Friday, 7 February 2014

Peering Into The Dark

The singing bowl rings and five of us do whatever we do to slip into silence.

I imagine myself, arms outstretched, yelling ""Here I am!" And God plops down beside me and says, "There's no need to shout. I missed you. Where have you been?" "Busy." I reply,  knowing he knows. 

There IS no dialogue, of course, no words. That's just how it FEELS. 

For years I used to struggle to find the core. Holy people meditate for hours, I squirm after twenty minutes. I guess not being numbered among the holy, let's me off the hook. I have learned the trick of it now, this entering into liminal space, which is another way of saying " going out on the edge". It's not a question of fighting against the constant noise in my head, the ever-present demands of the ego and the distractions of the whatever-it-is that's happening around and about - it's not paying attention to it.

It's that simple. Like not paying attention in class. You know that something's going on up front, but you have chosen to place yourself elsewhere. 

Where? That's the nub of it. Where in those twenty minutes, am I? 

I think it's more a question of "Who?"

Everything slips away. I am aware only of my breath, which falls and rises, and I am still. 

"My house being all stilled." Is how St John of the Cross described it. I read that so many, many years ago, and could not comprehend it, but was deeply, deeply attracted to the very idea of an end to striving, an end to trying make sense of a chaotic world, of  just being still.

In the warm, dark brightness beyond the material world, I AM. I realise in an instant that I am loved, so deeply. I know that I have nothing to prove, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, no-one to impress: I am complete. 

This is spirituality at it's most profound.

Thomas Merton describes religion as the "finger pointing to the moon." That's all. Much of the trappings and ceremonials, priestcraft and busying about imposing rules, completely misses the point. These are not IT. Stay with this, ignore the sign posts, choose to judge, or hate, or dominate, and you'll never know how wonderful and complete and loved you are. 

And you'll have NOTHING to give to anyone else.

After our twenty minutes elsewhere, the five of us talk quietly about where we are, and where we've been. Two of the group are priests. One a theologian, which matters not at all here. One of the priests manages to put into words what I feel. 

"There is much in my religion that I can no longer teach. It's not about following the rules, it's about accepting that God is at the centre of everything.  Waiting."

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