Saturday, April 1, 2017


Hi There!

So, did you get your peas in yet?

Where I live here in New Jersey,

the folk lore for gardeners

is to get your peas planted by March 17th.,

the feast day of St. Patrick.

It is act one

in the drama of

a new growth season.

Granted, if you live in an apartment,

or don't garden,

talk about planting peas

may not overwhelm your interest  level.

But please, stay tuned.

Embedded in the planting of seeds

is a foundational dynamic for all life.

It has everything to do

with our spirituality for the street,

where and how we live out our everyday,

ever so practical  lives.

The planting of pea seeds

puts in clear relief

the paradox that

buried in growing is dying,

and in dying is growth.

Those seeds have to go down to go up.

Those seeds have to die to live.

Those seeds have to let go of

what they are

and how they are

so as to come alive

in a new and fuller way.

And that goes for us, too!

We all have to let go of

who and how we are just now

to be all we can become more and more without end.

That letting go means everything about us has to go,

good and bad, real and unreal.

We all like highs,

but we have to go low

to reach the heights.

The paradoxical dynamic here is that of dying and rising.

In the Christian Tradition

this counterintuitive dynamic is manifest

in the words and way of Jesus.

He said:

             "Unless the grain of wheat

               falls to the earth and dies,

               it remains just a grain of wheat.

               But, if it dies,

               it produces much fruit."

                                         ( John 12:24)

Jesus uses the metaphor of a seed

to put before us what  is essential

for our spiritual development.

Let's look at it like this.

A flower seed "is,"

                           it "exists,"

                                        it has "being,"

                                                         but just a touch.

If that tiny seed were to panic

and try to hold on to the little it is,

that's all it ever will be.

If, however,

the seed goes down into a soil grave

and is covered over,

all is lost in death,

all of what it was

and how it was.

Ah, but that falling apart in death

releases a potential deep down in the being of the seed -

the power to push against

the heaviness and darkness of the soil grave,

to break out into the sunlight

and be energized into growth as a beautiful daffodil.

That little flower seed is transformed, not destroyed by death.

It is resurrected into a whole new and fuller existence.

So for us!

Right now we are like little seeds.

We are real, we are alive.

If we try to cling to how and who we are so far,

we go no farther and eventually become dust  in the atmosphere.

Conversely, if we die by giving away all we are and have,

in a loving donation to Creation, 

the potential way deep in us is released,

we defy the grave,

and grow out of it

into a magnificent beauty and fullness

energized by the Radiance that is spoken of as God.

That loving donation to Creation

takes all sorts of generous, even heroic, forms:

- We give real recognition, respect and support to others.

   That could mean everything  from not tailgating

   to marrying and having kids.

- We reverence and rejoice in Nature.

   That could mean everything from recycling

   to supporting initiatives to protect

   water, air, soil and its growth.

- We give ourselves to a "life community."

   That could mean being part of a religious group,

   an intentional or alternate life sharing group

   such as Shane Claiborne's inner city community,

   the Camphill  Village, a gay men's support group, AA,

   Sojourners, a monastery or many such.

- We spend ourselves in the quest for social justice.

   That could mean being politically active, tutoring at an ESL class,

   paying day workers a full salary, being active in groups addressing refugee issues,

   famine peril, infant and maternal mortality, as well as working for honest and just use

   of social media..

- Vigorously embracing spiritual practices that open us to higher consciousness,

   contemplation and mysticism.

   That could mean saying the rosary, doing Yoga, meditating, reading sacred texts,

   having a spiritual guide, guided retreats,and happily many others.


 This whole paradoxical, counterintuitive dynamic was

 personalized and lived out by Jesus rather beautifully.

He spent himself for others.

He taught, touched, cared, cured.

He modeled this giving away of self.

He gave himself away in the crucifixion

and came alive in a glorious new way in the resurrection.

In his death he poured out the fullness that was his for others.

In his resurrection he overcame the limits of death

for all who accept the invitation to abide in him.

      I am the resurrection and the life.

      Those who believe in me,

       even though they die,

       yet shall they live.

                                     ( John 11:25 )

We are blessed with another beautiful version of this paradoxical, counterintuitive dynamic

from the Sufi mystical tradition:

         " Knock, and He'll open the door.

           Vanish, and He'll make you shine like the sun.

            Fall, and He'll raise you to the heavens.

            Become nothing, and He'll you into everything."

                                      ( Rumi )

The Buddhist and Hindu traditions phrase all this in terms of reincarnation.

We reincarnate again and again until we are perfect and can reunite with The Source.

There is this wonderful potential in a seed to be way more than that.

It's like that with us.

Great to have this chance to garden together.

Thanks for the good company.

                         John Frank


What a delight to have new friends and participants !


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Thanks for your visit!

                                       John Frank