A week ago perhaps, I first heard of Plotinus. Now I find myself immersed in this Greek philosopher. I am fascinated to see the underpinnings of western religion without the Christian overlays. I can move on from A Course in Miracles since I see it as the same thing as this earlier philosopher but in a more fanciful mode and with Christian semantics. Plotinus would propose the same principles of The Unity and of humans as thoughts and this world as an illusion and looking within; but in far cleaner prose. Although, without 30 years of spiritual study, I don't suppose Plotinus would make any sense to me.
Sunday Musings from 6th Ennead, 9th Tractate:
Section 7 explains the "preoccupation by the impress of something else, we are withheld under that pressure from becoming aware of The Unity, a mind gripped and fastened by some definite thing cannot take the print of the very contrary."
Herein is explained much of what I've tried to do with my life. I went into the monastery seeking contemplation. I came out with tools for contemplation. Out here, I may have to work for a living, but I am much better able to seek solitude during my off hours. In solitude, I look toward The Unity and away from the distraction of the world. That was the purpose of the monastery too.
In section 6, it says The Solitary.... In this, I see that being in solitude as much as possible, I come closer to "neither knowing nor anything unknown." In solitude, I can turn inward. Not looking at the world, I know less about it; and am more like The Solitary towards which I look.
I cook my beans and rice as I always have; knowing nothing of fancier processed foods. My world changes some but I intentionally keep constancy as a divine quality.
But there is a terrible effort to balance. I can't leave the world totally. I must interact at points. For the most part, work can be kept in a box. Other interactions are brief and can be seen as like meeting like. I have no family of relationship so I don't have the agony I see most others experiencing.
The Truth is true. So reading Plotinus this morning, I became aware of a foundation on which many theologies are built. Religion only goes on to hide the foundation. The Unity is more than a foundation of course, but it is also the thing found by the founders of theologies.