Thursday, November 20, 2014

soliloquies on sin, part II: to work in the place where sin lies

So much of the time,  understanding sin seems to be aimed at how I ought to behave outwardly; and indeed, this is what fundamentalism is all about: an outward display of piety. Yet, taken to its extreme — which is the path fundamentalism always seems to want to follow the most — it always becomes a form of vanity and narcissism, disguised as religious fervor.

 This is, undoubtedly, inevitable; because the whole point of understanding sin is understanding how one ought to behave inwardly, and, let's face it, who spends any time thinking about one's inward behavior? That kind of contemplation seems old-fashioned, the kind of thing one runs into in books written by Victorians.

I'm reminded of using a microscope. The microscope ought to be turned inwards; my eyes should be placed gently up against the eyepiece, and I ought to carefully turn the focus until I can see the very small things it's my aim to examine. It's this intimacy, this willingness to attend to the physical inner details of Being — which can, quite frankly, be an intensely physical and excruciating experience — that leads to an understanding of inner behavior. The first thing I understand is that I don't understand.

This inner life, ruled by complexities of chemistry which I experience as physiology and psychology, is under the rule of planetary and solar law. The outward laws of society and humanity are tiny, minor afterthoughts that have no real bearing on my Being, any more than the moves up and down in the stock market affect the grackles that feed at my bird feeder. It is these inward laws, which are certainly beyond my reach, but not beyond my sensation, which I need to come into alignment with and know. They are the laws that actually govern my Being; and if I don't understand them, when I encounter outward law, I will have no center of gravity from which to digest it or understand its relationship to Being. I need to begin there, with this question of inward behavior — and that inward behavior is defined by wordless activities that have to be sensed and felt, not circumscribed by descriptions.

This particular question, that of circumscribing the inner life by description, seems interesting to me. Some folks I know insist on doing this all the time; there is somehow a belief that sin comes from the mind, that there is a rationale behind it that can be understood. I don't think sin is like this at all; it lies deep within the organism, it is organic, like so many other processes, and unless I try to understand it from this point of view, I don't understand much of anything.

If sin is an idea or thought, I can make it whatever I want it to be; if it is organic, it is what it is before I get to it, and I need to know it quite differently than with the mind.

This once again brings me to the idea of getting very close to my sin, of becoming intimate with it; and that doesn't mean that I succumb, rather, that I work there, in the place where sin lies.


1 comment:

  1. I've really being enjoying the comments :) a kind of zen silence...
    Interesting that in the Ravindra bk mme was telling him to participate his little group.


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