We fragmented few travel the haunted path to salvation seeking goodness, seeking nearness. All our shuttered eyes can see is the infinite expanse of distance that stretches between here and wholeness. We breathe into the void, each exhalation a call for that feast of light, that place of purity. Waylaid by desire, capsized by fear, we yearn for the absolute freedom of the uncaged image in which we were made. Devon, England, 11th December 2020
Open to humility
The astonishing spectacle of accelerating polarisations continues to be rich with truthful pickings. There is so much to take in. Some individuals seem to have welded themselves interminably shut. Others are cracking open. There is too much time alone and too little contact with others. There is excessive self-reflection and extravagant distraction. So many opposites within and without. As I negotiate my own delicate balancing act, I have been considering carefully what it means to have an open mind.
Closed mindedness inclines itself towards two expressions:
I don’t want to know
In both of these dismissive variants, the mind serves to keep things safe by keeping things the same. It acts to defend itself from the possibility that real questions will lead to real answers, and that real change will then be required. It ensures that the transformational power of truth is kept at bay.
"Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honour is humility. He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him." Prov 18: 12-13
The closed mind knows nothing but its own false boundaries. It chooses to defend the familiar confines of the fallen self. In doing this, it shuts the door to truth and becomes instead a ‘keeper of dogma’ (thank you NK). It cannot see, nor can it be receptive to reality.
"Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:21
In contrast, the open mind takes the following stance:
I don’t know
I want to know
The open mind is willing to accept that it is wrong. This mind is not ‘made up’, and with grace and patience, it may observe itself. It will inevitably begin to uncover its own brokenness, ignorance and insufficiency. The more it knows, the more it becomes aware of what it doesn’t know. To keep seeking the truth, the mind has to open itself continually into the vulnerability of the unknown. It has to trust that it will be guided.
In choosing a posture of openness, we are led to our own fallibility. We are asked to identify where we really are and how far we have descended. We are asked to acknowledge how great our fall has been. From the lowliness of our true position, unreality empties out of us so that we can be filled with the reality of Spirit. This is the gift of cleansing humility. From here, we may know.
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:10
The illusion of our own power
We cannot find Him Who is Almighty unless we are taken entirely out of our own weakness. But we must first find out our own nothingness before we can pass beyond it: and this is impossible as long as we believe in the illusion of our own power.Thomas Merton, No man is an island
The harvest is plentiful.
This is a small collection of scattered notes and quotes of significance, gathered as I look through my notebook this afternoon. They illuminate themes that have become immensely important to me. As we head towards the harvest moon, I find myself asking what will be reaped. The answer, of course, is what has been sown.
BEAR LIVING WITNESS
I am here to discover through experience
what I was designed to forget.
In order to find the truth of my nature and origin,
I was set adrift.
The homeward journey begins
with pain and upheaval.
Yet within this darkness a fire is lit.
Less fear, more faith.
GOD BEFORE SELF
He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’
as the prophet Isaiah said.”
What does total devotion look like?
What does total acceptance feel like?
PURIFICATION - EMPTYING THE VESSEL
"St Augustine says: 'Pour out, so that you may be filled.
Learn not to love in order that you may learn to love.
Turn away, so that you may be turned inwards.'
In short, if anything is to be receptive and to receive,
it must be empty."
"Indeed, the more we are our own possession,
the less we are God's possession.
If someone has gone out of what is theirs,
then they can never fail to find God in all they do."
REALITY - TRUTH - GOD
"We are the flame-born sons of God,
thrown out as sparks from the wheels of the infinite.
Around this flame we have built forms which have hidden our light,
but as students we are increasing this light by love and service
until it shall proclaim us Sons of the Eternal."
Manly P Hall.
"I say this to you now as if at confession:
I am unable not to aspire to the depth,
the height and the breadth of comprehensive truth,
to comprehension of the totality of things.
I have made the sacrifice of the intellect (sacrificium intellectus)
in all sincerity and without reserve,
but what an intensification of the life of thought,
what increased ardour in the aspiration to spiritual knowledge
that has followed!
Meditations on the Tarot.
"The art of being a warrior is to balance
the terror of being a man
with the wonder of being a man."
"If we stay trapped in the merely visible
we will never inherit our lives."
"Our conscious living is part of the world's awareness of itself.
We are woven into it, as it is into us.
Everything we witness is a gift to the world.
What we feel, it feels.
When we make growth the core of our life,
the world ceases to be just a backdrop, the scenery behind our day.
Instead it becomes a living ally".
CREATE - PRESERVE - DESTROY
"To build up
To attain clarity
To become civilized
first live in the wild.
The balance of all things is in their opposites.
The truth points in both directions.
Thus the clenched first holds weakness within
and the open hand offers the hidden power of suns.
Deny one half yourself,
Stand precariously on one foot.
The Tao of Healing