A Paper II
Self-conscious mind would like us to think that deep mind doesn't exist. But when the mind is working optimally, there is free flow between these two aspects of mind with a slight predominance of deep mind. Reading poetry, engaging in one-pointed meditation, and repetitive manual work engage both parts of the mind simultaneously, to cite just three examples.(5) The process of shifting the attention to deep mind so that both aspects of the mind work together is simple but not easy; self-conscious mind must learn to subvert itself in order to open to the gifts of deep mind. For example, in some forms of one-pointed meditation, one uses a word to silence words so that one can listen to the Word.
The self-conscious shift of attention to deep mind is what I have called the en-Christing process or the work of silence. It is described in Phil. 2:5-11, the central text for the Easter liturgy. Many authors, but especially the Gospel of John that refers to Jesus as the way, along with Pseudo-Denys, Eriugena, and the Cloud-author, understand that Jesus was a human being and that Christ is a process, the en-Christing process, which Jesus came to teach. This may be one reason that Pseudo-Denys appears to avoid the static word 'Christ' in his corpus. Another may be that he follows Ephrem in his understanding that it is blasphemous to talk about the nature of God. This reverence, and the notion that the highest praise of God is silence, found in both Ephrem and Denys, may be one of the main motivations behind the rejection of Chalcedon by two-thirds of Christians at that time. This understanding of Christ as process is one factor in the naming of Christianity and particularly monasticism as 'philosophy' until about the 12th century.
The shift of attention this process entails is fundamentally the same across the human race, but attempts to describe it and to communicate the methodology by which the mind's optimal flow is engaged are culturally linked. However, because there is a neuro-psychological foundation to the work of silence, it is the opposite of the so-called perennial philosophy, which is interpretation of interpretation—i.e., interpretation of experience, often written experience. Experience is always interpretation—and writing about experience is many steps removed from the originating event, and always self-referential, in contrast to the work of silence which is progressively self-forgetful.
(5) Jane Hirshfield, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry (New York: Harper Perennial, 1997), 35-36.