The late Buddhist monk and saint Thich Nhat Hanh promises that “the valuable jewels in the Christian tradition will be rediscovered” when it rediscovers “non-duality.” 

Thich Nhat Hanh sitting next to his friend, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo taken from website of Plum Village.

This is what the mystics are all about—non-duality.  As Julian of Norwich puts it, “between God and the human there is no between.”  And, “God is in our sensuality,” thus melting the age-long patriarchal hang-up of spirit vs. matter.  And Rosemary Ruether telling us that the very foundation of patriarchal philosophy is: Dualism.

This is why the teachings we have been treating since the day before Martin Luther King’s birthday that include King and Chenu and Aquinas and Teilhard on non-dualism are so refreshing and hopeful: that there are men who are allies to women in the effort to move beyond dualistic consciousness.  The promise this foretells, as Thich Nhat Hanh informs us, has the potential to re-do Western consciousness and religion and unveil the still “valuable jewels in the Christian tradition.”

All-one-ness. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Let us consider more closely how, by studying nature and evolution, Teilhard de Chardin’s consciousness was awakened from dualism to non-dualism.  He writes:  

Matter and Spirit: These were no longer two things but two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff, according to whether it was looked at or carried further in the direction in which it is becoming itself or in the direction in which it is disintegrating. Matter is the Matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of Matter.

The Spiritual Power Of Matter/Teilhard de Chardin. Video by David Bell, KiwiConnexion Theology.

Teilhard is telling us that the patriarchal teaching (rooted in Plato) of what Augustine called the “war” between matter and spirit, body and soul is over. Like Eckhart who said “the soul loves the body” and  Aquinas who taught that soul is the “élan” in matter and a “wonderful communion” is to be celebrated between spirit and matter, Teilhard is saying that matter and spirit are no longer “two things” but “two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff.”

A marriage has occurred! Matter and Spirit feed one another. Incarnation is not to be ignored. “Matter is the Matrix of Spirit” and “Spirit is a higher state of Matter.”  

To be continued.


Adapted from Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, p. 56.

And Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 59-70.  

And Fox, Christian Mystics, p. 222.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Black and white transcending dualism in co-creating harmony: “Black and White Chords Friends” by Rawpixel, on Pexels

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with Thich Nhat Hanh that Christianity needs a new beginning—one that is non-dualistic—for its treasures to truly emerge?  And that the mystics are important guides in the undoing of dualism?


Recommended Reading

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.


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12 thoughts on “More of Teilhard’s Non-Dualism”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you begin your meditation with this: “The late Buddhist monk and saint Thich Nhat Hanh promises that “the valuable jewels in the Christian tradition will be rediscovered” when it rediscovers “non-duality.” And I would add, if you would like to read some really non-dual writings, read Ken Wilbur’s One Taste, or The Simple Feeling of Being. And for classical non-dualism Shankara and Ramana Maharshi. But now back to the Christian world and its problem with duality. To me it seems the solution to this problem is in reading more of the mystics and following some of their practices. Julian of Norwich puts it, “between God and the human there is no between.” And Rosemary Ruether tells us that the very foundation of patriarchal philosophy is: Dualism. Teilhard de Chardin’s consciousness was awakened from dualism to non-dualism. Like Eckhart who said “the soul loves the body” and Aquinas who taught that soul is the “élan” in matter and a “wonderful communion” is to be celebrated between spirit and matter, Teilhard is saying that matter and spirit are no longer “two things” but “two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff.” And “Yes” I agree with Thich Nhat Hanh that Christianity needs a new beginning—one that is non-dualistic—for its treasures to truly emerge. And that the mystics are important guides in the undoing of dualism…

  2. Avatar

    Teilhard de Chardin, is definetely one of the much needed mystics for our times. I really appreciated the video clip on his revelations concerning his journey of consciously awakening to nondualism. Listening, I began to see the communion between the elements of matter and spirit, celebrated in the soul… and the infinite expressions and diverse manifestations of this… which continously is unfolding, evolving and emerging. Two images arose during this pondering, which were “The Magician” and “The World” cards within the major arcana of the tarot.

    These two images, for myself, reflect the awakened consciousness of the nondualism within the two aspects of matter and spirit, that the scientist and mystic Teilhard de Chardin experienced within his soul sense of self, which he attempted to share and write about in his books, despite the Catholic Church attempting to silence him.

    However, matter and spirit in communion, speaks of a truth that sets the soul free, to celebrate being and living in a new nondualistic, co-creative, interconnective, interreliant, interdependent reality of Oneing With… which the mystics walked the narrow and less travelled path of. Nature is the other Bible of God/Goddess, and I’m grateful for these courageous mystical souls whom have contemplated this reality and their spiritual writings that they left behind, that assist us all in following their footsteps, for we truly are traversing upon holy ground.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Today you write: “Two images arose during this pondering, which were “The Magician” and “The World” cards within the major arcana of the tarot.” And I’ll have you know that in just a few months my dissertation for the University of Creation Spirituality will be published after nearly 25 years, and it will be titled, Tarot Meditations: Inspired by Creation Spirituality–its already in production !!!

