Friday, February 21, 2014

To enter the body

Juvenile spider monkey, Yaxchilán, Mexico

I should wish for nothing more than to open at the top of the head, and let the Lord in to me; but this isn't always possible.

Indeed, the mystery of how the Lord enters the body, which is revealed and unfolded in so many ways, is hidden from me. It is as though I could see the hands of the Lord, and as if He embraced me with them, but yet His face is hidden, His body is hidden, and I know nothing of Him.

Much of this seems very far from all of the technical teachings of spiritual work. I grew up — as almost everyone does — in an atmosphere of spiritual disciplines, exercises, techniques, meditation methods, actions of sensing the body, and many skillful means, as the Buddhists would call them: mindfulness practices of one kind or another.

All of these were preparation; and yet, paradoxically, none of them prepare me for what I must eventually come into active relationship with in an inner sense. The energy that flows into the body — which, as I have mentioned many times, discovers its own perfection anywhere, and at any time — sometimes flows into the head and goes quite deeply down through the body into the other parts. It would be best to open to this as much as possible; for certainly, in these instances, a different level and quality of receiving becomes possible. But this does not minimize or in any way reduce the value of all of the tiny actions which equally inform the human body and its Being of the presence of the Lord.

Perhaps one could argue that all of this is too physical; but that would be a failure to understand, because the intellectual and emotional components in this action are also both inevitable and arise instantaneously in relationship to its manifestation. One comes into the realm of the ineffable cloud of unknowing and receives the nectar that flows outward from it, mindful only of the presence and the need to submit. And in any event, what other instrument is there to receive, than the body itself? The intellect and the emotions are, in their own right, also a part of the body; and so all of the centers must rightly receive this material as it arrives.

It is this inward relationship that becomes more important. I've emphasized many times the need for outward goodness; and this never goes away. But as one grows older, the work becomes more inner. This matter of the need for greater inwardness is, ultimately, a fact at any age; and although I ignore and fail to honor the outward at my own peril, I only succeed in attending to and honoring the outward to the extent that the inward relationship is successfully formed — formed in the first order of the business of Being.

Again, when the center of gravity is excessively anchored in the outward, this point is not well understood. When the center of gravity is excessively anchored in the inward, the outward is forgotten. This is why balance is important. I try to mark the point well in myself.

I may not think of Being as a business, but everything is a business. Christ himself said that he had to be about his father's business; and he did not use the word casually or inattentively. There are transactions, there are accounts, there are deposits and withdrawals. All of them take place in the currency of love and mercy, dispensed according to the accounting methods of wisdom and understanding. And all of them begin with a physical action, that is, a substantial receiving of Presence.


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