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The Ticking Life Bomb

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Great Chain of Being

The Ticking Life Bomb
Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Every being is a spark of the Divine, or God. Look into the eyes of the dog and sense that innermost core. When you are present, you can sense the spirit, the one consciousness, in every creature and love it as yourself. —Eckhart Tolle

Presence is limited by the mere mind. Presence must include heart, the memory, the “muscular memory” of the very cells of the body. Yes, presence must include the mind, although its erratic and compulsive character is a huge problem, and the judging mind is often the worst barrier to presence. I suppose this wholeness or presence is what Jesus was trying to offer us when he said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). He’s trying to tell us that presence is a broader and deeper kind of knowing than just cognitive thinking. Thinking knows things by objectifying them, capturing them as an object of my knowledge. But presence knows things by refusing to objectify them; instead it shares in their very subjectivity. Presence allows full give and take, what Martin Buber called the “I/Thou” relationship with things as opposed to the mere “I/it” relationship. Buber summed it up in his oft-quoted phrase: “All true living is meeting.” Presence knows, but with a wide-angle lens and no filters.

It seems there has to be an affinity between the knower and the known, which is actually the core meaning of “love.” There has to be a little bit of something in you for you to see that same something over there. This is similar to what John Duns Scotus called the Univocity (“one voice”) of Being: he said that we may use the word being in one and the same sense when speaking of everything from critters to their Creator. Being is thus One. It is God in you that loves God. You and I will never know how to love God by ourselves or alone, but only in states of communion with our shared, naked Being. So God planted a little bit of God in you (Romans 5:5) and in all of creation too (Romans 8:18-22). We call it the Indwelling Holy Spirit, and it’s the part of us that just keeps yearning for God. It is a ticking life-bomb. Your being is one with God’s Being.

Yet, for some reason, we choose to ignore this! Religion’s primary work is to keep making you aware of God’s indwelling presence. That’s when you will move from what Owen Barfield called Original Participation, which is an empathy for things from the outside-in, to what he called “Full and Final Participation,” which is an empathy for things from the inside-out. That’s when religion grows up—when it moves beyond its first preoccupation with outer rituals, outer moralities, and outer belonging systems. As disappointed as I get with early stage religion, I can’t give up on it, because religion still has the power to communicate to you that you are a participant in something bigger than yourself—and from the inside out. We call it the discovery of the soul or the awakening of the spirit.

Note this is not a creation of yours or even a mere belief of yours, but a discovery and an awakening of a “preexistent condition”! You are objectively in communion with God from the moment of your conception, and there is really nothing you can do about this, except choose to enjoy it and draw life from this Endless Spring or to let it lie idle, which is the only real meaning of sin.

Gateway to Silence:
Loving God in creation

Adapted from The Great Chain of Being: Simplifying Our Lives (MP3 download); and
Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. 7-8

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