I really do have great conversations that arise on account of Sisters and Brothers, seekers and questioners who choose to email, engage through social media and/or comment about items that directly or indirectly connect with A Deacon’s Musing. It’s humbling, sometimes surprising, and always wonderful to be invited into discussion I could not have imagined. Otherwise – and I’ll share an inner monologue, a self-knowing doubt, with you – I get concerned that all I do when I muse is navel gaze!
So this week, to my pleasant surprise, a friend and Brother from over the pond sent me an email that contained an excerpt from Judith E. Smith’s article: “This Ground is Holy Ground:”
My final question, ‘How will I know when I have reached the destination?’ brings me full circle, and I face the Mystery again. Perhaps the truth is that we never arrive, not because the journey is too long and too difficult but because we have been there all along. I am coming to believe that there is no final destination except to continue to be on the journey and to know that every place along the way is a holy place because God is present. I believe that God is calling us to stand on our own ground and know that it is holy and let our roots grow deep. And yet at the same time, the journey goes on. It is a paradox, I know, but perhaps we are traveling most faithfully when we know ourselves to be most at home.
In that email discussion – and my own reflections as the week has unfolded – we explored mysticism, ego and what some mystics call, ‘the dissolution of self.’ Various faiths have explored this idea and it has always fascinated me. In particular, at what point does a commitment to a discipline allow us to let go of our ego? This is even more important in this time of pluralism and fundamentalism, because confusing ego and faith can and does lead to the suppression, denigration and oppression of human dignity.
I have always wrestled with the question how we know when we have let go of our own agenda and ideology and let the Universe, God, the Holy of Holies guide us to do something far greater, more noble, than our own hubris might imagine. How do we recognise that something we might consider small and insignificant, is in fact the very great and wonderful thing we are asked to sow, plant and nurture?
As a Christian, I live in a paradox that exists between our culture’s arbitrary distinction between head, heart and spirit: my head admires the ministry of a Rabbi named Yeshua, my heart longs for the embrace of a relational God that I often find lacking in human connexion, and Spirit that yearns to let go, follow and inspire others. It’s often a spiral of questions, doubts, more questions and … periodically gifts of insight and revelation. It’s a paradox because too often these facets seem irreconcilable and so I default to one or the other and – frequently – the ego is there to assure me I know what’s what …
I know – for me – however, that this paradox finds resolution in the letting go part, again what the mystics alluded to as a veil pulled back that reveals everything is one. A revelation in which science and faith are not separated. It’s hard to explain such concepts as they only highlight the awkwardness and clumsiness of words. They really are an inadequate tool, especially about matters of the soul. So, let me leave you with where I have arrived with this musing thus far and – perhaps – you might continue this discussion through email, a comment, serendipity or social media …
In the 1970s a term was coined called ‘Flow.’ For me it speaks to one tangible aspect when I can gauge when I have let go … when I do so, my attention loses track of time and I can flow through a task, a moment, an event and then ‘awaken.’ It’s like I’ve walked into a time machine, come out on the other side with something accomplished, perhaps tired, but there’s a sense of … fullness? Fulfillment? Completeness? Purpose attained?
Words are awkward … but they are also so very exciting when they point to our commonalities that defy quantification, even though we might share their quality …
• What words might you use?
• Have you experienced such a sense of lost time?
• As though by letting go, what were you letting in?