Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Welcome to "Mind Link." It's a fictional tale about a theologian
who blended modern psychological material with pneumatology--
the study of the Spirit. It's a foray into how the Spirit might
interact with the human mind. It's perhaps an approach, also,
about how the Spirit moves in the world, through our conscious

In order to follow the story, please go to the very last post--the
"Introduction" and then move forward.

(2) Evensong

Beyond the complexities of Neurotheology, too, I started fiddling
about moving into the issues of out-of-body (OBE) and near-death
experiences (NDE). Just dreaming, I suppose, but I thought that
somehow these experiences might somehow connect with the
budding scholarly study of reincarnation. Incredible, but scientists
and psychologists are rapidly delving more and more into these
issues. And as more scientific data is acquired about these subjects,
well surely the theologian will have to address such.

All my life I have been predisposed towards the idea of reincarnation,
ever since I experienced that vision of the monk when a youth at the
King's School. I never forgot this vision, and it cropped-up again
when I was doing my dream-work at the Jung Institute so many years
ago. It had become obvious that there was an "inner monk" dwelling
within my mind. And I pondered often if somehow this might have
helped determine my career as a theologian. I remembered about
how I had early on delved into the Benedictine Tradition, discovered
my hero St. Anselm of Canterbury, and thence forward sailed into my
own quest--Seeking God--trying to understand how the Spirit works
within us.

So, with these thoughts in mind, I have often thought about my own
past life vision, about the sad monk who (for whatever reason) had
to leave his beloved Canterbury. I oft think of him when I attend
Evensong services in the cathedral. Several times a week I walk
over to the cathedral, sit in the choir, and bathe myself in the beautiful
evening service of lilting music and psalmody.

And during one such service, I suddenly realized that--yes--I had
brought that monk home! I had brought that monk to rest. And I was
at peace!

(1) Evensong

Chapter Nine. EVENSONG

As time moved along, it became clear that Ellen assured my
being "plugged-in" at the university here in Canterbury. It was
a nice blend of the studious and the social. We also enjoyed
concerts and public events provided by the King's School as
well. I felt a certain pleasure, in that I had a life here in
Canterbury that all around was not at all burdensome.

I still had plenty of time for solitude and reflection. It had become
obvious that the issue of Neurotheology would not go away.
Just in a year's time more and more scientists were publishing
articles on the subject. Not many theologians, however. I still
had my reservations plunging into this field, though Ellen was
beginning to educate me--somewhat.

However, this very issue caused me to pause to ponder, to reflect,
reviewing altogether my lifetime efforts towards linking our mind
with the Spirit--or that Greater Mind, if more comfortably put.

Though I had taught in Claremont's School of Religion, that was
not to say that I was traditionally religious. All through my career
I had remained a "nondenominational" theologian! Still, as a child
of the West, I could not deny that the concepts of the Christ, later
the Pantocrator, and ultimately the Spirit most definitely colored my
writings. I just as easily could have stuck with the Logos-Pneuma
of ancient Greek philosophy. To be truthful, I saw these two
conceptual infrastructures mainly as a Continuum of religio-
philosophical thought. Studying such, I could also trace the
evolution of this thought moving towards ever greater

And I guess my excitement about how this Continuum connected,
indeed communicated, with the human mind utterly energized me.
As for the findings of Cognitive Science, well this opened up yet
another door--in that I believed that the "seeds" of evolutionary
development of the brain were already there from the beginning
of humanity's long trek forward. Though I would not yet write down
my thoughts in any serious publication, I liked to think that somehow
all this development--embedded in a strangely wonderful Freedom--
portends a strangely wonderful Completion. Maybe not at all
connected with our current religio-philosophical concepts, there
still seems an "Omega Point" in our future.

So, perhaps my life's work as a free-thinking theologian might be
part and parcel where God's finger is pointing. Over human history
there have been plateau following after plateau when it comes to
our concepts about God--and it would seem that we are on the brink
of yet another plateau that involves science, cognitive studies as
well as new psychologies. The Future beckons!

(4) Neurotheology

Surreptitiously I was somewhat glad that I was finding Neurotheology
so difficult to settle in my mind. Professionally I wasn't about to
engage in sheer speculation, though I was not adverse to developing
reasonable hypotheses. And this definitely meant lots of "academic"
hand-holding with Ellen!

And truth be said, I had never met a woman with whom I was so
at ease. Ours had turned into a cheerful relationship. And more
importantly, she had become a special person in my life. So,
naturally, I was delighted to spend more and more time with her!

Over my years I had been content being a "natural" solitary. And
though I had women friends, I never thought much about involved
relationships or marriage. It simply was not in the cards, so to
speak. But Ellen proved to be of a different quality. Allowing
myself to muse, I sometimes almost felt she might be my soul-mate.
Are there such possibilities? Or was I indulging in magical thinking?
Oh well, no harm done--hopefully.

However, I didn't let my magical thinking take hold too much. I
might dream, but I had to face the reality that I was much older
than Ellen--indeed, old enough to be her father. Still, I didn't
view her as a daughter. Rather she was becoming the important
*woman* in my life! Consequently over time, I learned simply to
let be. I wouldn't avoid the relationship, nor would I try to manipulate
or control it.

So Ellen and I have plodded along, happy together, taking pleasure
in one another's company, trying ever to get a better grip on the issues
brought forth by Neurotheology.

(3) Neurotheology

Anyway, theologians have long considered a spiritual territory that
they call the "Imaginal Realm." Even some scientists have considered
such, some even calling it the "Psi World." There's a recognition that
there is a realm of Mind/mind that involves a Greater Reality than
that with which we can normally view or connect. The emphasis is
on "normally." Many of the majority in the field of Neurotheology tend
to deny the Imaginal Realm.

This whole business boils down to Insight that, in turn is based on a
combination of intuition, sense, feeling when it comes to relating to
the Imaginal Realm. Religious or spiritual mystics have long claimed
that they have broken through to this special realm--oft giving it
different names to correspond with their personal religious doctrine
or spiritual inclinations.

Regardless, the Imaginal Realm falls into paranormal bailiwicks.
Entering into this realm involves visions, locutions, ecstatic states,
and peak experiences. And Neurotheology, because of recent
technological developments, can monitor the brain when the mind
seemingly is engaged in these special experiences.

Therefore, the only approach I might manage was the "both/and"
view that our brain is necessary to the mind--that our brain had
finally evolved to a physical level where it could help accommodate
our mind that, in turn, is ever moving towards a steadily finer,
sophisticated level of thought and conceptualization. Boiled down,
it was about evolution.

Happily, I have never had any problem with the topic of evolution.
Within my own studies into the mind, working to relate such to the
idea of the Spirit, and how such dwells and works within us, I have
had no trouble viewing the steadily developing evolutionary scale
towards ever greater sophistication. And surely this would mean
that our brain need become ever more sophisticated in order to be
a helpmate to our evolving mental conceptualizations about God
and Spirit, about the Logos-Pneuma.

Still I felt myself stuck in a muddle when it came to formulating my
thoughts around Neurotheology. It was obvious that I would have to
spend a lot of time with Ellen, who had asked me to be a co-author
of a book she was planning to write on the subject of Neurotheology.
All I could hope for was that she might help me become more clear
in my thinking about all this.

(2) Neurotheology

Delving slowly into Neurotheology, I realized that it was sometimes
more like a minefield than a bog. Though only around for a few
years, this new theological field was sparking enough controversy
that people were taking different sides of a debate, applying different
interpretations,and even invoking name-calling. "Scientism" was
encroaching on Religion, etc., etc.

Still, it was hard to ignore this emerging field. High technology had
enabled scientists to literally picture the live brain, identifying brain
sectors that were active--or crackling or sparking--when it came to
a person's experience that could be deemed mystical or spiritual in

The majority scientific position was to presume that the brain's
wiring prompted these special experience, whether visions,
locutions, ecstatic states, or peak experiences. It was the brain,
alone, that initiated these noetic states of mind. Of course there
was a minority opinion as well, mainly coming from theologians
and religious authorities. They usually just decided to ignore the
field of Neurotheology altogether.

On the other hand there was this steadily accruing data that
definitely illustrated the brain's involvement when it came to
experiencing a special spiritual state (of mind). I put "mind" in
brackets, because the main question revolving around Neuro-
theology is whether the mind is an altogether different entity than
the brain. If so, how so?

It's at this point we begin wandering into a bog. Different sides of the
issue cling to their specific interpretations. As for my approach, I felt
more belonging to the "both/and" category. I could only venture an
opinion, which was that we are both embodied and mental beings
and thus the brain must work in tandem with the mind.

(1) Neurotheology


It took awhile settling in Canterbury. I bought a place not too
far from the town center and the cathedral. But the old house
really needed a makeover. Consequently, I took advantage
making the interior the way I wanted it. After taking all my book
collection out of storage, I finally had a study to shelve them
quite nicely--even had a rolling ladder to reach the higher
shelving. I also had the carpenters build me a nice snug
office off to the side of my study. All I needed was a pipe to go
along sitting by the fireplace. But, fortunately, I didn't smoke.
So my stereotypical ideas about the contented scholar met their

In the midst of all this makeover, I somehow managed to
complete a draft of the "Majestic Meme"--sending it off to my
publisher. At last, I actually had some spare time in which to
sit and enjoy my study. But sitting in front of the fireplace had
its limits as well. After about a week I was bored silly doing
nothing. So I started prowling around amongst my books,
trying to figure whether there was a future project at hand.

