Saturday, May 17, 2014

To know God through the Body

In these three ways of knowing God- through the body, the heart, and the soul- I come to speak of the body last, even though it is the place where the inner path of knowing and unknowing begins.

God has a body like me, but it is a heavenly body and as different from me as my own body is from a stone- even more different, in point of fact, because a stone is in truth something quite like me, and God isn’t.

In any event, in addition to functioning as a mirror to receive the light of God, the body serves as a temple into which God and His angels may come. The temple is his, not mine; but it is filled with my own clutter and only if I get rid of all that trash will He come in.

If I do, He will rush right in, because it turns out God loves nothing more than His temple, which he honors in many ways. He will rush right in, I say, and He rushes right in whenever He pleases and comes and goes at any time, leaving his footprints in my heart and soul, which are paths He treads in His coming back to me.

This path between man and God is in fact well trodden, as it happens (although we don’t suspect it) because no one can keep God away from His Kingdom or out of His temple for very long; and that is that. He is not seen, but He is present; and this is why we act selfishly at our own peril.

In order for this temple to be available it need to be prepared and obedient; I must take myself within it and become its intimate keeper, staying close at all times and keeping it swept with a broom, because— and this is the glory of it! —services may begin at any time.

 Now, people often ask me what good this knowing of God will do, why I should want it, or what the point of it is. And I have spent many years trying to explain this; but the understanding in people is weak. No one seems to know that there is only one good worth having, and that is the good of a relationship with God. Once one knows this, there is no question of it; in the same way that once one knows the mother Mary, one does not believe in her, one knows her. The knowing of God is all good in itself; and one should want for nothing else. Yet how do I explain this? I can't. It reminds me of Zen Master Dogen, who once said it is like trying to give oars to mountaineers.

Perhaps the difficulty here is that everyone wants to measure things by the yardstick of this world, which is like finding oneself in the darkness and trying to use a brick instead of a flashlight. If people understood that we must throw the brick away immediately, instead of enjoying its weight in our hand, then maybe the idea of a flashlight would come to us. As long as one is in love with the brick, one stays quite satisfied, but remains in darkness.

In a certain sense, to know God in the body is to enter God's body, and to share it with Him. Then, by knowing nothing, one knows all things; and one knows the fundamental source of goodness, even though it does not exist within oneself and cannot become the motive force for one's own being or action — after all, in this life, the best I can do is always of creation, which is never enough.


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