*Brian Wilcox. 'A Community of Chives'
There is a wisdom, universal, in the Way. This principle is that decrease in the self means increase in the Sacred. This truth appears in the Christian scripture, the Gospel of John 3.29-31 (ESV). John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus' public ministry, speaks to his followers about Jesus.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all.
The Way is a pilgrimage in which the self becomes less and less, and with this, the Living Christ more and more. This decrease in self shows up in a felt-withdrawal of effort and sense-of-control over one's life, including what one could call spiritual or religious life. The person will most ardently struggle against this early in the pilgrimage and later will more quickly, easily relax into the Truth. Here, one has experienced Self-realization, not self-realization.
The one "of the earth" and the one who "comes from above," or "from the heavens," represent these two: self and Self. Finally, the self recognizes itself as belonging in the Truth and, hence, servant of the Truth. Then, one knows he or she has returned Home, the self at-home in the Supernal.
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A devotee had been in a season of dryness in her prayers and meditations. She asked, "What am I to do?" Said the Sage, "Nothing. That, too, is prayer."
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Teresa of Avila (Spanish Carmelite, b. 1515) had a Sister who used a form of meditation wherein she envisioned Jesus standing before her. She would remain in this prayer for hours. When asked what she did in the prayer, she said, "I just allow myself to be loved."
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Teresa, in her autobiography, Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, compares the stages of mystical prayer to four ways for watering a garden. Teresa's four steps entail shifts in decreasing self-effort. This reduction of personal involvement invites an increase in Divine participation.
Before proceeding, I recommend the reader go to the end of this writing and read the note on stage theory.