But Fate stepped in, and once again I had a challenge. How
anyone could have found my new telephone number, I don't
know, since it had only been recently installed. The caller was
hopeful that I might deliver a lecture at the University of Kent
at Canterbury. It's a fairly large campus not too far from my
house. I decided to lecture on my interest in the Transpersonal,
especially about the peak experience.

As it turned out, that was a fortuitous choice on my part. After my
presentation and questions, I was approached by a very intelligent
looking woman. She was the head of a cognitive studies research
team at the university--and she was wondering whether I had done
any work in the fairly new field of Neurotheology?

Of course I was aware of Neurotheology, but I felt it more in the
bailiwick of the Neurosciences. It seemed to me this field was
more about the brain than about the mind. And, frankly, when
it came to the intricacies of the brain I stood clear. I had no
training in cognitive studies.

But the lady was persistent and invited me to her office to discuss
this subject. I was reluctant to get into Neurotheology, into what I
considered an academic bog. Yet I accepted this good lady's
invitation. Plain and simple, I liked her!

As it turned out, Ellen was a very interesting person. She did
her undergraduate work at Cambridge, and took her advanced
degree in Neuroscience--up at the Royal Infirmary that was
connected to the University of Edinburgh. So we had at least
a place in common when it came to small talk. Personally, she
was divorced but moved down to Canterbury so as to be near
her daughter who was attending the King's School.

And before I left her office that day, I had brokered a bargain
with her. She would spend some hopefully useful time with me,
trying to intelligently inform a layman (like me) about the studies
of the brain as they might apply to this whole idea of Neurotheology.

(4) The Meme

Of course if I were more able, if I were an expert in Comparative
Religion, I would have spent more and more years writing a
*series* on the Majestic Meme--not just the book that I was
putting together on the Christ of Faith. I would have looked into
the great Oriental religions and philosophies, and I would have
no doubt that I could follow the Majestic Meme weaving through
Asia's imagery and expressions of God, resulting in magnificent
temples and mystically spiritual forms.

Essentially what I was sensing was how this Majestic Meme was
working in the minds of different people, in the different cultures of
Western Civilization, moving us forward. Yet I took into account our
human response to this special meme--in that there are horrid
negatives as well as wonderful positives.

It would seem that God, the Logos-Pneuma, the Spirit works upon
us, tries to draw us forward towards a greater comprehension of a
Greater Reality, of which we are all a part. Alas, however, we are
a struggling people, endowed with the freedom to make wrong
decisions, walk down wrong roads, indulge in wrong behavior.
Hence our relationship with God can take on evil hues. There's
that Shadow of which Carl Jung speaks, both personally and
socially. Unfortunately we oft commit some our greatest acts of
terror in the name of God.

Anyway, my year at All Souls came to an end. My research was
complete, and at least the infrastructure of yet another book was
in the making.

However, priorities are priorities! My priority at this point was to
find yet another roof to put over my head. Should I stay in Oxford?
There was no doubt I loved the place; but there was a place that I
loved far more: Canterbury and its beautiful cathedral.

I decided to go home.

(3) The Meme

These different concepts of the Christ of Faith involved more than
various expressions of god-imagery. Rather this constantly
reproducing Majestic Meme also involved the historical circumstance
of a given time, in a given culture. It also resulted in marvelous
cultural expressions--as well as horrific human expressions. The
meme is not about perfection, but rather about evolution. And, as we
know, human evolution walks down a bumpy road with curves and
sometimes wrong turns. But it's wonderful when it goes forward.

Early Christianity reflected the "Light of the Gentiles," in that this
religion built upon the great Greco-Roman philosophies of
Platonism and Stoicism. When the classically trained Christian
"Fathers" declared Christ as the "Incarnation of the Logos," they were
directly relating such to Greek philosophy's name for the Foundation
of the Universe, the Logos! Hence they saw Christ as the living
image of the Logos. Christ was not only the King of Kings, but also
the Cosmic Christ--the Plenum, the Ground, the Godhead, the Lord
of the Universe!

Hence Church thinkers and artists began to see Christ as the
"Pantocrator." Particularly in Orthodox Christianity, the Christ as
Pantocrator was seen as the Ruler of the Universe, with his hand
raised both in authority and as a teacher to the world. The Eastern
Church installed artistic images of the Pantocrator in their churches,
once in the great dome of the Hagia Sophia, before it was plastered
over by the Muslims. Still they left a lovely Pantocrator over the
emperor's entrance. And the very first Pantocrator was discovered
in a desert monastery in Egypt. In the West, in Washington, D.C.
actually, there's the "Christ in Majesty." It's a wonderful rendition
of the Pantocrator.

And, of course, one of the most prominent images in the Church
is the crucifix--representing "Christ Crucified." And reformed
churches leaned more towards the empty cross, representing
resurrection and hope.

As for the "Monk who Rules the World," well that surely is an ideal
that spawned the Benedictine Age that ran its course for a thousand
years--from 500 c.e. to 1500 c.e. The Dark Ages and later the
Middle Ages were eventually lifted up by the Benedictine monks,
lifted from the near collapse of civilization in Europe right through to
the Renaissance. The monasteries were cultural beacons that kept
the light of knowledge flickering. Eventually villages, later towns,
were built around these monasteries. Additionally, the monks
secured some of the great works of the ancient Greco-Roman
Civilization, and intellectually and spiritually built upon them.

During this period, too, the great cathedrals were erected. Their
spires lifting up to heaven, their interior windows letting in more
and more light.

This was the period of the great mystics as well, a reflective period
pondering upon the soul, upon the soul's relationship to God. Hence
we have the image of Christ as the "Bridegroom of the Soul."

Eventually marvelous music and art came into play. Bach, Mozart,
Handel and many other great musicians--and great artists, too--
dedicated much of their work to God, specifically to the Christ,
mirroring the "Mirror of the Eternal."

All through, this Majestic Meme has played upon us human strings.
Lives have been dedicated to God in a myriad of ways. There's
the doctors, the missionaries, and many other vocations that reflect
Christ as the "Liberator." In due course, the Liberator became the
"Man who belongs to the World."

The Majestic Meme had spread all around the globe.

(2) The Meme

The meme is about the transmission of Information. It's more than
an idea, but rather something that seemingly can self-replicate
through peoples, groups, and cultures on through generation
after generation. In other words, the meme can *evolve.*

Like much in this world, the meme can be represented as a positive
or a negative. There are copycat memes that propagate certain
kinds of crime. There are memes that can prompt hysteria. Some
scholars tend to liken a meme to a virus! Some scholars, too, think
that religious memes can be some of the most insidious--literally
causing harm.

On the other hand the meme can promote culture. The meme can
convey an evolving sophisticated civility. The meme can be open
to further interpretation. The meme can expand the horizons of

As for my idea of the "Majestic Meme," what I specifically had in
mind was what Church scholars call the "Christ of Faith." Historians
have been able to trace the ever evolving, ever shifting concept of
the Christ down through the ages. This Majestic Meme represents
a steady yet ever more sophisticated approach to this Christ of Faith.
When studied, one can almost sense that this Majestic Meme is
something very much alive!

A great scholar of the Church traced these various evolving concepts
of the Christ down through the centuries. And if I may borrow, I'll
present his list--as follows:

• The Rabbi.
• The Turning Point of History.
• The Light of the Gentiles.
• The King of Kings.
• The Cosmic Christ.
• The Son of Man.
• The True Image.
• Christ Crucified.
• The Monk Who Rules the World.
• The Bridegroom of the Soul.
• The Divine and Human Model.
• The Universal Man.
• The Mirror of the Eternal.
• The Prince of Peace.
• The Teacher of Common Sense.
• The Poet of the Spirit.
• The Liberator.
• The Man Who Belongs to the World.
IN THE HISTORY OF CULTURE, Yale University Press, 1985.]

Upon reading this very informative book, I realized that I was reading
about the trace of the Majestic Meme!

(1) The Meme

Chapter Seven. THE MEME

Alas, I only had a one-year sabbatical at Edinburgh, hence I was
limited mainly to my scientific study of prayer. I would have liked
to have delved into the OBE and the NDE--and even into the
research underway on the topic of reincarnation--but it simply
was not possible during the short span of time I had in Scotland.
As for the peak experience, that special cosmic vision, it still
remained a question on my back-burner.

However, having winged my way back to Southern California, I
spent the remaining few years I needed to retire from Claremont
working-up one more book in which I blended these scientific
studies on prayer with theological perspectives. Finally, at last,
my days at Claremont's School of Religion came to an end. I was
now a professor emeritus, if you will.

Still young-ish, I had decided that I wasn't quite ready for that
endless game of golf so oft touted when one retires! I still loved
pursuing the Mind, how it might be influenced by the Spirit,
actually how it might work in tandem with the Logos-Pneuma.

Happily a new field of inquiry crept-up on me: Memetics. Basically
a "meme" is a unit of a cultural transmission of thought that evolves
via ideas, symbols, or practices--and it is transmitted through a
variety of ways, such as gestures, speech, rituals, etc. The meme
was first proposed by Richard Dawkins, a zoologist at Oxford; and,
interestingly, nearly simultaneously, it was noticed by E.O. Wilson,
the famed socio-biologist at Harvard. Both saw the mental meme
as somewhat analogous to the biological gene.

I easily recognized that the meme could be related to our steadily
evolving religious concepts about God, about the work of the Spirit
in the world, about our relationship(s) with such, and how all this,
altogether, might connect with our developing cultures and
consequent civilizations.

