Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
I came across this recent blog post, originally entitled "The Varieties of Divine Transcendence," by David W. Congdon, and thought it might be of interest to members of IPS. You can read the original blog post here.
Jesus’s “being-for-others” [Für-andere-dasein] is the experience of transcendence! Only through this liberation from self, through this “being-for-others” unto death, do omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence come into being. Faith is participating in this being of Jesus. (Becoming human [Menschwerdung], cross, resurrection.) Our relationship to God is no “religious” relationship to some highest, most powerful, and best being imaginable—that is no genuine transcendence. Instead, our relationship to God is a new life in “being there for others” [Dasein-für-andere], through participation in the being of Jesus. The transcendent is not the infinite, unattainable tasks, but the neighbor within reach in any given situation. God in human form! Not as in oriental religions in animal forms as the monstrous, the chaotic, the remote, the terrifying, but also not in the conceptual forms of the absolute, the metaphysical, the infinite, and so on, either, nor again the Greek god—human form of the “God-human form of the human being in itself.” But rather “the human being for others”! therefore the Crucified One. The human being living out of the transcendent. (DBWE 8:501)Here I think we find a version of transcendence that shares aspects with the dialectical-eschatological, postmetaphysical, and I-Thou models of transcendence. But that it remains a conception of divine transcendence is indisputable, however much it departs from the tradition.
Various Meanings of Transcendence
(Maslow, 1969b, pp. 56-66; Maslow, 1971, chapter 21)
Transcendence in the sense of….
1. Self-forgetfulness that occurs during moments of complete focused concentration upon a task or activity in which one is totally involved and “in the flow.”
2. Transcending strict identification with one’s body and self as a skin-encapsulated ego and moving toward an more expansive identification of self with the values of Being (truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, aliveness, perfection, uniqueness, and so forth)
3. Transcending time (e.g., “eternity grasped in a grain of sand” and objects become symbols of themselves).
4. Transcending culture as in identification with the species, resistance to enculturation, dis-identification and detachment from one’s culture in a discriminating way.
5. Transcending one’s past means full acceptance and forgiveness of one’s past guilt, sufferings, sadness, mistakes, and errors as a result of understanding that we each are good and deserving creatures and a valuable part of the universe in which we exist “despite” our imperfections.
6. Transcending of aggressive gratification of self-centered, narrow, and distorted egotistical needs and movement toward an attitude in which one is receptive to the needs of others and lives in harmony with all that is in the natural world, recognizing that all of life’s elements and parts are of good intent.
7. Mystical experiences in which one feels eternally couched and supported by the universe of which one is a part.
8. Transcending so-called “bad” aspects of life (including frustrations, inhibitions, blocks, denials, refusals) in the sense of seeing them as necessary and meaningful aspects of physical existence that has a part to play in Being.
9. Transcending the natural world so as to recognize, accept, and perceive the natural world “objectively” as it is in itself without the imposing human-centered uses or values upon it.
10. Transcending the Us-Them/ Me-You dichotomy (e.g., nationalism, ethnocentrisms) to the level of interpersonal cooperation and harmony and collective synergy of social institutions and cultures where one’s existence is perceived to enrich all other portions of life, even as one’s own being is enhanced by the rest of society and creation.
11. Transcending the basic needs (physiological, safety, belongingness, self-esteem) to become primarily motivated by and identified with the B-Values (self-sufficiency, playfulness, effortlessness, richness, simplicity, order, justice, completion, necessity, perfection, uniqueness, aliveness, dichotomytranscendence, wholeness, beauty, goodness, truth).
12. Unselfish loving awareness, attention, and identification with of creation from the grandest to the lowest, the largest and the smallest in our intent to have them develop their fullest capabilities without reservation or limitation.
13. Merging oneself in what is not-self (i.e., the other, the world) in which one’s sense of willful action, freedom, self-control, and autonomy is relinquished in unselfish service to the world and to others.
