Reflections from my life and work to encourage the reader to think. But not too much. After all, thinking is only needed until it is not needed... and, then, needed again. So, please think until the shades are no longer drawn over the Window. Two words to leave with you before you proceed: Wisdom shines!
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July 2007 -
I, personally, have little or no interest in end-time theories. I, personally, am very interested in being part of Christ's Coming among peoples and nations to heal and shape a world gloriously reflective of Love, Joy, and Peace - and for all, not just some.
I came up believing a man called Jesus would come in the skies to take only Christians to a heaven. He, I was told, lived long ago, and he did. I came to see - Christ is returning always, and Christ has never left. Christ not a man back then, yet not other than a man back then, and now. What is the name? What is your name? Neither… is.
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Walt Whitman - an all-time favorite quote –
We were together. I forget the rest.
How joyful when with someone or a group and time stops – communion of heart happens! No one can say what this is or what it is like. To experience it, is to know it but never talk it. Do not try to talk it, leave it as a memory pure, sublime, to be tasted again and again. Memory, yes, but that moment is - never a past event.
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A favorite story - followed by a poem I wrote in response - that has encouraged me over the years, and one often shared with those I have offered spiritual guidance -
The monk was enjoying Silence in the chapel. Suddenly, he saw Christ in a vision. This far exceeded any revelation he had dreamed possible for him. While in rapt awe, a voice came from behind. A fellow monk said, "Brother Martin, time for you to feed the impoverished." These waited daily for food after the monks ate. This day was Brother Martin's day to give them food leftover from the meals.
Brother Martin was sad and torn within. He wanted to remain with the Christ. He, also, desired to fulfill his duty to feed the poor.
Reluctantly, Brother Martin arose from his knees. He fed the destitute somewhat halfheartedly and hurried back to the chapel. He had little hope the Christ would still be there.
He sat down, closed his eyes, and the Christ appeared again. He heard words, as before, "Brother Martin, if you had not gone and fed me, I would not have been here waiting for you upon your return."
where is the Christ? the Buddha? brother? sister? father? mother? lover? beloved? friend?
same question one and many answers
look right before you, see into and through those eyes
what? whom? do you see?
one Presence many faces many disguises
the Christ... the Buddha brother... sister... father... mother... lover... beloved... friend
i ask you - who is not?
they may not know... but you do... right?
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Ca. 2008, Port Charlotte, Florida – when serving as a jail chaplain in Punta Gorda, Florida -
He asks me if I am a Christian. I hesitate, when years before I would have quickly, proudly replied affirmatively. After hesitation, quietly receptive to what to say, I reply, "I care about all people."
We have a brief conversation. He says he is a Muslim, says he prays at the set times of prayer for Muslims. I, later, tell him I could be called an interfaith Christian and that I seek to see God in all faiths. I encourage him to keep praying. Before leaving, I say, "God bless you." He replies the same. I leave his cell, here in this jail. We have shared a beautiful human connection, one transcending our different faith histories and traditions.
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April 2018 – High Springs, Florida – written when living beside Santa Fe River, at a canoe outpost -
I sit quietly in this Tibetan Buddhist sangha [in Gainesville, Florida]. I realize on this Sunday morning, a day for many years I would be standing to lead worship in a Christian church, I am as at-home here as anywhere I have worshiped before. What arises is a strong connection to this place, this wisdom path, and a sense of peace among those gathered here. This connection is with Something transcending all paths. I do not sit as a Christian or a Buddhist, religious or spiritual. I sense openness to this Mystery.
Yet, this does not contradict the essence of the faith I once taught. I find here what I came to know in the Christian path - not the form of Christianity, rather the essence Christ. Who would have dreamed possible, that teenage Baptist preacher boy would so slip away, by Grace, to be at home sitting here, not belonging, not needing to belong, glad to be one with others in this Buddhist sangha?
Yes, to become more spaciousness, so that one in not belonging can sense kinship with all. That is the gift of slipping away. Does this slipping away ever end? Possibly. Possibly not. Just keep saying "Yes" to the slipping away, to all sense of particular belonging, to, ironically, belong everywhere and with everyone.
Swami Abhishiktananda, that wisely crazy Christian monk [whom I began reading over twenty years ago] who went to live in India and, to his surprise, seek the mystery of Advaita. In a temple called the Temple of Silence, where he stayed secluded for over a month, he writes - "As I hasten towards You, I leave behind all my skins, all my shells, everything I had, everything I thought I was, everything I identified with - all this falls away, for the hole I must pass through gets narrower and narrower. And as I run in pursuit of You who are slipping away, I slip away myself."
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2024. Permission is given to use photographs and writings with credit given to the copyright owner.
*Brian's book is An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love. The book is a collection of poems Brian wrote based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.