Sunday, July 1, 2007

On children

Today I am going to reach for and discuss something quite difficult. It grows from a specific impression I had a few days ago.

I'll confess. As I compose this, it appears clumsy and inadequate. These ideas were not meant to be expressed in words.

Nonetheless, like Noah's ark, the heart of it is made of true wood. Perhaps if we are willing to enter the vessel with all of our animals, it will lift us above the daily flood of compulsions which drowns our inner civilization.

What is the relationship of this experience we call consciousness to what is experienced?

This thing that we call consciousness, or being, is quite literally the child of a much larger consciousness. I want to stress that I do not mean this as a metaphor. I am speaking of concrete facts here. This very understanding is embedded in the first two words of the Lord's prayer. it is in fact the first thing Christ wanted us to attempt to understand when we pray.

It is not our ego, our personality, that is the child of a larger consciousness, but rather our consciousness itself. This consciousness, this Being, exists and begins before ego and personality begin to toy with it. It is eternal and indestructible. As Zen would put it, it is the face that we had before we were born.

One esoteric meaning of the idea of adultery -- as it is presented in the ten Commandments --is the idea of the dilution of consciousness with ego. This is the mixing of the higher with the lower, of putting new wine into old bottles, which is forbidden.

When we contaminate our original state of consciousness with ego and personality, it becomes adulterated--that is, diluted, polluted with something that does not belong in it. The state of Christ consciousness was born of the Virgin Mary in the sense that it was born of consciousness unsullied by this other, artificial part of us.

So we are not outside of God's consciousness. We exist within it. In fact there is no actual separation between our consciousness and God's consciousness. There can never be such separation. Any experience we have, at any level of consciousness, belongs to this larger consciousness and is born from it.

This is a subtle point. It isn't possible to not be a part of God. The very idea is erroneous and betrays an understanding of what God is. If we study Meister Eckhart, we find this idea. We also find it in Gurdjieff, in Dogen's work, as well as other masters.

There is only one thing. There is only truth. There is only Dharma.

Can we perhaps begin to see ourselves as children of this larger Being? As a nascent possibility, captured in the act of reaching back towards the supreme and unerring maturity of its original source?

To do so would be to drop our carefully constructed and defended pretense of separation. This is a dangerous act from the point of view of our ego and personality. After all, these parts of us can only exist within the separation. If it dies, they die. Everything that we cling to-every trespass we commit and every trespass we hold against others, every temptation we succumb to -- all of that has to die.

What would that mean? Let us all frankly admit it lies well beyond our comprehension, why don't we?

To understand that we are children of something larger is to understand that it is our consciousness itself that is made in the image of God-- not our bodies, and certainly not our deeds.

The living movement of experience itself is the image of God. It is the mirror in which God is reflected.

To understand that we are children also explains why that which gives birth to us loves us. It is in the nature of the parent to love the child, to educate the child, to nurture the child and forgive it unconditionally for its errors.

This idea of the experience of our own Being as the child of a greater Being contains much food.

It is worth pondering with the mind, but it is also worth exploring with the breath , with sensation, and the tastes and smells of the things we touch.

What does it mean to do these things?

May your trees bear fruit, and your wells yield water.

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