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Nondual Christianity
I once joined in a seminar about Spirituality where the participants were asked to describe their reason for attending. The most prevalent response was that they were “recovering Catholics” searching for some teaching that was in greater alignment with their spiritual instincts. My Protestant upbringing wasn’t all that different from the majority of Americans who have been influenced by the prevalent Christian culture. I remember rejecting some of what I was being taught in Sunday School - it violated some instinctive part of my 8-year old value system! Later, more reasons emerged to turn me away from the church and its teachings. Since then new understandings about the Bible and about historical Christianity have become more available, and new interpretations are possible to those with open minds.

It has been said that Religion is based on belief, whereas Spirituality is based on personal experience. The Christian Mystics write from their direct experience, but this often put them at odds with parochial religious leaders. Writers of nonduality often recognize a commonality with mystical Christianity and their writings acknowledge the mutual understanding. It is less common to find Christian writers who offer nondual interpretations of the teachings of the New Testament. I was recently inspired to revisit this topic following a conversation with Rev. Marshall Davis author of Experiencing God Directly, The Way of Christian Nonduality. Davis can help you appreciate your cultural heritage from a fresh perspective.







In reality Nondualism transcends all ideas, philosophies and religions. The Kingdom of God (which is Jesus’ term for nondual Reality) is beyond theology. Theologies are only useful when they point beyond themselves to the Kingdom. That is why Jesus spoke in parables rather than give theological lectures.
~ Marshall Davis, American Baptist  (c. 1950 to present)

Matter and Spirit.
These are not two things, but two states
or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff...
Matter is the Matrix of Spirit.
Spirit is the higher state of Matter.
~ Teilhard de Chardin, French Catholic (1881-1955)

Jesus taught from the conviction that we human beings are victims of a tragic case of mistaken identity. The person I normally take myself to be—that busy, anxious little “I” so preoccupied with its goals, fears, desires, and issues—is never even remotely the whole of who I am, and to seek the fulfillment of my life at this level means to miss out on the bigger life. This is why, according to his teaching, the one who tries to keep his “life” (i.e., the small one) will lose it, and the one who is willing to lose it will find the real thing.
~ Cynthia Bourgeault, American Episcopal, (1947 to present)

The one you have been looking for is the one who is looking.
~ St Francis of Assisi, Italian Catholic (c. 1182 - 1226)

You don't have to add anything in order to be happy; you've got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It's only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!
~ Anthony de Mello, Indian Catholic (1931 - 1987)

Nonduality is another word for oneness. Oneness makes positive statements about the underlying unity of all Existence. “Truth is this and this….” Nonduality comes at it from a different direction. It points to Truth by eliminating what it is not. It is “not this, not that.” Nonduality is the “via negativa” of Christian spirituality. This is the way of Christian mystics. Both Oneness and Nonduality point to the same Truth. For that reason I use the two terms interchangeably.
~ Marshall Davis, American Baptist  (c. 1950 to present)

We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves, "the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.
~Alan Watts, British Episcopal & Zen, (1915 - 1973)

I always encourage them to practice in a way that will help them go back to their own tradition and get re-rooted. If they succeed at becoming reintegrated, they will be an important instrument in transforming and renewing their tradition. . . . When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist (1926 to present)

The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.
~ Meister Eckhart, German theologian & mystic (c. 1260 – c. 1328)

Every one of us is a mystic. We may or may not realize it, we may not even like it. But whether we know it or not, whether we accept it or not, mystical experience is always there, inviting us on a journey of ultimate discovery. We have been given the gift of life in this perplexing world to become who we ultimately are: creatures of boundless love, caring compassion, and wisdom. Existence is a summons to the eternal journey of the sage - the sage we all are, if only we could see.
~ Wayne Teasdale, American Catholic monk (1945 - 2004)

I came with the notion of perhaps saying something for monks and to monks of all religions because I am supposed to be a monk. ... My dear brothers, WE ARE ALREADY ONE. BUT WE IMAGINE THAT WE ARE NOT. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.
~ Thomas Merton, American Catholic (1915 - 1968)

