There is an endlessly creative force that gives birth to everything we see, to everything that is.
Of course, we hear this so often it seems obvious and even unimportant; not only that, it's too large a thought for us. We're tiny creatures; and each one of us is perpetually absorbed in an obsessive effort to take in our own existence—which we do not understand and struggle to extract value and meaning from—alone.
We don’t so much inhabit our Being as engage against it; because we don’t experience its nature firsthand and from a ground of actual organic understanding, we oppose it. We think that our opposition is an effort to be, without seeing that the problem begins there.
Convictions like this are deeply rooted and almost impossible to defeat. By now, I’ve lived an entire lifetime like this. Every effort to not be how I am distracts me from being how I am. If the paradox is not obvious, it ought to be.
I was asked the other night by a good friend, is the universe male or female? Is inner work male or female? Because of my Marion devotions and my personal experience of Mary, I am inclined to favor the female side of things; and so of course I answered from that place. The correct perspective is, however, more complicated; because we are a blend of male and female, active and passive, that which bestows and that which receives. I think that the essential difficulty is that the “male” part of us is what is always active — even in women. This is the part that thinks it can “do,” that things are under my control and I can have an impact on them. The female part, which is actively passive and receives life and being, is usually obstructed.
This is a deeply inner question that cannot be examined from any other point of view if one wants to achieve a good understanding.
If I have a deep, organic, and rooted experience of Being, the overwhelming impression is always one of the femininity of it; the aspect of submission, whereby I put all of myself aside and receive a higher influence, the influence of Divine Love and Wisdom of the Holy Spirit. This particular force, which is the only real force there is throughout life— it creates all life and being — is a force that comes from beyond the material realm of creation.
Because it enters creation on a scale so small that it cannot be seen or measured — even the physicists are unable to touch it, whether with their machines or even their theories — we don’t see or feel its action unless our inward vibration is attuned to that molecular level. But once it is, when we feel it flow into us — this is called the inflow — we understand that the divine is the source of Being.
We need to remind ourselves of this all day, every day, and constantly remind ourselves of what this means and the responsibility that it creates in us. It means that even if we don’t feel the Divine actively — if Grace is not active, and it may often not be — we are still responsible to God, in every moment. In naïve forms of religion, it is said that “God is watching;” and although this is true, it is true in ways that once again cannot be seen. It does not need to be taken literally as the personhood of God (which does exist, mind you) were casting a direct supervisory eye on us; the phrase means to remind us that we are responsible, that we have to watch ourselves on behalf of God.
This takes some effort on our part. It is so easy, at any moment, to forget responsibility. And the instant we do that, we remove ourselves at some distance from the inflow, from the sensation and impression of receiving our life from God.
I’d like you to think about that for a minute today. We receive our life, in this minute, directly from God. It is not ours. We receive it.
This is a mystery that can be directly experienced as a sensation through a fine vibration within the body; and that experience of sensation ought to be permanently present, even if it goes through periodic fluctuation in degree.
It is also a mystery that can be directly experienced as a fine vibration within the emotions, which is called — instead of emotion – feeling. That organic feeling provokes a sensation of the sacred within the place that feelings arise. It is actually a heightened level of sensation.
If these two functions are present, and the mind steps past its turning thoughts and associative action into the realm of an intellect that receives without knowing, that perceives without laying claim, I discover a life that is more whole.
This doesn’t make me a free creature or magically transform me into some kind of higher being; it quite simply and gently places me in the middle of this life I have been given so that I can engage in the simple work I ought to do of honoring others, questioning my own self and motive, and attempting, insofar as possible, to understand this mysterious force called love which ought to be so much more active than it is.
This brings me to a point about the question of obstruction, maleness, and femaleness. Love is an active and male force; it is what is bestowed. (I say this from a metaphysical point of view, because maleness in the material world of creation performs a different function.) So the active force begins with a male, or active, love, which emanates from the divine and enters material creation.
The passive force, which is obstructed, is a female force residing in material creation — a place which has been created in order to receive the active force of love that is emanated. So there is love in both parts; love in the part that emanates, and there ought to be a reciprocating love in the part that receives. These two loves, the act of love at the passive love, come together and reproduce in what we call Being. Already, Being is the child of this love, no matter what our conscious or unconscious attitude towards it.
But if we become more aware of ourselves and what we are, we have the opportunity to sense and experience this action of love, this creative action, more directly.
It’s a humbling experience.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.