Consequently I designed a research plan entitled "The Majestic
Meme," in which I would attempt to work through how God might
be the greatest of all memes! Memetics and Theology, integrated
together, might result in a new systems model wherein the blending
of older theological models might result in a new higher model of

I wasn't sure my research plan, which was no more than a
hypothesis, would even be considered--but, I dared to submit
my plan to All Souls College, at Oxford. All Souls was/is mainly
a research college, consisting of different grades of "Fellows."
I decided to apply for a Visiting Fellow position, which All Souls
financially endows for one year.

Much to my amazement, I was accepted and arrived at All Souls
just a few months after I had retired from Claremont. So, here I
was--back at the university of my undergraduate days. All Souls
was just off Oxford's High Street, not too far from Queens College
(my alma mater).

(4) The Paranormal

(Lecture 3)
Systems thinking is linked with a fairly recent philosophical
movement, Deep Ecology, started by the Norwegian philosopher,
Arne Naess, in the early 1970s.

"Deep ecology does not separate humans--or anything else--from
the natural environment. It sees the world not as a collection of
isolated objects, but as a network of phenomena that are
fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. Deep ecology
recognizes the intrinsic value of all living beings and views humans
as just one particular strand in the web of life." [Fritjof Capra,
LIVING SYSTEMS, Anchor Books, 1996, pp. 6-7.]

For much of this lecture, I'll borrow from Capra's excellent work. As
a matter of background, Fritjof Capra is a Phd in theoretical physics
(University of Vienna) and has done research in high-energy physics
in both European and American universities.

Systems thinking has included not only a novel perspective on
the "hierarchies of nature," but has impacted upon the fields of
Quantum Physics, Cybernetics, Ecology, and Psychology--
particularly Gestalt Psychology.

"Gestalt," as used in psychology, sparks the sense of an irreducible
*pattern.* And moving towards the Imaginal Realm, Capra notes: "
There is something else to life, something nonmaterial and irreducible--
a pattern of organization...[and] it's most important property is that it
is a network pattern." [Ibid, pp. 81-82.]

Wherever we look, when we encounter living systems, we can observe
their components arranged in a network fashion. Any network goes in
all directions, thus an "influence, or message, may travel along a cyclical
path, which may become a feedback loop. The concept of feedback is
intimately connected with network pattern." [Ibid, p. 82.]

From Cybernetics the concept of a feedback loop is as follows: "A
feedback loop is a circular arrangement of causally connected elements,
in which an initial cause propagates around the links of the loop, so that
each element has an effect on the next, until the last 'feeds back' the effect
into the first element of the cycle. The that the first link
(input) is affected by the last (output), which results in self-regulation of
the entire system." [Ibid, p. 56.]

And what we feed into this gigantic self-regulating universal system is
important! Professor of theoretical physics at the University of Adelaide
(Australia), as well as a winner of religion's Templeton Prize, Paul
Davies expresses a provoking view about the characteristic of the
physical universe:

"It is as though, as the universe gradually unfolds from its featureless
origin, matter and energy are continually being presented with alternative
pathways of development..." [Paul Davies, THE COSMIC BLUEPRINT:
THE UNIVERSE, Simon & Schuster, 1988, p, 87.]

Is this cosmic ability to launch "alternative pathways of development" that
which is significant? Let's transfer our thinking from the material universe
to that special realm, the mental universe. It would seem that if scientists
are determining these alternative paths for the material world, than the
same might be said for the mental world. Hence we need to return to the
idea that what we do, what we say, and what we *think* may have an
enormous impact as to which path the universe might take. And within
such a self-regulating, feedback system an old adage might apply:
"What goes around comes around."

Thus it's seemingly significant what we create both materially and
mentally in this world. To further this point, let us turn to some ideas
presented by Ervin Laszlo--a world-class philosopher of science.
(Additionally Laszlo is the developer of Systems Philosophy-- derived
from General Systems Theory. He is a member of the Club of Rome
and has taught at Yale and Princeton Universities . Also the founder
of the General Evolution Research group and head of the advisory
committee to the United Nations University, he is currently director of
the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.)

Laszlo makes the point that we humans are non-linear systems, those
systems farthest from thermal and chemical equilibrium; consequently,
we can increase our level of complexity and organization--and become
more energetic.

Non-linear systems are able to "import" energy to perform further work.
"There can be a transport of free energy-or negative entropy-across the
system boundaries." And the more dynamic and negentropic such a
system can be, the greater its potential of freedom in the face of chaos!
Library, 1987, pp. 21-22.]

As *autopoietic,* self-creating non-linear systems, we humans possess
a special creativity, whether employed physically or mentally, that can
propel us into new (and higher) plateaus of nonequilibrium. What we
are "about" is creating greater order out of chaos! And what we are about
is gleaning more energy!

Scientifically speaking, what may lurk far in our depths is the *wherewithal*
to create order out of chaos--and to become more dynamic and energetic.

(3) The Paranormal

Lecture (2)
I'll be drawing upon the work of Bruce A. Vance, a trained
physicist and philosopher. He begins his study talking about
the possibilities of mental fields, about nonlocal mind. As

"Whatever the reasons we adopt a belief or a set of beliefs, they
implant an operational framework of mental energies within the
mind. Every belief is stored as a guideline according to which
you relate to all of reality." [Bruce A. Vance, MINDSCAPE:
Books, 1990, p. 114.]

Vance talks of the emotional energy related to our set of beliefs,
and he notes that we must recognize our priorities--becoming
aware of the "foundation beliefs" upon which so many other
beliefs stand. He stresses that our perception of Reality operates
through the Belief Matrix.

Vance's above premises could surely relate to energetic prayer
strength that maybe employs a strong constellation of private
beliefs that are singularly focused upon communing with
Ultimate Reality.

Now our personal mental events are formed of mental energies.
"Various patterns and structures are reproduced, interwoven,
and developed...We draw upon the storehouse of our experiential
memories with lightning speed..." and we are "able to unfurl the
pageantry of worlds and civilizations, drawing from the ethereal
energy of nonphysical realms to create new life and order."
[Ibid, pp.137-138.]

Thus we posses our private, individual mental matrix. And this
private mental matrix interplays on into the collective stage of
mind. From our mental energies we build our lives, our communities,
our civilizations. We are capable of manifesting, incarnating these
mental energies we possess.

One such mental energy, of course, is prayer--a communing,
perhaps a communication system!

For Vance, our mental interplay involves a constant flow of
energies between dimensions. And our mental energy, too,
involves focus. Drawing back upon a discussion of quantum
physics, about tiny packets of energy (photons) which can exhibit
properties of either waves or particles, Vance leads into the
well-known discussion of an observer-participant universe,
about "choosing" where and how one can focus into a single
event or phenomenon.

Vance also believes that "Every mental event ripples outward into
nonphysical space, each ripple corresponding to a variation on the
original theme." Also, "This tendency towards infinite variations
threads its way through all aspects of reality." And in terms of a
nonlocal system of reality, it could be "one in which neither time
nor space limits the communications or influences between two
or more events. In other words we are faced with a dimension of
reality in which events can have effects upon each other across
any distance in zero time."
[Ibid, pp. 159, 165]

Vance proceeds, emphasizing the undivided wholeness of our
universe, in which the "observing instrument is not separable from
what is observed." He continues that "All parts are connected to all
other parts; every part influences every other part." But, now Vance
moves into that special subjective realm, when he says "If the mental
energy of an individual is part of this field of energy, is it any wonder
that telepathy can occur instantaneously across vast distances?
[Ibid, p. 167.]

There is an "Extended Reach of Mind" according to Vance. Perhaps
there is a multidimensional world of mind, tiers of Mind that is linked
with our private, individual mind? Vance considers that our mind, our
self, is associated with a "vast gestalt that divides itself into component
selves." Also, "It relates to and perceives all the dimensions to which
it has access." And "The mind with which we as individuals are familiar
is but a part of this vast mind." [Ibid, p. 183.]

And, finally, Vance considers "That which we call God must be the first
consciousness...[and] this first consciousness divides into an infinite
number of vast gestalts [of mind]." [Ibid, p. 184.]

(2) The Paranormal

Again I would like to include a three-part lecture series I was
asked to give at Edinburgh's Divinity School, at its New College,
about what I had gleaned from my scientific study of prayer.
Parts of these general lectures provide a fair background, I believe.

(Lecture 1)
Prayer is an universal phenomenon, present in all peoples
and cultures. Prayer's historical antecedents are prehistoric.
And prayer is expressed and experienced at multidimensional

There are so many forms of prayer: personal, public, devotional,
petitional, liturgical, silent, meditative, contemplative, centering,
body control, biofeedback, transcendental, zazen, etc. There are
so many styles and labels.

What really happens to us, to those of us who seriously engage in
prayer? Some of us feel accepted or saved. Some experience "God"
at greater levels. Some feel better physically and mentally. Some
feel let down. Perhaps these various experiences depend on our
levels and comprehension of prayer. Lots probably depends on the
culture and religious system in which we reside, too.

Earlier, older studies usually relate only descriptive information
about the phenomenon of prayer. I am thinking, of course, of William
James, Rudolf Otto, and Evelyn Underhill.

James notes that when prayer goes beyond some recited formula,
it is then that prayer "rises and stirs the soul..." For him real, deeply
intent prayer engaged in intercourse with "God," is *real religion.*
Mentor Books, 1958, p. 352.]

Otto actually does not even use the word "prayer." I checked. But
he does allude to "contemplation," that when deeply absorbed a
mind is submitted to *impressions* of the universe. Otto relates this
to a special kind of cognition, of knowing, in terms of intuition, surmises,
or inklings. [Rudolf Otto, THE IDEA OF THE HOLY, Oxford University
Press, 1950, pp. 146-147.]

