Christianity: Immaculate Conception: re-interpreting the Virgin Birth: virgin mind
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
The image of the 'virgin' has, from antiquity to the present, been a much misused, misinterpreted, and misunderstood aspect of not a few religious mythologies. Therefore, for the intent of this section, instead of engaging in a digressive polemic regarding the truth or untruth of the various schools of thought around the virgin archetype or actuality (the reader might note, however, that currently there are at least the following four definitions of 'virgin' which have been applied religiously: 1: a chaste woman- or man, for that matter 2: an unmarried woman. 3: a self- possessed woman. 4: anyone with a blank or innocent mind), I prefer to cut right to the chase and state that for the purposes of this chapter the reader will come closer to the understanding of the following quotes by recognizing that the definition for 'virgin' which I have accepted is most closely related to number 4, and thus, applied in a more secular sense, is symbolically similar to that which is 'unspoiled or untouched', as in a virgin forest, or virgin country.
Keeping this in mind, it will be easier to make the essential leap that the 'virgin mind' is the innocent and open mind, untrammeled by knowledge and words, and, as it were, without 'conception' (profane conception), and therefore ready to be filled by the Sacred seed.
"When it's all over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement."
Joseph Campbell comments that: "...she is virgin, because her spouse is the Invisible Unknown." For the virgin, in biblical lore, or myth, is the one impregnated by God. And what is God, but the Unknowable. Therefore, to be impregnated by the Unknowable, requires the openness of Unknowing. Hence one's conception is immaculate when there is no idea that tarnishes the soul.
"In the mystic world," relates Elisabeth Haich, "the Virgin is the human soul which, purged of all earthly dross, has become spotless and has received the divine seed from the spirit of God."
Hence it is quite easy to understand the mythological symbology alluded to in the Biblical story where the Virgin Mary becomes impregnated by God without any carnal activity; for carnal activity exists within the realm of particularization, and yet the virgin soul is undivided from the whole, and therefore receives the All without the intermediacy of any part.
Indeed it is the person who is ignorant, and innocent, who is the perfect candidate to receive the spirit. The individual must have a Virgin Mind in order to give birth to the new life.
And what, again, is it to 'be' Virgin? Tom Moore explains: "The virginal psyche is innocent, unknowing, untutored... no simplifications, no adjustments to favored styles of thought and expression, no symbolic shorthand. As in the virginal reflection of dreams, learning and logic have no place in the virginal psyche".
The message should be obvious: The 'virgin mind' (i.e. the unknowing, wondering mind) is the opening through which 'God the Mystery' incarnates into the flesh. Any mind which is not virginal cannot possibly receive the great Unknowable, for such a mind is already filled with limitedness.
Thus the Virgin mind gives immaculate birth to the Child, for "...silence receives as in a womb, the seed of the ineffable source," wrote Andrew Harvey, and "... [from] this she brings forth all the emanations of the divine being..."
"I must be the Virgin and give birth to God
should I ever be graced divine beatitude."
And so, as has been outlined in past chapters, we must continually become absent of 'preconception', by unknowing what we think we know, if we are to be mentally virginal. That is: "To do away with the worshipping of an idol that is an empty ideal, to return back to the virgin self of becoming without any limitations", as Ramtha suggests.
Similarly, describing Mary Magdalene's re-virginization in The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis wrote: "She had wept and cleansed her soul with tears, had struggled to erase her past from her mind, to forget everything...and to be born again with a virgin body, [then] she felt her soul newly virgin and her lips unkissed."
And later Kazantzakis wrote of the effect produced in Jesus from spending time alone in the desert: "The desert sand was being removed from his body and the virtues and vices of mankind from his soul- leaving it again virgin."
To come to this blessed state of newness, of virginality, we must continually humble ourselves from the false pride of thinking we understand what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil, what is God and what is not-God, thus chastening ourselves until we are chaste of all thought, if we are going to continually be virginal, and brides of God. To be virginal is not a one-time event, it is a never-ending openness, allowing the forever-new to continually actualize itself to us.
"Do not know him, for it is impossible; but if by means of an enlightened thought you should know him, be ignorant of him. ...he is united with the ignorance that sees him."
The book of Allogenes
It is the continual re-virginization of the mind that perpetuates the living wonder.
Osho describes this necessity as such, "...unless you drop all your knowledge, you will not enter back, you will not be received back. Knowledge is the sin and ignorance is the virtue. ...To be ignorant and to know that all knowledge is false, is a radical revolution. Then you remain virgin. Then knowledge never corrupts you."
Which is to say, we must return at every moment to ignorance, over and over again, and thus eternally be alive to receive the now-mystery of being.
Meister Eckhart reflected on this perspective when he stated: "A virgin, in other words, is a person who is free of irrelevant ideas, as free, as he was before he existed."
So 'virginity' is neither a gender inference, nor a sexual one. It is simply a cloudless sky, a soundless night, or a thoughtless mind. It is the point where the individual re-enters the pristine womb of beingless being, so as to be born again ...as a child.
Note: This exegesis in no way disputes the reality of Mother Mary as an actuality, then, and now. Mother Mary is a great soul bringing compassion to this struggling realm.
(excerpted from THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, by Jack Haas)