Many of us are told of an all-knowing God. A God that is all-wise, omniscient, good, and loving. It is contemplated that if God knows the future and the future plays out according to His knowledge, he would have to be: Omniscient but immoral, or benevolent but ignorant. It is hard to comprehend a Being that embodies all; knows when something evil is going to happen to an innocent child or adult; may have the power to do anything; and yet so many stories of life can turn out full of despair. Augustine reasons that God experiences only an eternal present. God is beyond time, only sees, knows, and experiences Good. If this physical world that we see with the physical eyes and take in through the senses is all an illusion, a play with lights and shadows like some Masters claim, then we can never truly be harmed. In John Scotus’s Neoplatonic schema system, God is the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, Creator and Goal of Creation. God expresses Himself out into the world and returns back to Self. This system shows all being as essentially God’s Being. Being the Beginning and End aids in explaining how God can exist in a present moment.
Augustine demonstrates why “no one can love a thing that is quite unknown” in his works The Trinity. Innately, we have a need to know, at least a little, about something to have any desire to know more about it. It is our love for something we know that cultivates our need to know more. If something is unknown, we do not know that we love it. “It is on account of the known thing it loves that it seeks the unknown”, says Augustine when speaking of the mind. He also points out that “it is not that it knows another mind knowing, but itself knowing”. We can’t know another’s mind without their sharing. Understanding our own mind is a difficult task, one that we can’t seem to help, but to try and do. I suspect we all have some thoughts we must contemplate, that are way too enticing to not go into; maybe not, once the mind is mastered. The mind desires to know, to understand, and it seeks restlessly for happiness. Notice how in moments of happiness we crave timelessness and so often the moment feels fleeting. During times of sorrow and struggle the mind looks for an escape, time can feel as though it will never end. The mind knows that it is itself knowing, it seeks to know itself, and it needs states of happiness and love. Why does the mind have a need for knowing; what is it that we really want to know? “Can it be that it sees in the canon of eternal truth how beautiful it is to know oneself, and that it loves this thing that it sees and is at pains to bring it about in itself, because although it does not know itself it knows how good it would be to know itself”. I ponder what he means when he says “canon of eternal truth”, looking through a canon is like looking through a tunnel. When we are born we pass through a tunnel, and many near death experiences describe a light at the end of the tunnel. In space we describe the tunnels that connect one concept of space to another as portals. Do we all have access to a tunnel, a mental channel, which connects us to a more real reality, to more of our source, which can show us the light of truth, the truth that our very being searches for? We know that Augustine believed “knowledge of the truth is to be sought, to find true happiness”.
“When it seeks to know itself, it already knows itself seeking.”, “Knowing itself not knowing, it knows itself.”, “If it did not know itself not knowing, it would not seek to know itself.”, “Cannot both be mind and not be alive.” These reasoning’s of Augustine give quick insights into the nature of the mind. The mind knows it is alive and knows it is mind. So why does the mind struggle amidst confusion, and why do we vary in our awareness of truth through times? Could it be that love is part of our core and we get confused as to what we love and what love truly is? The thoughts of the Saint we are discussing explain that through the senses of flesh we fall in love with the body. Mind cannot bring the body back inside with it into the region of non-bodily nature, “so it wraps up their images and clutches them to itself, images made in itself out of itself’. Images are the only way to hang onto the outside physical world inside of the mental world. The mind does not become these images, only thinks it is composed of them “not by being what they are but by thinking it is”. We sometimes think we are our emotions and thoughts, being able to observe them shows us we are not. We may think we are the images of our life when we are actually the creator of the images. “Unable to be in itself without their images, cannot make itself out among the images of the things it has perceived with the senses”, in these words he shares his wisdom on how to help the mind realize what is true. Our mind must let go of images that prevent it from seeing it’s actuality due to being tied to what it is not. The word graven can mean strongly fixed; deeply impressed; it is graven on my memory. Could a deeper meaning to the commandment “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images” be to not idol anything outside of the mind? What lies outside of ourselves divides our worship when we become fixed to the physicalness of something. When we surrender to the Inner Calling and focus on what is unchanging; we collect our energy that was seeking outwardly and direct it inwardly until it becomes a forceful flow that removes the clouds of darkness that keep us from noticing the mind’s direct connection to truth. Light removes darkness immediately. Gary Willis explains Augustine’s perception of illumination as such, “God-the source of all good directly illumines by natural working of the intelligence He is continually creating”. Intelligence lies within, with capabilities that are endless. God creates intelligence and through it we discover truth. It gives the mind the ability to become enlightened, “He who knoweth the truth, knoweth the Light: and who knoweth it, knoweth eternity”, claims Augustine. A light that is seen with eyes open and closed, a light we can all look upon. How close we all must be to experience illumination from the same light, the same light that shines from the inside and out through the eyes, as Augustine says, “deeper in me than I am in me”.
“We seek one Mystery, God, with another mystery, ourselves. We are mysterious to ourselves because God’s mystery is in us” interprets Willis in his introduction to his book, Saint Augustine. Augustine’s work is mysterious to me: his writings that I have read don’t appear to come from a man who believes in the necessity of another for salvation. He writes words that imply a belief of God in All, it boggles my mind that he would convert to a religion that insist God has only taken on life in one body and only through this individual can one be granted salvation. Jesus spoke of being one with His Father, why would he stand separate from him to judge if others deserve entry into their own divine birthright? I say separate from God in order to judge since we discussed God experiencing only an eternal moment aware of the Good. This line spoken by Jesus is quoted in the Bible, John 10:34, “Is it not written in your law, I said, you are gods?” So many of Jesus’s teachings confirm the points made in this reflection paper, “Ye are all children of light, and children of the day”, and one more… “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light”. I don’t see how Christ’s original teachings influenced some of the beliefs that are preached today in many churches worldwide. I look forward to further studies of Augustine, Christ, and all who call to my heart.