Beginning with Dr. King’s teaching that dualism is a “strange” and unbiblical” teaching, we have since his birthday been focusing on his and Chenu’s and Aquinas’s creative maladjustment to a dualistic and therefore patriarchal world view. 

Thich Nhat Hanh speaks on the concepts of non-duality and peace in Buddhism and Christianity in a Plum Village dharma discussion. Plum Village App.

They have chosen non-dualism over dualism and in the process released “jewels” of the Christian tradition that Thich Nhat Hanh predicted would happen when Christianity rediscovered its non-dualistic tradition.  Such is the creation spirituality tradition.

Teilhard de Chardin is very much in that creation centered tradition.  Being a 20th century scientist, he brings much to the table including his own journey and his own glee in the discoveries he came upon.  

He speaks for example of the “Cosmic Christ” which is a foundational pre-Nicene understanding of Christ, an archetype that names the intrinsic doxa or glory inherent in all creatures and creation itself and says this Christ is present “in the heart of the tiniest atom.”

(Parallel teachings are the “Buddha Nature” in Buddhism and Tselem or the image of God in Judaism.)

Teilhard learned ultimately that 

Excerpt of Teilhard de Chardin’s “Mass on the World,” read by Yaling Wu of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. From the documentary Teilhard and China by eRenlai Ricci.

Matter was not ultra materialized as I would at first have believed, but was instead metamorphosed into Psyche. Spirit was by no means the enemy on the opposite pole of the Tangibility which it was seeking to attain: rather it was its very heart.  

Spirit, psyche, matter are a holy trinity in the universe itself.  Teilhard came to realize, by his study of evolution, that Spirit was “the very heart” of matter, that matter evolved and morphed into Psyche. Psyche was born of matter, and through all this evolving, Spirit was present at the core of things. Teilhard invites us to be aware of consciousness everywhere and to recognize consciousness evolving.  Spirit and “tangibility” are not enemies or even opposites.

He groped for a word to name this conversion he underwent: 

“Phenomenon of Man and the Evolution of Love,” a video distillation of Teilhard de Chardin’s spiritual philosophy, produced by Pam Brooks and Jim Abell. Paul Siddall.

What name should we give to this physio-moral energy of personalization to which all activities displayed by the stuff of the universe are finally reduced?

Only one name is possible, if we are to credit it with the generality and power that it should assume in rising to the cosmic order: love….The conclusion is always the same: Love is the most powerful and still the most unknown energy of the world.

Teilhard places love in the context of not just the personal and psychological but of the cosmos. He sees love, the “physio-moral energy of personalization,” abounding in the universe.  

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 228, 231, 224.

See also Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ.

Also see Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

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

Banner Image: In the All. Image by Mario Kung from Pixabay

Queries for Contemplation

Do you feel that Teilhard found the correct word for naming the activities displayed by the stuff of the universe when he called it Love?  What follows from that?

Recommended Reading

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.
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“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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11 thoughts on “Teilhard de Chardin on Non-Dualism, continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today after mentioning the idea of non-dualism in relation to the teachings of King, Chenu, Aquinas, and Thich Nhat Hanh, you go on to speak about Teilhard de Chardin saying he “is very much in that creation centered tradition. Being a 20th century scientist, he brings much to the table…” Then you say, “He speaks for example of the ‘Cosmic Christ’… an archetype that names the intrinsic doxa or glory inherent in all creatures and creation itself and says this Christ is present ‘in the heart of the tiniest atom.'” Then you say, “Spirit, psyche, matter are a holy trinity in the universe itself. Teilhard came to realize, by his study of evolution, that Spirit was ‘the very heart’ of matter, psyche was born of matter–and through all this evolving, Spirit was present at the core of things.” But Teilhard also came to realize that: “Love is the most powerful and still the most unknown energy of the world.” You ask us today: “Do you feel that Teilhard found the correct word for naming the activities displayed by the stuff of the universe when he called it Love?” Besides there being a force of creation in the universe, there is also the thermodynamic law of “entropy” that makes sure that everything eventually falls apart–slowly destroying, and wearing everything down–for us that means eventual death. My question is, “If duality is only an illusion, and Love is all there is, then whence comes all the apparent fear, hatred, death, and destruction ??? This is the main problem atheists have with the idea of God, or even a Principle of Love…

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      There are three laws of Thermodynamics, a kind of Trinity. Entropy is the Second Law. It seems to be a warning because it describes the inevitable decline or degrading of . On the level of consciousness, a closed system appears to be orthodoxy or ideology, or both i.e., Church and State. Our religious systems and our democracies degrade when they are not continuously fueled with Truth Love and Compassion. Our free will allows each individual to choose which path they are on. The most common interpretation of Revelation 3:20 is that Jesus [Christ] is standing on the outside of an unbelievers [closed]]heart….

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    Ultimate love and ultimate energy of the universe are found and realized in our Christ consciousness, our soul consciousness, without which the love and energy cannot be fully experienced. — BB.

  3. Avatar

    How does one see the unfolding, evolving, emerging beauty of the sacred, within ALL. Teilhard tells us… to be aware! Aware of what… the consciousness of LOVE everywhere. Teilhard tells us… to recognize! Recognize what… the consciousness of LOVE evolving. He goes on to say… LOVE is the most powerful and still the most UNKNOWN energy of the world.

    Look, see, listen… and you will begin to become aware, you will begin to recognize consciously this LOVE, unfolding, evolving and emerging from within… from within the all and the everything of creation… the beauty of the sacred.

    Be Still And Know That I Am… LOVE
    Be Still And Know That I… LOVE
    Be Still And Know That… LOVE
    Be Still And Know… LOVE
    Be Still And… LOVE
    Be Still… LOVE
    Be… LOVE

  4. Avatar

    Yes, DIVINE LOVE of God is also our ESSENCE and PRESENCE in our unique eternal hearts~souls, among us in ALL of ongoing co-CREATION~EVOLUTION, in beautiful Sacred Mother Nature/Earth, and within our sacred multidimensional~multiverse COSMOS of LOVING DIVERSE ONENESS….

  5. Avatar
    Margaret Trezevant

    I am always troubled by the use of the word “love” as the energy of the universe and all created beings. Just as the Alaskan natives have multiple words for “snow”, I think it does a disservice to the intrinsic power of the universe, which remains a mystery. How we interact with that mystery is a lifelong exploration.

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