Contact, or the Blue Sapphire of the Mind

Douglas E. Christie

in The Blue Sapphire of the Mind

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199812325
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979745 | DOI:
Contact, or the Blue Sapphire of the Mind

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For Evagrius and many other early Christian monks, Mt. Sinai was a symbol of a certain intimacy with God the contemplative might hope to realize on the inner journey. The evocation of the mountain and the sapphire-blue tiles remains an important reminder of the intricate relationship that exists between outer and inner landscapes, and of the way the physical landscape can spark thought, open the imagination, and deepen awareness. The mountain became a place toward which the monk could direct his gaze, a point of orientation, an emblem of the awesome and charged space of his own inner life. This chapter argues that the contemplative vision arising from the ancient Christian monastic world expresses a hunger still present and familiar to us at the dawn of the twenty-first century: the longing to live with an awareness of the whole. And it speaks to the promise inherent in all great spiritual traditions of the world, that the human mind (or heart or soul) is capable of expanding and deepening to such an extent that it becomes possible to incorporate everything and to be incorporated into everything: to exist and know oneself as existing within the whole.

Keywords: Christian monks; Christianity; contemplation; Mt. Sinai; Evagrius of Pontus; human mind; Christian monastic world

Chapter.  17831 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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