“The Story” — Center for Action and Contemplation
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“The Story”

The Cosmic Egg

“The Story”
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The largest and final dome is the realm of universal meaning. This sacred canopy is The Story that is always true, the patterns that every culture and religion discover in some manner. This level assures and insures the other two. It holds them together in sacred meaning. This is true transcendence, authentic Spirit, which informs all soul and body work. I also call it “The Perennial Tradition” that keeps recurring in every age.

The Cosmic Egg image showing The Story on most external, Our Story in the middle, and My Story on the inner most area.

The Story is not limited to any one religion or denomination, and all healthy religions and even philosophies will be telling it on some level. For example, forgiveness is one of the patterns that is always true. It always heals, whether you are Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, or Jewish, gay or straight, Black or white. There is no specifically Catholic or Indigenous way to feed the hungry or steward the earth. Love is love, even if the motivation and symbols might be different.

The complete cosmic egg is uniquely the work of God and healthy religion. Biblical tradition, at its best, honors and combines all three levels of story: personal journey as raw material, communal identity as school and training ground, and true transcendence as the integration and gathering place for all the parts together. We call it holiness, which is the ultimate form of wholeness.

Without the great stories that free us, we remain trapped in small cultural and private worlds. Without the great patterns that are always true, we get lost in choosing between tiny patterns. True transcendence frees us from the tyranny of I Am and the idolatry of We Are. Anything smaller is “spiritual bypassing” and won’t get us very far on the path of either liberation or wisdom. We cannot bypass the two smaller domes and find any authenticity or love by a supposed leap to the third level. We all have met people who present much God talk or spiritual talk, but we find ourselves almost afraid of them, because they so lack substance or grounding.

If all three domes are taken seriously, as the Bible does very well, we have a full life—fully human and fully divine. The genius of the biblical revelation is that it gives us permission and even direction to take conscious ownership of our own story at every level, every part of our life and experience. God will use all of this material, even the negative parts, to bring us to life and love.

Now that’s really good news! Suddenly we can take our own lives seriously, the good and the bad parts, because God has done it first! We are neither trapped inside of our little culture and group identity, nor our private pain and hurts. We are people of the Big Picture and live inside of a lovely cosmic egg of full meaning, where nothing is eliminated and all is used to bring us to life. Jesus taught us to call that the kingdom of God.

References:
Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Wisdom Pattern (Franciscan Media: 2020), 112–113; and

Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 23–24.

Story from Our Community:
Decades ago, my late father left my mother, and I had a very rocky relationship with his new wife. A few years before their passing, I helped her sign up for the Daily Meditations—she never missed a single one. Learning that this one simple act of sharing gave her so much peace and happiness healed my heart. I am grateful for Richard Rohr and CAC. This thing with my stepmother taught me that just one small act of kindness, in lieu of holding onto resentments, has the power to heal greatly. — Andrew R.

Image credit: Branches and Leaves (detail), Photograph by Thomas Merton, copyright the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Used with Permission.
Image inspiration: A tree with its leaves can only tell the cyclical story of life alongside a tree that is dying. Life and death in creation weave harmonies to share the rich this-ness of The Story.
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