Monday, February 19, 2018

Liminality






    Liminality is a word that refers to the threshold between in-between times, places, states of being, states of mind, modes of perception, conditions of existence and emanations of the soul. Hypnagogic hallucinations are sensory phantoms lingering in the gate between the dream-state (Theta-wave) and ordinary Beta-wave wakefulness. Whatever their nature, they vanish when the person is fully awake. This is a liminal experience I've had several times. I hear a familiar voice call my name as I wake up, what sounds like my father's voice or my own. The hypnagogic state is like being submerged in water, and it really does feel like I'm swimming back to the surface of the waking world. There is a sense of awe coupled with an adrenal jolt of terror, of having poked through an invisible veil. It doesn't last more than a few seconds, with no lingering effects other than the memory of it happening. When being baptized with water and the Holy Spirit, how long is the person completely submerged? Just long enough to get soaked. But between submersion (death of the old) and resurfacing (birth of the new) there is an interstice in which the baptismal waters have not yet yielded new life nor have they produced the new creature. That is liminality. It's as chronologically insignificant as the evaporating dream-state, yet in the Kingdom of Heaven it resounds forever. 

     Like amphibians, Christians are of two worlds. We are flesh and spirit, and we are also the unquiet boundary between the two. We are a liminality pondering its own existence, feeling its own hateful sting. The God-shaped hole we hear so much about was left in us by God Himself, if you can believe it. I think this hole is actually a ragged necrotized wound, a site of existential trauma incurred when Eden sank to grief and the serpent's fangs delivered their venom. In this this life we know to work out our salvation through fear and trembling, but is there a particular moment that signifies it? When Christian friends ask about the moment we  knew we were saved, what reply do we give? I knew about God long before I actually met Him. I suspect He was with me long before I understood who He was or that He had taken an interest in me. 

Liminality

     L iminality   is a word that refers to the threshold between in-between times, places, states of being, states of mind, mode...