The Kiss of God on the Soul

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The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby pilgrim-seeker_tom » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:54 am

The following article by Ron Rolheiser is peppered with thought provoking thoughts ... both theological and philosophical.

THE KISS OF GOD ON THE SOUL

What is the real root of human loneliness? A flaw within our make-up? Inadequacy and sin? Or, does Augustine’s famous line, You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you, say it all?

Augustine’s adage, for all its merit, is not quite enough. We are infinite souls inside finite lives and that alone should be enough to explain our incessant and insatiable aching; except there is something else, that is, our souls enter the world bearing the brand of eternity and this gives all of our aching a particularized coloring.

There are various explanations of this: For example, Bernard Lonergan, the much-esteemed theologian and philosopher, suggests that human soul does not come into the world as a tabla rasa, a pure, clean sheet of paper onto which anything can be written. Rather, for him, we are born with the brand of the first principles indelibly stamped inside our souls. What does he mean by this?

Classical theology and philosophy name four things that they call transcendental, meaning that they are somehow true of everything that exists, namely, oneness, truth, goodness, and beauty. Everything that exists somehow bears these four qualities. However these qualities are perfect only inside of God. God, alone, is perfect oneness, perfect truth, perfect goodness, and perfect beauty. However, for Lonergan, God brands these four things, in their perfection, into the core of the human soul.

Hence we come into the world already knowing, however dimly, perfect oneness, perfect truth, perfect goodness, and perfect beauty because they already lie inside us like an inerasable brand. Thus we can tell right from wrong because we already know perfect truth and goodness in the core of our souls, just as we also instinctively recognize love and beauty because we already know them in a perfect way, however darkly, inside ourselves. In this life, we don’t learn truth, we recognize it; we don’t learn love, we recognize it; and we don’t learn what is good, we recognize it. We recognize these because we already possess them in the core of our souls.

Some mystics gave this a mythical expression: The taught that the human soul comes from God and that the last thing that God does before putting a soul into the body is to kiss the soul. The soul then goes through life always dimly remembering that kiss, a kiss of perfect love, and the soul measures all of life’s loves and kisses against that primordial perfect kiss.

The ancient Greek Stoics taught something similar. They taught that souls pre-existed inside of God and that God, before putting a soul into a body, would blot out the memory of its pre-existence. But the soul would then be always unconsciously drawn towards God because, having come from God, the soul would always dimly remember its real home, God, and ache to return there.

In one rather interesting version of this notion, they taught that God put the soul into the body only when the baby was already fully formed in its mother’s womb. Immediately after putting the soul into the body, God would seal off the memory of its pre-existence by physically shutting the baby’s lips against its ever speaking of its pre-existence. That’s why we have a little cleft under our noses, just above center of our lips. It’s where God’s finger sealed our lips. That is why whenever we are struggling to remember something, our index finger instinctually rises to that cleft under our nose. We are trying to retrieve a primordial memory.

Perhaps a metaphor might be helpful here: We commonly speak of things as “ringing true” or “ringing false”. But only bells ring. Is there a bell inside us that somehow rings in a certain way when things are true and in another when they are false? In essence, yes! We nurse an unconscious memory of once having known love, goodness, and beauty perfectly. Hence things will ring true or false, depending upon whether or not they are measuring up to the love, goodness, and beauty that already reside in a perfect form at the core of our souls.

And that core, that center, that place in our souls where we have been branded with the first principles and where we unconsciously remember the kiss of God before we were born, is the real seat of that congenital ache inside us which, in this life, can never be fully assuaged. We bear the dark memory, as Henri Nouwen says, of once having been caressed by hands far gentler than we ever meet in this life.

Our souls dimly remember once having known perfect love and perfect beauty. But, in this life, we never quite encounter that perfection, even as we forever ache for someone or something to meet us at that depth. This creates in us a moral loneliness, a longing for what we term a soulmate, namely, a longing for someone who can genuinely recognize, share, and respect what’s deepest in us.
"Do not be influenced by the importance of the writer, and whether his learning be great or small; but let the love of pure truth draw you to read. Do not inquire, “Who said this?” but pay attention to what is said”

Thomas Kempis 1380-1471
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby Mackerni » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:13 am

This article makes a lot of assumptions.

i'm not entirely convinced that we innately know what love, beauty or truth is. I think it comes innately to most people as they get older, maybe even just as a kid. But how is one to know and experience what perfect love, perfect beauty, or perfect truth is?

