Introduction to the teachings on union with god (theosis)
Introduction to the Teachings
Spiritual Enlightenment exists and has always existed in the Teachings of Jesus Christ and those who followed, and continue to follow in his ways can come to know Spiritual Enlightenment directly as Jesus did. These teachings, followed properly, result in a step by step awakening process filled with stages and a process of Spiritual evolution that eventually leads to Union with God as an experience and beyond.
These deeper advanced Teachings on Christian Enlightenment and Union with God are not taught in Westernized versions/denominations of Christianity, but still to this day, continue to be taught in a variety of Eastern traditions and denominations such as Eastern Orthodoxy, the Desert Fathers, the testimonies of various Christian Mystics, Monks, Hermits, and Saints throughout antiquity and within a variety of denominations, and what they teach is above and beyond what is presented to us as Western Denominations present.
For a proper form of Context in regards to these teachings and traditions, I usually ask the people I work with to read the following link on Union, which in Eastern Orthodox tradition is referred to as ‘Theosis’ or ‘Deification’.
The Wikipedia Link paraphrases the depths of this topic perfectly within the first few sentences:
“In Eastern Orthodoxy deification (theosis) is a transformative process whose goal is likeness to or union with God. As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of katharsis (purification of mind and body) and theoria (‘illumination’ with the ‘vision’ of God). According to Eastern Orthodox teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy (or cooperation) between human activity and God’s uncreated energies (or operations).”
I like to put it this way best in a Parable of the Senses.
You see with your eyes, hear with ears, smell with your nose, touch with your hands, breathe with your lungs, think using thoughts, and are consciously aware with your conscious awareness. But what do you use to experience God’s Union?
For that Union with God experience to be manifested requires the awakening of a totally different organ that is already within you, yet this organ right now is merely a potential, an unawakened potential. It is similar to someone who has eyes, but they’ve never opened them before, or someone who has ears which have never heard before.
That organ which experiences Union is the Soul, and that Soul is in you now, sleeping, waiting to be awakened. The method we use to awaken the soul is to invert the following parable experientially:
You see with your eyes, hear with ears, smell with your nose, touch with your hands, breath with your lungs, and are consciously aware with your conscious awareness; (Inverted becomes transformed into); ‘Eyes are seeing on their own without a you, ears are hearing on their own without a you, nose smells on its own without a you, touch occurs all on its own without a you, breathing happens all on its own without a you, thoughts are occurring all on their own without a thinker, and conscious awareness is consciously aware all on its own without a you.’
Besides the above inversions, we also start to deconstruct and invert all the identities and habitual tendencies that have been constructed from the brainwashing and programming from the worldly constructs that exist as peers, education, media, social constructs, government, parents, language, duality, archetypes, biases, and so on through a conscious process of awareness, unknowing, and realizing the illusory nature of such things.
One of the biggest hang-ups and blockages to Union is the identification to thoughts and the thinking process and we also use a set of specifically precise tools to deconstruct the unreality of thought and undergoing a process of disidentification from it.
We are in a sense purifying and preparing the inner Atmosphere of your being so that it becomes a cocoon for the Butterfly that is the Soul to awaken to its Union with God.
In order to start to cultivate this Atmosphere requires the study and assimilation of both scholastic understanding of the teachings as presented in the book, Blueprints to Union by Brother Dominick, along with the synergistic cooperation of meditating using a set of 3 meditations known as The Atmosphere of No Self, The A.M. Mystical Meditation, and the P.M. Mystical Meditation as found on Brother Dominick’s YouTube channel here:
Without the knowledge and intellectual saturation of the contents of the Book, the meditations will fail to develop the richness and depth that is required from intellectual understanding and insight. Likewise, reading the book without the direct experience of cultivating the Meditations will merely result in an intellectual understanding of what is being taught, but without a direct experience and saturated inner knowledge that comes from direct experience. It is these two working in tandem that the breakthrough into Union eventually manifests.
