*Brian Wilcox 'Bright & Beautiful ~ Marigold'
The Sage was asked, "What does one most need to start on the Way?"
Said the Sage, "To admit one is lost."
"And what keeps from this admission?"
"Either," rejoined the Sage, "ignorance or pride. In the first, one is lost to being lost; in the second, upon seeing the lostness, one refuses to admit his or her lostness."
"Why the refusal to admit?"
"Pride - a veil of weakness, weakness appearing to be strong but unable to be strong."
"And what is the remedy for this ignorance and pride?" asked the disciple.
"Grace, only grace."
* * *
A weary, lost traveler was wandering a dark, scary road. A bright, majestic castle appeared before him. There was a welcome sign over the entrance gate. He was relieved to have come upon a place for rest and safety. Nearing the open gate, the traveler saw other lost, weary travelers walking past the castle, oblivious to it. He asked a castle dweller about this oddity. Said the resident, "This is a magic castle. Only those who realize and admit they have lost their way can see it. Your honesty made the castle appear for you. Enter, for all its riches are yours."
The Christian Gospel has Jesus saying, "The Son of Man came to seek out and save those lost" (Luke 19.10). "Lostness" speaks of a universal human condition. Other wisdom paths use different language to refer to the same lostness.
"Son of Man," or "Human One," appears to be a way Jesus referred to his humanity, so unity with and likeness to the human family. Jesus, a good shepherd, speaks of bringing wandering sheep back into the fold, the place of common brotherhood-and-sisterhood. The restoration to Grace is the healing of fragmentation and alienation.
Here, lostness implies being separate, apart, isolated, and not enjoying the Way with others. Moreover, one is apart from the Shepherd, who loves the sheep. The self is alienated from the Self, the 'i' from "I." One has identified self with the body, not seeing the body as an expression of the Soul and the Source. Reconciliation speaks of the need to be reunited, brought together, healed of this alienation.
* * *
A deeply religious man said to the Sage, "You do realize, don't you, reconciliation to God is a religious matter?" "No," rejoined the Sage, "I wasn't aware of that. And I wouldn't necessarily see it that way." "Then," said the man, "how would you see it?" Replied the Sage, "Reconciliation is reconciliation." The man argued, "Well, then you're seeing it as nonreligious!" "No, I'm seeing it as neither religious nor nonreligious."
* * *
While reconciliation is a return to Life and others, it is a return to oneself. The self is lost to itself, alienated from itself; Consciousness has become identified with the little 'i.' In reconciliation, the 'i' returns into the "I," the sense-of-self into the heart center. In returning to the heart center, one returns to the Heart. In the Heart, God and other and self are Being-in-accord.
* * *
October 12, 2007, I wrote on this lostness and the reconciliation to the Beloved:
[R]econciliation to myself is an honesty that aligns the confession of mind with the actual state of the heart, a heart that has lost the way and cannot find the way. Indeed, the more I seek to find the way in my being lost, the more I become lost, for my being lost entails within it a moral weakness to admitting I cannot find my way and a spiritual inadequacy to discovering the true state of being lost.
I cannot on my own become un-lost, that Jesus makes clear. Something outside my being lost must intervene. Something must be able to intervene and not become lost in my being lost and reconcile me from outside my lostness to Itself. That is Grace. Otherwise, my very attempts apart from Grace to discover Grace are futile attempts that perpetuate my being apart from Grace.
This one thing is simple and transformative: admitting that I am lost and cannot discover the way back to being found without help. I admit that Grace is the only answer. When I do, Grace connects me to the healing work of being returned to the Way.
If I refuse this self-honesty, Grace by its nature cannot reconcile, for Grace is the responsive and just Presence of Love, a Love that can only enter when I am reconciled to my own lostness. This reconciliation to lostness opens the way to reconciliation with God, with being found. Grace precedes and effects both reconciliations, while my honesty is responsive to the responsiveness of God to my need of God.
* * *
The Sage replied to the question, "From whence comes Grace, from within or outside life?" "The Ocean is water wherever you touch it. Life is graceful, no inside, no outside; only Life, so only Grace."
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(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2020