Thank U: Alanis Morissette. Human Life as Transformation Into Love

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Here’s an idea:

How about seeing Christianity as a pilgrimage of transformation, as a way into a true experience of the divine life at the heart of all creation? How about seeing Christianity as less about a moral checklist and more about experiencing the wonder of who we can be? How about Christianity as an experience of liberating love, not as an experience of fear that ultimately constricts?

So what does this involve?

The spiritual wisdom at the heart of Christianity advises the following: it involves learning to let go so that we might jump off into deeper life. So what’s that about?

Perhaps it’s about walking through life shedding what stops us from being vulnerable before each other and before the One we call God. It’s a bit like being naked. Naked in this sense is not about no clothes, it’s about humbly seeing and addressing what stops us from being our loving selves with each other. After all, growing in love requires vulnerability or an inner nakedness. This could be something of what Alanis Morissette is saying in this song and video.

What are some of these things that we are invited to face and let go as part of a growing into inner naked vulnerability?

Perhaps I’m grumpy and aloof because it’s the best way I have learnt to protect a core of hurt, the best way that I have learnt to survive in a world that demands too much self-reliance.

Perhaps I harbour prejudices against people too different from myself. To question these prejudices would be to somehow ask myself to see difference as too much the same, as too much like me.

Maybe I have ideas about how the world should be; ideas that leave no room for other ideas that would complement the ones I have long held too close.

All these things – personality traits, prejudices, ideologies, and more – can fuse to us like barnacles to the hull of a boat. We identify so strongly with them that if life somehow threatens them fear and anxiety can mobilize within us to ward off the assumed threat.

Often this kind of threat betrays an ego caught in its own wounds and insecurity.

This ego would have us wear these psychological clothes, to keep the barnacles fused and ego protected from any chance of change.

But the grace of Christ is about something else. This grace is about healing and transformation. It is about freedom from this egoism so that we might express more of the self deep in the heart of us, a mysterious self, created in love and wanting to be expressed as love-alive in the full gamut of us.

This deeper, truer self is the real essence of us. Our unique and valuable ego is at its best when growing in a willingness to be an instrument of this essence, this love in the Being of Love.

But we cannot do this transformation. Only grace can. And grace must invite our participation in this transformation if ego itself is to change.

Christian Meditation, with its encouragement to give more and more of our attention to the mantra, is a way in which we can participate in this graced transformation away from ego-centredness and into a human life growing in the naked vulnerability of love.

And in Christ we already have a full yes to grace within us. To meditate is to experience, participate, and grow in this yes. As this happens, tenderly and lovingly we are drawn home to our deepest self.

With the mantra we gently shed egoism and fall into the yes of Christ. There is nothing to fear. The yes of Christ becomes our yes and life becomes more alive. It is in this way that Christian Meditation prepares us to say yes to the rest of life. As this happens our inner yes becomes an outer yes to life and all that it holds.