This is the nineteenth of the series of reflections arising from a month in silence and solitude; the musings invite the reader to explore the Truth for himself or herself. May the writer's reflections be windows to look in, or out, onto the vista of our one Beloved, our deepest, truest Self. Peace! Brian K
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The true lesson of the spiritual one, and that you ought to learn, is to leave all things in their place, and do not meddle with any but what fits your responsibility. For one who leaves all to know 'God' begins to have all, now, in the eternity she aspires to. ... Joy and internal peace are the fruits of the Divine Spirit; and no one receives this fruit, if in the closet of the self, he is not in a state of self-resignation.
*Miguel de Molinos. The Spiritual Guide. Modern English Adaptation.
The deep things and the sacred things must be hidden within our own consciousness. The more we keep secret and sacred within us, the greater is the power.
*Joel S. Goldsmith. Practicing the Presence.
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Spiritual retreat is more than going off for a time away to focus on your spirituality. This retreating is, also, going daily to a place, alone, to posture yourself to receive and enjoy eternity. This is going to the 'closet,' and I have gone to the literal closet, at times, to have quiet and aloneness. 'Closet' can be anywhere, but needs to be a place you will be honored by others as having need for this apartness.
A dear lady had begun Centering Prayer. She was wife and mother. When home from work, she prepared a meal and cleaned up afterward. She realized she needed her quiet time, and she was not having it. She initiated on this matter with her husband. They agreed. Afterward, she would prepare the evening meal, he would clean up afterward. She would enjoy soaking in the tub, and there relax and engage her Centering Prayer. That was her 'closet.'
I served as pastor for a dear lady, and her husband was at-home dying. Her 'closet' was sitting beside him, engaging her Centering Prayer. Could there be a better 'closet' than sitting compassionately beside your beloved, engaged in quiet, prayerful contemplation?
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Beyond this 'closet,' a physical place, is the inwardness all spiritual Teachers speak of. This is the Holy of Holies, beyond the veils. Molinos refers to this as 'closet of the self.' To go there means 'self-resignation.' This 'closet' is not a place, and one is to leave self-promotion and self-assertion outside. Thankfully, persons are present, likely many who would not impress others as spiritually enlightened, who wordlessly witness by presence and Presence the joy and compassion of this furtive inwardness, this self-hiding God-ness. This is one reason persons who try to understand a holy man or woman will only end up frustrated at the impossibility, or arrive at self-satisfying conclusions as unreal as the egoic grasping to know in the seeking itself to fathom what cannot be so known. Grace is sly, playfully so, too. Some saw a criminal, some saw Christ. Your eyes see, as you are, and, still, Christ can be loved, never known.
One is to be morally prepared, additionally, to enter this 'closet.' If one approaches this Fire of Love with self un-yielded, being burned the more will result. Burning in this withinness is a gift. This must happen, as the self-as-center, which is an illusion, is being cooked by the heat of Presence. Self is not burned up, not self, but self as turned-in on itself is transformed by firey Grace, removed from thinking and acting as though it is the center. The 'closet' is not always a pleasurable place to be, then, sometimes like a hot oven. Yet, joy and peace arise through the transforming of the base metal of self-centeredness into the illumination of the Gold of Grace. Over time, one arrives at a maturity of resignation, whereby one sits alone, quietly in the Fire, and welcomes the burning. The Truth you are may even enjoy the burning, for the burning is the action of Love, so surrender to the Fire of Love is resignation to be Loved by Love. Would you not rather be cooked by Love, than ignored by Love?
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To engage this path, any spiritual path, you must learn to mind your own business. This meaning, as Molinos speaks, do not meddle in what is not your responsibility. The path demands devotion, and one has to consider how not to dissipate energy in useless matters. The world as Nature is a lovely, inspiring place, the world as persons is full of dissipating distractions. Indulging in this distraction is not for persons who are deeply-devoted to a life of Wakefulness. The distractions will deaden your spiritual sensitivity, will inoculate you to the subtle moving of Grace.
So, we may struggle with this. That is okay, but we need to choose wisely in this matter. Enough is enough, and only you can decide that. I have faced the question of how much to engage in social media. Such interaction is low in quality, mostly, and provides us a way to escape the essential sense of aloneness, and loneliness, that is energy to lead us into the 'closet.' This is only one example of the plethora of distractions available to many of us. We cannot be pulled here and there by these. Also, one is wise to see that such instant 'connection' is not the deep connection we long for. We need depth, we long for depth, and we cannot enjoy the deep Life-currents playing in the shallows.
I will conclude, today, quoting from the Christ, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, about the need of retreating into the 'closet,' which, finally, is the inwardness, the intimacy, that is your own Being-in-God...
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room. Shut the door behind you. Then, pray to your Father, in the secret place. And your Father, seeing in secret, will bless you.
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*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 email@example.com .
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.