I am defenceless utterly.If there was a mirror I would not recognize the reflection of what once was me looking back from an absurd looking absence. God has moved beyond me. What is left is no longer there.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
(--from poem Hound Of Heaven, by Francis Thompson, 1859 - 1907)
We move shelves in bookshop. We open space. Last evening we read from Anam Cara by John O'Donohue. One to one, one at a time, the practice of presence, an act of wholeness.
The mind that is not alwaysZen is borderless. Contemplation is boundaryless. Enter one to go beyond other.
caught up in details
is your only treasure.
Stop chasing details and become
still to feel it.
The mind that sees details clearly,
but is not caught up by them
is like a vast borderless mirror.
- Ji Aoi Isshi
Just because we love what we call God -- that doesn't mean anything. It is only what it is. In bare unconsoling experience, stark silence brings nothing with it.
Although she is alone, Wisdom can accomplish everything. She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good.
(--Wisdom 7:27 - 8:1)
We come here to be alone.
Pity Me Not
Pity me not because the light of day
At close of day no longer walks the sky;
Pity me not for beauties passed away
From field and thicket as the year goes by.
Pity me not the waning of the moon,
Or that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
Or that a man's desire is hushed so soon,
And you no longer look with love on me.
This have I always known: Love is no more
Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,
Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales.
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn.
(Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay)
When someone loves you they participate in making you lonely for God. Likewise, they contribute sculpting your appearance lovely for God. The clay bits curling to floor from shaping knife rejoice being made extraneous to what is being sculpted itself being readied for God.
Absence is what remains when we are loved and loving one another as God is.
(We typically think presence is the antidote to or opposite of absence -- but it's not. Absence is the fullness of no-other. We only prefer 'fullness of no-other' be called 'presence', which is what it is. The problem we experience with this preference is that we do not know how to navigate the experience of absence or emptiness when it comes -- and it indeed comes. We do not want the fullness named absence. We prefer the fullness named presence. And so, despondence, depression, and despair overcome us. It is useful to begin to consider the implications of dissecting wholeness. We might include in that consideration the wording: Embodying the dwelling-place of the Alone; Stepping aside to make room for Another. We might happily face the question: What remains when who we thought we were goes away? And happily consider as response: Who's asking?)
We face a trinity of unexplainable activity: move away; move into; move through. Without any relative notation, we are invited to be the original work, suffused with fingerprint of creating. We are at origin. Nothing there but this and only this one appearing before you. Attend this revelation, this sacrifice, this holy and unbegotten being with your name.
This is the blank mirror.
Look carefully. Emptying.
Be seen nowhere.
Shut up. Go home.