We Share One Life, We Are One Life
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door; there, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
*Matthew 6.6, Christian New Testament.
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Grace has taught me, and keeps reminding me, daily, I am most truly no one. Being a someone is an overlay to Truth. And the more surrender into that acceptance, trusting there is so much more than a someone present, the more arises the grace of freedom to love others and enjoy Life and the gifts Life gives us all, everyday.
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I used to attend a group that spent almost the entire meeting on Sunday mornings in quiet, silent meditation, or what I call often prayerfulness. This we could equate with Jesus referring to praying in 'secret,' with door shut behind us. So, we each would shut the door, so to speak, and no one would speak, unless - we were informed - feeling an inner guidance to say some words. And, of course, some persons felt led and did speak. Also, of course, some persons just needed to speak and disrupt the loveliness of the quiet with a parade of words, and not keeping it brief, as was the expectation. So, regardless of the ideal the group taught, often it was not honored by all members. One morning, interestingly, one dear lady stood up and began talking at length, walking around the room in discourse. She made a full circle around the gathering and returned to her seat. Finally, and thankfully, she did shut up and bless us with refuge from her oration.
After the silent quietness of about forty-five minutes, a leader would ask everyone in the room to introduce himself or herself - even if we already had been introduced to one another repeatedly. Here we go again, this is my name, listen to me, look at me. I recognized this as a kind gesture, but odd for such a meeting. I dreaded this time, as my whole body-mind was not prepared to move back quickly into such self-presentation and discourse. There was a sense of coming from the beautiful silence, where we were to drop self-presentation and enjoy a relaxation from self. Then, from the secrecy, we were to call attention to ourselves and our apparent-identity, being pulled so soon out from behind the closed door. I found the sudden shift disconcerting and, yes, misplaced.
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The secret place, that behind the doors, alone with the Alone, cannot be rushed into or rushed out of; even as the self bathed in Truth is not ready to stand on stage and sing the I, me, mine tune. There is a lovely hiddenness about Grace, a sense of no-self that is liberating, a true Emptiness full of Something, for empty of self.
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To enter the room and close the door behind us, the secrecy of prayerfulness, has been taught over aeons, and by every religious tradition I have studied. The intentional practice of Silence offers us relief from the usual self-presentation that is part of humanness, but is not our True Self. The egoic self tends to seek self-survival through talk, through self-presentation as vital to self-perpetuation. We need Silence to learn to keep the mouth shut. We are unclothed in Silence, over and over, so to live more unclothed outside these set times of worshipful quiet. You will continue to present yourself, you will simply do that not feeling you must do it. You will realize what you are presenting, anyway, is just the veil of the Truth you share with the 'Father,' - however you understand that, or That.
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What I am saying is by entering this secrecy, - obviously not a mere reference to a physical place - a denuding of generalized egoic consciousness, an immersing in and habituation to a non-self-consciousness, quietly happens. This does not mean a sense of self is killed off; rather, a transformation occurs, generally slowly, in which the sense of self loses its centrality, being denuded of its self-importance, to a more expansive, subtle consciousness.
Likewise, the secrecy gradually becomes the natural habitat from which you live. This would be like saying the Silence becomes that we live from, rather than our seeking silence as a time apart from others - while the latter will likely continue, but, again, transformed, to enjoy and nurture this new venue of life.
One matter true of this prayerfulness is the humbleness that allows it and is deepened by it. I recently read of the spiritual teacher that entered a meeting place in robes and someone carrying her shoes for her. The person who attended said that was sad. Another said it might just be custom, based on her teachings arising from another culture, though she is American. Another reply was, as I sense Jesus taught it - Grace is not ostentatious, Gracefulness is not needing to be seen as holy, or saved, or enlightened. There is a literal secrecy about the Truth we are, rather than the self that must present itself for its self-fulfillment. Grace is fulfilled already and acts from fullness, not a need to be noticed by anyone or heard by someone to be full. In Grace, we are freed from being full of ourselves, so to speak. What freedom one enjoys in not needing to be seen, not needing to be heard! Lovely freedom.
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The secrecy of pure prayerfulness, in and from Silence, humbles us, tones us down, denudes the egoic tendency toward show and demonstrativeness. Grace is subtle, quiet, and powerful. Grace is not arrogant and clamoring for attention, or wishing to be seen as special. This quiet Grace is lovely. We are shaped in Its image through our going, again and again, over years, into the place of secrecy, alone and surrendered to Life. I find, then, not needing to be some-one is a powerful expression of Truth.
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Grace and Peace to All
The Sacred in Me bows to the Sacred in You
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