Quick to Listen.
If you would have told me a year ago, that a year from now I would be sitting in a Nun’s healing room, listening to her wax philosophical about the oneness of all things, I would have likely smirked and/or flipped you the bird. I wouldn’t have thought it conceivable for me to be in a convent on silent retreat, much less hear a nun school me, an interfaith minister, about how all roads lead to The Holy One. Are you kidding me? When was the last time anybody heard a nun say that?
But here I am in a humbling moment listening to Sister Eileen while tears of awe roll down my face.
“Everything is one – Buddhist, Christian, the Muslims. Everyone is a part of God and good things take time. Think about the big bang fourteen billion years ago, it took God a very long time to reveal the trinity to us,” Sister Eileen said this with such an intensity, with eye contact so deep, I felt a little uncomfortable.
“Yes,” I replied not knowing what to do with my eyes, hands, face. My upper lip started to twitch. I felt as if I was being initiated into a deeper mystery, kind of like Neo in the Matrix, except there was an “archaic confessional booth” (according to Sister Eileen) in the room. Crucifixes hung lamentably on the wall. Illuminated by a small, humble lamp, were a box of tissues and a statue of a suffering, bloody Christ. Sister Eileen’s eyes were fixed on mine.
Just Last Night.
My husband Eric and I decided to go on a date to our favorite Indian Restaurant, Sitar. We know everyone there because we frequent the place so often. When we walked in to be seated, we greeted everyone warmly and noticed something quite different.
“Is something different in here?” I asked.
“Yes, we got new carpeting and we painted the walls,” the host said quietly.
I squatted down and touched the lush carpeting and exclaimed how beautiful everything looked. Even though they were subtle, the changes were there, and it somehow made the food taste better, the staff stand straighter, and Eric’s and my conversation much deeper. We had been talking about a story idea that I am kicking around, then the conversation blossomed into prophecy and its meaning.
“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were actually Constantine and other rulers at the time Revelation was written,” Eric said. he continued, “But people today literalize something that already happened.”
“I see any sacred text as a portal, a doorway to higher levels of meaning. If one person sees a literal interpretation, that may be as far on the journey as they are meant to go, but there is endless meaning and possibility in The Bible that is largely untapped.” I replied.
As we sat over our chicken tikka masala, chana saag, and naan bread, I picked up the bread, tore it and gave it to Eric.
Eric served me chicken tikka masala as I served him chana saag.
“When Jesus was on the planet He told His disciples that they could do as much as He, but He had to realize His divinity through His humanity first. And it is in His realization that He became The Christ and performed miracles,” I said.
Tears came to Eric’s eyes.
“Sister Eileen, I am an impatient person. I want things to happen for me now. I want to teach spirituality, but I struggle with attachment and aversion. I avoid pain, and I gravitate toward comfort- I am afraid of standing up for something and losing my life.”
“Welcome to humanity,” Sister Eileen chuckled. She continued, “I like to believe that Jesus was killed, not because He was the son of God, but because He challenged the system that people were reliant upon. He started trouble, He spoke up, and that is what got him killed. He had emotions, was very intuitive, and felt out of place just as you do. But it was those struggles that made Him realize, as a human, His divinity. He wasn’t aware of it, it was revealed to Him. I encourage you to take some time with Jesus and talk to Him about His miracles. Let Him show you who He really is.”
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” – John 14:12
The path to clarity is long and of obedience to an unseen force of intelligence so great, so unconstrained that it spreads like fire and consumes form.
I must have ears to listen; listen to the quiet flicker of the flame, the inaudible crackle of the ember, and the roaring majesty of engulfment. My heart must be open to listen, give, receive, and learn so that it may act with the intelligence and empathy it possesses.
My heart has many senses. My heart is a seed – a seed that grows and connects with other seeds to create nourishment through faith-filled experiences.
Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form. Holy Spirit fill me up.
“When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. But He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.’” -Luke 4:42-43
It is quite clear that not everyone has heard the message that the Universal Kingdom of God is within us as a seed. The moment that the kingdom doors opened within Jesus, He was transfigured; His awareness shifted, He became light, and His purpose was revealed.
Not even death could stop Him.
This is our shared human story that started fourteen billion years ago, in the beginning with a single moment of intelligent vibration and expansion. When the expansion begins its contraction, and we are in a different place, I imagine the Holy One saying:
“Oh yes, I wanted us to be One again, so I gave you clues. I was your mother and father, I was your friend, your God and your lover. You saw me through Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Mohammed, Krishna, books, friends, enemies, hookers and virgins. I made you struggle to see me in the greatest of disguises so that you may, as a human, be strong enough to transcend form and join me once again.”
There is a song I keep on my sacred music playlist, among Hindu mantras, African-American gospel music, and teachings of Joseph Campbell, called That’s Dat Jesus by Royce Lovett. Here is the hook:
Let me tell you something that my mama told me:
When you need a lawyer in the courtroom
A doctor when you’re sick
That’s dat Jesus.
I imagine a doctor fully realizing her divinity before she makes an incision – her pores exuding light, and her heart fully trusting.
I visualize a lawyer preparing for a long day in court looking in the mirror and seeing beyond her hair, skin, and stress. She may not even know that she is looking deep into the world of Oneness. She will take one step toward awakening her divinity and the divinity of those around her one grueling day at a time.
In the observable world, there is so much to take in our brains cannot hold all the information, but our hearts, our seeds of spirit, most certainly can. Each day I stay silent for a long period so that I may receive. I open to direction. I am obedient to my waking so that I may seek the face of The Christ beyond form.
[Photo: Cosmic Christ by Alex Grey ]