"The great spiritual teachers always balance knowing with not knowing, light with darkness. In the Christian tradition, the two great strains were called the kataphatic (according to the light) or “positive” way—relying on clear words, concepts, and ideas—and the apophatic (against the light) or “negative” way—moving beyond words and images into silence, darkness, and metaphor. Both ways are necessary, and togetherthey create a magnificent form of higher non-dual consciousness called faith.
The apophatic way, however, has been underused, under-taught, and underdeveloped largely since the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment. In fact, we became ashamed of our “not-knowing” and tried to fight our battles rationally. Much of Catholicism and most of Protestantism became highly cerebral. God (who is really Mystery) became something you perfectly observed, a service you attended, words you argued about, or worthiness you worked for. But God was never someone you surrendered to.
In the capitalist West, the very word “surrender” is not to our liking. We are all about winning, climbing, achieving, performing, and being the best. In that light, contemplation and non-dual thinking (I use the words almost interchangeably) are about as revolutionary and counter-cultural as you can get.
When you don’t balance knowing with not knowing, you get into the kind of religion and politics we have today which is very arrogant, falsely self-assured, can never admit when it’s wrong, and can never apologize because “I know!” According to the great spiritual teachers, ignorance does not result from what we don’t know; ignorance results from what we think we do know! Anybody who knows knows that they don’t know, especially when they’re talking about God! Medieval Catholic theology called this docta ignorantia or “learned ignorance.”
"take these broken wings and learn to fly.. blackbird fly. into the light of a dark black night."
the beatles | blackbird
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
Kahlil Gibran | The Prophet
The Hebrew word timshel — Thou mayest — that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if Thou mayest — it is also true that Thou mayest not… Thou mayest makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth … he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.
John Steinbeck, East of Eden