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Inner Peace and Christ as Light

With respect to inner peace, the suggestion here is twofold.

First, the world is forever an image of God which is endlessly partial and thus merely hints at God.

For example, imagine that you see the Sistine Chapel but only through a narrow window. The size of the window only allows you to perceive a slim portion of the overall work. What you see captures the grandeur and loveliness of the whole but never the whole itself. You want to see the whole – how could you not – but the means of seeing forever limit your perception.

In that way, our structure as human beings brings forth a partial world. It appears “whole” relative to us (there is only this – this this!) but upon investigation and consideration, we see that this relative wholeness (while helpful, natural, lovely, nurturing, et cetera) is never Wholeness itself.

Second, the light in which this partial world is seen, is perceived, is Christ, and the light is what lives. What is seen – the actual image – does *not live, anymore than a photograph of you can speak, bake bread, make love, visit the horses, et cetera. You are not the image of you, nor is anything else.

Given the first condition – partiality and intimation – longing naturally arises. We long to know that which we are structurally prohibited from knowing. Or, put another way, we long to transcend our structure. Thus desire – holy and otherwise.

Sometimes this longing begets practices – a wide range of them, some spiritual, some not – which aim at transcendence or understanding, at – broadly speaking – managing this longing.

One of those paths – the path on which I shuffle and stumble, so often confused, occasionally clear and joyous, nearly always wordy – deploys a Christian language and ritual which aims at comprehending and integrating – and comprehending and integrating comprehension and integration – nonduality.

On that path, our savior is a Living Christ, who is (I suggest) “the light in which this partial world is seen, is perceived.” As I sometimes say – less dramatically and poetically, with less theological gravity: “give attention.”

Attention is a gift to us, because we did not invent it, and it is a gift from us, because We can – with care, with intention – offer it. To give attention is to notice deliberately, and noticing is a form of love.

Thus, when we give attention, we love, and what we attend is “in love” and this giving-attention-as-love can become ecstatic and holy very very quickly. One slips into it; indeed, in a certain light, a Christly light, one is never not slipping into it.

The wonder of this amplifies when it becomes clear – as in time it must – that we, too, are attended. We, too, are simply images visible in the light that is Christ.

That is, when we turn attention on itself, to its source, there is nothing to be found. The central self, organizer, director – the one for whom so much is at stake – is simply not there. There is no center and, also, the center is everywhere. Alleluia!

This is the paradoxical beauty of attentiveness: eventually everything in it dissolves without actually dissolving. There is nothing there, and everything is there to prove it.

All of this should be understood simply as a way of thinking about this shared experience of being human, a way of ordering that experience in order to make us happier, healthier, more peaceful and helpful, and so forth.

We have a subjective experience of being, of being human in a context (world, culture, family, obsessions, challenges) and the question arises of how we are to respond to that experience and context.

The way that we respond works or fails to work, and we adjust accordingly (often without knowing we are adjusting, for it is natural to seek balance, homeostasis, coherence – this is what life does, that is how God Gods).

Thus, I enter daily – moment by moment – a relationship with Christ, who is the light in which all things (including Christ) are seen, and that light (that consciousness, awareness, spaciousness) is always sufficient unto our longing, especially when we relax and allow longing to simply be a phenomenon to attend rather than a problem to be solved.

I don’t say that God – the Whole, et cetera – appears. I don’t make any grand assertion like that. I simply say that the longing engendered by partiality – this endless dance of distinction which is our living – is satisfied by Christ, by devout and faithful attention to the light in which the longing appears.

I say this not to teach you – for indeed this is the lesson you are always teaching me – but rather to say that your student is happy, grateful, ambling hither and yon, and home.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Cheryl June 5, 2019, 9:17 am

    This is lovely, Sean. Thank you. It helps me see how the longing itself is a gift. And I see in contemplating the idea of noticing as an act of love how true that is, how by directing the light of pure attention on something, one takes the “me” out of the moment.

    And, last but certainly not least, how “God Gods” made me smile.

    Thanks again, my friend. ~ Cheryl

    • Sean June 5, 2019, 4:04 pm

      Thanks for reading & sharing, Cheryl. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

      Love,
      Sean

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