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  • Daniel Rodman

Immanent and Transcendent

A primary description of the Divine's nature is that it is Immanent and Transcendent. Let me begin by talking about the immanent nature of the Divine.

Immanent in this context means in the world or in creation. This immanence can be expressed in many ways. The most personal is when the Divine is experienced as a person. This is called an Avatar. In the Christian tradition Jesus is the presence of God in human form. In the Hindu tradition Krishna and Ram among others are considered Avatars as well. These avatars are the most personal expression of the immanence of the Divine. From there we can include all the Divine beings, the Buddhas, the saints, the angels, all sorts of Divine beings play as channels for Divine will and blessing. From there we can move to every human and every being as being an expression of the Divine, in that we all share in the Divine reality within us. From there you can include all of nature, the plants, the rocks and crystals, the oceans and rivers, the deserts, every natural thing plays as an example of the Divine presence. So too do all the buildings, all the cars, all the high places and low places, places of worship, places of gathering, places of solitude, entertainment, sadness, joy, excitement, and pain. All of these things share in the Divine reality. Ultimately, everything in the world is an expression of the Divine, since the Divine is the source and ground of its reality. The immanence of the Divine is the fact that nothing ultimately can be apart from the Divine, that no matter where you look, the face of God is there. To live not knowing that is to be of the world, beautiful as it is, whereas to live knowing that is to walk with God.

The Transcendent nature of the Divine is just that: it is utterly Transcendent. It Transcendent of all of existence, since it is the groundless ground of it all. It is beyond all thought, since it is the source of it all. It is not merely infinite, like something very big. It is the basis for the notion of all size and shape. It is utterly beyond. It is without limit. It is unimaginable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, ungraspable, unspeakable, undoable. The Divine in its ultimate nature is beyond our reach, however an intuition gathered from an idea of it can be a guiding song in our hearts. It can be found in the stillness of our own mind, as a whisper of calling. It can be found in the eyes of our loved ones. It can be found in the rocks and trees, in the birds song. It can be known through our suffering, and our transcendence of suffering. It can be known in our lover, and the love that is forever. It can be seen in the stars and how they all sing the same song. The Divine can be known in all things, and for that we can be like children, receiving the gift of the day like a many sided music box. May you know the Immanence and the Transcendence of the Divine, that you may be full and also completely free.

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