Underhill places prayer under the title of "orison." She provides
extensive descriptions of the experiences of prayer, especially the
prayer of union and the prayer of quiet. She gets into the degrees of
prayer. She talks about the intuitional, about rapture (ecstasy), about
unknowing--but most always, again, in just religious terms. Her book,
however, is a landmark. [See Evelyn Underhill, MYSTICISM: A STUDY
CONSCIOUSNESS, New American Library, 1974. This book was
originally published in the early part of the 20th century. ]

The Jesuit William Johnston has written lots about prayer. Living and
teaching in Japan, he is knowledgeable of both Eastern and Western
forms. He talks about different physical states, scientifically verified,
when engaged in deep prayer. But what I like most is a small idea he
injected in one of his books-- talking about the mantra "Honour to the
lotus sutra," Johnson discusses the claims that "the vibrations thus
aroused tap the life-force which governs the activity of the whole
universe." [William Johnston, THE INNER EYE OF LOVE,
Harper & Row, 1978, p. 165.]

There's no denying that prayer is a powerful phenomenon. And I
really do wonder if it is as of yet a mainly untapped human ability
(or faculty) that actually might serve as a psychic channel to other
dimensional levels of the Universe--and thus a channel to greater
cosmic comprehension. Is it possible to discuss and study prayer
outside of a strictly religious context and study it as not only a special
human faculty but as perhaps a universal communications systems--
of which we are only becoming aware?

Now let's look at some of Larry Dossey and Rupert Sheldrake's ideas
about prayer. Larry Dossey, M.D., is the Executive Director of the
Journal of Alternative Therapies. He also once served as the division
head of Alternative Medicine, the US National Institutes of Health. As
for Rupert Sheldrake, he has served in the following positions: Fellow
and Director of Studies in cell biology and biochemistry at Clare
College, Cambridge; Science Philosopher at Harvard University;
Research Fellow of the Royal Society (UK); and a member of the
Institute of Noetic Sciences. He is famous (or controversial) because
of his theory of morphogenetic fields in biology.

Dossey focuses-in on two experiments in relation to prayer. He
considers the work that cardiologist Randolph Byrd, with San
Francisco State General Hospital and formerly a professor of the
University of California, carried out with prayer and human patients.
Dossey also draws upon the work done with prayer and plant
material, which was carried out by the Spindrift researchers in

And Sheldrake picks-up with some of Dossey's commentary on
prayer. But let's proceed with Dossey.

Dossey considers that prayer involves a quality of consciousness
that could be considered *nonlocal.* What does this mean? First,
as Dossey puts it: "local" means something in the here and now.
Local mind as represented in the scientific materialistic view
essentially means the mind is localized strictly in the brain. On the
other hand, "nonlocal" is a consciousness that is not confined to
just brains and bodies, but rather is a kind of extended mind that
can spread out over enormous distances.

With this background, let's return to Dossey's focus on the Byrd and
Spindrift experiments regarding prayer. The Byrd experiment involved
recruiting dispersed Roman Catholic and Protestant prayer groups to
pray for designated sick people. The results, generally, are as follows:
the patients prayed for were less likely to require antibiotics; they were
less likely to develop pulmonary edema; they did not require endo-
trachael intubation; and fewer of these patients died.

In the Spindrift experiment the testing involved prayers and rye seeds.
It was an effort to investigate the power of prayer on non-human forms,
in particular on plant life. The rye seeds were placed into different sides
(A and B) of a container. Only one side was prayed for--and the results
showed significantly more rye shoots for the seeds prayed for. Beyond
this, in terms of praying for the sick--the Spindrift researchers "stressed"
certain rye seeds by adding salt water to their container. After prayer
these stressed seeds seemed to overcome their adverse environment
and sharply increased rye shoots.

Considering these experiments, Dossey wonders how prayer "knows"
which seeds to help. Indeed how does prayer "know" which patients
or people to help? Sheldrake has some opinions about this.

Sheldrake links his theory of morphic fields with the idea of an
extended nonlocal mind. Sheldrake sees mind in terms of "mental
fields." In this case, he means minds that go beyond, through, and
interface with the electromagnetic patterns of the brain. These mental
fields can extend over large distances.

Perhaps at this point, however, before we proceed, a brief review
of Sheldrake's theory would be in order!

Sheldrake's short explanation of morphogenetic fields are that they
are causal fields "with an inherent" memory provided by morphic
resonance. Beyond biological fields, there are other kinds of morphic f
ields--such as mental fields, behavioral fields, social fields. There are
fields acting through fields at all levels of reality. They interface with one
another; and, consequently, for Sheldrake there is no mind-body

Now--it is these mental fields to which Sheldrake believes there is a
"medium of connection" through which prayer works! At this point
Sheldrake draws back to Dossey's question, about how prayer
"knows" the recipient.

Sheldrake contends that a mental field is about a series of connections
between us and people, animals, places, etc., that we know and care
about. Morphic fields have to have a mental connection--there has to
be a link between the sender and recipient in prayer. A mental field
cannot simply spread serendipity, whether in terms of recipient or
locale. In some way the pray-er has to know (or know of) the recipient.

The above provides some other approaches (besides religious) to
prayer. But at this point we have talked mostly of prayer only in the
context of nonlocal mind--the human collective mind.

(1) The Paranormal


After living in Southern California for so many years, it was
obvious that my blood had gone "thin." Here I was, in the
beginnings of Summer, strolling down Princess Street in
Edinburgh, Scotland. Here I was, a Brit, shivering, with teeth
chattering, in my homeland! Well there was nothing to be
done but to re-adapt.

My sabbatical was to be spent working at the Koestler
Parapsychology Unit (KSU), which is based in the Psychology
Department at the University of Edinburgh.

So totally different from Oxford, I still managed to fall in love
with the place. Nestled within the city, the University of
Edinburgh looked really old--what with many of its buildings
boasting the slate gray stones that matched much of the
old city as well. Not far from the North Sea, the city could be
damp and brisk. So the climate kept one moving! Still it
was a lovely place, with a parkland and gardens aside
Princess Street that looked up at that steep cliff where
Edinburgh Castle was situated. Quite spectacular, and it
made me pause to wonder when I was told that climbers
occasionally attacked the cliff's nearly sheer wall.

All in all, I found Edinburgh to be a really elegant city--and I
was not surprised to learn that's it nickname was the "Athens
of the North." This Scottish city was plumb full of culture, whether
museums, concert halls, good theatre, fine restaurants, festivals,
and old history. Consequently, I was determined to enjoy this
sabbatical year as I began my research at the KSU.

The major interests of KSU researchers mainly involved extra-
sensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis, out-of-body experience
(OBE), and near-death experience (NDE). The latter two categories
interested me as well as my own chosen research area: prayer.
I felt that the OBE and the NDE definitely could have some
meaningful application with our sense of God and Spirit. As
for prayer, I took the opportunity while at Edinburgh to move
into those few scientific studies that were examining prayer in
terms of mental fields.

(4) The Transpersonal

The years passed-by at Claremont, what with my really being busy
writing more books. There was lots and lots of material that I had to
glean, especially as I tapped into ever new perspectives about the
peak experience--or as it sometimes came to be called: Cosmic
Consciousness! Towards the end of my studying these new
publications devoted to the Transpersonal, I had occasion to
give a small speech that (I think) nicely presented some detail
to this special transpersonal experience. So, I'll include parts of
this descriptive speech so as perhaps to make more clear this
fascinating phenomenon. As follows:

R.M. Bucke wrote a treatise in 1901 entitled COSMIC
CONSCIOUSNESS. His premise is that during the course
of humanity's evolutionary development there are three
forms of consciousness:
1.) Simple Consciousness, our instinctual consciousness.
2.) Self Consciousness, that self-awareness that allows a
human to realize hirself as a distinct entity. 3.) Cosmic
Consciousness, a new developing faculty at the pinnacle
of our evolution.

Dr. Bucke catalogued this newest form of consciousness
in his book. But what about the experience itself? From his
catalogue of those he believed to have had this experience,
he presented an outline:

"Like a flash there is presented to his consciousness a clear
conception (a vision) in outline of the meaning and drift of the
universe...He sees and knows that the in
very truth a living presence. He sees that instead of men being,
as it were, patches of life scattered through an infinite sea of
non-living substance, they are in reality specks of relative death
in an infinite ocean of life. He sees that the life which is in man
is as immortal as God is; that the universe is so built and ordered
that without any peradventure all things work together for the good
of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world is what
we call love, and that the happiness of every individual is in the
long run absolutely certain."

"The person who passes through this experience will learn in the
few minutes, or even moments, of its continuance more than in
months or years of study, and he will learn much that no study ever
taught or can teach. Especially does he obtain such a conception
of *the whole.*...Along with moral elevation and intellectual
illumination comes what must be called, for want of a better term,
a sense of immortality."

Evelyn Underhill takes up the banner in her MYSTICISM! Talking
of the mystical side of ecstasy, she stresses that it "represents the
greatest possible extension of the spiritual consciousness in the
direction of Pure Being: the blind intent stretching here receives
its reward in a profound experience of Eternal Life. In this
experience the departmental activities of thought and feeling, the
consciousness of I-hood, of space and time...all that belongs to the
World of Becoming and our own place therein...are suspended.
The vitality which we are accustomed to split amongst these various
things, is gathered up to form a state of pure apprehension...a vivid
intuition of the Transcendent."

