So, when was the last time you had a for real
I mean a "biggie," a major leaguer?
You know, all of a sudden it's just there.
You "get it."
In fact, it gets you!
No stress or fuss about it.
The lights go high intensity.
You see the way forward like it's high noon on a crystal clear day
from the highest peak in the Alps.
When something like that happens in our spiritual life,
out here on the street of everyday living,
it's a major moment and mover.
It sure was for Buddha, Francis of Assisi, John Wesley,
and numerous other spiritual beacons.
Their "Aha" moments mightily moved them.
They in turn have been moving countless others
spiritually forward through the centuries.
So, too, the great spiritual light and writer Thomas Merton ( 1915-1968 ).
Early on he retreated to a monastery to get away from
the contamination of the world's institutionalized evil.
In the process, though, he got quite disconnected, iced out, from
a warm, loving connection with God present in all of humanity.
He lived the illusion of a separate and superior holiness
in the isolation of his Kentucky cloister.
After years of not leaving the seclusion of the monastery,
he had to travel to Louisville to see a see a medical specialist.
It turned out to be an "outing" in more than a few ways.
At the corner of Fourth and Walnut it happened.
In the middle of a crowd of shoppers out on the street,
he experienced an "Aha" moment that radically changed his life.
It just happened, unbidden and powerfully clear.
He saw deeply into that crowd and fell in love.
He "got it."
Here's how he recounts the epiphany of connecting love.
In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut,
in the center of the shopping district,
I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization
that I loved all these people,
that they were mine and I theirs,
that we could not be alien to one another
even though we were total strangers.
It was like waking from a dream of separateness,
of spurious self-isolation in a special world,
the world of renunciation and supposed holiness.
The whole illusion of a separate holy existence is a dream...
This sense of liberation from an illusory difference
was such a relief and such a joy to me
that I almost laughed out loud...
I have the immense joy of being (hu)man,
a member of a race in which God...
As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me,
now that I realize what we all are.
And if only everybody could realize this!
But it cannot be explained.
There is no way of telling people that
they all are walking around shining like the sun...
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts,
the depths of their hearts
where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach,
the core of their reality,
the person that each one is in God's eyes.
If only they could all see themselves as they really are.
If only we could see each other that way all the time.
There would be no more war,
no more hared,
no more cruelty,
no more greed.
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
May the clarity and intensity of Merton's "Aha" moment
light a way forward for us
out here on the street of our everyday living.
May it help us navigate all the racial strife, religious/ethic tensions and conflicts,
political and ideological harshness, violence that litters these streets and isolate us
from God present in all the people out here.
May it thaw isolation and divide,
warm to union.
Hopefully it will be a spark that ignites our own "Aha" moment and motion.
The Meditation Marker that follows has a continuation of the Merton piece.
I'm surely delighted that all of us are connected and sharing here each week.
Have a great seven days ahead!
Until next week.
Holding each and all in
God's Dear Love,
At the center of our being
is a point of nothingness
which is untouched
by sin and by illusion,
a point of pure truth,
a point or spark
which belongs entirely to God,
which is never at our disposal,
from which God disposes of our lives,
which is inaccessible
to the fantasies of our own mind
or the brutalities of our own will.
This little point of nothingness
and of absolute poverty
is the pure glory of God in us...
It is like a pure diamond,
blazing with the invisible light of heaven.
It is in everybody,
and if we could see it
we would see these billions of points of light
coming together in the face and blaze of a sun
that would make all the darkness
and cruelty of life
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Doubleday:1966, pages 140 - 142