Tuesday, April 7, 2009

To Grace, Through Experience

My goodness! Where have I been lately? Not to Lake Atitlan, although that would have been super. I have been busy getting ready to start my new job, with a side excursion to see my parents on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

I have also been waking up in the middle of the night and studying the question of how I breathe. There are moments in the darkness, when I find myself alone within my organism, where the simple study of the fact that there is breath and sensation becomes a deep meditation of its own.

During the last week I also came across the Philokalia, and immediately decided that I had to own a copy of these writings; so much of them speaks directly to the search I find myself within. They are a reminder of a deeply, and most esoterically, Christian aspect of my inner work-- what one might call a hidden side that does get discussed in this space on occasion, but must for the most part remain absolutely private.

On our way back from the Outer Banks, my wife and I began to discuss Grace, and how one comes to it -- if one does.

It is only within a state of receiving, a state of Grace, that I discover and establish a material experience of life. The material experience of life is absent in sleep. There is, of course, a substantial presence of materialism within ordinary life, but to have a material experience of life is not all the same thing as the ism of it. One is the tangible ingestion and digestion of impressions; the other is an attachment to objects. The processes of the organism are not objects, they are experiences. An investment within the experience -- especially the organic experience -- leads to a kind of food that is not available under any other kind of circumstances.

So when I speak about investigating my breathing in the middle of the night, the connection between breath and the body, I speak about a material experience, and I speak about an inner search that wishes to discover the real nourishment that is available within that experience.

So what do I mean when I use the word Grace? After all, this word is used so much, there seems to be little doubt different men could mean different things when they use it.

For myself, it means to have a certain kind of inner connection deep within the body, a sense of the bones of my bones. The living sensation of the marrow. At the same time, to have a real feeling, a sensitive and quite physical emotional contact with the immediate circumstances of my life. That experience may be somewhat devoid of what I ordinarily might call thinking. It does not, at any rate, consist of intellectualizing. There is a quite definite form of awareness there, but that awareness primarily consists of sorrow and the understanding that I am mortal.

Within that sensation, that three centered experience of my life, there is a much more immediate sense of being fed, and of having a direct responsibility for my manifestations. Are there elements of what one might call the sacred? Of course there are, but how can we describe that? The sacred can only be indicated by the spaces between each word, and perhaps never by the words themselves. We point to the sacred with what we do not say, rather than what is said.

For myself, I see that I must allow the inner process to help me cultivate a much deeper respect for, and appreciation of, others. Without labeling it watchfulness, or attention, or mindfulness as I live within the experience, I must allow experience -- I suffer experience. Within that context, deepening my tolerance (as one of my essence-brothers calls it) I grope my way towards manifestation as befits a three brained being, or a man without quotation marks.

Thinking about how I will do this is pointless. I cannot do this. There is, however, the possibility of discovering how to inhabit my life, in which case, something can be done.

What is then done, however, is not of myself.

It is a gift that we might, if we had to use words, also call Grace. That gift is only earned by payment in advance, and that payment can only be made through participation in experience.

Tomorrow's post, presuming I follow today's aim -- which is not, as readers probably know by now, guaranteed-- will be an interesting (to me, at any rate) comment on the Yogic Christ.

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

3 comments:

  1. Looking forward to your commentary on Yogic Christ! Grace is (or should be Habitual)

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  2. Dear Lee,
    What a noble subject!
    Grace is very mysterious phenomena happens in extreme trust and connectivity. In the continue feeling of shelter and agreement with universe. Basically we all are part of this whole and one organism, but perhaps we forgotten. So we feel alone, if we remember and establish a connection in-between then this whole universe starts flowing unto us.
    It is as if “An elephant entered in poor’s hut.”
    Regards
    Aroon

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  3. You might find the work of Dennis Lewis interesting. His specialty is breathwork, and his background is with the SF Gurdjieff Institute, as well as being a teacher of tai chi and qigong.

    Your posts are very interesting.

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