Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > The Grace of Healing


A Healing Welcome

Nov 28, 2022

Timeless in ephemeral disguise

Timeless in ephemeral disguise

Back River, Georgetown, Maine

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Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.

*Simone Weil. Love in the Void: Where God Finds Us.

I will not turn away anyone who comes to me.

*Gospel of John 6.37

Grace - the divine energies - is like sunshine. One who hides from the Sun cannot logically complain about not enjoying Her light. Substitutes, pursued by many, only briefly satisfy. On the other hand, one who positions the self to be shined upon, realizing only the Light finally satisfies, receives the blessings of the supernal Radiance. The spiritual life is this positioning and enjoyment of the Sunlight.

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In the story below, Jesus signifies the grace energies, the Healer, within us. He initiates the encounter with Zacchaeus. The latter worked for the Romans. Also, such Jewish collectors were allowed to over-charge for their gain. Consequently, these collectors were considered thieves and traitors and treated as such. However, Zacchaeus' name, meaning "clean, pure, innocent," likely points to a native purity waiting to be uncovered by bringing it out into the Light of Love. We are innately innocent, so the return to Love is the return to innocence - to ourselves, to our Source. This purity is not contrasted with impurity but before it.

Grace represents an initiation not made by Zacchaeus, simply for that broken cannot welcome itself into wholeness. Hence, a surprise in the story is Jesus welcomes himself to Zacchaeus' table. This invite leaves the recipient with a choice - yes or no. So, for spiritual healing and wellness, there is no path around that choice; consent is essential. Spiritual awakening includes awakening to the realization of this choice over and over again. And the healing begins before we realize the invitation; the invite is evidence of an inner work already well underway.

1-4 Then Jesus [savior, rescuer, liberator; healer, one who makes whole again] entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus [pure, clean, innocent], the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way - he was a short man and couldn't see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.

5-7 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home." Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, "What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?"

8 Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, "Master [sir], I give away half my income to the poor - and if I'm caught cheating, I pay four times the damages."

9-10 Jesus said, "Today is salvation [rescue, liberation; healing, wholeness] day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man [Son of "humankind, everyone"] came to find and restore the lost."

*Gospel of Luke 19.1-10 (MGS)

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The characters in this story are a part of us. There is Jesus, Zacchaeus, and the crowd. Through silence, we witness these aspects. We learn to invite each one to come forth.

We receive the part of ourselves that invites all within us to wholeness and harmony. The Healer in us greets Zacchaeus - the sinner, the disgraced, the outsider. The Healer transforms Zacchaeus' suffering into wellness, brokenness into wholeness, confusion into clarity, and shame into positive self-regard. The Healer restores us to ourselves and to belonging among others.

We may discover a part of us is the voice of complaint, grumbling about the grace shown to that so-called scoundrel tax collector. The crowd is the voice of self-righteousness, of the us against them crowd. The voice tends to be strong whenever one ascribes to a politics of holiness - an external standard of group do-good to prove purity and virtuousness. Such a standard focuses on the externals, promoting good deeds, while the heart may be soiled with such sins of the spirit as criticalness, greed, and self-promotion. Hence, meditation, as well as the entirety of the Way, is welcoming the Christ, the Buddha, the Light to come forth and welcome, in hospitality, the parts of us broken, often hidden away in shame.

Likely, many persons who begin meditation are surprised at a sense of unworthiness, often having been hidden by egoic play-acting. Religion has instilled this sense in many people. The religion I was raised in taught me we are all fundamentally, totally corrupt. This is sure ground for a disposition of shame. Through study and practice, I came to see I am not fundamentally the mistakes or wrongs I have done. I learned to witness feelings of unworthiness and not identify myself with them. They come and go - that is part of the healing. We are not feelings. Feelings of shame and guilt get weaker and move on more quickly. For me, getting out of participating in all formal institutions of my native religion sped up the healing - that is, I left my professional role as a pastor and, after some more years, discontinued association with all formal structures of the faith. Buddhism helped, for through it, I was introduced to our innate goodness - goodness before the contrast between good and bad. Later, I discovered many in my native faith, Christianity, taught this same wisdom, though I had not been exposed to it.

The aspect of us most resistant to the invitation and energies of grace is not the one esteemed soiled with sinfulness but admiring itself as among the pure and righteous. Among these are persons who use religion or spirituality as a bypass, like getting a trip to heaven without admitting the hell within them. This aspect, also, is the most devious and oft most hidden. It works principally undercover. Yet, the self-righteous one needs unconditional love and healing as much as the sinner aspect.

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In silence, we learn - all within us is welcomed to the table to dine with the Healer, and everyone is, too. Through hospitality toward aspects of ourselves we had not accepted into awareness, we learn compassion toward those aspects we see in others outside of us. So, a fruit of grace to self is grace to others. When we embrace those parts of ourselves esteemed taboo, we aspire to the same graciousness for others who embody those traits. We, filled with the Light, aspire to live the saying, "I will not turn away anyone who comes to me."

Can you identify the Jesus, the Zacchaeus, and the crowd within yourself? Are there other words you prefer to name these aspects? What do you do when one of these arises in awareness? How might you welcome the Healer in you to come forth more readily? What, to you, is grace? What does it mean to you that a return to Love is a return to yourself? How have you seen grace, or this Love, change your life for the better?

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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2022.

*Use of photography is allowed accompanied by credit given to Brian K. Wilcox and notation of title and place of the photograph.

*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.


Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > The Grace of Healing

©Brian Wilcox 2023