Expansion, from Latin, "to spread or stretch out."
* * *
In expansion there is no isolation.
It is love.
*Jean Klein. Who Am I?: The Sacred Quest.
The story is told in Theophane the Monk, Tales of a Magic Monastery, of the seeker who was tired of the little answers. He wanted the big one. So, he inquired of the guestmaster to show him the House of the Christian God. Here, his story continues...
I sat myself down, quite willing to wait for the big answer. I remained silent all day, far into the night. I looked Him in the eye. I guess He was looking me in the eye. Late, late at night I seemed to hear a voice, "What are you leaving out?" I looked around. I heard it again. "What are you leaving out?" Was it my imagination? Soon it was all around me, whispering, roaring, "What are you leaving out? What are you leaving out?!"
Was I cracking up? I managed to get to my feet and head for the door. I guess I wanted the comfort of a human face or a human voice. Nearby was the corridor where some of the monks live. I knocked on one cell.
"What do you want?" came a sleepy voice.
"What am I leaving out?"
"Me," he answered.
I went to the next door.
"What do you want?"
"What am I leaving out?"
A third cell, a fourth, all the same.
I thought to myself, "They're all stuck on themselves." I left the building in disgust. Just then the sun was coming up. I had never spoken to the sun before, but I heard myself pleading, "What am I leaving out?"
The sun too answered, "Me" That finished me.
I threw myself flat on the ground. Then the earth said, "Me, too!"
* * *
The nature of person, or ego, is to define itself by contrast and likeness. Love is pure inclusion, not by choice. Love is spontaneous openness. Love welcomes, being the spaciousness wherein all is already included. Love, therefore, is not tolerance; Love is choiceless receptivity. Presence, being Presence, is already, always timelessly present. Presence cannot not be present, so Presence is the expansion of inclusion. This means, who you truly are, being who we together truly are, does not need to be taught how to include. Once the prejudiced self is out of the way, inclusion is seen. This being so, Presence, unlike person, includes contrast and likeness in a natural, native harmony.
* * *
In my childhood in south Georgia, USA, there was a lot of racial discrimination against the black population. Culturally, whites had their place, blacks their place. So, on our school bus, the only three blacks in our community sat on the front seat to the right of the driver. They had no interaction with any of the other children and youth. We whites could choose our seats, these three ~ a brother and his two sisters ~ had an assigned seat. Daily, there sat Elijah, Willie Mae, and Alberto. They did not appear irritated by this, as though they had come to see such discrimination as their natural estate in life.
So, in this avidly church culture, almost all whites attended worship weekly, some two to three times. They heard a Gospel of inclusion, about a Jesus who was opposed and killed by the state for his message of welcoming Grace. Somehow, however, the link was not made from Jesus to us, from the Gospel of togetherness to our cultural norm of you-over-there and we-over-here. Persons seemed to fail to see the discontinuity between such exclusion and their church teaching that heaven would know no such discrimination.
In contrast to the above story from Father Theophane, we whites said, effectively, "No, not you, too!"
* * *
The Story of Grace, in whatever form one meets it, religious or otherwise, is of inclusion, of non-discrimination. Presence does not deny difference, such as skin color, Presence includes such as an expression of Itself, Grace celebrates diversity as a mirror of Oneness. Now, I can see, seeing a person of another skin color is an invitation to welcome the difference, even to celebrate the difference.
* * *
The person tends to fear what is unlike itself and, so, contract in the presence of that otherness. Love is a natural expansion to include the feared other as simply another expression of God, of our own natural Being, a Being that finds peace in unity. This fearless togetherness is due to Being being a single Self, one Life. If we use a traditional word soul, this is saying, "We do not have a soul, we are the soul, the one soul." Love is this native, spontaneous receptivity, or spaciousness, arising from the oneness we are. This Love in action is a welcoming, so to welcome the other is to welcome oneself, including the other thereby negating isolation.
In this togetherness we discover there is, strictly speaking, no Christian God, no God associated with any particular people or place or tradition. If one chooses to speak of God, we discover we are the House of God, each one, all of us. And, we discover, we means more than the human species.
*Copyright 2018, Brian Kenneth Wilcox