    2. Avatar

      Then and now the global system of dualistic injustice, is the sin of the world, we all participate in, therefore, affirming our dualistic living as Individuals, Institutions and Governments, Autocratic or Democratic. To live interdependently we must first unconditionally forgive ourselves and each other. The Sacraments of the Church of Food and Forgiveness shared in every city in the world, where there is a Church Building, is a visible way to begin our transformation, in leadership, towards the Tree of Life whose yearning every living thing has for the fullness Life has for us, everlasting, on Earth and in Paradise.

  3. Avatar

    Compassionate living, as the “Interdependence of all living things”, is the transformation happening in the Global movements, seeking Justice, for all. Differences of the Life given gifts we have, individually and collectively is the Way, using them. living becomes non dualistic. When we help each other in our daily struggles of suffering, hunger, fear and worry, we are half way there. The other half is when we enjoy each other in our daily fun experiences, of Sports, Entertainment, Eating and Forgiving one another, we are actively participating in togetherness, which we love to do. Also considering how we can include all other species of Life, in order to complete our interdependence. Living this Way, we frustrate the “Evil of dualistic thinking”, M.E. and it gets behind Jees- and Us.

  4. Avatar

    Today’s DM about the words and lived experiences of all the genuine past and present mystics, including the modern mystics eloquently mentioned and quoted by Matthew, about non-dualism, the intimate relationship between matter and spirit, and the sacredness of the Eternal Present Moment continue to inspire our faith in the Living and Loving Presence of Divine Creative Love in our souls~hearts, among us in all living creatures~beings, in beautiful Sacred Mother Nature/Earth, and within All of ongoing co-Creation~Evolution in our sacred multidimensional~multiverse Cosmos in Loving Diverse Oneness….
    ????

  5. Avatar

    Thich Nhat Hanh’s statement which Matthew quotes in his talk struck me because of TNH’s closing words “now all at once”:
    “I’ve often said that God is creating the entire universe fully and totally in this present now. Everything God
    created 6000 years ago [we would say 13.8 billion years ago], and even previous to that, as he made the world,
    God creates now all at once.”
    It reminds me of a short question/poem I wrote for the opening of an assignment for the Physics and Metaphysics course I audited in the 1980’s.

    What time is it?
    Is it then?
    Is it now?
    How are we in the
    here and now?
    Should we ask where?
    Should we ask when?
    If we miss it
    will it come again or
    does it only happen
    ONCE?

  6. Avatar

    It appears that the piano players are about to play a “V7” chord- a chord which moves the music to a new place. I like that analogy. I also like the picture- it is exactly like the one taken of me (a white woman) and my duet partner (a Black man) except that the hands were reversed in our publicity shot. Ron played the lower parts and I the higher parts, and he controlled the pedalling. We both felt most comfortable that way. One piano, four hands- another analogy for the non-dualism the world desperately needs!

  7. Avatar

    Thich Nhat Hahn’s quote about “revealing the jewels of non-dualism within Christianity” was also posted by Matthew in late 2021. It was TNH’s message that called to me, along with the knowledge that women mystics’ voices through the centuries have been horribly underrepresented, and that even when heard, they’ve been treated with doubt, condescension, man-splaining and man-owning, their wisdom belittled or stolen. I decided to speak up and go public.

    I pray that I’ve brought honor to the tradition of women’s mysticism.

    I don’t think Christianity needs a “new beginning” so much as it needs an honest and open acknowledgement of the mysticism (specifically, Neoplatonism) already woven into the Bible. We also need to SEE (recognize) the non-dualism already hinted at within some of the dualistictically-worded Christian mystics’ theological texts. We need to read between the mystical lines. We also need to learn how to recognize (Neoplatonic) mysticism in other religions, and to appreciate the insights their mystics unlocked. We can understand more of what our mystics are saying when we compare notes.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Melinda, Read my response to your comment yesterday if you haven’t already… And if you didn’t, here it is: RICHARD REICH-KUYKENDALLJANUARY 26, 2023 AT 9:30 PM
      Melinda, Today you write: “To be more specific ‘Neoplatonic mysticism.’ As I’ve been saying for over a year…” Yes, your earlier statement makes more sense knowing you were not referring to mysticism in general, but Neoplatonic mysticism, which, yes, you have been writing about for some time. As you may have guested this is not a Neoplatonist web site, it is rather a Creation Spirituality website and one of the things that we agree on in Creation Spirituality is that Neoplatonism is more of the same of Plato and Augustine which we’d rather not focus on. We focus on the creation mystics like Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, and others. I wonder, have you done a search on-line for Neoplatonist sites? You are welcome to comment here all you want, I just wanted you to know how Creation Spirituality feels about Neoplatonism…

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