Tuesday, December 30, 2008

fundamentals


I was planning to write a rather clever piece today about the relationship between the evolutionary pressures on eusocial insect societies and three lines of work. But as I sat here contemplating it, it seemed a bit too clever, if not contrived, and too intellectual for my current state to be truly interested in.

Instead, I find myself pondering how everything we do and everything we think we know stems from a side of ourselves that can't "do" anything, and understands almost nothing.

Despite this fundamental truth, we stubbornly insist on interpreting everything -- even our inner work -- from this part.

It's only when the centers become a bit more integrated and a different kind of energy is available within me that I begin to see how fundamentally inadequate my ordinary state is.

From everywhere within the ordinary state, there is an insistence on its priority. There's a great deal of talk in spiritual work about putting this aside, but there can be no putting it aside from within what it is.

Only other influences can lead me to the point where there is any putting aside whatsoever. Those influences have a wish for me, but it isn't a wish I can truly touch from my ordinary self. It needs to be attracted, perhaps. As is said in alchemy, one has to have some gold in order to make more gold. One has to do enough work to develop a bit of magnetism, which may then call towards what is needed.

How does this take place? I don't know. How do I become filled with a sensation, attracted to an intimacy that can support me?

If the seed arrives, perhaps I can plant it, and help it grow, but the seed must do the growing of its self. To imagine that I can take on the work of that seed is akin to believing that I can get a tree by gluing green pieces of paper to a piece of wood. No, the seed must grow on its own. I can function as an attendant, perhaps even a guardian, but it is up to me, "as I am," to provide the environment which may foster its growth.

This means that the ordinary self (which is already, within this possibility of intimacy, not quite so ordinary anymore) acquires a responsibility. I discover a responsibility to myself. The taste of what is real in an inner sense begins to matter to me.

Even then, most of the time, most of me doesn't care. Any man or woman can all too easily get the taste of God in them, and yet proceed to spit it out. It sounds kind of terrible, but there it is. We are fed the Divine with every step we take and every move we make, and we regurgitate 99.9% of it without a second thought. It takes that subtle force we refer to as attention to become willing to swallow a bit more.

These extraordinary influences -- the ones which seem so ephemeral, so fugitive, and which we work so hard to encounter -- are not rare at all. We dwell within an immeasurable sea of extraordinary influences. The divine -- even the highest particles of the divine -- penetrate everything, and are found everywhere. We are perpetually bathed in the conscious light of God itself, but have next to no sense whatsoever of it.

It's peculiar to live within an existence where one sees this and understands that one can do little or nothing about it. Perhaps the whole idea of faith is to invest oneself in a tacit agreement that this Divinity is already the silent partner in our lives.

The partner -- Rumi would call it the Friend -- is always present. We are not.

How do we hold open our arms to take in this light?
How do we breathe with gratitude?
How do we honor this work of living we are given?

Alone, we cannot even ask the questions properly. In partnership, much more becomes possible. But even then, to acknowledge the support, and reciprocate, is just the beginning of the journey into our life.

So yet again, today, I am called to remember this intimacy:

This possibility of being much more interested in precisely how I am within
--and where I am within;

Of containing that interest and holding it in front of me;

Of nurturing it and allowing it to remain intact;

All the while encountering the ordinary circumstances of this ordinary life... where nothing is ordinary at all.

May our hearts be opened, and our prayers be heard.

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