when we know others from the heart, our heart,
we know we may meet what appears to be strange persons
we know, however, we never meet a stranger
* * *
Questioner: As you were allowing me to be in your presence today, I was aware of the fact that you did not know me and it was not an intimate connection or a personally loving connection ..., and I wondered what it was that led you to be sharing this way with a stranger.
Reply: It is only love. . . . There are no strangers.
*Jean Klein. Living Truth.
* * *
I am six days from entering the final month of my stay at my present location off Back River, Georgetown, Maine, where I moved for the winter from High Springs, Florida. In reading the above words from Jean Klein this evening, I reflected on the truth of what he says.
I recalled the three-day drive northward here in late September, up the coast of the United States, and the persons I met along the way. I traveled in regions of the country I had never been before. I recalled, as well, the many new faces here in coastal Maine, where I rented a cottage.
I came here, as some would say, a stranger among strangers. I know, and feel, I have not met a stranger. On the way up and here, I have met many persons I had never seen, but not one of them is a stranger.
Earlier in life I met what I would call then strangers; now, I do not meet strangers. I cannot locate a time this shift occurred, as is the case with many such transformations.
Why this not-meeting-a-stranger? When the stranger is taken out of you, you do not and cannot meet a stranger. In the deepest sense, we only meet ourselves. That is why intimate fellowship feels so right, so natural, and unselfish loving brings such joy. This is why even death cannot separate us, even though how this union continues beyond what we call this life cannot fit within any idea of an afterlife or a theory. This remains a mystery to us, and needs to remain so, while we can receive hope, inspiration, and comfort from maps of this continuing union, but the maps cannot contain the terrain of Life, in what we call now and here or then and beyond.
* * *
In this seeing, I do not and cannot ignore the particularities of appearance. Even as I see oak tree and pine tree, labels to indicate particularity and diversity, I see male and female, black and white, tall and short, Christian and Buddhist, ... Oneness, in which is no stranger, does not annul the differences of nature.
Likewise, the sense of a self, now taken up into the unity of the single Self, or communion, or Life, or God, or ... is not annulled, rather resituated in relationship to the communion heart-with-heart, one heart. So, if someone calls my name, "Hey, Brian!," I will respond, for the one Self expresses as many selves, or appearances-of-self. Spirit individuates, without forfeiting Itself as unindividuated in Itself and capacity and wish to individuate. Why does Life incarnate in form this way: Who knows?
Possibly, too, here we find a deep wisdom in the Eastern Orthodox saying, by Athanasius, known as one of the early Church Fathers and acclaimed a saint of Christianity: "God became man (a human being; Jesus of Nazareth), that man (particular human beings) might become God." It appears logical to conclude what we mean by "God" indicates Totality, so no one and no thing can be outside the Whole, or God, or the Whole would not be the Whole. And, this, even as a child can never be outside its earthly father or mother, even many miles apart or the parents no longer in the body, for by nature one (the offspring) is both (father-and-mother) and both (father-and-mother) are the one (the offspring) ~ even the word offspring indicates this truth. By analogy, a limb will always be in the tree and the tree in the limb, the limb is both a part of the tree and the tree.
* * *
How do we arrive at this not-meeting-strangers? First, this is our true nature. So, in a sense, we do not arrive at this intimacy that already-is. This knowing reveals Itself. Some persons may have a spontaneous awakening to the union. Other persons may seem to take a long time moving toward it, evolving, then the revelation happens, though there may not be a clear line marking when the transition was final; or possibly that one cannot say when it took place, for it was a journey, a process, it was a taking-place. Likewise, that the taking-place ends, I cannot say that, in the sense intimacy deepens, the revelation grows Itself in our being in this form. So, this knowing is not a state to be arrived at or even given, but an organic knowing, an unfolding, evolving, maturing intimacy.
I have no reason to assume, either, that a person must have some spiritual practice or religion for this to occur. Possibly, there have been, and are, many beings without any such path who are awake to this communion. In some ways, religion or a spiritual path can deter this awakening, while such may encourage and guide, likewise. I sense, however, without some path and practice, few arrive at this deeper knowing, which is not compliant with the acculturated way of meeting strangers and nonstrangers, based on factors of personality, or personhood, not of Spirit. As long as I think and experience myself to be a person first-and-foremost, I will meet persons first-and-foremost.
* * *
So, it is good that we work for tolerance of diversity and world peace, if that is our calling. For those not called to this work, we can work for it in our daily interactions with others. So, we can all be in peace work. Yet, such work is only a step toward realizing our essential union: for essence with essence, not self with self. When we no longer see strangers, the other is invited into this knowing without our needing to say anything of this inner, intimate knowing. Intimacy calls attention to Itself, we do not need to do that.
* * *
Of key import is, "Do I so cherish myself as myself that I am not willing to let go of this clinging to my personality, with its own story, so meeting others through the lens of this apparent separation, refusing to enter our story as the central story?" or "Am I willing to be led into this intimacy, this communion of the one heart, where I love everyone spontaneously, and know one as the one we each and all are, and, again, spontaneously?"
Then, over time, we come to trust this natural being together, and we learn we may often not feel this union, but that this union is and is not an emotion or feeling. As we trust this, the sense of oneness arises more often in the body. Yet, we find it futile to try to sustain a feeling, or emotion, of unity. We learn, therefore, to relax in this natural estate, with all beings, human and other. We experience the joy of affirming by our heart disposition, even if we never speak of it in words, that our skin does not divide us from other beings. The skin is simply another form of continuity in which there is not point between here and there, you and me, that other and the not other.
* * *
Yes, while our togetherness, a single, diversified being, is our natural, true being, a beingness of no-separation, the revelation comes as a gift. That which only we can receive, we cannot intellectualize ourselves to. No amount of theorizing about oneness makes oneness real to us. Oneness is real to us in the revelation of Oneness Itself. What was, shows Itself as is. We cannot do anything to get this knowing, yet we can participate in preparing ourselves to be prepared and ready to receive the gift.
* * *
we are not appearances
what we appear to be
we are prior to appearances
we are that we are
*Brian Wilcox. 'connections'. Flickr.
*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2019