Photo from the film, Of Gods and Men.
Soul is a collective and chiastically emanating palindrome of timeless resonant emergence. Stretching out symmetrically and holographically in parallel to an expanding, dynamic universe. Imprinting itself in equal measure to the cosmos’ imprint on it. Subsumed and enfolded as yeast is to dough, and vice-versa; bringing to bear the creative materiality that is the all-encompassing, all-penetrating business of divine intention-a grouping of individually awakened cells partnering to carry out the work of higher causality-some physically embodied, others not. Though all material. Ultimately bringing along all that has been lost to denser and darker realms to their rightful place of nesting.
Photo from the 2016 film 'Arrival'
It is…said that our time is the age of the decisive fight between freedom and tyranny. It is true that such a fight is going on. But it has always been fought and I don’t believe that I could justifiably be called a pessimist for expressing my belief that this fight will never be over. It will go on, generation after generation, as long as human beings are human beings. Furthermore, this is basically not a struggle between political systems and ideologies, but a struggle within and for the hearts of men (and women), including our own. There is a Swedish proverb which says that it is always easy to agree on fighting the devil when you have him painted on the wall. But we can never forget that the real devil may also be within ourselves and all the more dangerous for not being...
Valentine’s Day: Collectively “Bearing the Beams of Love”
When else, if not in winter, will you triumph?-
Years ago, as a younger man and a new father, I received a call from a younger man than I, whom I had been out of touch with for some while. This was a season in my life when I had dedicated efforts to work with youth and young adults from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds than my own. Among other things, this work included the good fortune of coaching basketball-one of my childhood affections.
Over the last year I’ve worked closely with the sick and the dying in the context of hospice as a chaplain. Mostly though, I have sat with caregivers still often wrestling with the shock of being flung into their current circumstances, many of whom are either, completely overwhelmed at the prospect and realities of care, coupled with the incipient grief of imminent loss, or, completely overwhelmed with gratitude at the beauty and privilege of caring for their sick and dying loved ones, with its intimate, though at times terrible, experience of embodied wonder.
Typically, both poles of this spectrum are held at some level. The difference lies in who’s driving the vessel of the human being.
Either the ungrounded mind is driving, while imposing brakes on the moving and emotional center, or, the mind entrained in the heart is driving while the moving center follows in moment by moment trust, with the intellectual and the emotional centers hanging and balanced, like supportive wings for the flight of faith.
Today is not a new day, unless allowed to be…
Today is not a test to be passed, nor a threat to be survived.
Today is not a riddle to be figured out, nor a stage to be performed upon.
Today is not mine to protect, nor is it yours for the taking.
Recently the Center for Action and Contemplation shared portions of Cynthia Bourgeault's commentaries on Thomas Keating’s final book, The Secret Embrace-A collection of evocative poetry, and, a beautiful final gift of writing from his life. I recently took Cynthia’s online course through spiritualityandpractice.com on this work. I wanted to offer several of my own reflections from the course that seemed to come more through me, than from me.
In taking on the task to investigate Gebser and his work and lest, I, and we, fall into the trap of perspectival seeing itself in trying to attain seeing-getting the next new thing in our own personal spiritual development. Where the Imaginal realm, or citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven is seen as better or higher than, instead of ontologically objective, given as a birthright to be unveiled and stabilized in us as a viewing platform of the heart. Here the Imaginal’s meaning only matters in relationship to the whole of Creation-and therefore to all worlds and all beings. I offer a word of caution and context for my sense of where many of us are being led and called to hold posts within our community, communities and world.
Chosenness and privilege, in the universal sense of being a pixel of consciousness as human being, is and always has been equal to the role of service; not a reward for being “virtuous” or “morally admired” (ie the best of World 48). It’s this perspectival confusion of equating chosenness with specialness that creates and comes out of the closed loops of self-reflective thinking. Just look at most of the forms of Christianity many of us grew up in. But even now, from this place we confer positive or negative qualities on ourselves and others-often justified by our “spiritual work and development.” The minute we begin to think, “they” need to do their “inner-work,” we’ve inevitably left doing our own.
I was reminded today that the words for breath and spirit in most every great spiritual tradition are the same.
We all, from the lowest to the highest forms of complex life, share in the one great breath. The breath is our bridge of exchange between the finite and infinite realms. Before we can cry or speak or make sound out of the womb we must first breathe.
Truly it is up to the cosmic creator to give and take breath away.
originally published November 18, 2019
Silence is an energetic end in itself. As are you and I. It’s why I find it so difficult to be with. It can’t be manipulated, managed or made to behave how I want it to. And like much of life, no matter how many times I’ve crossed that threshold, the experience of entering into silence feels different and new each time I’m willing to go there. If I’m honest I do everything I can to avoid it.
When I do go there, though, it becomes apparent that it wasn’t silence that attracted me to itself. Rather, I discover that my soul was and always is resting in the eternity of silence. In this way the invitation to enter silence is my own soul calling me to pay attention from itself. I’ve found silence is the only place where this can happen. Or rather, this is always happening in the context of silence and occasionally I become conscious of its reality.
At first, I would take hours, days, specific amounts of time to separate myself from the noise of my routine. I sought silence in nature, retreat houses, and monasteries.
originally published December 18, 2019
One of my wife’s favorite artists is Hozier. As a former clergyman, his hit title, Take Me to Church, most immediately drew me in. And its lyrics exploring the cost of devotion in a relationship of conscious love spoke straight to my heart.
Jonathan lives in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas with his wife, dogs and three children. His Wisdom work comes out of a blend of the Christian Contemplative tradition and 4th Way spirituality with a focus on companioning others from the unified and collective field accessed through the heart. He is a life-long seeker who offers private Spiritual Direction in person or by zoom, one-to-one or in groups.