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?”

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.”

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





‘Great art grabs you, against your will, and then suspends your will. You are ushered into a quiet clearing, free of desire, free of grasping, free of ego, free of the self-contraction. And through that opening or clearing in your own awareness may come flashing higher truths, subtler revelations, profound connections. For a moment you might even touch eternity; who can say otherwise, when time itself is suspended in the clearing that great art creates in your awareness?’ Ken Wilber

The Essential Ken Wilber p145

To become aware of the ineffable is to…

To become aware of the ineffable is to part company with words. …The tangent to the curve of human experience lies beyond the limits of language. The world of things we perceive is but a veil. Its flutter is music, its ornament science, but what it conceals is inscrutable. Its silence remains unbroken; no words can carry it away.

Sometimes we wish the world would cry and tell us about that which made it pregnant with fear-filling grandeur.

Sometimes we wish our own heart would speak of that which made it heavy with wonder.

–Abraham Joshua Heschel

Note from WikiPedia on the theologian Paul Tillich…

Note from WikiPedia on the theologian Paul Tillich and ‘God as the Ground of being’;

Tillich described God
(spatially) as the “Ground of Being” and (temporally) as the “Eternal Now,”[47] in tandem with the view that God is not an entity among entities but rather is “Being-Itself”—notions which Eckhart Tolle, for example, has invoked repeatedly ………were paradigmatically renovated by Tillich, although of course these ideas derive from Christian mystical sources as well as from ancient and medieval theologians such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas