Sunday, February 1, 2009

temples and being

The object of my search is so foreign to me that I cannot recognize it.

I can recognize my search; it's familiar, a part of the temple I build inside myself, inevitably connected to my intellect and my personality. But the quality that the temple reflects lies beyond the structures I build.

As I approach this quality, this quality of Being, the closer I get, the more reverence I see I need. Eventually I find myself on my knees, lost within an effort that I myself am incapable of, and asking for help.

What do I ask for?

When Solomon was made king, God asked him what he wanted, and he asked for understanding and discrimination. He didn't ask for riches or immortality. He asked for qualities that would help him to serve, and he did this strictly because he saw immediately how small and inadequate to the task he was.

In seeing that he had no understanding, he understood, and God rewarded him accordingly.

So, I ask for understanding, an understanding that comes not from the temple, but from the place that the temple refers to.

And, in spite of myself, sometimes something is sent.

When Being touches me, in that brief brushing up against me that no words suffice for, again I see my smallness, and my inability to submit. The seed of understanding is born; an understanding that I do not understand submission. A force that transforms wishes to discover a relationship with me, but too many parts of me are out of sync and in conflict with one another. Some of them say yes; some of them say no. Some of them are lazy and confused, and others don't even care.

Somehow, in the midst of this cacophony, a voice that says yes must be born. I hear the faint echoes of that voice at times, but the voice is weak.

All of me must be recruited to this effort, and because I am partial, that task is difficult to achieve.

A root must grow down into me.

That root must dig in to the temple, down into the very foundations, and draw nourishment from it, at the same time that it reaches towards the light. It cannot grow in one direction.

Paradoxically, as it grows, it slowly consumes the temple itself, breaking it back down into the bones of the Earth from which it came. It's not a loss; as the temple crumbles, it assumes an unearthly beauty more appropriate to it than when it was well constructed and adorned with clever offerings.

So much of my work becomes a deconstruction. It's a process that changes everything, that calls all of what life is into question. What is this life? I cling to it so firmly, yet somewhere in my heart of hearts, I know that it is just a reflection of something magnificent that lies well beyond the grasp of my intelligence.

It does not, however, lie beyond the potential grasp of my experience, and this is what I seek to open to.

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

1 comment:

  1. A long time ago, I was undergoing acupuncture treatment daily for a long-standing drug addiction and withdrawal therefrom. The needles were in for about 40 minutes, so I decided I would pray a novena to the Holy Spirit. A novena is a nine day set of prayers which are to be prayed day by day. Each day one would pray for a different gift of the Spirit, of which there were seven. The first day was a kind of set up and the last day was a prayer for the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are as follows:

    * The gift of wisdom
    * The gift of knowledge
    * The gift of counsel.
    * The gift of fortitude
    * The gift of understanding
    * The gift of piety
    * The gift of fear of the Lord

    The use of these gifts and the blossoming of them leads to the development of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are:

    * Love
    * Joy
    * Peace
    * Longsuffering
    * Kindness
    * Goodness
    * Faithfulness
    * Gentleness
    * Self-control

    I prayed this novena over and over probably for about a year. Who is to say whether my prayers were answered or not? Certainly not myself. Only those who might come in contact with might be able to discern if I have received anything.


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