Sunday, July 5, 2015

An Unseen Mystery

Shanghai, June 28.

Early morning. The city has been shrouded for days in low, gray clouds, rain coming down relentlessly.

Yesterday, my wife and I were discussing the questions of relationship and Being. The difference between God being in all things, and all things Being in God. 

The question is not one of mere semantics or a trick of inversion; it goes to the heart of what Meister Eckhart tried to convey in his teaching on the nature of Being and the Lord.

 To discuss whether or not God is in all things is to discuss a matter of location; to discuss Being within God is to discuss the matter of manifestation. As Swedenborg points out, there is no physical distance in heaven; all proximity is measured through the presence or absence of loving intention. 

This is a measurement not of time and space, but of Being.

Real wish, if and when it can ever be measured within this immediate manifestation of Being, arises from loving intention only; that is to say, a true impulse towards love must lie behind both wish and intention, which establishes this non-physical spiritual directionality. Spiritual direction takes its aim from the compass of compassion; it exists within the endlessly creative and infinitely fecund world of both time and space, but of itself it points outside it, to an origin which is, as Eckhart says, uncreated.

 Tellingly, as Mr. Gurdjieff points out in his fifth obligolnian striving, all such intentions must ultimately devolve on a wish for all other beings. The true impulse of love may rely, for its arising, on a right and true love of self — what we might call, for the lack of better words, the unselfish love of self — but in the end, it is measured in terms of its love for others. It does not find its resolution in I wish to be — it finds its finest hour in we wish to be. And indeed, prayers in temples and churches may contain the individual, but they present themselves in the form of the collective. There is an enterprise of bringing together in spiritual direction; and any religious impulse that attempts to do this using any force other than love for the gathering of community and relationship is not a real or true religious impulse.

I can measure my own spiritual direction on a daily basis using the same barometer. Each intention and action can be confronted and questioned based on this; and it is in this action that I see my own lack.

Everything that arises with me arises within creation. If I wish to move past creation and into the uncreated, which is the source of all Love — the fountain of Truth and Being from which all creation arises — I must surrender what I am to a greater good and a greater sense of self, one which moves into all others, instead of dwelling within the deceptive shelter of my own created limitations.

In the end, as I said to my wife, I need to discover myself not within my own authorship — not within my own authority — but within an authority larger than who or what I am—and, yes, an authority larger even than that of my own community, which, like me, is part of creation.

That greater authority I speak of is a mystery that flows into creation, not one of the countless mysteries that come out of it on the other end, were we can see them. All of the mysteries that I can see, I see with my mind and measure with my mind. But it is this unseen mystery, measurable only through the heart itself, that creates all Being; and only insofar as I taste that, within the context of the motive forces of loving intention and compassion, does it gain any legitimacy in this effort I engage in within myself.


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