In a sense we are inverting your typical status quo of experience into its opposite. So if you believe you are a separate individual divided from God who is separate and somewhere out there, while you are right here, we take that whole structure, and no longer believe in it. The entirety of it is tossed aside and let go of or surrendered. Your typical daily activities of life are mostly centered on Doing, so we reverse this and get used to Being. All of your attention and awareness are both constantly pulled outwardly into the world, senses, thoughts, feelings, moods, and so on, so we invert this process by bringing attention and awareness 180 degrees back in on itself. You believe the sky is separate from the ground, so we invert this by no longer believing in separation of any sort.
Though the list is endless with everything we process via inversion using specific tools, the process into Union is quite simple. I’ve worked with people who I originally thought, felt, and assumed would never ever get any of this, only to find that with a few days/weeks/months they figure it all out and Union dawns experientially when least expected. This taught me the lesson of no longer assuming or taking any positions on who will or won’t figure it out.
How do I know if this is for me?
If you even have to ask this question then it’s not for you. The Teachings are self filtering in the sense that they reflect where you yourself are in the evolutionary stages of Spiritual Growth. The people who jump right in, who are 100% serious and genuine, who have flown across continents to come to retreats, in them is a massive longing and burning in the heart for experiential Union with God. Many times this longing is born after the indwelling of the Holy Spirit has happened, the Holy Spirit will send people my way so I can act as the midwife to the Union Birthing process. In other people, it is an insatiable unquenchable thirst for the experience of Union that can only be resolved with Union itself. These are people who have matured in their spiritual walk with Christ, God, or have had an accidental glimpse of Union prior. Some have always had Union as children, only to be veiled later by the identification with egotism that comes about from the worldly programming of the mind. It really differs from person to person, but the one thing in common for everyone in whom Union manifests is that there is a 100% genuineness of application of these teachings and seeing them all the way until the end, where Union manifests, and continuing from there, as the lessons never really end, nor does the evolution of Union itself.
Sometimes I get contacted by people who are just starting out in their walk with Christ and I have to turn them away and ask that they come around much later. In the case of a beginner there are usually the following stages before this work can even be approached:
Stage 1. Something happens that causes the person to seek God or there is some sort of pull to start learning about the things of Christ that can be intuitive, heartfelt, or for various other reasons. This results in the visiting of Church services, Bible Study, prayer, and application of the teachings, however this is usually done so within the confines and biases of the chosen denomination.
Stage 2. As the months pass there is a number of levels of growth in terms of saturating the intellect with scriptural knowledge, growing in love, faith, trust, and constantly working on changing from the old egotistical worldly ways into loving, faithful, selfless, service, and overall Christlike characteristics that the person cultivates. There is within a few months a palpable change because scripture itself is infused with Holy energy and the contemplation of scripture and of the things of God is like a transformational calling card to grace.
Stagnation. At this point, many Christians basically stagnate at stage 2 and stay here for years, sometimes for the rest of life by fluctuating between falling back to the old ways of how one once was, to trying again to return to all the aspects of cultivation that were mentioned above as part of stage 2. This becomes impossible to keep up with because it is of your own doing and your own doing is completely under the influence of ego, carnal mind, adamic mind, the influences of the animalism within the body, the archetypes being programmed into the ego via cultural programming, and the overall unawakened and unconscious state of being. It is a sad state to be in and I have spoken with many elder Christians in their 50’s and older, some who have since passed, who remained for their entire lives in stage 2.
Stage 3. At this point whether it’s through calling out and longing for God, or as was in my case, a rebaptism, there will come a direct experiential awakening by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and Grace through the top of the head, through the body, and down to the feet. The Spirit is a Supreme Divine Being and intelligence that slays/kills the ego at the point of entering within the body. It literally feels like you are going to die when the Spirit is upon you ready to enter, and I have come across friends and family that would not let the Spirit enter because of fear of death. Though I have shared with some that by not letting go and giving in to fear, it blocks the entry of Holy Spirit, not all have listened and they go about still unawakened and unblessed by this amazing life changing highlight of the walk with Christ. Others who took heed to this trap, listened, and were eventually indwelled and transformed.