Underhill proceeds: "This is that perfect unity of consciousness, that
utter concentration on an experience of love, which excludes all
conceptual and analytic acts. Hence, when the mystic says that his
faculties were suspended, that he *knew all and knew nought,* he
really means that he was so concentrated on the Absolute that he
ceased to consider his separate merged in it that he
could not perceive it as an object of thought, as the bird cannot see
the air which supports it, nor the fish the ocean in which it swims. He
really *knows all but thinks nought, perceives all, but conceives nought.*"

Alan Watts, in his last treatise THE BOOK, noted: "Thus when the
line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there
is no stronghold for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself
not *in* a world but *as* a world which is neither compulsive or
capricious. What happens is neither automatic nor just
happens, and all happenings are mutually interdependent in a way
that seems unbelievably harmonious."

Watts carries forth that in "immediate contrast to the old feeling, there
is indeed a certain passivity to the sensation, as if you were a leaf
blown along by the wind, until you realize that you are both the leaf
and the wind. The world outside your skin is just as much you as the
world inside...they move together inseperably. Your body is no longer
a corpse which the ego has to animate and lug around. There is a
feeling of the ground holding you up, and of hills lifting you when
you climb them. Air breathes itself in and out of your lungs, and
instead of looking and listening, light and sound comes to you on
their own. Eyes see and ears hear as wind blows and water flows.
Time carries you along like a river, but never flows out of the present;
the more it goes, the more it stays...[and] all space becomes your mind."

With this description, I decided that my next step was to move
into a relatively new field, "Psi," which is the scientific study of the
Transpersonal phenomenon (or paranormal phenomena). I was fast
approaching my last sabbatical, so I started looking around
where I might be able to spend a year working into Psi.

(3) The Transpersonal

Again I fed from a large buffet of psychological schools when it came
to my research of the Transpersonal. But for starters there was the
Association of Transpersonal Psychology, which helped any novice
to move rapidly into this expanding field. The range of Transpersonal
Psychology had historical antecedents that Included the psychology
of William James, who though taking a practical approach mostly, did
tap into the spirituality of Ralph Waldo Emerson. A Unitarian minister,
Emerson was an important figure in the Transcendentalism Movement
in the 19th century. And, naturally, it followed that Carl Jung's
deliberations about the Archetype would be included in this Trans-
personal buffet of psychologies.

Later, the Humanistic psychologies of Abraham Maslow and Roberto
Assagioli, along with many others, were included in the menagerie
embraced by Transpersonal Psychology. These later psychologists
extended the Transpersonal to include not only the peak experience,
but a myriad of religio-spiritual experiences that included visions,
new levels of consciousness, etc. They later related some of these new
approaches to new perspectives when it came to human and spiritual
development theories.

Interestingly, probably because of the Humanist input into
Transpersonal Psychology, there seemed a noticeable shift from
the more stock religious experience(s) unto a special experience
that involved a unity with Creation rather than with God. There were
reports that some people could be hiking, standing near the top of a
mountain, looking out onto valleys, and suddenly feeling literally a
part of the landscape that they were viewing.

Again, it would seem that *perspective* colors the study of the peak
experience. So one has to question more traditional approaches
that saw everything from a religious or a more rigid spiritual outlook.
Hence, moving into this massive psychological field, I had to consider
exactly what the Transpersonal might mean for me.

Well--the word "exactly" was nearly an impossibility. The more I
studied the sense of the Transpersonal, the spectrum of Such
widened. Heaven and the World blended together, when it came
to God's way of communing with us. We no longer saw our
relationship with the Logos-Pneuma from a strictly dichotomous
perspective. God, like our own soaring human minds, was both
Without and Within!

(2) The Transpersonal

Psychologists were already moving deep into the idea of the
Transpersonal, that generally speaking is a state of consciousness
or experience that exists beyond any particular personal
experience. The transpersonal state seems spiritual in nature,
one that can involve what is termed a "peak experience." In past
times, particularly amongst religious people, this might revolve
around a state of ecstasy. In dictionary terms, this ecstasy or
peak experience involves a steep sense of happiness and joy.
It could be an experience that takes one outside of their self.
And according to psychologists, such a special experience can
be available to anyone--if they let it.

Letting it, of course, is easier said than done! After I became
interested in the transpersonal experience I had the occasion to
interview a number of people who claimed that they had a peak

I discovered that this so-called peak experience was not
necessarily always an easy pleasure. And, mistakenly too, this
special experience was not always connected only with a
religious perspective. Some religious people believe that they
must "work" themselves into a transpersonal state that can involve
all sorts of procedures--ranging from deep prayer to extreme

On the other hand, there are those who artificially attempt to
attain a peak experience via drugs. Some also try to take "trips"
or experience visions through both chemically produced
drugs or by taking natural forms--such as peyote. Anyway,
during my interviews I was *not* inclined to include so-called
special experiences prompted by hallucinogenics.

Those I did interview--those who claimed some sort of peak
experience--were quite diverse. They ranged from young to old,
hence putting to rest the idea that one must attain to a certain
level of spiritual maturity in order to attain an ecstatic state.
Some of the people I interviewed were far from being "mystics."

Most disturbing, some of those I interviewed felt a sense of
displacement caused by this special experience. They didn't
perceive such as a special experience, but rather as a "strange"
experience. About the only conclusion I could figure was that
this sense of the Transpersonal depended upon how one could
receive Such.

After these interviews I had to admit that the more mystically or
spiritually mature a person was, the more positive the reception.
But! The special experience, itself, landed on all sorts of heads--
ready or not. And some of those flat out rejected the experience!

(1) The Transpersonal


My year at the Jung Institute was one of my best. Living nearby
in Santa Monica, too, enriched my life. I made some really
interesting friends, mainly artistic types as well as serious
psychologists. I remained in contact with a good number of
these folk after I returned to Claremont and my teaching position.

Having found my focus, in that I was going to link the Mind and
the Spirit by integrating theological and psychological theories,
I decided that my first book project would be about the "Archetype."
This meant not only delving into Jungian theory about such, but
also studying new concepts presented by James Hillman's
Archetypal School.

Mainly I tried to show the connections between God and the
Archetype, thus moving steadily into our various images of God.
This involved a historical approach that illustrated the slow
but connected conceptual relationships that Western cultures
held about the "Imago Dei." It was a Continuum of Archetypal
Thought about God, about the Logos-Pneuma as presented via
myths and legends on into higher level theological thought and
imagery embedded in Religion.

However, I added an ingredient of risk writing my initial book by
employing more understandable layman's language. I took in
account my new friends, most who were not traditionally religious
nor theologically trained. I figured there were thousands upon
thousands of souls who were *really* interested in God, but for
whatever reason no longer accepted the mostly archaic or arcane
explanations that seemed prevalent but oft did not satisfy.

Happily the times were changing. We academics were not
forced as much to write dry, over-seriously scholarly tomes as
we were in the Past. I managed to present my work in such a
way that major publishing houses picked-up my books over the
years. This meant exposure to a much larger readership than
I normally would have had if I went the route of strictly academic

Consequently, I started gaining an acknowledged reputation
after the success of the small batch of books that I wrote about
the Spirit, the Mind, and the Archetype. Even my Department
Chair was pleased!

But one cannot stand still in Academe. I felt that I had pretty
much exhausted my approach to the Archetype, so I started to
reconnoiter other psychological schools--and discovered the
Transpersonal that encompassed yet another psychological
and integrative approach that also boasted a fairly long history.

Monday, April 20, 2009

(4) The Archetype

As for my so-called Greater Self representing "God" present in my
mind, I had quickly identified the Man-King construct as the Christ.
Of course my analyst did not have to explain the cultural religious
identity I had given this special dream figure. A Child of the West,
Christ was the dominant "Imago Dei" for me--whether a non-
denominational theologian or not!

Of course this particular understanding brought us up to yet another
level of the Psyche: God-Imagery.

I had already been studying different forms of God-Imagery with my
academic mentor. We mainly approached these cultural and societal
imageries via myth and legends. What we were observing were the
various collective interpretations of the Archetype of God come down
through the ages, through cultures and civilizations, In earlier cultures,
a whole society and its Ruler were based on God-Imagery. Maybe
low-level concepts at the beginning, sometimes tribal, sometimes
sacrificial, sometimes eschatological, sometimes cosmic, sometimes

Interestingly, my mentor was becoming more and more fascinated
with future concepts of God. What with our Information Age, our
High Tech Civilization, our venture into Outer Space, our Scientific
Discoveries, our beginning Passage towards Understanding the
Universe--how will all this color new concepts of God, forming new
imagery of Such? This great scholar, fortunately my academic
mentor, had already traced the historical trail of God-Imagery in
his many published books, and now he wanted to take a Futurist

Me too! Based on my dream-work, I decided that I could only
continue my work as a scholar trying to understand God the best
that I could. Unconsciously I had already given over my ego to the
Greater Self, in that I had dedicated myself to further the imagery
of God towards an ever more creative sophistication. Henceforth,
I would dedicate my academic endeavors toward understanding
how God works into our minds, how God communes with us,
how God directs us on into the Future.

I had found my Focus.

(3) The Archetype

As my dreamwork continued, I began to wonder where
God-imagery might fit into all this--at least at the personal
level. My analyst explained that the real goal of our individuation
was to encounter the Greater Self and give over our ego-self
to it. Here I balked, mainly because I didn't understand. She
explained that the Greater Self is the Psyche's representative
of "God."

Ooooh! This was getting into some really "far out" territory, at
least for a traditional theologian. No wonder all those theologians
were going back-and-forth with Carl Jung in his day! If this theory
was accepted, this meant that God was really with us! Inside our
minds! (Just like Christ said, when he talked about "dwelling
within us.")

