As I bring myself up against the absolute mystery of this immediate moment, I see that the deeper the connection is, the more certain the awareness of my lack of understanding becomes. This is the moment in which a real opportunity to "stay in front of my lack" arises. Not an activity that I command, but, rather, one that may be invited.
Here, I understand more and more, within the context of gravity and sensation, that I understand almost nothing. And, in fact, that I cannot understand in the way that I think it is possible to understand.
In the context of the organic sense of being, of the actual inhabitation of the organism, everything is followed by a question mark except the experience itself. Because I am generally several steps removed from this state, I continually forget the difference between receiving life from within the awareness of the organism, and thinking about receiving life from within the awareness of the organism. And the energies that make it possible to sense such things, and to be, are not under my control.
I can know, but I cannot know very much. If any real understanding arises, it arises within this inhabitation of the body, and it only becomes real understanding if the heart begins to participate. Without the heart, there is no work. There can be preparation for work, but work itself cannot proceed unless the heart is active. Everything up to that point is just preparation, nothing more.
In life, we speak of love and compassion. But these things are just abstractions, concepts, philosophies. For myself, I see this. The only time that love and compassion become real is when something is more active in the organism. It's quite necessary to remind myself of this, because I live with the constant wish to invoke love and compassion, instead of allowing those flowers to open naturally. Maybe I have some buds, and can peel those buds open, but then I don't have a flower. I have the subject of a laboratory examination which has been dismembered.
I see, in fact, that a great deal of life is exactly that if it is not inhabited. It becomes a laboratory examination, not remembered but dismembered. I experience, and even before experience is over, I pick it apart to classify it. I want to analyze, to explain, to be an authority about this question of life. It's possible to do that -- armies of psychologists and spiritualists and scientists have appointed themselves to that role over the centuries -- but in acquiring that temporal and very ordinary kind of authority, something is lost.
What is lost is a sense of the absolute mystery of this condition we call existence. It is certainly possible to understand this condition, but the only way to understand it is from within it, from within a full inhabitation of it. The moment the mind sets itself apart from this inhabitation, relationship collapses. And the heart relies on the presence of relationship in order to enter and fulfill its role.
Above all, the heart and soul of human relationship is the relationship with other human beings. Christ certainly brought us that work. The Buddhists, too, take refuge in the Samgha: the discovery of Being within the community.
So in the hope of having a real understanding, I begin within relationship, and within the community I inhabit -- both of the community of my inner organism, and the community of the individuals that surround me. And as I begin in that place, I openly admit to myself that there is no understanding. There can't be understanding.
There can be an offering which is made from the heart--with a certain kind of innocence which the world, of course, will do everything it can to crush the moment that it appears. But that doesn't mean it should not be offered. Christ advised us to turn the other cheek: even when the world slaps our offerings and our innocence, we must come back again to offer.
This is no work for arrogant people. The planet has enough of those; let those dead bury their own dead. Those who live must put arrogance aside and discover the humility that begins within an organism that first, and truly, understands that it understands nothing.
There is a moment in my work when I become comfortable with not understanding -- comfortable in the sense that I see I exist, and that this is enough to begin working on behalf of something bigger than myself. I don't have to be in charge, and I don't need to be an authority. I need to just be.
Gratitude plows furrows of sorrow, and sorrow can receive the sows the seeds of a real compassion -- one that is not built on my theories about how I (or others) ought to be compassionate, but rather, a compassion that exists within the roots of the organism, and belongs not to the mind, but the soul.
May our hearts be opened, and our prayers be heard.