While the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a form of grace the produces Ego death and imbues you with Spiritual faculties, it is still not the end of the journey, but merely the beginning. Many times the other members within the denomination who you find yourself with will look at you like a deer caught in the headlights when you try to explain what is happening with you, and this is quite normal, for how can someone still at stage 2, possibly know or have any context at all what happens to those at stage 3? They can’t and I know this because it happened to me. I tried and tried to find anyone within the Mega Church Evangelical scene to share with me the insights and instructions on how to go about this Indwelling of the Spirit and ego death/rebirth, but no one knew, not my teacher, not any Pastor or Elder, not even certain Theologians I knew who were running University Departments in Seminary Schools and had multitudes of books written while going on speaking engagement tours across the world. These experts were experts in terms of academic scholarly pursuits, but they were completely incompetent in the experiential side of things.
This is usually where I come in, as God has placed my life to be the Lighthouse on the shores of Mystical Christianity. As the boats cross the ocean from stage 2 to stage 3, they usually come across my website or YouTube video channel and they send me a message about their awakening via the Holy Spirit indwelling experience, and I welcome you into this, to let you know that it’s okay, you are supposed to be going through this, and this just the beginning.
It is at this stage 3 level of awakening where we leave behind the preliminary stages and start all over again, into the Mystical tradition the Christ taught and the numerous scriptural verses allude to. In a sense, the old has died and the new has been born, so from here we start from a new set of stages, as best alluded to in Evelyn Underhill’s book, ‘Mysticism’, which I shall outline and comment on here:
Mystical Stage 1. (AWAKENING) This is “The first step toward the mystic goal in which a person awakens to the existence of a divine order or reality. This experience, usually abrupt and well-marked, is accompanied by intense feelings of joy and exhaltation.” (p. 169) Psychologically, this awakening of transcendental consciousness is a form of conversion.”
The above speaks for itself, your entire status quo reality is completely inverted upside down with the Spiritual Awakening that comes from the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In fact, scripture refers to this as a period you enter in, during which ‘No man can teach you’ for man uses words, logic, reason, intellect, and with the Holy Spirit we enter experiential Transcendence, Holy Dispassion, Spiritual Sight, Empathy, Inner Sensitivity, and a variety of awakened faculties that are brand new and directly there for use. It is from here that the Holy Spirit teaches you directly, mystical things that man cannot teach.
1 John 2:27 27But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
When people come to me at this stage, there’s not much I can do except to point out that there should be meditation, surrender, and letting go to the inner changes that the Holy Spirit will continue to work out, including untying a variety of inner knots, loosening any tension, revealing inner mysterious, spring cleaning the past mess that was the ego, blasting everything within with Love, Bliss, Light, and many other things. All I can do is keep telling the person to be with this until things will eventually settle down in time, it could be months or sometimes years.
Mystical Stage 2. PURGATION/PURIFICATION: “This first phase of awakening soon shades into the second – purgation. The mystic increasingly realizes his or her imperfection and finiteness in contrast to the sacred and attempts by means of discipline and or mortification to eliminate all that stands in the way of coming into deeper contact with the transcendent.
“The first thing that the self observes when it turns back upon itself in that awful moment of lucidity [of awakening] is the horrible contrast between its clouded contours and the pure sharp radiance of the Real; between its muddled faulty life, its perverse self-centered drifting, and [the clarity of the transcendent].” (p.200)
And herein lies where the process known as The Blueprints to Union and my work as a midwife of the Soul/Union Birthing process begin. The Atmosphere of No Self and the insights gained from the Book Blueprints to Union combined, create a specific Atmosphere of purification from any and all identifications, so that you enter and cultivate a Nakedness of Being, a Positionless state of soft Surrender in preparation for Union. It is usually here that with time and practice after a precise intellectual saturation and knowledge of how to go about with this whole process, that Union can dawn.