Sticking with it, I eventually discovered the archetypal character-
ization of the Greater Self in my own dreams. There was a young
man whose name translated into a curious meaning. His name
meant "Man-King." I was suddenly struck dumb by this revelation.
I had been encountering this dream character for quite a while and
had not put two-and-two together. But when I did, it added up to
Christ in my mind.

This Man-King archetype served as the Greater Self within my
mind. This particular archetype represented "God" within my
psyche. And this dream character was helping me every inch
of the way through my own individuation process!

This discovery was so profound that I could hardly believe it.
If I had tried to design these special dreams, I would have never
been able--not in a hundred years, not in centuries. The
Archetype, the Original Typos, representing our own personal
psychical structure proved incredible enough. But the Greater
Self had moved onto an even higher level of psychological
understanding. Through dreamwork Jung's Analytical Psychology
had begun to approach "God."

However, my analyst led me back to my personal archetypal
construct--and, especially those archetypes that represented the
Masculine and Feminine elements of my psyche. She explained
that the "guise" in which these elements presented themselves also
pointed towards both my present and future behavior and endeavors.
I surely had to smile at myself, thinking about the Virgin Mary.
Pretty grandiose, to say the least.

But as my analyst and I worked through, the message became more
clear. The Virgin Mary was the "Theotokos," which meant bringing
forth God. As a theologian I was definitely trying to birth new
meaning, new concepts of Who God might be. Strange as it may
seem, this understanding made some sense. Than there was my
monastic Masculine, "Anselm." Easy, once I figured what was going
on. It was that monk in me that not only took a scholarly approach
towards the God Concept, but also was doggedly persistent. Lest I
forget, the great Benedictine mandate for the monk was and is
"To Seek God."

(2) The Archetype

Almost immediately I had plunged into my abbreviated Jungian
analysis with a licensed practitioner--a kindly lady psychologist
who made it comfortable for me. Curiously, but when one gets
more deeply into dreamwork the dreams actually come! My
academic study into symbols and imagery also came into play
when it came to interpreting my dreams, what they might mean,
how they related ego to Self, how they illustrated what I call my
archetypal construct. In shorthand, this experiential effort in what
my analyst called the "Individuation Process" lent a more depth
understanding of my parallel academic effort at the institute.

As Jung's studies pointed out, we can meet a constellation of
archetypes within our dreams. He identified some of them as
the Great Father, the Great Mother, the Hero, the Trickster along
with others. They were part of the Collective Mind, if you will.
More coldly put, they are mental "structures" that we humans
have evolved over the ages--structures that give us parameters
in which to fit our lives. The Mind is an incredible entity that
keeps us moving ever into more and more interesting environs.

My analyst was curious about my particular symbol for the
Great Father that kept re-occuring in my dreams. It was a
monk who I knew to be an abbot--hence the Father, if you will.
I told her about my youth in Canterbury, how I loved its
magnificent cathedral, how--in turn--I had studied about
Benedictine monasticism and that St. Anselm was my hero.
Just for fun, we named my dream monk-abbot "Anselm."

Much to my surprise, the Great Mother in my dreams oft
identified as the Virgin Mary. Really strange, but perhaps not
in that I was a trained theologian. I had come across these
religious characterizations often enough. And my mind had
simply transposed these identities onto the Masculine and
Feminine elements of my personality.

Learning all this utterly amazed me. By this time I was reading
books that covered these human territories of the human psyche.
Blending these scholarly tomes with my dreamwork, I could
readily make sense out all this business of the Archetype.
Originally meant the "Original Typos" or Pattern, our under-
standing of the Archetype had been long coming. Even the
Greek philosophers knew about the Archetype; and if one were
imaginative enough, one could spot these archetypal patterns
in Plato's "Forms." The circle, the square, the triangle, etc., were
representative of these patterns. Before we could conceive the
idea of a triangle, the pattern of the triangle was already in our

(1) The Archetype


Immediately I made contact with the Jungian scholar who focused
on the Archetype and God-Imagery. He was very gracious and
queried me on my own specialty of Pneumatology. He made a
number of recommendations that I might follow during this full
year I would spend at the institute. Of course we would meet
periodically, along with attending his presentations. But most
importantly, he believed it would be very personally profitable
for me to undergo at least a limited Jungian analysis with a
licensed practitioner.

Undergoing analysis, mainly dream-work, should give me a
special insight into my own archetypal construct as well as
coming to understand how the Greater Self worked within me.
Need I say I had little idea what might be in store for me. Besides
this, this good scholar suggested I learn more about Symbolism.
There were books, but the institute had a massive film archive
that illustrated Pre-historic, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Christian
as well as other cultural symbolism. My scholar--having
agreed to become my mentor--noted that learning in more
depth this Symbolism, such would enhance my own theological

And upon my initial leave-taking with my mentor, he provided
me with a very useful reading-list that concentrated on his
specialty of the Archetype and God-Imagery. The institute's
library had some 6,000 specialized books available for its

So what with the lectures and seminars, plus archival film
and books on the various subjects that would provide me
with a more insightful psychological approach into my own
theological work, I felt more than pleased how I might spend
this year. As for my undergoing a dream-work analysis, my
mentor advised a particular practitioner. Almost immediately
I began to settle in. And almost immediately, too, I felt very
comfortable and somehow instinctively knew that I was on
the right track.

Beyond all this I met a number of the institute's students--not
all psychologists, but rather representatives of many professions.
Most interestingly, I made friends with a budding film director
who worked with Warner Bros. Studios. He noted that a number
of good movies actually incorporated myth and psychological
symbolism, albeit well camouflaged. He likened it to so-called
popular music that oft was based on the more complex classical
music of earlier times. Many of us don't really know that our
present day information is oft built upon information come down
through the ages.

Our's was a happy meeting. This young film director lived in
Santa Monica, not too far from my own apartment. Hence a
camaraderie developed. My new found friend introduced me
into his own social circle, mostly concentrated in Santa Monica.
This circle was more artistically oriented, far removed from my
own theological milieu. This new circle of friends included not
only Hollywood artists, screenwriters, and directors, but also
musicians in both clubs and symphonies. Dancers, too!

All I can say is that it was a "hip" crowd. Really different, but what
interested me was that virtually all these people I met were
singularly interested in my work as a theologian. That is not to
say that they were religious or church-goers, but rather they
displayed a keen questioning about what God might mean,
how the universe, our world, and their own life relates to this
Higher Reality that they sensed standing behind all of Everything.

(4) The Spirit

This Center was affiliated with the overall Claremont Graduate
University. It was founded on the basis of Charles Hartshorne's
Process Philosophy. Eventually adherents of the Center for
Process Studies also developed what is called Process Theology.
Having discovered the new thinking involved at this Center, I saw
that it offered (at least for me) new lines of approach when it came
to the concept of the Spirit. The focus seemed more in line with
Natural Theology, about looking towards our contemporary
knowledge-base--especially when it came to new cosmological
developments as well as more exploratory efforts in the field
of Psychology.

When I wasn't lecturing, I more and more attended programs
and conferences at the Center for Process Studies. The Center
seemed on the cutting-edge of progressive theology--and, like
when I attended the Oxford debates long ago, I felt my intellectual
horizon expanding by leaps and bounds!

During this period, I made friends with a small cadre of academics
who represented a goodly number of professional fields. And I
especially connected with scholars who were probing the
theological insights emerging from Jungian analytical psychology.
Jung, himself, had engaged major theologians in his own day;
and now, it would seem, Jungians were carrying on his work--
trying to understand the connections between the Archetype
(or the archetypal constellations circulating within our minds)
and our propensity towards God-Imagery.

These connections between Psychology and Theology thoroughly
excited me. And I started to wonder how I might approach this
connection in relation to how the Spirit might work and move, and
take "divine action," within our minds. Fortunately for me, one day
I was discussing this interest with some of my Claremont friends
at the Center for Process Studies. They told me that there was a
wonderful scholar, who actually specialized in this connection,
who taught at the C.G. Jung Institute in Los Angeles.

After some thought I wondered if it were possible to somehow
manage to move more into this field of what was called "Analytical
Psychology." I didn't want to jeopardize my teaching position,
but I sorely longed to make a move into Psychology as well--and
especially study with the Jungian scholar who had made such
insightful inroads when it came to the Archetype and God-Imagery.

After making some inquiries, after considering my academic
background, the Jung Institute agreed to accept me as a
"continuing education" student, specifically enrolling in courses
and seminars that would give me more of a psychological
background especially applicable to theological perspectives.
And since I was not a regular student, not bound towards
becoming a licensed psychologist, I had my pick of these offerings.
Hence, I decided to focus as much as possible studying with the
Jungian scholar who specialized in God-Imagery and the

Consequently, talking to my Dean at Claremont, I was kindly
allowed a full year off from my academic duties. I could rack-up
the training towards a research grant that both the Claremont
School of Religion and the Center for Process Studies would
provide. I could hardly believe it, in that this grant would allow
me the best of both worlds! In this case, one foot still academically
connected with Claremont and the other foot studying at the
Jung Institute.

On the other hand, I was in for a major life change--including a new
address. Since the Jung Institute was near the Pacific coast, I felt it a
near impossibility commuting between Claremont and the institute.
So I decided to move temporarily to Santa Monica, along the coast
and not too far away from the Jung Institute.

In more ways than one, it would seem that I had moved into a totally
new lifestyle.

