Eucharist - Non-Duality and the Circle of Love

Ahimsananda's picture

Average: 5 (4 votes)

I remember a long-ago sermon heard one year on Good Friday in Lincoln Cathedral. The Priest spoke of a small church in the English East Midlands that possessed a stone altar, so ancient that a female tourist commented that the dark and somber chamber, especially the altar made it look like a "place of human sacrifice". The Priest went on to point out that the faith; the Church indeed sees this Altar, this place of worship as a place of "sacrifice". It was this sermon that inspired the future name of the religious community my Partner and I founded; The Community of the Living Sacrifice.

The Eucharist, the Holy Mass, is the great sacrifice of the Church. Many in the Church have a difficult time seeing this Rite of the Church as a "real" sacrifice. So it is not surprising that those in the "non-dual community", who often believe that "no practice" is the best practice, would look askance at the usefulness of the Eucharist. But the Eucharist can be one of the great openings to the understanding without words.

Those who attend churches that see the Eucharist or Mass as a "symbol" or a "remembrance" get very little out of the rite, apart from the small "c" "communion" of recollection with their fellow worshipers. When I was a boy, I was a Presbyterian, and our church had communion once or twice a year, and used Welch's grape juice and Wonder bread. This considerably reduced the mystery this held for me. The only mystery left was the fact that I was too young to participate, and by the time I was old enough, I was lost in agnosticism. But however you look at the Eucharist, there is little "sacrifice" in passive participation in a Church ritual. So what "truth" can be found in the Eucharist?

If we see Christ as "Christ Consciousness", we can understand that the "spirit" that moves us, and is us, is the same "spirit" that moves the Christ. That power of "incarnation" incarnates us, as well as the Christ and all of the manifestation. The Eucharist is no less than the full participation in that "Christ Consciousness", as well as celebration of unified Oneness. This participation requires sacrifice of all we are, if the sacrifice is to be complete.

The belief in Transubstantiation is an accepted idea in the Roman Catholic Church. I, not being a Roman Catholic, have no real understanding of their interpretation of this mystery. I do hold however, that the Bread and Wine do substantially change into the Body and Blood of Christ. I believe this is essential, for the participant in the Eucharist to get the full benefit.

We all understand that bread, wine, body, and blood are all "mind stuff"; simply images on a screen of mind. The "substance" of them all is the same; the Absolute. There is no need to "transubstantiate " the objects, as they start, are, and finish as the same "substance". The "sacrifice " we encounter here is the sacrifice of the mind. Reason, that traitor to the truth, must be not just "suspended ", but killed. We tell ourselves that the bread and wine ARE the body and blood of Christ because we want to be "swallowed" up in this mystery. Christ and us, dying on the cross, dying to the mind, lost in the reality of the One substance.

This is sacrifice only to the extent that the participant "makes real", ie; "realizes" themselves in the mystery. This is where "earnestness" one of Nisargadatta's most often used words, comes in. The earnestness makes the bread and wine, and the body and blood of one substance. The earnestness makes the unseen real, and the seen becomes one substance in light of the unseen. Earnestness IS sacrifice. The willing sacrifice of the known for the unknown, the seen for the unseen, is the sacrifice required by earnestness. Courage is required for earnestness, because it requires "action" first, assurances after. The assurance is in the action, not separate from it. This brings us to the "Circle of Love."

As we have said elsewhere, Love exists all around and through us, as a state of potential. Like electricity, Love requires a complete circuit. We get our "power" from our "communion" with the "Christ Consciousness", or the Absolute. We "do" this by attending the Eucharist, meditation, self inquiry, or satsangs with souls who inspire us out of ourselves. We then become instruments in the circle of Love. but for the Love in potential to become "realized", we must share it through "service". This is all one act, one movement. Absorption in the "real", "becoming" one with, and in Love, and sharing the Love by "being " it. This act of trust, sacrifice, if you will, requires the trust to live "as if" you understand. As if you are realized.

You understand intellectually, that you are One substance with all there is; that you are the movement of Love itself. But the mind cannot comprehend what that means, or what that is. The mere attempt at explanation only starts to lead away from the reality. This is why we must first act "as if " we really believed, because in that act of trust in the real, the unseen, we step off the cliff , through the Looking Glass, into the "real", as the real is the act itself. The real does not live in the thinking about the act, before or after, but only in the act itself. Just as in our acceptance of the "reality" of the substance of bread and wine, and it's ability to "share" our sacrifices with those of the Christ, as One substance, we come to understand the courage needed for true "earnestness". Earnestness is the need to let go of all beliefs, seen and unseen, and trust in "substance" itself, even before the substance is realized. For in that trust, that intuitive "knowledge" of the unseen, when acted upon, is realization in action.

joejo's picture


"first act "as if " we really believed"

I am beginning to see the importance of Faith and Love. I think Faith, Love and Hope are the three foundations.


joejo | Sun, 02/20/2011 - 02:50