This week’s DYK is a continuation of a soon to be published book by a Dr. of Philosophy named Glenn Chesnut. It’s entitled, God and Spirituality: One of the most important concepts expressed by Richmond Walker was called, entering into the Divine Quiet or Silence.
Ultimately it was not one of terror, vertigo, nausea, and the plunge into the abyss of nonbeing, but (once we got used to it) was the entry into a realm of peace and calm, where all the fears and anxieties and resentments which had plagued our minds and thrown us into chaos of warring thoughts and terrifying emotions would be washed away in the cleansing waters of this experience. We would emerge with our hearts serene and filled with calm, and empowered with a new energy to automatically do what we knew was spiritually right. Even in the midst of the greatest this-worldly fears, we would find ourselves able to function without panic. Paradoxical in the extreme? Allowing ourselves to feel the infinite abyss below us as a source of profound peace? Putting back to sleep all the personal demons in our closet of anxieties by entering that which spiritual newcomers find even more frightening? Did that not sound paradoxical to the point of absurdity? Indeed, yes. But Richmond found that it was so. And how could such an experience cause us to emerge from it with new power?
Richmond did not attempt to explain it, but just observed that it was so, and thousands of others tried it and found the same thing. The message we are proclaiming here is not one of fear and despair and the descent into helplessness and hopelessness. It is a message of peace and hope and new life. We are attempting to explain how to find the path which leads to functioning with clear heads and stout courage in the face of anything at all that life can toss at us. Read from the fine print section at the bottom of the page in the reading for the day in Twenty-four Hours a Day every morning for a while (the top of the page is just for alcoholics, but the bottom of each page is applicable to everybody), and you too can verify that it does in fact work. That is how the spiritual masters of the past rose to the great spiritual heights which they achieved. Remaking the human heart—the twelve step program put these ancient spiritual ideas into modern language. In fact none of the basic ideas behind the program were new or original. Anyone who has studied traditional spiritual systems will have been nodding over and over again, as he or she recognized old familiar spiritual truths. The question which may well be asked at this point however, by some modern western atheists, is why it would be necessary to regard the ground of being as divine in any kind of way. The answer is at the root of our human problems always lies, when we first begin the spiritual life, down in the subconscious, where we have buried all the real issues under a think layer of alibis, excuses and evasions. The power of the sacred, however, as Rudolph Otto talked about it, has the ability to drive itself down into the deepest depths of the human subconscious. Years of Freudian psychoanalysis may be able to bring much of this subconscious material up to the level of conscious awareness, but long experience shows that most human beings, even when they know what the subconscious forces are, still are left with precious little ability to change what these forces are continually whipping and goading them to do. Allowing ourselves to feel the full sacredness of the experience of the mysterium tremendum forces us, for the first time to start changing. We must immerse ourselves into the experience of the awe, the majesty, the raw energia, the totally alien, the Wholly Other, and the pull of the fascinans, and fully allow ourselves to receive the illumination and enlightenment which transforms us in the depths of our souls and remakes our hearts.