state we are in when, with selfing subdued, we enter the mystical, Nondual, state – the home of our true Self.

Wondering is the head process of philosophizing – and belongs to the dual realm.

Here is Heschel seeming to say that ‘wonder’ is ‘radical amazement’-l http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=1080

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HESCHEL: Look for the Oneness in interfaith and Reinhold Niebuhr was the one who understood best

Heschel counted among his friends other prophets of this period in our history: William Sloane Cotton, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and others.

He also included among his friends many Christian theologians. In fact, according to his daughter, he said that Reinhold Niebuhr “understood his work better than anyone else.”

In his interfaith dialogues, he avoided conversation on differences; he and his interlocutors explored those religious attitudes which they shared. – http://www.preacherexchange.com/br_abraham_joshua_heschel_essential_writings.htm

Keys to Nondual Interspirituality 1: Heschel – 'We are Citizens of Two Realms'

Heschel wrote;

‘The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;
on the immense expanse beyond it
only the sense of the ineffable can glide.
It alone knows the route to that
which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither is amphibious:
reason cannot go beyond the shore,
and the sense of the ineffable
is out of place where we measure, where we weigh…….

Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:
we sense the ineffable in one realm;
we name and exploit reality in another.’

In this wonder-full passage Heschel tells us a number of key things about the nature of what it is to be human and about our relation to the physical and spiritual cosmos.

Heschel is the master on awe, wonder and the ineffable. He is a philosopher and spiritual teacher who is also a poet.

We are ‘citizens of two realms’ tells us that we are born to live in the dual, contingent world. We are challenged to discover, realize and integrate within ourselves the ineffable, transcendent realm. Reinforced by our contemporary society, most manipulatively by ‘mammon’, we are led into believing that this is reality. Whereas from all of the great spiritual teachers we gradually learn, through our unhappiness and the dull ache of not ‘being home’, that this is our false self. The answer lies in realizing our true Self – the Transcendent realm.

The dual is our small island of knowledge – of the dual, contingent world. The nondual is the infinite Ocean that surrounds our little island i.e. Mystery, the Whole, YHWH, the Source etc.

Experience in the ineffable realm is by definition indescribable but thank God the Messengers of God and poets give us glorious intimations.

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To date the best way of describing nondual experience is;

When the heart-mind is quietened, there is only Oneness – the dual world slips away…..

HESCHEL The World’s Pain – some are guilty, but all are responsible

There is immense silent agony in the world, and the task of man is to be a voice for the plundered poor, to prevent the desecration of the soul and the violation of our dream of honesty.

The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the Prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.

“The Reasons for My Involvement in the Peace Movement” (1972); later included in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity (1996).

SOURCE – https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Abraham_Joshua_Heschel

HESCHEL: some are guilty, but all are responsible – the task of man is to be a voice for the plundered poor

There is immense silent agony in the world, and the task of man is to be a voice for the plundered poor, to prevent the desecration of the soul and the violation of our dream of honesty.

The more deeply immersed I became in the thinking of the prophets, the more powerfully it became clear to me what the lives of the Prophets sought to convey: that morally speaking, there is no limit to the concern one must feel for the suffering of human beings, that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself, that in a free society, some are guilty, but all are responsible.

“The Reasons for My Involvement in the Peace Movement” (1972); later included in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity (1996).

Abraham Joshua Heschel, “I felt my legs were praying.”

“My father felt that the prophetic tradition of Judaism had come alive at Selma,” Susannah Heschel wrote. “He said that King told him it was the greatest day in his life, and my father said that he was reminded at Selma of walking with Hasidic rebbes in Europe. Such was the spiritual atmosphere of the day.

“When he returned, he famously said, ‘For many of us the march from Selma to Montgomery was about protest and prayer. Legs are not lips and walking is not kneeling. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even without words, our march was worship. I felt my legs were praying.’”

See here re a film that has cut out Heschel – http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/01/18/fresh-controversy-hits-selma-daughter-of-rabbi-abraham-joshua-heschel-shocked-by-exclusion-of-her-father-from-film/#

“The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one’s own tradition with reverence for different traditions.”

“The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one’s own tradition with reverence for different traditions.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel