Tag Archives: Transformation

Meditatio House: Growing in the God-human’s Yes.

We are living in an age when the possibilities for the development of human consciousness have been radically transformed by the resurrection of Christ. Every human consciousness has undergone this transformation because in his risen and universal consciousness we have access to the Father, the source and goal of human life and indeed all creation. We live in an age of the infinite mystery realised in Christ and in us. Meditation is simply openness to that reality. (John Main, Word Made Flesh, 3. Italics added).

In Christ Jesus (the God human) humanity can now be a full human participant in the divine life. This is the startling gift and message of Easter.

Jesus’ full yes to God (in his life, death and resurrection) can be our yes to God happening within God and us now.

The fullness of divine Love as transformative of the human condition resides in our human consciousness waiting for our acceptance of Jesus’ yes to his Father as our yes. This yes of Christ is what the Christian grows into over a lifetime.

All that stands in the way of what God can do in us (and with us) is our unbelief in what God can do. All other impediment is gone, dissolved in the yes of Jesus.

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, that is, by me and by Silvanus and Timothy, was never Yes-and-No; his nature is all Yes. For in him is found the Yes to all God’s promises and therefore it is ‘through him’ that we answer ‘Amen’ to give praise to God. It is God who gives us, with you, a sure place in Christ and has both anointed us and marked us with his seal, giving us as pledge the Spirit in our hearts. (2Cor1:19-22).

In the depths of our being we already are what our egos desire to be of themselves. This is what the Reality of Christ consciousness reveals and makes possible in our human lives. Humility and faithfulness (part of any yes of the human creature to its Creator) are the foundations of the realisation of this revelation in human development. Our deepening acceptance of this (as we grow in the yes of Jesus) is perhaps the key to any ongoing human and Christian transformation in this material part of life. With humility and faith Divine Love transforms us into love here and now.

The resurrection appearances of the Gospels are God’s imprimatur on all of this.

In meditation, as we  give attention to the mantra, we grow in openness to what God has done in Jesus and what God wants to do in us through Jesus. And what is this doing of God? It is nothing less than the transcendence of ego consciousness. Ego consciousness is transcended as we grow in this openness. This transcending of the ego is “the hinge that allows us to swing into the Mind of Christ” (Laurence Freeman). In meditation we transcend into the yes of Christ. Our yes to Jesus and the yes of Jesus to God become one. We then experience ourselves in the divine life and discover this life as Home.

This growing openness is a pilgrimage in itself. It is why we are always beginners in meditation. We are always beginning humbly and faithfully from any point on the way.

The Easter season, Eastertide, is a time to reflect on just what the divine life can do in and for human consciousness and human life. We need more than one day (Easter Sunday) for it all to begin to sink in. It is profoundly and radically freeing. Psychologically, it is the integration of our conscious selves (ego) and the unconscious (where the source of Self and God are at our depths).

Internal and external growth in self-forgetting is key to this process of integration. Meditation and community (where ever we find it) can be where the external and the internal work together for integration, for salvation. Our life at Meditatio House is where we are experiencing this working together – often in ‘fear and trembling’.

Eastertide, as the ongoing celebration of the Risen Christ, is also a celebration of what we have become in this Christ and what we are becoming because of this Christ: Beloved Daughters and Sons of God. In one way or another, Love will have its way.

Waiting for the Sun 6

 


Small Things: Ben Howard. Madness and Plain Sight

Sometimes we can’t see what is in plain sight. The small concerns of life, the little worries; the daily round of cares: all can gather round us claiming attention. Soon our emotional lives are caught up in this disturbance and distraction. Whether it’s thought or emotion, all is energy. We are always energy in form and in motion.

When these words, images, and emotions make a home in our minds, the meanings they carry begin to affect how we see things and how we relate to people. ‘Has the world gone mad…Is it all so very bad…Or is it me?’

There seems to be no reprieve from a way of seeing that becomes our way of seeing. We soak in it. We identify with it. It seems we can’t change it. It has become just the way we are and the way it is.

It becomes more and more difficult to ‘keep the peace’, to be at peace. Any promise or demand of peace, be it within us or around us, is trivial. The reality of peace slips away, forgotten and unattainable.

In these times we cannot see the love that lives in plain sight. In times of kaleidoscope and whirl, of these small things gathering and fusing, we cannot see it. The experience can be one of love absent – a hole inside that cannot be filled. Love is veiled, hidden behind the small things.

Being so out of touch with the Reality of Love and so identified with thought and emotion – this is a kind of madness.

There is a way out of this madness. We can practice a refocusing, a retraining of attention away from the kaleidoscopic of internal existence that Ben Howard is singing about here. It is a refocusing, a retraining. And it is so much more than this. It is also a way of loving transformation: the transformation of the mind from disintegrating to integrating. On the inner journey towards this integration there is peace.

The contemplative way is a way of this transformation. The transformation is done by this Love, the divine love life within us. We co-operate with this love life as it transforms us.

If we are to co-operate, the way into contemplation must be practical, it must be a practice. Meditation is one such practical and contemplative way. A mantra based meditative practice asks of us something very simple. It invites us to choose a word to give our attention to. The practice of giving and re-giving our inner attention to this word, over time, allows Love to work at loosening our attachments, our identification, with the ‘small things’ of thought and emotion.

The word maranatha is one such word we can use. Recite it, internally, gently and faithfully, as four syllables: ma-ra-na-tha. Have a straight back and a still body as you meditate. When you find attention no longer on the word, gently re-give it, again and again, until the time of meditation is finished: see if you can do 20 minutes.

