Saying For Today: I know that in pure Grace, in Love, one can be stripped of all sense of need to belong to anyone or anything, and in the graced nakedness, one wishes only to connect with everyone as brother and sister, as all belonging in and as One.
LOTUS OF THE HEART
Living in Love beyond Beliefs
EVERYONE IS WELCOME HERE
*Andrey Salikov, Morning Prayer. Tibet, Flickr
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He asks me if I am a Christian. I hesitate, when years before I would have quickly, proudly replied positively. After hesitation, receptive to what to say, I say, "I care about all people." We have a short conversation. He identifies himself as Islamic. He affirms 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. I say, "God bless you." He does the same. We end the conversation, and it seems we have made a beautiful human connection, one that transcends our different faith histories and traditions.
Later, I read words from the diary of Swami Abhishiktananda, that wisely crazy Christian monk 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:
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.
So much of me has slipped away, from the early days as a fundamentalist preacher. Even my strong identity with my faith tradition, Christianity, has been slipping away, dissolving slowly, for many years. And, today, reminded me this is the fulfillment of that faith, of Christianity, and the Love that adolescent preached decades ago - he was talking about a much greater Love than he could fathom, then and now. - Grace! the more I see of You, the more I know I do not see.
Some might accuse me of infidelity to the faith of Christianity, exemplified, they would gladly point out in the meeting with the Islamic youth. To me, my response to the young man was a fulfillment of that faith, and my love for Jesus. My response was the Heart saying, "Where I meet you, we all equally belong." ... In some way, I cannot explain, I most often feel no need for any faith tradition. I certainly feel no necessary identification with Christianity, or any faith tradition - though I cherish the Christian faith, and I feel very much Buddhist in heart, for some reason I cannot seem to see.
I know that in pure Grace, in Love, one can be stripped of all sense of need to belong to anyone or anything, and in the graced nakedness, one wishes only to connect with everyone as brother and sister, as all belonging in and as One. And, in some odd way, this stripping down of identity is the work of Love and for Love. I, however, cannot explain this - I am fumbling about with words in the dark. Indeed, I feel more and more, I am living in the dark, but a bright Darkness. I hope to slip all away, until I die in peace, from darkness to darkness, but the darkness of pure Faith, of blissful Grace that takes all to give all. If I am Love in Love, what else would I need? - you need?
I truly believe all this is a fulfillment of saying "Yes" to Jesus, when I was age nine. In saying "Yes" to Him, I was saying "Yes" to everyone-I just did not know it, then. In saying "Yes" to Him, I was saying "Yes" to the young Muslim I talked with today-I just did not know it, then. Now, I do know - thankfully, after much slipping away by Grace into Grace, from clinging to my faith to loving those my faith tradition told me I could not so freely love. ... The Heart opened by Love to Love says to everyone, "Welcome," even in the silence of Silence and the darkness of pure Faith. - so thankful for the slipping away to Love by Love, My Love, everyone. Thank You! What bliss... what bliss! Pure Beauty... Thank You.