Saying For Today: The sacralization of your entire life, all your work, all you think and do, your every breath, this is religiousness, this is your offering back to Life that gives you life.
*Brian Wilcox. 'a joyful spirit'. 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."
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About one thousand years ago, a sage felt drawn to a construction site. He watched from the edge of a clearing in the forest, while workers bent over their tasks.
Curiosity urged the sage to approach one worker; the sage asked, "What are you doing, my good man?" The worker looked up briefly and went back to his work, saying curtly, "I'm working."
The sage was not satisfied with the answer. He approached a second worker. The sage asked the same question, "What are you doing, my good man?" "You can see I'm breaking stones," replied the man.
The sage was a man of determination; he was not leaving without an answer that felt right. He walked to a third worker, posing the same question, "What are you doing, my good man?" "I'm building a temple," spoke this man smilingly.
All three of the workers were breaking boulders into smaller stones for the same edifice. But they were not doing the same job. The vision and love of the temple was only in the heart of one of them.
So do all as a holy task? We're all building a temple?
No, not all, some are building a temple, those with a temple in the heart. Yes, as to doing all as a sacred task. The sacralization of your entire life, all your work, all you think and do, your every breath, this is religiousness, this is your offering back to Life that gives you life. Kahlil Gibran, in The Prophet, wrote:
Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Whenever you enter into it take with you your all. Take the slough and the forge and the mallet and the lute, The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight. For in reverie you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures. And take with you all men: For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.
In contrast to religion. Religiousness is a spirit, an attitude, of devotion to the Mystery we all live within and gives our small, temporary lives its sacredness, its holiness. Religiousness makes all life worship. One does not merely go somewhere to worship, one lives in worship. Some worship sites have a sign, "Enter to worship, depart to serve." A life devoted does not separate worship and service, for all such a one does is both, is service and worship. If you enter to worship and leave to serve, you have missed the meaning of worship being both what one does at the meeting for worship and in life as the temple of worship. Again, Gibran tellingly sets this forth:
And he to whom worshipping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.
Is this mindfulness?
No. Mindfulness is simply being present to what appears. In meditation, mindfulness is a beginning practice, though much of value. Incorrectly, many treat it like it is a profound meditation practice, an end. Learning to be present to what appears now ushers in the capacity to drop below what is now to its Source, what is timeless, eternal, the Eternal. Religiousness recognizes, respects, and honors the depth, the Life that gives life to all living things. Where does your every breath come from? Not the breath. This depth, this before and always, this is the Holy, the Totally Other, God, Beauty, Life, Truth, ...
Is this like what you mean when you speak of silence as the absence of noise, or sound, and silence as a presence?
Yes, but not merely presence, the Presence. Every presence is a manifestation of one Presence. A quality of living with sense of depth, the Presence, of life being holy, sacred, is worship. Life becomes a sacrament, not a rite of religion, but a devotion of heart, the Universal. Even as to work, Gibran says, "Work is love made visible." All life becomes worship, becomes one rite of Love. You become a self-oblation to the Beloved, to Life.
This is related to what I referred to as wholehearted, a central idea of Dogen and the Soto Zen that flows from him. In worship, you do not have to have a "God" as an object to whom you are giving worship. The very act is worship, the giving and receiving one act. Yet, again, in religiousness, or sacredness, you recognize life is not simply surface, but Life, that Something making possible this whole movement of life on the surface. In devotion to this, you actualize it by being fully here-and-now, whatever you are doing. You are not absent. You are totally there, in self-giving love. This means with everyone, as Gibran said above... and the only way to live with everyone is from and in the depths, not on the surface. In God, all is one... all is communion... no one worships, ever, alone...
And take with you all men: For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.
The only way to live with everyone is from and in the depths, not on the surface, then?
In God, all is one, for all in God in potential and manifestation; in potential undifferentiated, in manifestation differentiated: Love becoming Love. Then, Love is becoming in that act by Grace you are enacting. Love is happening, always. All is communion in manifestation, recognized or not, lived or not, Love is present. Indeed, often one acts in Love without knowing it. Those most in Love, rarely, if ever, does such a one act with consciousness of Love, for one has been oneed by Love with Love.
No one worships, so no one lives, ever alone, and the sole way to live with everyone is from and in the depths, in Life through Life. This is to say, in Love through Love ~ yes, as Love, for the one acting from Love, this one is becoming Love and Love becoming Love. All becomes, "Thy Will Be Done," as in the Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, which is, "Love, Love be done. May Love manifest, here, now, in me and through me." And to say this, wholly, is to say, "May I become Love, may I become You."
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*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.