Rupert Spira Podcast: Mark Vernon
Mark Vernon, a former Church of England priest, is a psychotherapist and author of many books.
His approach to this conversation is informed by academic study of Ancient Greek philosophy, the subject in which he holds a PhD, as well as the psychotherapeutic and Christian traditions. Together, Mark and Rupert explore the points of convergence of all three with the non-dual understanding.
They begin by agreeing that psychotherapy can be a necessary first step, or preparation, for those who may then go further along the path of ‘spiritual’ enquiry. Modern people have a highly developed sense of individuality, which can precipitate all sorts of troubles.
But this acute, if sometimes painful, sense of an individual ‘I’ can also be a direct portal to our salvation, or the key to the remedy.
Various key Christian concepts are examined, such as the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Trinity nature of God, and the transfiguration. The two discuss the phrase ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is with us’ in the context of the many ‘I am’ statements in the Christian tradition. Such statements are also found in Classical Advaita as well as in the contemporary version of it as expressed by Rupert and others.
The conversation continues around whether the world is real or illusory, bringing in the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, and finally Dante. While looking for evidence of the non-dual understanding in The Divine Comedy, written before the modern sense of self was born, Mark found many examples, particularly in the ‘Paradise’ section.
They finish by discussing two significant and commonly held misunderstandings. One is the concept of freedom viewed as simply the ability to do whatever one pleases, leading inevitably to clashes with others. Freedom, however, might more accurately describe the discovery of our nature as infinite consciousness, or God’s being, which we intuit as our birthright.
Also, there is the idea that upon recognition of our true nature we suddenly become perfect human beings. Rupert says that while we will still encounter difficulties, they will become opportunities for further realignment.
You can listen to this episode on the Rupert Spira podcast here.