14. Being “above it all,” untouched, unaffected, objectively detached and dis-identified from the events that occur around oneself, viewing them as if from a great distance or height.
15. Transcending the beliefs and expectations of others, the roles and pressures of society and culture, and conditions of worth imposed by parents, teachers, and significant others, and “to thy own self be true.”
16. Transcending the perfectionist demands of the Freudian superego (conscience and ego-ideal) with its “artificial guilt” and come to the level of authentic conscience and “natural guilt.”
17. Transcending one’s weaknesses, dependencies, irresponsibilities, and regressive tendencies to become also strong, self-sufficient, responsible, and emotionally mature; patient without complaining, controlling of one’s temper, behaving fair with others and sensitive to their needs.
18. Transcending the present, concrete, immediate situation and move to an awareness of and perception of the possible and probable realities that exist inherent and potential within the present moment.
19. Transcending opposites (light/darkness, life/death, good/evil, self/not-self, knower/known, masculine/feminine, rich/poor, teacher/student, parent/child), to recognize the unity that binds opposite forces together, acknowledge the superordinate unity-identity-whole grasped in data, and holistically perceiving the ultimate unity of all that is.
20. Transcending basic deficiency needs to move to states of fullness, enjoyment, and satisfaction in Being values.
21. Transcending one’s assertive, self-determining, willfulness or the need to force one’s will upon others and to move to a level of freely giving up the need “to be in control” and “in charge” and to “let go, and let God,” and “go with the flow”.
22. Expanding normal capacity in the sense of excelling or improving upon existing capabilities (high jumping better) or surpassing normal capacity in the sense of exceeding or going beyond existing capabilities (high jumping in some new way not done before as in the “Fosbry flop”).
23. Becoming aware and identifying with that portion of the ever-expanding, ever-creative, ever-loving divine, godlike force that supports and upholds all of creation that is directed and focused within our being, that forms our flesh and identity and that gives vitality and validity to our unique personalities.
24. Live and feel, think and speak the values of Being, as when occasional peak experiences become transformed into plateau experiences, transcendental states become transformational traits, where enlightenment remains and becomes a trait of behavior and a regular state of consciousness.
25. Adopting a detached, disinterested, dispassionate, objective third-person point of view regarding the events of one’s life.
26. Transcending the division between the real and the ideal, facts and values, to realize that what is is the way things ought to be, that things need not be perfect, but only be perfectly themselves.
27. An acceptance of the so-called “negative” aspects of life (pain, suffering, death, destruction, illness) and realizing that all of the “evils” of the world are redeemed in the greater scheme of the universe in which they have their being.
28. Transcending spatial location as when projecting one’s consciousness to other times and other places.
29. Transcending effortful striving, wishing, desiring, and moving to a state of enjoyment, gratitude, fulfillment, and acceptance with what one has, realizing that being is its own justification, feeling in a state of grace, feeling joy and exuberance at being alive.
30. Transcending fear, panic, and dread transformed to a state of courage, daring, and adventuresomeness in which the fear is gone and one feels immeasurably strengthened and supported by an inner certainty that instills a sense of safety, optimism, and trust.
31. Transcending the sense of an awareness of the cosmos and of the life and orderly design of the cosmos and all of creation with a corresponding realization that one is eternally a part of the universe and that one exists whether or not that existence is physically expressed.
32. Introjecting and assimilating completely with Being values such that they guide and direct one’s life primarily.
33. Transcending individual differences in the sense of accepting, and enjoying one’s individuality while at the same time acknowledging the unity, commonality, and at-one-ness of which that separateness and individuality is a part.
34. Transcending ordinary and everyday human limits, imperfections, and shortcomings in favor of seeing one’s imperfections and all of the imperfections of other creatures in the greater scheme of the universe and in that moment loving, accepting, forgiving, and being reconciled to all that is.
35. Transcending one’s egocentric, ethnocentric, and homocentric system of values and preferences to embrace a framework of beliefs that is larger, more inclusive, integrative, and holistic.