The only way someone can be of help to you is in challenging your ideas. If you're ready to listen and if you're ready to be challenged, there's one thing that you can do, but no one can help you. What is this most important thing of all? It's called self-observation.
~ Anthony de Mello, Indian Catholic (1931 - 1987)

After 32 years as a priest, I think it's fair to say that most institutional churches are very limited in addressing higher levels of spiritual consciousness.
~ Fr. Richard Rohr, American Catholic (1943 to present)

God has graced every tradition with insight into the divine mystery, from the most primitive to the most sophisticated - each has a gift to bring to the world.
~ Bede Griffiths, British Catholic (1906 - 1993)

Religion’s primary function is to awaken within us the experience of the sublime and to connect us with the mystery of existence. As soon as religion forgets about its roots in the eternal, it fails in its central task. Jesus was so critical of the religion of his time because he saw that not only was it not connecting people to the mystery, but that it was actually an active participant in veiling the mystery of existence, in obscuring the Kingdom of Heaven. And so he was a critic from the inside; he didn’t necessarily reject the religion he was brought up in, but he felt called to challenge it, to transform it. Jesus’ keen insight into the potential for the corrupting influence of power in all institutions—whether they’re political, economic or religious—is very relevant to the modern day. If Jesus existed here and now as a human being, what he’d have to say about these subjects would be as shocking now as it was two thousand years ago. 
~ Adyashanti, American unaffiliated (1962 to present)

The assertion that “I and the Father are one” was shocking even when emerging from the lips of Jesus himself!
~ Cynthia Bourgeault, American Episcopal (1947 to present)

We are already ONE. We just think we are separate.
~ Thomas Merton, American Catholic (1915 - 1968)

To live the spiritual life means to give up personal sense and
come into the understanding that we have no life of our own,
but that that life which is ours is really God’s life
expressed as our individual life or experience.
~ Joel Goldsmith, American mystic (1982 - 1964)

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
~ Teilhard de Chardin, French Catholic (1881-1955)

Some religious authorities have tried to recognize the divinity of Christ while ignoring the divinity of humanity. They have tried to make Christ different from what may be called human; but by doing so they have not been able to keep the flame alight, for they have covered the main truth that religion had to give to the world, which was that divinity resides in humanity, that divinity is the outcome of humanity, and that humanity is the flower in the heart of which divinity was born as a seed.
~ Hazrat Inayat Khan, Indian Sufi (1882-1927)

The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God, as if He stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge.

 ~ Meister Eckhart, German theologian & mystic (c. 1260 - c. 1328)

Silence is God's first language; everything else is a poor translation.
In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and to rest in God.
~ Fr. Thomas Keating, American Catholic priest (1923 - 2018)

The truths taught by Jesus went far beyond blind belief, which waxes and wanes under the influence of the paradoxical pronouncements of priest and cynic. Belief is an initial stage of spiritual progress necessary to receive the concept of God. But that concept has to be transposed into conviction, into experience. Belief is the precursor of conviction; one has to believe a thing in order to investigate equitably about it. But if one is satisfied only with belief, it becomes dogma—narrow-mindedness, a preclusion of truth and spiritual progress. What is necessary is to grow, in the soil of belief, the harvest of direct experience and contact of God. That indisputable realization, not mere belief, is what saves people.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian Yogi, (1893 - 1952)

The Christian church read these Jewish psalms in the light of the life and teachings of Jesus, thereby reinterpreting them and shedding new light on the ancient texts. I interpret them in the light of the nondual teachings of Christ. Jesus invited us to be one with God as he is one with God. That is what he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  That is how I pray the psalms.  

This is an approach that not only transcends the differences between the Jewish and Christian faiths, it transcends and includes all faiths. We live in a religiously pluralistic world. No religion is isolated from other faiths any longer. The internet has made that impossible. While traditional churches are dying, there is a blossoming of creative spirituality beyond the bounds of branded and monetized religion.  

~ Marshall Davis, American Baptist  (c. 1950 to present)


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