Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Absolutely devastating, part II: the empty hive

Agra, India

 Although I study many practices and value them all, I'm unabashedly Christian. As such, I have a predisposition for all of the Abrahamic religions and hold Jews and Muslims in particularly high regard; make no bones about it. I have a deep respect for Buddhists and Hindus and think their practices are wonderful, but I don't feel I compromise my roots because of that—even though many of their practices are familiar enough to me to be embedded in my own prayer practices. We are not, after all, in a contest with one another: we are in practice with one another.

So it's true; I'm prejudiced. That is to say, I come to the table with intellectual and spiritual property of my own which affects my judgment  and cannot be erased. Readers will have to take that into account, while remembering that actually everyone is like this.

My own practice has prompted me to focus on the experience of the Presence of God. Readers familiar with my work will know that I often refer to by Swedenborg's word for it, the inflow. Yet it is absolutely identical to Jeanne Salzmann's influence

It is this energy which flows directly into us from the Divine sources of Love and Wisdom that create The Reality; and in my experience in practice,  no matter how much we develop in intellectual, physical (Hatha) yoga, or heart practice, without the inflow and its consequent erosion of the ego, we can't understand anything. Awakening the inflow thus becomes IMO the most important spiritual practice one can engage in.

Yet mention of this subtle practice seems to be completely missing in much of the otherwise heartfelt, intelligent, and valuable information that is published worldwide on a daily basis about religious practice. It seems, in other words, as though a vast amount of material about religious practice is generated without this—to me—essential question present. It's as though the world were producing an endless stream of trillions of honeybees, but all the hives were low on honey.

Honeybee hives are beautiful structures. Their organizations are extraordinary, the relationship between creatures are as nearly perfect as anything can be. Yet they all exist to serve a single purpose, which is to collect honey; and if one tries to study bees without ever tasting honey, while one can reach an extraordinary number of understandings, the essential point of the bee's activity is never directly understood.

 God's Grace is honey. I am meant to be a receptacle for it; I am meant to receive the inflow. Many real and difficult responsibilities arise; the principal ones are surrender to God, worship of God, and compassionate loving practice towards others. 

But above all others, the responsibility is to receive the inflow of the Sorrow of God, to take up part of His burden. 

In doing so, I discover that the inner action of God's presence is...

absolutely devastating.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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