I shall include the rest of Underhill’s Mystical Stages, however I do not necessarily agree with them since what was most vital in my own path into Union and presenting these teachings, has always been efficiency, speed, and ease in the manifestation of Union, and it is exactly how it works with most people. If they simply approach Purgation in the correct way, it will lead to Union and stages are interchangeable and flexible as well.
Mystical Stage 3. ILLUMINATION (Underhill) replaced with UNION (Brother Dominick)
To be clear, in Underhill’s stages, she goes into Illumination stage here, while in Blueprints to Union, Union itself usually happens here after spending some time in Mystical Stage 2 Purgation/Purification. I will go into what Underhill says about this stage and include some commentary.
Underhill – “The pain and effort of purgation open before long upon the third phase of mystic life — illumination.”
While Underhill refers to pain and effort, what we cultivate in the Atmosphere of No Self is a deconstruction of pain and a flowing effortlessness, both of which make the process pleasant and efficient.
Underhill – “Illumination results from having purged oneself of attachments to the things of the senses and having substituted for them an attachment to the transcendent.
While Underhill refers to an attachment to the transcendent, in the Atmosphere of No Self we cultivate No attachments, No Positions, No Clinging, No Grasping, and by doing so we learn to process a state of Being that is disidentified from all senses, thoughts, feelings, identities which result in something similar to greasing up the path into Union for quick and efficient Manifestation via a specific form of surrender. We don’t even attach to the transcendent because that would create an identity/construct/duality of an ‘I’ or ‘Me’ who is attached to something, and that forms a dualistic construct, something we seek to deconstruct and not abide in.
Underhill – It is “a state which includes in itself many of the stages of contemplation, visions and adventures of the soul described in “the writings of the great mystics.
I do agree 100% with the above statement in that the process/path into Union will at certain stages give birth to faculties of the soul, gifts of the spirit, OBE’s, spiritual sight, bliss, Love, transcendence, and many other features. These gifts only strengthen the resolve of continuing the process, since they become as signposts along the way.
Underhill – But deep as its joys may be, illumination is not finally true union with the absolute, and Underhill warns of its dangers: “In persons of feeble or diffuse intelligence…and above all in victims of self-regarding spirituality, this deep absorption in the sense of Divine Reality may easily degenerate into a monoideism. Then the ‘shady side’ of Illumination, a selfish preoccupation with transcendental joys, the ‘spiritual gluttony’ condemned by St. John of the Cross, comes out. (p. 246)”
With the above statement, our process/path to Union has as one of its features a detachment and nonidentification with any of the gifts that arise along the way. Even after Union dawns, we continue cultivating in this way because even Union evolves itself in numerous ways and experiences by integrating Union into daily life, movement, speaking, ups and downs and all arounds. It is a continual integration and stabilization process that truly never ends.
Mystical Stage 4 Dark Night of The Soul (Underhill) is something that is already built into Brother Dominick’s stage 2 PURGATION/PURIFICATION that occurs while cultivating the Atmosphere of No Self. We can avoid the Dark Night all together, though some people still do pass a sort of Mini-Dark Night of the Soul. For some people, realizing that they are not the ego and losing what they once thought was real, it can be a bit sad, like letting go of an old worn and useless sweater that has already torn at all the seams and was held together by safety pins.
Some people do go through an arid deadness and dry period as can occur with anyone going through this process, however in the Atmosphere of No Self, the tools we use to process everything as it arises, are also used to process the dryness of the Dark Night by no longer identifying with it, allowing, Being, flowing, surrendering to what is, and it usually passes quickly.
Mystical 4 UNION (Underhill’s take is in agreement with Brother Dominick)
Underhill – “But passing through the dark night, the mystic enters at last into Union, the fifth and last phase of mystic expansion into the transcendent.”
