The Didache (1st century) describes Christianity as a “way of life” in which the “fleshly and bodily lusts” of fear and hatred are transformed into compassionate love. This theme was revisited by John of the Cross who composed love poetry to God in a tiny prison cell from which he was regularly taken for ritual torture. This talk will integrate philosophical, theological, and contemplative epistemologies to reflect on theo-centric interpretations of transformation, contrasting a modernist understanding of God as an entity in which one might believe with an analysis of the layered and dimensional quality of mind and the non-objective, non-dual quality of divine reality. That is, the pacification of fear and hatred does not arise from a cognitive act of trust in an object called “God,” but in the penetration of non-cognitive dimensions of mind by experiences of love.

Wendy Farley

Emory University