'A Silent Presence'
While walking out of the Country Store toward my vehicle, I see a young man in his 20s and one older. Both are getting out of a truck. The younger, being closer, meets me first, and we greet each other. The second and I pass a few feet apart. I look toward him. He shows no interest in acknowledging me. I walk on, recalling thoughts from earlier during morning quiet time.
In the quiet time, I recalled sitting outside a store the previous day, waiting for a mechanic to inspect my truck. The wooden seat was wet from a sprinkling rain throughout the day, which continued while sitting there. Persons would walk toward the store entrance, moving past me. Some of them shared greeting gestures with me, while others showed no interest in sharing.
The two above experiences revolve around a matter I have written of often - invitational presence. What is this? How does it relate with being benevolently indifferent, or indifferently benevolent?
1) Invitational Presence
Here, you are not seeking to determine how someone responds to you or if they do. This heart-posture is not something you do; it is that you are. In union with universal Presence, you become invitational. Here, it is as though you have a sign painted on the forehead, saying, "Welcome!" Your whole being is like an open door. You are hospitality. Some persons will enter to share with you, even if only a simple gesture of recognition - such as a greeting. Sharing laughter, a smile, an email, a text message, or a hello between apparent strangers can be fellowship heart-with-heart.
Rather than use online to express our frustration, anger, or attack persons, we can use such as a means to better our world through positive thoughts and kindness. If even one person shares an edifying sharing with you, the world has become a kinder place. We can be an invitational presence on the internet.
Some beings will not acknowledge your openness to commune positively. No reactivity arises when someone does not reply to your presence. Response or nonresponse does not touch the invitational-posture. This silent hospitality stems from the Sacred, not from your personality. Hence, there is no logic to taking personally a nonresponse, even a glaring rejection. From the perspective of response or not, it is not your concern about how persons respond. It is your concern to nurture and sustain a steady posture of receptivity to the Sacred in others. Your concern is not to yield to participate in harshness against anyone but to remain a kindhearted being. If we remain steadfast in emanating positive, life-giving energy, we will stay an invitational presence.
2) Indifferently Benevolent
One may be surprised that a writer on our oneness would refer to our true nature as benevolent, indifferent presence. Francis Lucille introduces this wording in his The Perfume of Silence. "Indifferent" means, in its etymology, "showing no preference." So, one can well speak of divine Love as benevolent and indifferent. There are 'lower' expressions of love not like this, but divine Love is.
The need for divine Love is why we transcend other loves to welcome the divine Beloved into our lives, so we become like the Beloved, the Spirit of Grace. For example, we transcend the love of our country to love all nations equally. We transcend the love of our family and friends to love all humanity as our brothers and sisters. We transcend the love of those on our side, so to speak, to love our so-called enemies. We transcend the love of humans to love other sentient beings, all Creation. Our particular loves do not cease, but Grace transforms such limited loves within a single Love.
Tonight, during a break from this writing, I walked outside. There was a cat, hesitant to come out of hiding. I had never seen this cat, or any cat here. I bent down. I spoke kindly to her. I asked her to whom she belonged. I had almost decided she would not come out. Then, she did. She walked up to me and began doing that rubbing against my legs. I spoke with her more. She saw something in the distance, and she became entranced with this whatever. I walked back into the house. This is what I mean - all Creation is included in the divine Love.
The benevolent indifference does not refer to a feeling state, such as, "I simply don't think well of you at all," or "I could care less if you like me or not." One is not coldly aloof. Being benevolently indifferent enhances openness and receptivity to and intimacy with others. Likewise, when we transcend to embrace a Love beyond our lesser loves, our capacity to care for others is more, not less. The wider your embrace of compassion, the more you love all that you love. As some say, "There is plenty of love to go around." So, we cannot lose by opening ourselves more and more to include more and more into ourselves.
Beyond dualistic, this benevolent neutrality is not a state of mind or emotion. Why? The being-posture is an expression arising from Life beyond the personal. In the ego, we selectively love. We manufacture reasons or adopt societal ones - especially close-knit groups the ego identifies with - for whom we will love and not love. Divine Love loves, for It can do no other. Such Grace does not choose whom to be graceful toward. This Love is benevolent toward everyone, putting no boundaries to keep anyone out of the heart. Likewise, a compassionate being does not use kindness to ensure anyone is indebted to it or feels less than it is. Such a being does not have the attitude, "Oh! how loving I am, that I love such a person as that one is." Grace is humble.
See, Presence, not being personal, has nothing to lose or gain, whether someone likes you or not, shares with you or not, or remains in your life or chooses to leave and never interact with you again. One could blaspheme this Presence all day, and it would not influence the Sacred-in-you a bit. Nothing anyone can or cannot do will affect any change in Presence. Life is Self-fulfilled. Humans often grasp to capture fulfillment from other persons - such is not Spirit's way; otherwise, the Infinite would be dependent on the finite. Hence, when saying indifferently benevolent, this is stating the Absolute manifests silent grace through the self, like the Sun shining impartially on everyone and everything. Even if someone never felt any gratitude for the Sun and its gifts, the Sun would not be affected by the absence of recognition.
Jesus appears, in the Gospel of Matthew 5.43ff, teaching benevolent indifference by our love for everyone, including those who choose to be our enemies -
You have heard the sacred teaching, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say, "Love your enemies! Pray for those who mistreat you! Doing this, you will be acting as true children of your heavenly Parent. For God gives sunlight to the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what recompense is there for that? Even cheating tax collectors do that. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. Instead, you are to be whole, even as your heavenly Parent is whole."
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Hence, one can see the kinship of these two terms: invitational presence, indifferently benevolent. These are two, among other ways, of speaking of how we become a means of Grace, our presence an avenue for Presence to spread blessing in the world through who we are and what we are doing.
What do you do to be such a presence? Through intimacy with the Sacred, you become a conduit of Sacredness. If you try to be invitational, you have not become invitational. Invitational is spontaneous. If you try to do invitational, you are not invitational. Invitational is an expression of being, not something one does. What one does can complement Presence but nothing done is itself invitational presence. Sometimes, not doing is the wisest means of expressing invitation. All this applies to benevolent indifference. Our action is to engage a wisdom path that welcomes Life to draw us into the heart, the meeting-space within of self and Spirit. In intimacy with Life, our Beloved, we become Life channels; we become Light environments.
That I am here
Love is here
That I am Love here
loving is happening
Where is 'God'
where is Love
What is 'God' doing
how is Love loving
simply look and see
No theology, no ideology, needed
to know and enjoy
this amazing, unteachable
Life already, always
wherever and anywhere
For Life is appearing
before anything said or done
Even if no other is present
Presence, so Love, appears
When no one looks
the Sun still shines
When you are asleep
the Moon still adorns the night-sky
Even before a lover returns to her beloved
her love is already there before she arrives
When you pray
the prayer is before the praying
and loving is
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2020
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on mystical traditions, especially Christian and Sufi, with extensive notes on the teachings and imagery in the poetry.