Saying For Today: We are living as an open door. Life becomes revelation.
Below, I focus on each of us having openings and living as opening. Yet, we need a collective opening that will tilt consciousness on Earth. In your consciousness conversion, that influences the collective manifestation of consciousness - indeed, there is no personal, or individual, consciousness. Hence, each of us needs to align with this universal Presence. We can alter the consciousness manifestation on Earth, like the Sun dissipating the fog. Our world atmosphere is filled with mental smog. Still, all the consciousness we need is already present. We, body and mind, submit to Life to be transformed into union with the Light, as Light, that melts what hides the Sun. As the song above invites us - we join together. Together is the only way forward. Together, we find love, and only together. Writing this, I recall the hopeful words of Christ, found in the Gospel of John 1.5 - "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never been able to put it out."
A Carmelite monk, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (1614-1691), source of the classic Practicing the Presence of God, recounts the moment of his conversion.
The winter I was eighteen, I stood looking at the bare branches of a tree. I realized that in time the leaves would grow again, and then flowers would bloom on the branches, followed by fruit. My awareness was suddenly opened, so that I saw God's great strength and care. That realization has never since been erased from my mind. This new understanding cut my ties to the world, and it lit in me ... a great love for God ... that I have lived since that moment when I stood looking at the tree's naked branches.
A Zen Master, Zenrikkushu, said...
Mountains and rivers, the whole earth - All manifest forth the essence of being. The old pine-tree speaks divine wisdom.
*Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence: A Christian Zen Master.
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Zen Buddhists teach the concept of Dharma Gate. Dharma is "teaching, truth." Gate implies an opening. Zen says Dharma Gates are everywhere. Anyone and anything is a potential opening to wisdom. Mindfulness allows us to be awake to these gate-moments. The hope is to grow to live in the opening; everyday life becomes communion with compassion and wisdom. We are, then, not waiting for openings or living opening to opening, though openings may still occur. We are living as an open door. Life becomes revelation.
Christianity teaches the Sacrament of the Present Moment. This moment is a potential opening to divine grace. The hope is to grow to live consciously in grace. Life becomes an ongoing sacrament rather than waiting for sacramental breakthroughs. This does not mean we do not have sacramental breakthroughs; it does mean we live in the atmosphere of the plenitude of grace.
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Teaching is a grace. To receive grace is to receive wisdom. We cannot separate the two. Contact with wisdom means truth. Truth teaches. Wisdom converts us.
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Brother Lawrence did not awaken inside a church. He was standing in the winter, looking at a tree and its limbs. That tree became a Gate, became a Sacrament. The tree became a wisdom Teacher.
You may be able to recall a moment of conversion, a Dharma Gate moment, a turning-about spiritually. Mine occurred at age 9. I remember it vividly, even the feeling, even though it happened 41 years since. This recall is due to the timelessness of such breakthroughs. It marked a new beginning that never ages. Such turnings - conversion means "turning, turning about, returning " - can be so revolutionary that early Christians spoke of this as being born again, or from above. The sense may be of something initiating outside the self, yet the turning is felt intimately, bodily.
Living a mindful life, we experience openings. Yet, living as openness is more important than experiencing openings. In fact, breakthroughs, minor and marked, are reminders we are always living in the atmosphere of grace. Life itself is sacramental, is awake. Opening or not, we relax content in wakeful communion with the ever-present Presence we live in and from.
Last, by living as openness, we notice openings we did not before. Before nurturing wakefulness, we might have had openings we did not notice. We were not awake enough to notice. Later, through the purification, we notice subtle dawnings of grace. Yet, again, living as openness is more important than openings. When one swims in the Ocean of Life, she no longer thirsts for Life.
*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 consists of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.