An edited talk, by David Spero
Within the Absolute arises its own Power of Initiation. You might ask, “Why?” That’s like asking, “Why does the sun rise?” The answer is: it’s in its Nature to initiate, to fire out of itself, to spread its glory. That’s the nature of the Self, the Absolute.
The Absolute often is wrongly assumed to have merely a void-like nature. There’s a tendency incertain spiritual discourses to reduce the Absolute to something that is merely silent, that “witnesses” and so forth. Such understandings are only partially true, for there is a void-like aspect to the Absolute. But to confine the Absolute to just voidness or nothingness is to do injustice to it. Without its own Initiatory Power, its Shakti—that arises from within Itself—it would remain separate from the movement of life. It would never come into relativity.
Certainly, there is an aspect that always is transcendent to all relative functioning within the Absolute—most certainly, but that quality does not define some kind of preferential nature about it. In other words, the Absolute does not have a bias towards its own unmanifest quality. It shines in or flashes into the relative where ii insinuates itself, where it causes humans like us to have an awakening about its nature; its transcendent, glorified, absolute nature. And in that way, we can, as living human beings, also reside in that Condition which transcends everything.
But certain schools have arisen, certain spiritual schools, you can call them patriarchal schools of thought in which there is a motive present to separate out the Absolute completely from the world to such an extent that they want to deny the world, deny the existence of a world, deny the reality of the world, deny the whole universe, in fact. Why? Their rationale is plain and simple: because it appears, because it exists. So, there’s a bifurcation between Being and existence in these teachings; these patriarchal teachings where the Absolute is considered to be something on a scale that goes up and “up and up” and never comes down.
Does it sound like there’s a rift now between the physical and the spiritual? That’s exactly what these teachings are rooted in and what they are set out to accomplish in the world. They are non- feminine, or even better, anti-feminine teachings, anti-Shakti teachings, anti-Initiatory teachings. They are all about abiding in that quality of the Absolute, which is beyond everything, which silences, nullifies, or negates the active mind and encourages a kind of lifestyle based on that realization.
So, you hear such proponents of these teachings talking about “no-mind,” “no-body,” “no-self.” They’re “anti” all those things. Why? Because they are trying to run away from the suffering built into embodiment. They don’t want to explore what embodiment is. They want to deny it and get away from it as fast and as far as possible — “head for the hills!” Because once you open up the door of relative life it’s highly confusing to the linear mind, the mind that creates these sorts of hierarchical and highly prejudicial teachings in favor of a non-active Absolute.
If you want to understand what is animating nature, what nature is in relationship to Being, you must encounter the Shakti, which is Divine Energy. Just as the Absolute can be called Divine Nothingness, Shakti can be called Divine Energy. It’s animistic: it animates, enters into beings and lives them. And the truth is that it’s really a side of the Absolute. It’s its “shadow side,” its repressed side. It’s the side that goes in the opposite direction of total transcendence. It goes into total imminence, total embodiment.
So, the “Face of God” shines two ways: it shines toward Absolute, Transcendent Nothingness and Relative Beingness—body-minds. It loves migrating into a body-mind. All of that is within the nature of the Absolute via its Initiatory Power. And it’s to that same Initiatory Power that we can come to recognize, as embodied beings, what our Transcendent Nature is as it tilts inward; and what our relative nature is as it expresses itself outward. That outer domain exists within the jurisdiction of Energy. So, a full teaching would include both Absolute and Shakti-based, or Energy-based, understandings.