A few years ago, I served as a Chaplain at a prison. I joined on the prison yard, on a Saturday, hundreds of inmates, security staff, and a softball team who came from Kentucky on a mission trip. The mission team played the inmates. Afterward, I had a powerful but subtle sense of fulfillment and joy, a sense of quiet love.
I reflected on this. What did I do? - I could ask. I see that what I, to some, did was not the grace - a term used in Christianity at times for "gift" - that brought such blissful senses. Possibly, I did nothing to engender this inner joy. Possibly, one never knows how such love arises, even if he or she can point out what appears to be the cause. And, possibly, that was a cause, but that pointed to can never be the cause. That would be like looking into the sky and pointing out a dark cloud and saying, "See, that's why it is raining on us." Could it be that, at times, we sense something wonderful happened, and we simply happened to be where that something wonderful happened, and no one was the cause and nothing done was the cause?
I will offer this musing as an opening to hint at what happened or did not happen.
* * *
Being an interspiritual, contemplative Chaplain, I find Presence, as in other areas of life, is the principal grace. That is, in terms of Christianity, being the body, or embodiment, of Christ, the living Word. Buddhists could say being the Buddha, while Hindus might say being the Atman. The early Christian writer Paul, in the Christian Scriptures, wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ, still I live, yet, not I, rather Christ lives in me."
We cannot reduce Presence to any particular way of life, for Presence is Life, is Life happening. Christ is Life. Buddha is Life. We cannot, for example, reduce Christ or Buddha simply to persons who lived long ago or live in some other dimension now. Christ was then, is now; Buddha was then, is now ~ always. Christ, Buddha, you, I, everyone is happening.
What we discover, at some point in what we can call spiritual awakening, is Presence is Presence. We find that, while we tried to be or become someone or something, we are already someone or something, and nothing we do or say can add to or take away from that we each are and together are. We find who we are is one happening with Presence. We are the embodiment of Love loving. By just being here, anywhere, Love is present. Even if we refuse to act lovingly, Love is still present. We are both prior to and within loving others, and not merely other humans. Love is the Presence drawing us into conscious experience of togetherness, a oneness of Heart-with-Heart. Even our resistance of Love is one with our coming to recognize and surrender to Love and being Love.
* * *
Love was happening on that softball field in Florida USA. Love was showing up in one place many persons would never look to see Love. There was as much Love happening there, as in any so-called holy place. Indeed, where Love shows up is holy, and Love shows up everywhere. We just totally miss it, sometimes. We like to assign Love to some places, so not others. Love does not allow that. When we agree with Love being Love, we sense Love showing up everywhere.
We know in our deepest heart of hearts that unconditional love is somehow more true – more fundamental, more real, more radical (at the root) – than hate, which always seems to be confused, deluded, reactive, divisive and false. Love breeds love, and hate breeds hate. We all experience this.
*Joan Tollifson. Painting the Sidewalk with Water: Talks and Dialogues About Non-Duality.
Back to the day on the prison grounds.... What did I do that brought that sense of quiet bliss? "I did nothing." I, however, was blessed to be present with Presence loving all around, yes. And, possibly, in some small way, I was part of that Love-happening. I think so, I think everyone there was, even those who were not aware of the grace being given, for Love cannot but give Itself.
*The vision statement for Lotus of the Heart is Living in Love beyond Beliefs. These presentations, inclusive in nature, are invitations for persons to explore for himself or herself. Brian does not claim to have answers or the Truth for anyone. He provides pointers to Truth, so as to inspire others on his or her own journey of Truth, to compassionate living with Earth and all creatures sharing this planet.
*All material, unless another source is cited, is authored by the presenter of Lotus of Heart, Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Use of the material is permitted; Brian only requests that credit be given and to be notified at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, for spiritual guidance via phone, Skype, or in-person, Brian can be contacted via the above email.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.
The Sacred in Me bows
to the Sacred in You