Last week I spoke of our responsibility as students of wisdom and contemplatives to deepen our awareness of the our deepest Center of Being which over time becomes increasingly accessible as a refuge of interior peace amidst the trials in and around us. This interior refuge is at the same time, as Cynthia Bourgeault has talked about, a wellspring. . . a wellspring of Imaginal (world 24 or the Kingdom of Heaven) hope, mercy, compassion, trust, forgiveness, fruit of the spirit, and more that is qualitatively beyond this world (world 48 and lower). The biggest difference between these imaginal virtues/fruit/spiritual substances and our usual worldly notions of them, Cynthia reminds us, is that they are substances that are qualitatively pro-active rather than quantitative and given only in response to what our small selves feels is appropriate based on what has been called forth by the trustworthiness of the object. Meaning, our small selves want only to give trust when trust is earned, to forgive when remorse has been shown.
The invitation, or perhaps better called the task, for us as wisdom students is to dive deeper into the wellspring of these generative substances, to let them get to us, and to offer them as food, vitamins, nourishment, and medicine to the cosmic sickness we are all in the midst of and a part of. She says that offering these powerful spiritual active agents, which to our ordinary egoic operating system’s logic seem like naïveté, make sense when seen through the logic of the Christic realm (world 12, embodied love).
Of course it is important to remember that our world 48 selves can’t always offer them and if we try to make ourselves out of rigid egoic shoulds when we are not inwardly free, our efforts will be superficial at best (which sometimes is needed) or harmful to ourselves or others at worst. To proactively offer these generative powers requires a certain level of spiritual freedom from the ways of the world. When we engage the task at hand from more of ourselves, from our Center - requiring all our centers of intelligence: thought, feeling, sensation - we are definitely assisted in our efforts by the intelligent universe and the conscious circle of humanity.
Working individually and collectively we may be able to sculpt and heal this fractured and chaotically bifurcated place. Let’s keep up the good work!
Here the Readings from this week's pauses:
"...at the center of our being is an innermost point of truth which shares not only the likeness, but even the substance of God’s own being. . . Merton makes it clear that access to this center is not at our command. We cannot get to it; it can only get to us by flowing from the innermost outward into our being. Furthermore, he is even more insistent than his Sufi sources that this flow is entered only through our complete poverty—our complete nothingness. Joining a long stream of mystics, he insists that what is true being appears in this realm as non-being, as nothingness, and can be approached only through a way of being that embraces poverty, unknowing, surrender, death. We cannot find this innermost, but only be found by it in our wholehearted willingness to join it at the point of nothing. This is the koan that dissolves the illusory dichotomy between grace and works, and allows that access point—which we know in our hearts is truly there—to draw us into the luminous web. It is through this little point or spark of pure truth that the Mercy flows into us and through us. It is the spring at the bottom of the well of our being through which hope is continually renewed.”
— Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope