On the other hand, I could not shake off Teilhard's idea of
Christogenesis. Of course I realized that lots of people are
gripped by a special, need I say "spiritual," experience. The
central issue in all this, however, is about how one might
interpret this experience.
Was Teilhard's special experience a vision, or something
that slipped out into his consciousness during meditation?
I don't know, in that he only alluded to it. But I do remember
his once writing about meditation techniques, like peering
into a flame, being drawn out of oneself, etc. Perhaps what
he had experienced was a deep kind of *intuition*?
I decided to drive north, up into nearby Sonoma County to
visit the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). Established a
number of years back, it essentially concentrated on special
mental phenomena from a scientific perspective. What I hoped
to gain from this visit was more of a contemporary understanding
of Intutition that wasn't necessarily connected with magical or
even spiritual thinking.
Having made an appointment, I spent a few days on a
personal retreat at IONS talking with some of the experts
who studied the subject of Intuition.
Admitting that Intuition could take many forms, their task was
to discern between wishful thinking and what they deemed
"pure" Intuition. So how do you do that? Well wishful thinking
is mainly about fooling yourself. It also can involve projection,
where you can project on another person or on a relationship
or on a form of faith in your deep set wishes.
Could Teilhard have projected onto the Historical Jesus his
wish to make his idea of the Cosmic Christ *real*?
And exactly what might Intuition be? Interestingly, specialists
today believe that true intuition centers in your body. That
surprised me. Researchers are discovering that true intuition
seems to be accompanied by excitement, joy, fulfillment--all
a kind of "brightness" that more than often is first felt by your
Then comes our mental images when it comes to Intuition.
One need carefully to analyze this initial sensation, asking
one's self whether the experience is actually residue from
recent experiences for example. Finally, if one comes to
realize that what they have experienced is a true intuition,
they will eventually be comfortable with it, calm after analysis
of such, and then integrate it into their life.
Well--coming off this retreat, I wasn't sure how scientifically
sound these present understandings of Intuition were. At
least these researchers were trying to approach this
phenomenon "generically" instead of attaching magical or
spiritual significance to such.
Nonetheless, driving home, I realized that I--or anyone else-
would ever be able to explain away Teilhard's special
experience. Whether intuition or not, historically Intuition
is a human capacity that has resulted in profound expressions
of genius. And it would seem that Teilhard was such a case!