Photo by Dan Hicks 2014
Winter Solstice. Humanity’s ancient celebration of the Universality of the Sun. The recognition of which cultivates perceptions of our innate dependence, mutuality, and fragility.
Raised in a culture that idolizes the individual as a “separate-self,” this simple awareness can provoke squeamish discomfort. It has taken several years with a Bhakti (devotional) path and 6 years of dedication to the philosophy and practice of Silence, for transcendental glimpses — free from the “pervasive ivory tower of individuality” — to begin finding their place in (my) consciousness. Experiencing the Sun as belonging to everyone, but to no one individual, reflects the mystical descent from a primarily head (thought) orientation, to the inter-connectivity of the Universal Heart.
In his delightful book “Prophetic Imagination,” theologian and scholar Walter Brueggemann calls us forward to use our imagination and intuition to discover God. He claims that such practices rescue us from habits of diminishment and disillusionment about God. If we cannot imagine (conceive of) that which exists beyond concepts (the world as we know it), we are unavailable for the transformative dance of divine relationship.
Imagine for a moment that the Sun represents the Godhead, Atman, the Creator, ultimate Reality …
Now imagine the possibility that the essential nature of your heart is nothing less than a Sun reflector — like the moon doing what the moon does best. What would change? … What would come into focus? … What would fade from view? … Who would you understand yourself to be in relationship to life? … I am quite sure that John Lennon was exploring this possibility when he wrote “Imagine.”
What if we were able to practice communicating together in ways that called forth our essential “Sun” nature in God (by whatever name)? If we were present enough to relate through the “I-Thou” described in Martin Buber’s classic book. How would we experience life if our styles of relating could awaken experiences of life’s unfolding mystery, rather than reinforcing the already-known of “I-It” (Buber) relating?
I tasted the allure of this possibility during a Silence Practice group this series. While overhearing various triads of people express depth levels of understanding, feeling, and knowing with each other, I became aware of the remarkably similar comments coming from each group. Their words reflected universal truths — glorious threads of profound connectivity. It was like hearing “firsthand Scripture” through their mutual willingness to explore communication beyond personal paradigms of the known. The Universality of the Sun was being reflected, and the light in the room was palpable. Involuntarily, my body relaxed and my mind became still — available — attentive — receptive.
Practicing Sun-reflecting styles of communication sets the stage for new discoveries of inter-relatedness. Communication habits that have hidden our essential nature from each other, begin to recede as we choose to indulge them less and less. Our willingness to engage beyond egoic and cultural paradigms of the “conditioned and known,” puts us in touch with our “spiritual faculties” (Fr. Thomas Keating).
Spiritual faculties naturally reflect the light of our divine inheritance, making us receptive and permeable. When we “Taste and See” (Psalm 34:8) that we are not separate from truer/higher/deeper Source, a profoundly liberating shift in life-orientation occurs. “We” do not do it, but we can create environments more conducive to its emergence.
It seems too simple to believe that it only takes the willingness and courage of a few individuals to explore beyond mind habits and their corresponding emotional/psychological playlists. When we succumb to mind habits of judgement and objectification, we reduce our life and relationships to the “I-It” dimensions of fear and manipulation. The more wholly we relate, the more wholly we live, and visa versa. They are inseparable.
Through exposure to the shrapnel from familial, cultural, and karmic energy fields, we tend to be riddled with neurotic communication styles — a mixture of trying to reach out to the other, while securing an identified (i.e. safe) position. We eventually lose sight of the possibility for clear and wholesome communication. And even if we glimpse it, we may feel a lack of permission to express such transparent vulnerability.
When a shared truth is liberated collectively, the sweet vulnerability of mutual willingness is palpable… A perfumed hint of divine promise fills our hearts and the space between us. Eyes water in recognition as profound levels of gratitude and humility sweep through consciousness. We have found our proper place as reflectors of the Light — the Whole — God.
Through Grace and mutual willingness, we create fields of love. We have met in Rumi’s field “beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing.” When I have lost myself within it, I have to wonder why I would spend time anywhere else?
From one willing sun-reflecting heart to another, Namaste.