Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > On Spiritual Devotion


Apparently Useless Acts of Devotion

A Display in the Silence

Jul 2, 2020

A Greening Life

Brian Wilcox 'A Greening Life'

Jewish Scriptures - Shemot (Exodus) 33.10 -

When all the [Hebrew] people would see the pillar of cloud [a sign the Divine had come down] positioned at the tent's entrance [i.e., Tent of Meeting, Tabernacle], they would arise and lower themselves to the ground, each one at his tent door.

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"Humble" and "prostration" indicate a heart-posture of the Way. Yesterday, we saw that "humble" means, from Latin, "on the earth, ground, soil." Today, we speak of "prostration," from the Latin prostraus, "thrown down." Both words imply a posture of meekness, a heart-posture for no outward act suffices for the qualities inherent in Spirit. Each fruit of Spirit originates in likeness to Spirit and from Spirit, not merely by engaging a rite or practice. Based on the heart-posture, one engages an act and does not worship, the act being in vain, another does the same and truly worships.

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Matthew 11.19 -

Wisdom (Sophia) is proven by what She does [i.e., Her fruit].

Matthew 7.16 -20 -

You'll recognize them [false prophets] by their fruit. You don't gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, do you? Even so, every healthy tree produces edible fruit, while the unhealthy tree produces inedible fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear inedible fruit, and an unhealthy tree cannot bear edible fruit. Every tree that does not yield edible fruit is chopped down and thrown into a fire. So, you will recognize them by their fruit.

Matthew 3.8 -

Bear fruit showing you have turned from your old life to your new life in God.

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Islam provides an excellent example of how the outward act of prostration can be highly symbolic, instructive for anyone on a spiritual path. Huston Smith, in The World's Religions, writes of a two-fold symbolism in prostration among Muslims in prayer. First, the fetal position denotes the readiness to be reborn. Second, being crouched in the smallest place indicates human nothingness before the Absolute One. Hence, an act of worship can be both a reminder of and a stimulus to embody truth in daily life.

One might see this "human nothingness" as a demotion of the self. It is. Even a nontheistic path like Buddhism consistently demotes the self, not negating it, but in seeing it is relative: anything of value in the self arises from the Absolute. Hence, the self cannot be in itself, for its being is derived, and all its worth is for being in and from Spirit. Without Spirit, self would not be, could not sustain itself. In this sense, the self is nothing, for it is only something by and in Grace. Acts of worship mirror back to the self its proper place in the Divine Order. Smith speaks of the five times of prayer daily in Islam as means to confirm the place one has within this over-arching, cosmic Order.

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Reflection, January 27, 2018 -

After Prayerful Silence, with the image of someone prostrating arising during, I stand and then prostrate myself. Head to floor. Resting. Feeling what this feels like, again.


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Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > On Spiritual Devotion

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