In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
* * *
I sit outside, that is, in my room, with only a door between us. I mean "outside," in that I choose not to join. I listen and reflect on the talk and laughter. They agree. They meet weekly for their edification. I respect each one, but I wonder what is being accomplished by getting together just to enjoy a largely unenlightened sharing of agreement. I could say my being alone is more difficult to bear than if I would join. But that would be untrue. I spent too many years trying to join these enclaves of shared conviction, insiders to outsiders, and I now prefer being on the outside, one of the outsiders. The door between us, I guess, says a lot about a more existential being apart, but I much prefer it to the facile togetherness so many humans call fellowship, love, and many other words for mere shared conviction among the apparently select few, chosen and set apart from the rest of humans. My own being apart was led to by my love for others and my love for the Truth-including an experience of Jesus and, also, his example. The church ended up making the outsider Jesus into a church savior, an insider king. Ironically, by being apart, I am more truly in Love. Does the apartness ever hurt? Yes. But that is just part of the joy of being a human with humans. By being apart, I am with, for the being with is a communion with others not based on thinking alike, looking alike, and other surface commonalities that generally lead persons to associate closely only with certain other apparent types of humans.
So, for me, apartness and being with is based not on surface traits among humans, but on a living Mystery. There is a Mystery living inside everyone, and you cannot penetrate that Mystery in another anymore than in yourself. This Mystery is living, for it is alive, alive in contrast to the illusion you have of your own particular, absolute self. While not penetrating it in the other, you can respect it and, in so doing, commune with it. Yet, if you cannot come to acknowledge and love the Mystery within your own self, you are likely to flee it in others. This is why so much apparent fellowship is merely an association of persons afraid to let themselves see themselves as like and one with others.
True communion really is simply Mystery meeting Mystery. This is why persons living from the Mystery transcend the boundaries most persons and groups define themselves by: Mystery is boundless, and Mystery expresses from Mystery, not fear of being like and one with.
Likewise, this is a reason engaging in Silence is so vital: Silence sensitizes persons to the Mystery that words tend to shroud and, so, the illusion of our separation. We worship words, for we worship our individuality. For most persons, words is a way to defend the illusion of an isolated, separate self, ironically the source of so much of their suffering, from the Mystery that moves among, between, and within us.
Being apart is an expression of your love for others, when your choice to be apart arises from your embrace of everyone, including those who appear much different from you. And your love for others is not a natural affection or even a commitment, but something so much more, something prior.