Everything on this planet works in a tidal manner; that is to say, according to either a lunar or circadian rhythm. There is an ebb and a flow to the energy that is available within life.
We are familiar with this in the context of ordinary sleep and awakening; most people have heard of biorhythms. There is no doubt, however, that higher energies which can inform us are also subject to these cyclical ranges of availability.
When an inner energy becomes more available, I generally notice that it has little to do with whether I am trying, or not trying, to be more available to a certain finer quality of attention. That certain quality, that je ne sais quoi which mobilizes an inner force of a different nature, is not under my control, and generally doesn't respond to my prompting. (& it certainly cannot be forced.)
It increases and decreases according to the forces of the planet, not my will. If we wanted to put it in more Christian terms, we might say that the Holy Spirit comes and goes according to its own schedule. Here is yet another facet of the prayer, “Thy will be done.”
It is my own awareness to, and respect for, such forces that matters. When they arrive–am I sensitive enough to receive them in a meaningful way? After all, it's perfectly possible to ignore the most extraordinary things! I know that. I do it every day. There are extraordinary things in front of me here on my desk–a belemnite I found on the banks of the Elbe River as a child in Hamburg, Germany; a pyritized brachiopod; an emerald crystal from Brazil; a number of cut heliodor gemstones; a cicada I found several years ago, nearly perfectly preserved.
Each one of these objects is miraculous, but unless I put my attention on it quite clearly, and make a sincere and legitimate effort to appreciate it by specifically focusing my various parts, the object, for all intents and purposes, doesn't even exist. It is, in fact, quite possible to study my sleep by looking at these various objects intentionally for a moment and then letting that drop. It's almost like turning a light switch on and off.
The fact is that the light switch is almost always off.
Well then. A finer impression arrives. It may be quite fine indeed, but it is partial, because it is more than likely one centered. I may have a very good impression of sensation, quite deep, very feeding, and it may even attract my other parts, but I don't quite understand how to inhabit or invest myself in this quality. It hovers: I seek a connection that will help it to become more whole. This generally involves bringing the thinking part or the intelligence to it. One might have some success with that; what one will certainly not have any success with is trying to invoke an emotional quality.
In another case, a quality of feeling, uninvoked, appears. Again, it has a quite fine quality. Commonly, it has the character of sorrow. It isn't an ordinary emotion, that's clear right away. But I am unable to bring it together with my other parts.
It's difficult enough to understand that in my ordinary parts I don't actually have the capacity (perhaps we could call it the will, but I'm not sure I am willing to go that far) to engage in three centered activity or Being.
It is even more difficult to actually see that when help arrives, my capacity for making use of it is very limited indeed. For the most part, because of my essential nothingness, I am limited to accepting it as a form of Grace.
To a certain extent, that's the point of it anyway. We are supposed to accept Grace, to receive Grace. Yet I so rarely make a legitimate effort to meet it and invest in it, so that it finds a welcome home. It's much like a parable in which a good man knocks on the door, but is turned away.
A great deal of inner work is conducted in darkness. I don't know who I am; I don't know where I am; I'm not sure what I am doing. The disjointed efforts of my various parts do their best, as limited as it is, to establish a dialogue, to come together and communicate in a more effective way. But, for all intents and purposes, I am not yet even simply lighting one candle. All I have done, so to speak, is stop cursing the darkness, and instead decided to find a way to work in it, since that's the only condition available to me right now.
These glimmers of light from another level, which are more generous than I have a right to deserve, are always gently trying to remind me that I have a capacity I do not use and usually forget about. They are attempting to break through this coarse and unpleasant crust I have covered my Being with, to allow something lighter and more compassionate to appear.
The work of helping the parts to receive such help graciously, and in a constructive way, is a lifelong enterprise. I hope and live for the moments in which I can shed this rough old snakeskin, and breathe through a new set of pores.
May our prayers be heard.