The unity embodied
by Graceful ones
is a diversified unity.
Blessed are those who can say,
"I refuse to have enemies."
* * *
I feel that somatic shift happening again, my whole mind-body relaxing and opening up. I donít want to be a Zen Buddhist anymore. My body recoils at the idea of sitting through hours and days of pain and constriction. My nervous system recoils at the rigidity and artificiality of the forms. My body-mind wants to be out in the open air, wants to be free. My hand refuses to form the mudra [hand posture].
*Joan Tollifson. Bare-Bones Meditation.
* * *
The above words of Joan Tollifson, amidst her back-and-forth between Zen or not-Zen, reminded me of a like no-more-mudra-kind-of moment in my life. I was standing in the church sanctuary. We had stood to confess the "Nicene Creed," a doctrinal creed of Christianity spoken on Sundays in many churches around the world to express, and agree together on. I had, recently, been struggling to let the words seep out of my mouth. Seep is a good word, for they did not gladly come out, but with hesitation, forced. When you do that, force yourself to say something you do not truly believe even when you say you know you do, the body lets you know otherwise.
* * *
I recall the day referred to above, the day I said, "No" by not joining in the confession of faith. Everyone else joined in, saying it in the blunted monotone as each Sunday. I stood speechless, eyes closed, and respectful to what was happening. For now, I do not go to worship at a church, no where. I speak no confession of faith, no creed, and affirm no sole devotion to any scripture or any path. I guess you could say my creed is silence.
Yet, neither do I stay away from worship or a gathering thinking everyone who says the creed or a confession or avows devotion to a Scripture is a hypocrite, a liar, or ignorant.
* * *
We can shift in our perceptions about and speaking of truth, and be respectful toward those who disagree with us. Love is more important than agreement; agreement is highly over-rated. Love is not agreement or disagreement. Sentimentalism often arises from being a group where we are agreeing, but Love is not sentimentalism and is not sentimental. Love is as at-home amid disagreement as agreement.
* * *
I believe we all are to an extent blind to our own duplicities, to our gross to subtle compromises of truth, of right. Remembering this can help us remain humble. And if I refuse to agree with something, and I stand aloof in some sense of superiority, am I not acting against, rather than with and remaining in the gracefulness of Grace with those I differ with? So, differing with and differing against are different experiences.
* * *
So, yes, we need to be true to the shifts that happen within us along the Way. There was nothing wrong with Joan Tollifson deciding, that moment, not to engage the mudra. There was nothing wrong, either, that others joined in the mudra. The same in my case in the church.
* * *
Spiritual transformation is not a transcendence leading us away from others, but a widening of embrace leading us more deeply into the humanity we share with others and the creatureliness we share with the non-humans of the Earth. Spiritual transformation, being an act of Love to love, draws us into empathy with others, and we find our hearts even drawn into a kinship with persons and peoples who may see themselves as our enemies. How can peace come among us, unless we discover the way of Grace, a way not against but with? There is wonderful peace in ceasing to be against what we see to be the darkness, and simply and prayerfully shining with the Light.
*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.
The Sacred in Me bows
to the Sacred in You