Sunday, June 25, 2006
Madonna del Parto (Piero della Francesca)
The faith community I have been part of during the last few years has been the Religious Society of Friends. I have imaged the Quaker tradition as a trellis supporting the vine of my spirituality. But now the trellis seems to be dissolving…the hard edges, the forms of it are blurring…melting as a block of ice would...though it is not in brilliant sunshine but some darker, cooler place. (How can something both cool and melt at the same time? Yet that is the way it appears).
I am meditating more, finding the space behind, beneath and around things….Content is not so significant..or what there is is loose, allusive, obliquely visioned. I am reading fiction and poetry…Rilke, Thomas Moore and soon to return to Proust…looking at art books.
I use Reiki…gently. In the next few weeks I will receive my Reiki 3 attunement. Actually the dissolution seemed to start with my first attunement. From there the softening and melting began.
In a recent dream I was in a white cathedral. I saw many art works depicting the Annunciation. This gospel story speaks to me of something hidden.…Mary pondering these things in her own heart…Impregnation…receiving…conceiving…all in the dark womb, which welcomes and receives….a powerful metaphor for contemplation…the virginal womb into which the Spirit pours in darkness…a place of watery containment.
Recent intermittent feelings of fatigue have forced me into whole days of inactivity…. I resisted and resisted these but the times I surrendered to them have became a contemplative space where I can be nourished by emptiness…no choice but to be still, to rest, to go down…allow something new to grow in the protective darkness of unknowing.
Of course it is all more fragmentary than this...by its nature it is obscure and lacking in any clarity. Rivers... streams.....rain....oceans....gutters...puddles...the still waters of the evening....harbour and open sea.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Religion, too, often avoids the dark by hiding behind platitudes and false assurances. Nothing is more irrelevant than feeble religious piousness in the face of stark, life-threatening darkness. Religion tends to sentimentalize the light and demonize the darkness. If you turn to spirituality to find only a positive and wholesome attitude, you are using spirituality to avoid life's dark beauty. Religion easily becomes a defence and avoidance. Of course this is not the real purpose of religion, full of beautifully stated wisdom, , and the religious traditions of the world are your best source of guidance in the dark. But there is real religion and there is the empty shell of religion. Know the difference. Your life is at stake.....
The spiritual life is both deep and transcendent. It shouldn't whisk you away from your daily challenges but should offer you an intelligent way of dealing with all the complexity involved. It should make you a person of character and discernment, emotionally tough and intellectualy demanding, as well as loving and compassionate. It should give you insight into the deepest of your questions and problems, and give you a vision which extends beyond the everyday issues. Religion often fails to explore the depths and only offers the vision, but then the transcendent possibilities lack depth and in the end hurt more than help.