*Brian Wilcox. 'Radiant Presence'. Flickr
* * *
A continuance of encounters with a sage who did not see himself as a sage, but others did; from Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
Wise words, said the sage, as he prepared to read from a paper in his hand, of Lin Jensen, in his Bad Dog!: A Memoir of Love, Beauty, and Redemption in Dark Places...
We can’t fabricate our being, we can only receive it. To be alive means to receive ourselves, not once only but ever, and not from our own hand but always from the hand of something other. We exist as ourselves through the agency of what is not ourselves. “To be” means to be in relationship.
A recommended movie came to my attention, and I recommended it to others, friends, before watching it myself. It looked like it would be good to watch, I assumed ~ something my father told me never to do, assume, for ass-uming makes an ass out of persons ~, and incorrectly. I began watching it. Leaving it for a short time, I went downstairs, to be notified I was invited to watch it with my friends. I was enthused to share this time with them, and looked forward to the movie, too. Good friends, good movie ~ Yea!
The movie was not as planned, that is, not good, indeed awful, one of the worst I had ever viewed. Yet, we stuck with it to the end, the welcome end, except one friend who slumped over asleep. She did not miss anything recommendable for viewing. We, the remaining awake, did not see anything recommendable for viewing, either. The movie was like a bad dream, that simply goes from bad to worse, and you are glad when you wake up. This horror movie was horrible, indeed.
Initially, we found the movie funny, like a comedic horror. Then, it turned more violent, and bloody, and deadly. A truly deadly bad show. At the conclusion, we agreed, unanimously, non-bi-partisan, the movie was terrible. We could not fathom any meaning to it. Again, we laughed. Yet, we had watched it. I later joked I would be in charge of a weekly movie night, the reply, jokingly, was I was no longer trusted with recommending movies.
Afterward, back in my room, reflecting on how much I enjoyed the time during the movie, I knew it was not about the movie. The enjoyment, or, "being-in-joy," the reason I am glad we watched the movie, was not about the movie or anyone watching the movie, but about we. This was about our being together sharing, including the laughter at what was truly a meaningless flick. The movie was awful, the fellowship was wonderful. I am glad we were there, sharing that space, sharing ourselves.
The following day, I came upon a quote, one among my all-time favorites. These words form a witness to that time of sharing, the forgettable movie, the unforgettable togetherness. Words of Walt Whitman...
We were together. I forget the rest.
You mentioned we, placing stress on it. Yet, oneness is not we, and usually you focus on oneness.
One is we, we are one. We cannot choose to be one, we are one. You can deny it, you cannot undo it. One cannot become un-one, either as one or more than one. If you escape from one, you escape from two, if you escape from two, you escape from one.
So, the movie was the way for you all to share as one?
As one and as more than one, still one. Yes, as the One. Before the church became an institution, it was a we, a living body called the Body of Christ. The early churches in the East used the singular "Person" for the plurality of that Body. They got it, the church lost it. The church became a singular in concept, a plurality in practice, and up-to-down hierarchy, a caste system of those in-power, those out-of-power. The true Person was negated by the power of a few, undoing the beautiful oneness of the we. The Body was demolished into pieces of its original Glory and unity. Christ, one could say, was divided from one, into many separate from one; yet, Christ cannot lose any of Christ, any of Its undivided being. Christ is oneness, cannot not be, and we cannot change that in our ignorance, lust for power, and pride, thankfully.
As long as we are in this human body, we need the other, one or more, to manifest the oneness we are as one, as well as each one of us is as one. The one-as-the-other mirrors back oneness to us-as-the-one, as we mirror it to the other-as-the-one. Oneness, then, breaks into diversity as the mirror of Itself. The Whole is holographic. The Whole is in you, you in the Whole. Yet, this, for our good as Earth, must become experienced, not merely a nice, catchy concept we can plaster all over the world-wide web or speak of in our spiritual gatherings. The concept is emerging, the experience still far behind, but, thankfully, the idea of this is gaining strength in collective consciousness. We are returning to the realization that we, the many, is and are we the Person. Indeed, the Earth is Person. There is one Sun, one Radiance.