While the above may be so and certainly was for me, it isn’t always the case. By unraveling and undoing one’s self into Union as these teachings show, Union can happen and manifest at anytime, at anyplace, and doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go through any Dark Night of the Soul. In fact, there is a falling in Love that takes place with this process, and many of the people I work with, if they have too much time within the social constructs of the worldly ways with their attention and awareness pulled outwardly for too long with too much Doing, feel a huge longing and pull to return to Being and disidentifying from all the constructs and ways of the world. It becomes a fascinating journey of undoing into the Mystery of Soul that is already One with God.
Underhill – “Union is essentially ineffable.”
Yes because it is a positionless Omnipresence within which all positions appear, and yet they are not separate, it is such a mind boggling paradox that the mind doesn’t even try and can’t possibly make sense of it, so it gives up. It is indeed ineffable and even everything I have replied with here, fails to put light to Union itself, therefore in ineffability, we toss aside everything said.
Pssssst! I dare you to see for yourself thought!
Underhill – “In it, one no longer merely perceives and enjoys the transcendent (as with Illumination) but becomes one with it.”
As with the above quote, even in the Oneness of Union of the Soul with God, there is still a variety of stages that evolve and happen afterwards. It becomes a never ending journey of stabilization and integration into all facets of Life. Union itself also continues to transform and evolve itself when it seen to also be Love, to also be Light, to also be timeless yet allowing for the appearance of time, to itself not be an appearance but to give birth to the myriads of appearances.
There was once a time I figured it was done, it was all complete, and then I realized a year later what a foolish statement that was when in retrospect there was a year’s worth of continued transformation and evolution of a variety of inner facets which all ripen at their own time.
There are, of course, stages in following the teachings in the Blueprints of Union book, however we never view them as that, since in the present moment experience, it is always the present moment which is constantly both in flux of evolving and apparently changing into movement and change itself, and yet at the center of it there is stillness that always remains, yet even these things we deconstruct and detach from: Stillness, movement, change, appearances, and so on. The Stages in the Atmosphere of No Self, and transcending all stages, will be discussed in an upcoming separate article.
So are these teachings still for me?
That is a question that requires deep examination within yourself after having read this article and continuing to research The Mystics, Monks, Hermits, and Desert Fathers of Antiquity within the variety of different denominations who have come to know Union with God experientially. This is something that transcends denominations and it is its own separate transformative process to directly experience the deeper things of God, something that the Eastern Orthodox Christian’s say is the purpose for all of our lives.
There’s was a woman who was a retreatant at one of the Bi-annual retreats I hold and during one of our one-on-one sessions she was worried that she hadn’t found her life’s purpose and compared her life to mine saying that my life’s purpose was to help others with Union, while hers was a mess. We deconstructed all these views on the spot and I showed her that she was exactly where she needed to be, doing exactly what she needed to do to fulfill the purpose of Union. She cried with joy at the realization and before the retreat ended, she experienced her first glimpse of the Union experience, which would later become permanent Union. Now when I ask her if she’s still looking for her purpose, she simply laughs at the ridiculous premise of taking on a bunch of illusory positions.
I can’t ever tell you if these teachings are for you, as this is something that has to come from the deepest most genuine part of yourself that you know, in 100% genuineness, honesty, and honor. This question is something to feel and to contemplate deeply over a lengthier period of time. Some people who have come to retreats or I have worked with in person, they clearly know and feel they are not ready for this, and some disappear into the ‘thing of life’ never to be seen or heard from again. Others after meeting with me, admit they are not ready, but return after a certain amount of time has passed and they have reflected on the vital importance of what is being laid out here.
However, to close this article I would still like to offer you an invitation on this inner journey of unraveling and undoing yourself into the Experience of Union with God. It is already the underlying reality of existence, and the portal to Union is already there within you, waiting to be awakened by the turning of specific keys. When done so properly, Union will manifest.