Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Spacious Soul

I am reading, slowly, The Immortal Diamond by Father Richard Rohr, my teacher, who has played a guest role here in the past. Richard knows, as I do, that I, like you, am both good and bad, light and shadow, blessing and curse. I just am. We just are. The sooner we allow this, as God does ( yes, really) without judgement or condemnation, we lose the impulse to judge and condemn others, and the world becomes, in that moment, a tangibly better place.

There are two passages that impressed themselves on me today, tonight, indeed, and I want to record them here, for you, perhaps, but for me, certainly, to mark the instant when a penny dropped:

The Spacious Soul ( p23)

There is something in you that is not touched by coming and going, by up and down, by for or against, by the raucous terms of totally right and totally wrong. There is part of you that is patient with both goodness and evil to allow them to gradually show themselves, exactly as God does. There is part of you that does not rush to judgement. Rather it stands  vigilant and patient in the tragic gap that almost every moment offers. It is a riverbed of mercy. It is vast, silent, resourceful, and it receives and also lets go of all the comings and goings. It is awareness itself ( as opposed to judgement itself) and awareness is not as such "thinking". It refuses to be pulled into the emotional and mental tugs of war that most of life is - before it is over and gone. To look out from this untouchable silence is what we mean by contemplation. ... This is your soul. It is God -in-you. This is your True Self.

The Song Of True Self (p56)

Within us there is an inner, natural dignity ( You often see it in older folks)

An inner worthiness that already knows and enjoys ( You see it in children)

It is an immortal diamond waiting to be mined and is never discovered undesired.

It is a reverence humming within you that must be honoured.

Call it the soul, the unconscious deep, consciousness, or the Indwelling Holy Spirit.

Call it nothing.

It does not need the right name or right religion to show itself.

It does not even need to be understood. It is usually wordless.

It just is, and shows itself best when we are silent, or in love, or both.

I will call it the True Self.

It is God-In-All-Things yet not circumscribed by one thing.

It is enjoyed only when each part is in union with other parts, because only then does it stand in the full truth.

Once in a while, this True Self becomes radiant and highly visible in one lovely place or person.

Superbly so, and for all to see, in the body of the Risen Christ.


Once you have encountered this True Self - and once is more than enough - the False Self (ego) will fall away on its own. 

This will take most of your life, however, just as it did in Jesus.


Those of you who know me, will have listened to me going on and on about the saga of Bob's Bed.

I have been trying for months to help Bob get the money from a charity for a new bed. Between us, we failed to get the papers filled in correctly, we missed each other at the Mission, we took the forms to the wrong place. It was a nightmare. 

Last Monday, not yesterday, Bob turned up at the Salvation Army for lunch. He was agitated and angry. He was in pain. ( He suffered with Huntington's disease) he shouted at me.

"I want painkillers! You're not listening to me!" 

"Sorry Bob, I can't help. " and I couldn't. I brought him his tea and fetched a second dinner when his first was cleared away in error. I was impatient with him, but I let it pass. I just did. But I wasn't  sorry when he left, after petulantly throwing the bread he didn't want back at me. 

Yesterday Bob died of an overdose. I'm told he killed himself. Perhaps he did. 

Right now, I don't feel anything except relief that Bob doesn't have to suffer the horrors of death by Huntingdon's disease. 

Bob isn't  defined by his disease, or his petulance. I am glad that within him there is an immortal diamond, and that he knows it now.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord
Let perpetual light shine upon him
May he rest in Peace

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