Immanence and Transcendence

Immanence can only be discovered in a dialectical relationship to transcendence. The word transcendence means “to surmount, to go beyond or to climb above”. And the concept of transcendence expresses an impulse to surmount the flow of intensities, to move beyond multiplicity, to climb out of the womb of nature. Like an acorn sprouting to become a tree, transcendence is the instinctual impulse of humans to grow and individuate. This impulse towards growth takes the spirit up to lofty heights, but it is only the initial movement of the spirit.

Immanence is the counter movement of the spirit. Experienced as a shift in consciousness: an immanent turn occurs as we shift our gaze from the transcendent horizon of our individuality to the truth of our relationality. In this shift, immanence is discovered in tandem with the realization of the depths of the Self; a subjectivity that is both personal and interpersonal, and yet extends beyond subject-object duality. While transcendence is the movement that individuates us from the larger body of life, immanence is realization of our unity and interdependence within the web of life.

Immanence is union, but never a fixated union. Imagine divine lovers in play: simultaneously one couple, but two beings, who through their love and opposition recognize the divine nature of each other. In a similar way we are simultaneously particular individuals and we are in relation to, and part of, a larger body of being. It is the process of working with this paradox of the Self that brings us into full realization. For the Self is the union of the finite & infinite, temporal & eternal. And our immanence is the full realization of this paradox.


3 thoughts on “Immanence and Transcendence

  1. Jenna, it seems to me that the human being is an archetype for the dialectical tension between knowing and not knowing, (well, at least among other things).


    1. Yes, we are the ones who can know the unknown.
      We are particular points of consciousness who can perceive the infinite.
      We live finite lives which open to the eternal.
      How blessed we are to be able hold such awareness in our humanness, and the more vulnerable, the more open to the infinite, the more alive.
      We are a living paradox.

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