(3) The Spirit

By this time I had grown quite fond of America, or at least New
England. During academic breaks at Harvard, I explored the
coastline, the hills, the mountains and the cities and villages that
was New England. So with this experience behind me, I felt quite
bound to consider America in terms of a future career. Still, I was
not adverse returning to Britain, Consequently, I sent professional
resumes to a number of major colleges and universities in both

As it turned out, I was most pleasantly surprised by the responses
to my job inquiries from various universities. I interviewed with
a number of them, but the one place that strongly struck me was
the Claremont School of Religion. Perhaps it was the tropical
paradise of Southern California that lured me to Claremont, a
city some 35 miles east of the megalopolis of Los Angeles.
Regardless, in due course I found myself a young, happy
assistant professor teaching various courses at Claremont--
but mainly that of Pneumatology.

At the very beginning, I got into what I called the "Two T's." I
borrowed the twin approaches of two great theologians: Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic Jesuit, and Paul Tillich, a
Protestant theologian.

Teilhard, who was also a paleontologist, developed what is
known as his "Cosmogenesis Theory." It was evolutionary in
its bent, in that the whole of Creation is evolving towards an
"Omega Point," which for Teilhard was the Cosmic Christ.
Teilhard talked about two aspects of the world, the "Without"
and the "Within." And his emphasis was on how the Within
worked on and into the Outer world. For Teilhard it was a
slow evolutionary unfolding that worked through various
spheres of development. The highest sphere he called the
"Noosphere," that was all about reaching a nearly mystical
level of Mind.

As for Tillich, he moved into Mind as well. In his Systematic
Theology, he referred to what he called the "Urgrund und
Urbild." Translated, Tillich was talking about the Logos/Pneuma
and the Archetype of such.

I was aware that theologians were beginning to move fast
into Psychology. Earlier they had been scared silly by a little
psychological monograph written by Sigmund Freud, wherein
he narrowed down religious inclinations to the Fear of the Father.
It set Theology on its head, but happily not for too long. Along
came Freud's protege, Carl Jung--who was disowned by Freud,
because he dared to get into religious myth, dreams, etc., and
discovered the archetypal constellation that whirled around in
our minds. In his travels, Jung even visited America, talking to
American Indian elders about their religious experience and
their sense of the Great Spirit.

Having never considered this indigenous American concept of
Spirit, at my first opportunity I made a trip up into South Dakota.
I had laid hands on some writing about "Wakan Tanka," the
Great Spirit, by a Sioux spiritual master. Living at a reservation
near the Black Hills, I went to meet this fellow. He taught me yet
another concept of the Spirit, one that helped the People relate
to Nature, to the Earth.

This relationship spurred me to think in new ways--ways that I
considered more naturally oriented. It was early on, but Natural
Theology was moving into a more central position when it came
to what theologians call "Divine Action." And as it turned out, I
was at the right place at the right time.

Standing there in my own Claremont backyard was the Center
for Process Studies.

(2) The Spirit

After settling in at the Divinity School, I wasted no time moving
fast into my prime academic interest-- the field of Pneumatology.
Many consider this the study of the Holy Spirit, but it actually has
a wider horizon on into the broad approach to "spirits." Since I
was a non-denominational student, I took the wider range when
it came to the Spirit.

The word "Pneuma" was actually the word that the ancient Greek
philosophers employed for the Spirit. Long before Christianity,
educated pagans had considered the Spirit. Generally speaking,
they thought of the Pneuma as a kind of energetic energy or "Fire."
They related the Pneuma to the Logos, which (for them) was the
Godhead, the Plenum or Foundation of the universe--and the
Pneuma (or Spirit) ensued from the Logos, touching everything,
the All of it. The Pneuma of the Logos was even involved in the
molding of the inanimate as well as the animate world. Everything
contained different levels of the Pneuma. And the ancient
philosophers of the Greco-Roman world considered the Pneuma
to be the prime carrier of "Reason," embodied by the concept of
the Logos.

In Judaism there was the idea of the Sophia, "Wisdom" if you will.
Philo Judaeus, a Hellenistic Jew who lived in ancient Alexandria,
adopted some of the early Greek philosophical ideas of the Logos.
However, his idea of the Logos as the "word of God," as in Scripture,
was specifically derived from Jewish Hellenistic wisdom literature
which used the word "wisdom" essentially as the "word of God."
Philo was talking about the Sophia as the Spirit.

Philo likened this wisdom, this Word,this Spirit as to a spring of
water--in that out of reason flowed speech. Especially important
in this analogy is that "reason" is the Source and the "speech"
is the Flow. Philo presents us with a two-fold Logos--a Ground of
Being out of which flows manifested intelligence.

He believed in archetypal ideas that framed our intelligible world.
And what we see manifested--visible objects--are likenesses of
these ideas. So like the macrocosm, man is a microcosm. Like the
Cosmos, man lives in a multidimensional context--there is within
him reason which he utters as thought.

And in the some of the earliest Christian writings, Christ said that
he had to leave the world in order to allow the "Paraclete" to come.
Christians define the Paraclete as the Holy Spirit, especially acting
as a Counselor. There's the Fire of the Holy Spirit that came down
upon the disciples as well as others during the Feast of Pentecost in
ancient Jerusalem, wherein they were able to talk in many different
tongues. In more modern times (as in ancient times) this particular
ability is considered a charism.

All in all, the idea of the Spirit has a long, very ancient history in
the Western World of ideas, in both philosophy and religion. And
in more common parlance, for most people, the concept of Spirit
is expressed by such analogies as Fire, Energy, Flow, Word, Wind,
Breath, and Intelligence.

So, along with my other theological subjects, I studied Pneumatology,
wrote my dissertation that traced the historical trek of the Spirit down
through the ages, and managed to take my advanced degree under
four years. So it was time to consider "what's next."

I probably could have stayed on at Harvard for awhile, likely as a
graduate assistant or instructor; but I realized that it was at that
point where I need decide seriously what my next step would be.
I really didn't want to continue floating at Harvard. I needed to think
through what might my future could hold.

(1) The Spirit

Chapter Three. THE SPIRIT

Going to America was a big deal for me. During my Oxford years
I had made a small number of American friends, who I found both
pleasant and erudite. Indeed a couple of these friends had put
me onto the idea of attending the Harvard Divinity School. Of
course they also said that it would be great "fun" living in America.

As I flew across the Atlantic, I certainly hoped that my friends were
right. If not exactly fun, perhaps pleasant? Other than from what I
saw in the films and on television, I had no real concrete feeling
about America. I tried to spend some time reading American
newspapers in the libraries, but I never got much into them. Also,
trying to follow American politics was like walking in a maze. Too
puzzled, I just let be and decided that the best thing for me was
simply go to America and see for myself.

Moving past Greenland, swinging down over Canada, we finally
entered American airspace. I was incredulous, in that the coast
seemed nearly utterly built-up. It seemed much like a gigantic
city for almost a straight half-hour flying time. Boston loomed.
Our plane swept down and landed at Logan Airport.

I knew that Boston was one of America's oldest cities--so as I
taxied towards Harvard, I looked out on some of the city's older
architecture that seemed reminiscent of London. Yet not quite
the same. And modern Boston seemed in a constant state of
"dig," obviously in the midst of building projects.

Following the road along the Charles River, my driver pointed to
the distant buildings of Harvard University. Mostly redbrick
buildings, not like Oxford. Dropped off at the Divinity School, I
had little time to gawk. I had to sign-in, get directions to my
housing, and settle-in. Overall, I don't believe that I have ever,
ever been so tired. Totally exhausted, I simply collapsed on a
bed without even examining my rooms.

The next morning I gleaned over the course offerings available,
which seemed much like the theological categories provided at
Oxford. No one student--over a given lifetime--could master the
ever expanding field of Theology. Considering I had somewhere
around four years, working through for my Phd, I decided to
fiddle around in Biblical Studies as well as focusing on my major
field of Pneumatology.

A declared "Non-Denominational" student, my interest in Biblical
Studies was mainly from both a historical and philosophical
perspective. Ever more evolving a universal approach spiritually,
I still felt the need to gather together all the different religious
elements in the West--not only those of the ancient pagans, but
also those of Judaism and Christianity. Hence Biblical Studies,
in that the subject included scripture, history, archaeology, and
cross-cultural studies. This approach would augment my back-
ground as I moved on into what I considered new theological

Finally, with all the paperwork behind me, I had a few days before
the term began. So I ventured out into the greater part of the
university. Near the Law School and the Science Laboratories,
I walked on into the famous Harvard Yard--the oldest part of the
university. Students were beginning to congregate. And, eventually,
I poked my nose outside the main gate and walked out towards
what I could only consider bedlam!

Nearly immediately I was trying to cross Massachusetts Avenue,
over to a battery of stores. What we had here seemed to be the
middle of a large bumptious city--Cambridge, MA, not at all the
mirror-image of Cambridge, England. It was a gritty place, yet
full of brisk intensity. Walking on to an aside street, Brattle Street,
there were small stores; but walking further, one came upon tree-
shaded streets with elegant housing--presumably for Harvard's
famous professors.

Need I say that it took me quite awhile to relax in this place.
But once I did, finally falling into its flow, I began to enjoy Harvard
and all its strange environ(s).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

(4) The Pantocrator

Even a student can trace the sources of the Pantocrator. The
river runs back far beyond Christianity. One can detect the
outline of the Pantocrator in the sun-god Ra of ancient Egypt,
who over time evolved into a creator god. The roots of the
Pantocrator existed in ancient Israel as well, as presented in
the concept of El Shaddai--God Almighty.

As for the Greco-Roman world, the roots of the Pantocrator also
run through it. Some felt that the icon was based on the great
statue of Zeus. And in Early Christianity, Christians harkened
back to the pagan gods--and philosophy.

