Saying For Today: Then, you will easily love everyone. Gratitude for others, in all their variety, will gush through you, and peace will companion you.
Spring is Here!... in Northern Maine
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Today's Saying: Do you see the other as she is? Or do you see the other as you are - that is, as your ego is? Usually, we humans see others as our ego has decided beforehand, so we really do not see the other at all - do we? Yet, it does not have to be this way - we can learn to see, truly see.
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Two matters before the three stories below. First, the stories speak of seeing, not merely looking at. This seeing is what Buddhist paths refer to as prajna. Prajna is insight - in-seeing, or seeing the within, not merely the surface. If I see a black person first and only as a black person, that is not seeing, not in a sacred sense. Color is surface - a physical trait. We are socialized to look at persons in this limited way. Spirit and, so, spirit has no color or race.
Second, the first story and following two stories are dissimilar in one regard. The first narrative depicts when we might have a sudden, possibly alarming, revelation, then it passes. This epiphany is like Heaven opening and closing. The occasion can be life-changing, but the vision is not sustained at the intensity of its appearance. The second story reflects a sustained seeing. This insight is more subtle than the striking, fleeting epiphanies. Over time, possibly many years, one on a path of Spirit grows into this seeing, if not always, most of the time. When one converts into the seeing-as-insight, it becomes her normal, while before, it was an exception.
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I escaped [the monastery] for a bit of air and exercise, walking in a dingy alley near the Westminster rubbish carts' depot. It was dark, cold, raining - an evening conducive to depression. I looked down and saw in the light of a street lamp, a cigarette packet crushed into the gutter. My God, how beautiful it was, how perfectly it lay there, reflecting all the lawfulness of life. How the colour, the water and the marks of tyres radiated their message to me, the town hater and despiser of civilisation, that God lay as surely in that humble sign, as ever He sang in the skylarks overhead at [my rural] home. My heart soared, and burst out "Oh, I am in love!"
*John Butler. Wonders of Spiritual Unfoldment.
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I stood in the Hospice in a conservative, evangelical part of the country. I was the chaplain. I had long before left my conservative religious past. One of the office staff, an evangelical conservative, began speaking derogatorily of lesbians. I looked at her. I said, not hiding my voice from anyone else in the building, "I had a pastor who was lesbian, and I had no problem with that." This woman looked at me stunned - she assumed I, a chaplain in an evangelical area, was of her opinion and others of her religion. Still appearing dumbfounded, she wanted to know how that was possible for me. I said, smiling but speaking with gravity, "You and I live on different planets." She did not understand what I meant. I did not try to explain it. I did not feel it my responsibility to help her understand and was not interested in seeking to change her mind. That ended the conversation.
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In Spirit, drawn to the Heart of hearts, one sees unlike previously. In a moment, a crushed, run-over cigarette package in a gutter or a person who appeared before as sinful or hopeless or depraved can be seen anew.
You seem to have new eyes: you see with a subtler consciousness, free of the debris of the egoic sense of separation and superiority - including moral superiority. You simply see what is present, when before you saw as your mind decided you would see. You see without imposing any silent criticism. One could say you see the other as she is in God, or God sees her through you. You see through Spirit: spirit sees spirit, within sees within. Prior, you had been told, for many years and since a child, what to see, and only that you did see with possibly some rare moments of seeing from the heart. But now, it is as though you have been supplanted to a new planet where everything appears differently than on the last planet. You have a new citizenship, and you enjoy this fresh appreciation of others as more than an appearance. Maybe before you claimed there is more to others than the eyes see - you knew this as an idea -, but now you see the more than the eyes see. You see what your heart has always known. And so you recognize it immediately. Is this not a relief? The shift from judgment to love always is a relief - it brings peace.
You no longer wish to act like anyone's judge-and-jury, any more than you wish to condemn the cigarette package as not right or not belonging in the gutter or this world - you just see it. You do not overlay the seeing with, "Oh! what foolish scoundrel dropped this here rather than putting it in a garbage container."
In Grace, there is no condemnation - there is only love. All qualities in the Light are love. Your sole impulse is to love. You adore the beauty in others most persons do not see - the beauty the other is, not outer beauty, for she is a manifestation of Spirit. Yet, in recognizing this inner beauty from Light to Light, the other physically is seen to radiate an inner beauty - there is one beauty revealing itself in and out.
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The day I began this writing, I went to a pharmacy. The dear soul at the checkout where I went through looked much older than she was. She looked like she had a past that had taken a great toll on her physically. I noticed this. I dropped the thought quickly. When my time came to come forward, I began speaking with her while I put my goods on the counter. She processed my groceries while we talked. After, we said goodbyes. It dawned on me that night that after noticing her worn appearance briefly, I never saw her in that way again. Even as I recall her now, I cannot see her as that first thought of her. Seeing her physical appearance was replaced spontaneously with seeing her inner beauty manifesting through her as spirit in a body.
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The other does not need to change to be that beauty - she is that. You know you do not need to change to be that beauty - you are that. The other and you, in one Light, one in the Beloved, are temples of this single radiance.
Love sees love; beauty sees beauty. This formless beauty is Spirit's glory appearing in human beings, as it appears in non-human beings. The Light is everywhere - do you see It? To see, truly see anyone. Do not only look, see. If you cannot see, do what you need to learn to see. Then, you will easily love everyone. Gratitude for others, in all their variety, will gush through you, and peace will companion you. You will be able to exclaim, as did John Butler, "Oh! I am in love."
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2021
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.