You keep him [sic] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah26:12)

This is the long-term fruit of a regular meditation practice: our mind is stayed on the God who is Love. Our mind settles into the deep stability of the divine life. Awareness stays there. The kaleidoscope ceases to turn in the mad way of before. Our minds may still be at times buffeted and blown, however, during these times we can actually experience a new reality of ‘I am not my thoughts; I am not my emotions’.

Attention becomes grounded in the deep life of being and being is grounded in God.

The regularity of our practice grows as it slowly dawns on us just how transformative, how important to sane living a practice like meditation is. The choice is ours.

A contemplative practice unveils the God who is always there – in plain sight. It is our inattentiveness that often causes us to experience God as absent.

I have been telling you these things in veiled language. The hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in veiled language but tell you about the Father in plain words. (John16:25).

The ‘hour’ of contemplation and the contemplative life, are about the absence of veils. It is plain living, simple living, true living. As the veils fall, as the small things subside, the presence of God becomes vivid, the language clearer. As our minds transform, so do our lives.


Offer it Up: Kate Miller-Heidke. The Yes to Life and Living

I once saw a great definition for spirituality. The person giving the definition clenched his fist, bent his arm at the elbow, and quickly thrust his elbow down to his side. As he did this he shouted YES! Fantasic. Spirituality is about growing in the embrace of life and doing those things in life that are a YES to life, those things that give us (in return) the gift of being alive in and to life.

Spirituality is also about the gentle art of participating in the transformation of those things within us that can get in the way of this YES, that get in the way of living a life. As we move past these things we experience the life in life and leave behind the experience of life as a living death.

In this YES definition spirituality has some commonality with psychology in that both can be about the fostering and development of human lives for life. The modern expression of psychology, however, has no space for the divine explicity within its paradigm. This can be a problem because, as spiritual and created beings, we need the divine to be our transforming agent. Christian spirituality teaches us that we can only participate in our own transformation (or salvation) and not be it ourselves. Spirituality, however, does include the psychological.

Christian spirituality names this pattern of transformation as dying to what stops us from living and rising to what gives us life. Broadly speaking, it is a dying to fear and a rising to love. This fear/love dynamic is one which any authentic spirituality addresses in its own way.

The Christian writer and mystic Thomas Merton called this pattern of dying and rising the Paschal Rhythm of Life. The word paschal has roots in the Hebrew pesah, the Greek pascha, and the Aramaic pasha. It means, broadly, ‘pass over’. We pass over from death to life. For Christians the word is associated with Easter and the dying and rising of Jesus, the ‘Paschal Mystery.’ As ‘Easter People’ alive to this paschal event and rhythm, Christians are invited to enter the lifelong dynamic of rising to the reality of love and dying to the illusion of fear. We do this in and with the divine life which we experience and name as uncreated and unconditional (divine) love.

This song from Kate Miller-Heidke is all about the decision to move from death to life, to commit to the YES of life and living. In this sense the song is deeply spiritual. It’s all about the “WOO-HOO” factor of living – saying YES to life.

Kate Miller-Heidke offers her whole life to this movement from death to life: “my heart, my brain, my body, my hands, my voice, my blood, my lungs, my love.” She decides to ‘offer it up.’ She offers her life to the dynamic of life, the energy of life, the event of life. She wants in. She wants to be more in, to have that deep sense of purpose and fulfillment that comes from a deep connection to, and participation in, life.

Finally she is sick enough of what, for her, blocks life: fearful decisions of turning down life’s opportunities; holding in the verve and energy of life for fear of the consequences; tiptoeing ’round fearing the response of others to her existence. The lines of energy and communication are growing open. The unique transmissions, or expressions, of her being are happening with growing occurrence. She’s turning it up.

Turning it up doesn’t have to be a big thing. The smaller the better, in fact. A smile to a stranger; a small and new expression of love for a loved one; a small and ordinary way of loving ourselves that starts to grow in regularity. Life happens mostly in the ‘small stuff’. We no longer need to ‘look for signs’ – we gently become an expression of the reality we are seeking.

All the big accomplishments of life have their origins in the small of life. The trick is to stay in the present moment of the small things to express and experience life there.

Although Kate-Miller Heidke doesn’t mention the divine, and perhaps she doesn’t believe in the existence of the divine, it does seem to me that she is experiencing something of what a theist would name as the effect of the divine. The divine in life joins with our restlessness, our being sick enough of not living. The divine in life is the energy of life that propels us into the decision to live; and it is the agent of the transformation itself. Divinity is so close to us and our decisions for life that the naming of this divinity in the decisions of life need not be necessary. We are a humanity created by this Divine Love. As a result, uncreated Love is in all things by default, including us and our decisions for life. Anonymous divinity seems happy enough to work for the life of all. What is important, however, is that we let go and allow this anonymous divinity to do the transforming. Often the letting go happens mysteriously in the ‘sick enough’ experience.

The naming of this divine Love and growing in relationship with it can help us, though. The great spiritual traditions teach that we will always have a restlessness for that mysterious something ‘more’, no matter how much we connect with life. That more is the divine. We are made to live into conscious communion with this divine life. Naming this divinity is part of the movement into conscious communion. The deep living into life is part of the journey of living into the divine life of Love.

A contemplative prayer practice, one such as Christian meditation, is the training of our attention into this mysterious transformative dynamic at the heart of us and of all life. With regular practice we are changed, transformed. We move, in very practical ways, from living death to living life. And we grow in a humanity that lives more and more from the divine communion deep in us. We live more and more into our origins. We uniquely become love because we are created and loved by Divine Love. Whether we know it or not, this becoming love, this conscious growing into Love’s communion, this is our heart’s greatest desire.


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