The movie, the whole world, all in it, you, me, everyone, all called animate and inanimate, all seen and unseen, all is here to manifest our togetherness. This togetherness, yes, not meaning being together in one place, in physical proximity, but heart-with-heart. What we refer to as heart-with-heart is really a singular depth of being, of Presence. We experience this at varying degrees, though It is totally, always present. As I have said before, Presence cannot not be present. Sometimes persons gather together, and there is no heart-with-heart, more personalities-among-personalities, or person-with-person. Still, Presence is fully present. The movie is a sign of something that can be a means to, and through which, we experience graceful intimacy together, as Togetherness Itself. As humans, particularizations, such as objects, can become means of, conduits of, universal, universalizing Life.
This sounds much like sacramentalism, such as in some churches?
The whole world is living, is sacramental, is a sacrament. Nature is intrinsically religious in that sense. A rock can become a sacrament for you, as much as anything else. A rock holds within itself the world.
Nature is religious?
Yes, as a means of Grace, of Life, of Presence, of Love. Nothing truly spiritual can be seen, is unseen, and the seen is the means of the unseen, and the Unseen in which it all arises into form and returns to formlessness.
Where is the I, or the person, in this we of intimacy?
The I, the sense-of-person, is present, only now subsumed to the oneness of we, or the we of oneness. Each I present is moving within the moving environment of oneness, or Grace. The particular finds its being and purpose for being within the Whole, not the Whole within the particular. The purpose, if we may speak of purpose, of each particular is to manifest the Universal, each being to express Being.
Is it possible for one or more in a gathering to experience oneness and the others not?
Yes, even as one person can walk outside his or her door and witness all as a unity, a oneness, while another will totally miss it, only seeing separateness. When you live in oneness, you carry that, so to speak, with you, it becomes the natural environment in which you live, as natural as other persons living from the sense of ego and seeing the world from that constricted perspective. When oneness is alive in you, you cannot not see it, and you see it effortlessly, even as you have always been it effortlessly. Oneness is, then, seeing itself.
What do you sense, after such a sharing, that there has been what you call heart-with-heart?
Each such arising of oneness as we, each is heart-with-heart, and one sign, often felt afterward, is being refreshed, like having breathed in deeply fresh air. If you do breathing exercises, when you breathe in deeply, holding the breath inside, then breathing out a long exhale, you are left with a sense of refreshment, of invigoration. The body has imbibed the oxygen more than our usual breathing, briefer on both inhale and exhale and with only a small gap between the inhale and exhale. So, one thing I notice after heart-with-heart intimacy is a feeling of refreshment, in-vigorated, a revival of the whole being, including the body, mind, and soul, or essence. There remains a deep sense of satisfaction, one you savor in memory. You may not savor the details of the sharing, but you savor the sharing, the intimacy itself. This is reminiscent of words from Rabindranath Tagore, when he says, "You smiled and talked to me of nothing, and I thought for this I had been waiting long."
Intimacy is really an environment wherein “I” and “I” move as one “I,” and this last “I” is who we truly are, the One manifesting as one, two, three, … Again, however, one or more can bring the readiness and preparedness for this to occur, but that does not mean it will for anyone else present. When one leaves another, it not being shared, there is a different sense than this refreshment, for one senses that the heart-with-heart did not arise, even though the sharing might have been edifying in other ways. Not everyone breathes the same 'air.' Oneness is a rarefied air, so to speak.
I rarely experience heart-with-heart with anyone.
Few persons are prepared for it. That you do not with others but infrequently, that is okay. When it arises, good, when not, receive what is shared as a gift. We are not all prepared to experience our shared kinship at a deep level, and few are prepared to live this, even if having visits, so to speak, of it. Some persons are walled off, usually from past abuse, and they are not prepared to open up into this we of oneness. When with them, you will feel the person is only present as a person, closed off, even when talking and acting as though he or she is not closed of. You will feel emotions, you will see body, but you will not sense a sharing of heart, a wholeheartedness. Again, this you respect, while you do not expect him or her to become anything else. In time, with being loved, possibly that person will feel able to peer outside that prison of pain, maybe, even venture outside.
Do we ever need to let go of a relationship wherein there isn't this depth of reciprocity?
Some relationships are simply not healthy for us, or of not the mutual-benefit whereby we feel we can justify the investment of energy and time; leaving them or minimizing contact in goodwill may be in order.
We are venturing more broadly into this than I anticipated, and let us return to relationships later. Some matters, such as spiritual friendship, in contrast to other friendship, and sexual attraction among spiritual intimates, these are matters one will be wise to be aware of on the path, for such arises for all of us on the Way.
*Brian Wilcox. 'Appearances'. Flickr
*The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.