Generally speaking, whether we call ourselves spiritual, religious, or simply human, a Christian spirituality says that there is a dynamic in all of us seeking for that which we call God. Today, for many, the God word gets in the way and they have rejected it, along with all that the word might mean for them. This does not stop the dynamic from operating. It is this dynamic that is at the heart of all our longing, searching, and restlessness; it is what moves us to be more than, to transcend towards fulfilment, to be somehow better. Christian spirituality names this dynamic as the Holy Spirit, active in the human heart, not because we are Christian, but because we are human. So, whether we be theist, agnostic, or atheist, Christianity says we cannot help but be spiritual. Indeed, it could be said that at the heart of a Christian spirituality is the maxim ‘to be human is to be spiritual’.
The Holy Spirit, alive in every human heart, seeks to answer the restlessness it creates with the divine love-life that it is. And so, in this way, the Holy Spirit offers us a lifetime adventure of divinisation, a unique spiritualising of our humanity in which we live into our reality as children of uncreated, unconditional, true love. This is a Christian understanding of the journey that the Ten Bull pictures describes. It is a journey where we come to realise in our humanity our sharing of the divine nature….
….It is the Holy Spirit, this dynamic of transcendence in the human heart, that reveals Jesus in the hearts of his disciples. It reveals Jesus, human and divine, as an answer to all our human longing, searching, and restlessness. This revealing happens because the Holy Spirit is a communion of Jesus as Son of God, and God as Father (or source) of all being. This communion that is the Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ alive and active in human beings as the Human Being of God.
(This is an extract from the book Hold The Rope, Carry Your Cross: Christianity and the Ten Bull Pictures of Zen. The book is now available for pre-order here).
Text copyright Andrew McAlister, 2021.