Friday, April 11, 2014

The presence of God

Mayan King, Yaxchilan

 There is a question about presence; people want to have presence. Or they want to be around others with presence. This impresses people greatly; people want to be around others who they think are great, whether they are great temporally, politically, socially, artistically, or — as is also often the case — spiritually.

Charisma plays a large role in this. Charisma is one of the most insidious poisons infecting humanity, since it attracts people to outwardness in other persons, and has great power. We have seen time and time again throughout history how this generates destructive force on enormous scales. But to the extent that anyone falls under the influence of another, already, a destructive force has been  generated, because each individual should only be under one influence, and that is the influence of God. To leave us under the influence of our own selves is already dangerous; and the moment we fall under the influence of other people, we've turned our attention away from our responsibility to come under the influence of God.

This question of presence is important in that regard, because if I want to have my own presence, already, I am mistaken. Every presence that is not the presence of God falls short of what is needed. So anything in the way of presence that I have — or that someone around me has — is already not the Presence of God, for the Presence of God belongs to God alone. For a human being to be, inwardly, under the influence of God and within the Presence of God, all human presence must flee. There cannot be a shred of ego left in this question; and the Presence of God is a hidden thing.

One might think that some great saint or person under a higher influence will emanate an extraordinary presence; well, perhaps they will. But only to the extent that God is there; and in cases of the outward, it is extremely easy to mistake the devil for God. True Presence hides itself; it is invisible, and resides only within the man who has it, who is receiving that presence on behalf of God — which renders him into a state of humility which does not radiate the greatness we expect in outward life. 

So a great man is actually a tiny one, not one who looms large on the stage of life. In a certain sense, greatness is measured by how small a human being becomes within themselves, a subject Meister Eckhart takes up in some of his sermons. True presence of God is discovered within true humility; and true humility neither needs nor creates advertisements. Advertising is against its very nature.

In this way, he or she who is least is the one who may be present within God; and it is not so obvious who that is. It may not be evident at all; and it may well be that all the ones who we think are heroes are actually the villains in this regard. God is found in the small things; and it may take an extraordinary amount of attention and understanding to really see someone who has been gifted with Presence.

Again, to come back to the beginning, the only influence we seek to come under is that of God; and to the extent that we turn to others, or rely on ourselves, already, we miss the mark. There has to be a fineness of attention and a willingness to put aside what I am in order to find something real; and that has to be related to the inward attention which I discussed yesterday.

Hosannah.

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