The whole cleft thing under the mouth thing is ridiculous. I'm sure we have a reason to have it besides, "God wanted to seal our lips together before we knew the mortal realm" craziness that this article ensues.

This whole thing reminds me the Baha'i Faith. Actually, it kind of resonates with all the Abrahamic religions, but especially Baha'i. Baha'u'llah taught that the closeness of God was Heaven and the distance away from it Hell; in both this life and thereafter. I was a Baha'i for a short moment, and if I was still convinced of it, I would definitely agree with most if not all of it.

Not everybody wants to find a soulmate. Many people are happy being alone. While I will say that human connection is necessary for most people, the kind of love someone would attribute to a God or a lover is very rare.
"Anybody got a problem with the way I live? I don't want to go to Heaven if I can't get in!"
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby Arcturus Descending » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:28 pm

What is the real root of human loneliness?


My first impression is that loneliness might actually be a built-in evolutionary stable strategy in order for us humans to mate and to pro-create.


Aside from that, it may be as a result of not having enough self-identity and the capacity to be alone, to enjoy that aloneness with self without others/to be content with one's self.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby WendyDarling » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:58 pm

Just wow, that was lovely tom. Thank you.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby Arcturus Descending » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:45 pm

The Kiss of God on the soul is different things to different people.

For me, it is being moved by the indigo night sky full of stars - that kiss leaves me breathless and enamored...
the sound and sight of a rushing ocean coming to shore...
the sound and sight of a seagull doing its acrobatics in the sky and making that haunting cry...
a walk in the poring rain which drives my spirit to soar or which can bring me to a beautiful melancholic moment to where I actually "live" ...
the indescribable feeling which comes over me when I experience Puccini, Debussy, Chopin, Liszt, ah, how many more...Ah, Puccini, your kiss of god slays me...
the sound of smooth slow jazz and not to be forgotten...
the slow savoring of a yummy Reeses peanut butter cup...

among many others...


kisses which reach down and touch my very toes.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby WendyDarling » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:30 pm

To God, the kiss of His remains the same. You may idealize it in other ways, but its purpose does not change, only you may.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby Arcturus Descending » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:21 pm

WendyDarling wrote:To God, the kiss of His remains the same. You may idealize it in other ways, but its purpose does not change, only you may.



I believe that one of the Hebrew names for God translates into I AM WHO I AM BECOMING. I always liked that.
So then, how would the kiss of god remain the same, Wendy, if there is a reality where the being who is this First Cause also supposedly evolves through or out of time as we do? I kind of like the idea, for whatever reason, of a God changing over time, evolving along with us. If we actually are created in the image and likeness of a God, perhaps it is because like us, God is also flux, capable of change and transformation. Who would want a stagnant God after all?

The kiss of god for me is nothing more than a metaphor. Certain things which we come in contact with in the outside world make us or allow us to feel or intuit that we've been touched by the divine. Oxytocin is called the love hormone and a "divine" amount of that will make us feel such love and attachment not only to others but also to this God which people experience.

Who is to say if it (the overwhelming loving feelings) come directly from a God or not? Who is to say that a God, by design, planted such a chemical in the brain or not?
But I do think that it can be a good thing to remember that the loving altruistic feelings which we experience can be more the reality of the chemicals within our brain and not necessarily that of a personal loving God showering its essence down upon us.

But we all believe what we choose to believe. I do feel though that when it comes down to the interaction between humans, it's important to realize that sometimes we are being betrayed by brain chemistry. So, to stop, hang back a bit, pay attention and think about what we are feeling and thinking and what is actually going on. It might save us a lot of heartache in the future.

Sorry if I have derailed this thread. How does one try to be a benign agnostic and at the same time try to be some kind of a philosopher? I'm working on it.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby WendyDarling » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:30 pm

Arc,

Would you rather float around the ocean forever or would land be appealing at some point? There is no home in flux.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby Arcturus Descending » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:49 pm

WendyDarling wrote:Arc,

Would you rather float around the ocean forever or would land be appealing at some point?


Are you kidding? I love the ocean. Even when I stop floating around that ocean, I am still moving around.

There is no home in flux.


Earth is my home, Wendy, aside from where I "live" down deep within me.
Do you find there not to be movement there at all?
Does the Earth not orbit the sun and spin on its axis? We are walking in space or sitting in space at this moment but our Earth still moves - we just don't think of it because of gravity. :mrgreen:

Do we not experience both day and night in a 24 hour time period?

