*Brian Wilcox. 'the Gathering we are'. Flickr
Written on seventh day of silent retreat at Raven's Rest hermitage, in the Great Smoky Mountains, outside Hot Springs, North Carolina.
For the first conference on this topic, see "waving at passersby ~ living an enlightened life," July 11.
Gerald, one of the members of the community, said to the sage, in the daily group discussion time, "I'm not satisfied with the ending of our discussion a few days ago, the one on living an enlightened life. You know, the one where you spoke of waving at persons as you walked down and back up the mountain. You said, it's where you wave from that matters."
"Yes. And do you have a question?"
"What if one day you were walking down and up the mountain and did not wave, would that mean you were not acting enlightened?"
"Possibly, possibly not. Could not the walking itself be an enlightened action?"
"That's just confusing to me, please, I'm struggling with this."
"Okay. Living an enlightened life is not about acting in any particular way, it's not about morality, I mean right versus wrong, waving opposed to not waving. One can do what is called right in an unenlightened way, one can do what is called wrong in an enlightened way."
"So, that is what you mean about what matters is where you were waving from?"
"Yes, Gerald. It was not about waving or not waving. Sometimes I don't engage with persons, and that, too, is okay, that can be enlightened action."
"So, you mean it's not what we do, but why we do it?"
"No, there is no why to enlightened behavior. Enlightened behavior is spontaneous, it arises out of the spaciousness we can call many things. It's like the Sun, it has no reason to shine, but it shines. We could say it just shines."
"Could we say enlightened action is arising out of Buddha? or Christ? or God? or Love?"
"If that helps, it's good. But those are words. When you act in pure spontaneity, in that moment there is no thought of what is the source of the action or the reason for it or that you are doing it to honor or obey anyone or anything."
"So, that's what you mean when, sometimes, you speak of pure?"
"Yes, spaciousness is pure of even the idea of pure. There is no way to speak of enlightened action. We cannot even do it. In a truer sense than your acting enlightened, such action simply happens. All explanations of why are that, explanations."
Vanessa, a visitor to the gathering asked, "In my upbringing I was told such would arise from the Holy Spirit. I am a Christian."
"If that helps you, again, good. Still, when you know the Holy Spirit intimately, you have no explanation of that, for no one can tell you who or what the Holy Spirit is. The Holy Spirit is without explanation, is without any theology, or ideology. If the Holy Spirit could have an explanation, an identity you give it, or your faith group gives it, would that be the Holy Spirit?"
"Seems not," Vanessa smiled. "That makes sense to me, I've just never heard it said that way before."
Gerald began, "Well, ..."
"Let's end this for now. We can return later to this. Better that we reflect prayerfully on what we have discussed, in the Silence, and that might help more than our continuing with words. Thank you."
*noi photos. 'Calm'. Flickr
*(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019
Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered from major booksellers online, including the publisher 1stBooks.