Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Within the good
The entire aim of inner work is to know the good. Put in another way, to know the good is to know the wholeness of God's Grace and Mercy, which resides in every rose, in every bee and flower, in the clouds that bring rain.
There is nothing romantic about this, in the sense of sentiment. There is a Truth in goodness that is much larger than man's Being; yet man's Being exists to receive this Truth, and without it, it couldn't find its expression. So Being carries a responsibility to sense this goodness that cannot be known with the ordinary parts.
Goodness flows into us through the active sensing of life... and its inherent mystery. Life may look explicable, in one sense of another, from the perspective of the flat landscape which conceptual thought presents (and no matter how vast a universe conceptual thought presents us with, it is still flat); but the instant that the inner life unfolds, and the inward flow of energy aligns, life is not explicable, and it is in this sweet mystery, this immediate sensing of the unknown, that we discover how magnificent life really is. It may sound strange to say that we know by not-knowing; but this is not a not-knowing of the mind; it is a not-knowing of the entire Being, in which what we are as we are now encompasses all of the questions that can ever be asked, in one instant. If you're interested in Zen koans and why they are so strange, this is why.
Emily Dickinson (I was reading her this morning) continually captured the essence of this unknown in her poetry, so much so that even those of us who have never had such an experience may well sense that there is something remarkable going on behind the words. Her poems are like fine preserves, or a wine of particularly exceptional vintage put up against a cold winter month, to be sipped when the thought of grapes seems to be no more than a dream, and we need to be reminded of their presence. So a vibrant echo of sensing the good comes down to us through her poems.
Every good poem is an excursion into this good unknown, this good night which we live forward into. Poetry only succeeds to the extent that it creates a frame through which we gaze into the unknown. It has to be so transparent that we do not know it is even there, but fall gently fall into the void that it creates.
We need to live within this good, which is also called Grace; and we are only close to God, insofar as it manifests. To be separated from it is to be dead to life and to living; to live within the good is to know what life is—and this is the paradox, it is within the not knowing of what life is that the knowing comes. To not know is a sweetness beyond wine, because it invites us not to believe, or to think, but to live.
And to live is to do much more than to think or to believe. It is to surrender ourselves into a helplessness, an offertory.
We inhabit ourselves within the sweetness of the flower... this nectar of life-impressions... the intimacy of the bee... the delicate acuity of all its myriad parts... and the way that our sensation and our attention are so precisely designed to fit this flower of Truth.
May your soul be filled with light.