Wendy, has your life remained completely the same from the time you were born?
If your life wasn't flux, you wouldn't have Merlin (or whatever name he goes by now :evilfun: )
There has been flux from the very beginning of the first universe which was formed.


Wendy, our very bodies and brains and minds are flux. If they were not, we would probably be dead.
What about our blood streams? The very word "streams" connotes something that moves.

Everything is flux. Why is that such a bad word for some people? Why do we hate the idea of change or the process?
That doesn't mean that in the real world things don't appear to stop or to stand still. But in a deeper real world they still bounce and spin...that's us.

How many stars have died out since the beginning the process? That is flux.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby WendyDarling » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:21 pm

Okay, you are flux.

Are you responsible for who you are?
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby pilgrim-seeker_tom » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:13 am

WendyDarling wrote:Okay, you are flux.

Are you responsible for who you are?


Are you responsible to act on the "where" your floating on the ocean has taken you?

or

Are you being ungrateful? ... as I mentioned in another OP ... like the parable in the NT ... the individual who buried the coin in the sand.
"Do not be influenced by the importance of the writer, and whether his learning be great or small; but let the love of pure truth draw you to read. Do not inquire, “Who said this?” but pay attention to what is said”

Thomas Kempis 1380-1471
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby WendyDarling » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:18 am

Who are you addressing tom?

I'd say that if you are not responsible for who you are then it wouldn't matter to you where you end up because other forces make your choices for you. You are a lifetime victim of circumstance in other words.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby Arcturus Descending » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:44 pm

WendyDarling wrote:Okay, you are flux.

Are you responsible for who you are?


What do you mean by "who you are"?
Who we are is as deep and as panoramic of the ocean.
Do you mean the totality of all that makes up this self which is me - including how I think, behave, respond, react, imagine, wonder, love, hate, what inspires me, how I see and intuit the world ~~ et cetera?
To name a few.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


I learn as I write!
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby WendyDarling » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:36 pm

Yes, are you responsible for who you are?
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby pilgrim-seeker_tom » Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:08 am

WendyDarling wrote:Yes, are you responsible for who you are?


Perhaps 'yes' and 'no' is a more accurate response.

"NO" ... because forces beyond your control have shaped ... molded ... chiseled ... you into who you are becoming.

"YES" ... because surely all of this shaping ... molding ... chiseling ... has some purpose ... making you responsible to act ... in a mature and generous way on "who you are" ... at some point.
"Do not be influenced by the importance of the writer, and whether his learning be great or small; but let the love of pure truth draw you to read. Do not inquire, “Who said this?” but pay attention to what is said”

Thomas Kempis 1380-1471
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Re: The Kiss of God on the Soul

Postby Arcturus Descending » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:33 pm

WendyDarling wrote:Yes, are you responsible for who you are?


I think that to a large degree, yes, I am responsible for who i am.
BUT, I also have the memories and the blood of European Irish and Italian people/ancestors surging through me. Who knows but that I may have some of the good which belonged to them.

There were many alcoholics on my mother's side. I broke that pattern because I could see and I learned how far the negative consequences of alcoholism can reach and how harmful and destructive a life can be as a result of that. It's usually the children who suffer but they also have the capacity to become more and stronger.

I also have patterns, many of which have been broken, as a result of the behavior and consequences of my parents. (part of which I mentioned above).
I am also a part in a way of the orphanages where I grew up and the values and experiences which they gave to me.

Aside from all of that, I am responsible for who I am and who I've been for quite some time. There comes a time when we stop blaming others albeit there is blame there. We try to see their journey and how they became who they were. We come to realize that they were not perfect and neither are we. We can learn to understand the shoes that they walked in and that's where we transcend ourselves and eventually learn to take control of our lives, who we are, what we think, and how we behave and give up the blaming.

There is nothing more important than being responsible for who we and for what we think and do. We learn by our mistakes ~~ when we pass them on to others, we learn nothing and continue to make the same mistakes and continue to blame others - ad continuum.
It takes diligence, reflection and conscientiousness to see our own part in things gone awry.

Oh, I forgot nature and the elements and the stars above. Even they hold a piece of who I am.

Since no man or woman is an island, none of us are completely responsible for who we are but we learn to be responsible for ourselves. It's a process.
SAPERE AUDE!


If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstancse and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped.


What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a problem....Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker's beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs.

Thomas Nagel


I learn as I write!
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