Ancient Greek philosophers held to their concept of the
Universal Logos, the Godhead, the Sustainer of the World,
a Cosmic Intelligence blending Mind with Reason. Early
Christian Fathers, oft classically trained, swept down onto this
idea of the Logos. Other Christians moved into Gematria--or
Sacred Geometry. The ancients were big into the symbolic
meaning of numbers. The Bible is actually full of this kind of

The pagans connected certain numbers of their pantheon of
gods, such as Apollo, Hermes, Abraxas, and Mithras. And
later Christians applied this number approach to Christ; hence,
Jesus Christ was given the number of 2368--the "Illuminating
Knowledge of the Solar Logos."

Not surprising, but the Early Christian theologians declared Jesus
as the "Incarnation of the Logos." He was the living human
embodiment of the Logos, the Godhead that held the universe
altogether. It was all like a great gigantic *continuum* of thought
that finally came together--personified in the Christ.

Need I say that I was profoundly affected by this approach that
I slowly discovered. It nearly pointed back to the earliest sources
of human thought, at least in the West. Anyway, I was much more
comforted by this approach to Christ. As the Lord of the Universe,
we could move him into our world, into our modern discoveries,
and go forward.

Easier said than done, however! How does this ancient concept
of the Pantocrator actually relate to our own time? The ancients
harken back to the Logos, giving it the characteristics of not only
Mind, Reason, and Word, but also Spirit. And remembering back
to some of Christ's last words, he said that he need return to the
Father so that the Paraclete might come. He was talking about
the Holy Spirit as advocate and counselor, as the Spirit of Truth.

I thought long and hard on this idea. If the Holy Spirit is ever
active, ever involved with us, how might this literally be? But
one must begin at the beginning--in determining, at least for
myself what this Great Spirit might actually be. Consequently,
an opportunity arose. During my last year at Oxford I applied
for and managed to wangle a scholarship from the Harvard Divinity
School, where I could take my advanced degree in Theology.
Thus, I decided to focus on the study of the Holy Spirit--called
"Pneumatology" in theological lingo.

(3) The Pantocrator

Being English, being in a truly sunny land like Greece, my spirit
became light, cheerful, easy going. What a difference locale can
make on a soul. As a tourist, I went island hopping to some of
Greece's magnificent islands--such as Crete and Patmos. In
Patmos we visited the monastery there, where the monks were
called to prayer by the gonging of a wooden bell. Patmos, too,
was full of little architectural wonders of churches. One could
even find Pantocrators in these small churches. The Lord of
the Universe was alive and well in Orthodox Christianity.

But if one wants to seek out the Pantocrator big-time, one must
visit the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Built by the Emperor Justinian,
the Hagia Sophia is stupendously an incredulous sight. It's dome,
I was told, was even bigger than the one at St. Peter's in Rome.
And it was far older.

I expected to see the Pantocrator atop the dome of the Hagia
Sophia, but it had been pasted over centures before when the
Muslim's took control of the Byzantium capitol of Constantinople
(which they later called Istanbul). But time sometimes mellows
religion--and today, though still a Muslim country, the Turks
now consider the Hagia Sophia a great museum that is open
to all.

Upon entering the Hagia Sophia one encounters the Arabic
embellishments on its walls. Still, somehow, there does remain
a Christian icon above the Emperor's entrance: the Pantocrator.
It has become my favorite icon, a gentle yet strong Christ in
Majesty, presented in blues and browns. I left Greece and
Turkey mesmerized by this beautiful Pantocrator.

Upon return to Oxford I decided that best I could I would remain
focused on the Pantocrator. I had to understand and think
through exactly what this iconic image meant to me.

(2) The Pantocrator

The icons of the Pantocrator proliferated in Greece, in Orthodox
Christianity, And in the West the Pantocrator morphed into what is
deemed the "Christ of Majesty." Essentially these icons or images
most often depict Christ as a teacher, holding a book, and raising
his right hand that portrays both blessing and authority, As for
background, there's the halo (or solar crown), sometimes with fire
shooting out, and sometimes the Pantocrator is positioned in the
center of a flashing cross, or even sitting atop a rainbow. Most
often this icon was situated in the dome of a cathedral, the
commanding position over all,

I was tremendously struck by this icon. It drew me to it like a firefly
into flame. So my first summer off from Oxford I decided to tour
Greece, its islands, as well as parts of Turkey, It was my first trip
abroad away from home. There was a certain excitement being
really on my own, alone in foreign lands. Yet I had this focus, the
Pantocrator, and I felt an added energy in this quest.

And, yes, it was a quest. I had reached a point where old traditional
concepts of my religion no longer seemed to fit the conditions of my
life. Of course, looking back, my situation then would seem no
different than multitudes of others at my age and stage. But being
a fledgling student of philosophy and theology does sometimes make
it more difficult. After all, we were prompted to *think.* And eventually
sometimes the traditionally stock answers in religion don't measure
right, don't sometimes make sense. And in light of any professional
investigation, the situation often can be exacerbated. That is kind of
where I found myself when I happened upon the Pantocrator.

Perhaps I was looking more towards the idea of a universal concept
when it came to the Christ. Though I was not schooled in Science,
I was aware of the constant new discoveries when it came to our
understanding of the universe. The world in which we lived today
was a far more deep complexity than the one in which the ancients
lived. It boiled down to *information.*

The mind of the ancients was similar to the mind of moderns.
However, the big difference was their and our access to information.
The ancients' world was a layered world, eventually built into a
hierarchical system that corresponded with the hierarchical layout
of the early Western Church--and even, eventually, into the feudal
system of the "Divine Right of Kings." What an eye-opener this
was for me, still nearly too young to grasp it all.

It was a miracle that I didn't just bug-out, if you will. There's a deep
disappointment when you make such a historical discovery--that
Truth isn't always set in concrete. I knew my own particular
"Childhood Lost." Disappointed, I was close to declaring another
major, anything but Theology. But it was exactly at this point that
I turned the page and there standing out before me was the

So off I went to Greece.

(1) The Pantocrator


Going up to Oxford was like going to a totally different universe.
My life in Canterbury was structured, more quaint perhaps than
what I would be experiencing at Oxford. Everyone at Oxford--
except me--seemed so savvy and suave! Not knowing anyone,
not knowing much, my foray into my first term seemed utterly
cluttered and chaotic. The way I felt back then, it was a wonder
I survived the experience.

But wonders happen, and I did survive. Being a fresher or a new
boy is stressful. One has so much to learn, so much to do at
first. However, after the initial shock of it all fades away one
can move on. I did.

For example, I quickly joined the Oxford Union--a debating society
of the highest rank, and one that covers an incredible territory of
interesting topics. Occasionally there's the invited famous guest
debater, but the student debaters were really great. Dressed
formally, they reflected the high caliber of the Oxford Union. In
fact, even those debaters from Scotland wore their dress kilts!

Hanging from the balcony, at first I probably spent an inordinate
amount of time at the Oxford Union. The debates expanded my
intellectual horizon by leaps and bounds. I discovered the good
theatre and music available at the university--including the
excellent chapel choir at Queens College. As for our college
chapel, it was lovely--but it wasn't Canterbury Cathedral, which
I still missed keenly.

Eventually I began to move into my studies. Queens College
offered an undergraduate program and degree in "Philosophy
and Theology." No faith commitment was necessary to enter this
program. As it stood, I decided to do five papers in Theology and
three papers in Philosophy. This meant writing dissertations in
each chosen subject sometimes in lieu of a final examination.
Of course there were courses presented by the university's
Faculty of Theology. The courses were offered to all the colleges
at Oxford. Each college, including mine at Queens, provided
tutors that basically kept one up-to-speed. For each subject area
that I chose to study, my tutor provided me with a reading list that
we were expected to follow. This emphasis on individual research
was a tool that held me in good stead for the rest of my life.

As for the course offerings, far too much that boggled the brain.
Alphabetically, here's some of the topics that one might try to
manage: Agnostic theism; Argument from free will; Biblical studies;
Christian worldview; Classical theism; Cosmological argument;
Deconstruction and religion; Existence after death, Faith and
rationality; God in Christianity; Holy Wisdom; Immanence; Liberal
theism; Monism; Mythical theology; Natural theology, Personal God;
Philosophical theology; Revealed theology; Sacred geometry;
Secular theology; Stewardship; and the Nature of God in Western

The topics mentioned above were just a snippet of offerings provided
by Oxford's Theology Faculty. As for Philosophy, well that was my
minor interest. I was very attracted to the Classical philosophy of the
Greeks--i.e., the Presocratics, Platonism, NeoPlatonism, and Stoicism.
And I "dared" trying to work into Hegel's monumental spiritual
philosophy. Kant's analytical philosophy was formidable as well.
My foray into philosophy mainly served as a foundation for some
of my later theological pursuits.

As for my major academic pursuit at Oxford, it included a myriad of
courses in Theology--some listed above. But in the midst of all this
coursework, I discovered the "Pantocrator." It means "all mighty," or
the "sustainer of the world." Essentally it is the Godhead, the Logos!
Jesus was deemed the "Incarnation of the Logos." Many icons of
Christ as the Pantocrator still exist in the churches of Greece, though
the very first such icon was discovered in an ancient monastery in
Egypt. And, actually, its antecedents can be traced back to pagan
and even Hebrew roots. Nonetheless, the concept of the Pantocrator
also rightly belongs to Early Christianity. I must admit that I was nearly
totally mesmerized by the Pantocrator.