Monthly Archives: June 2014

Divine Birthing Through Paradox

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From Peter- Damien Belisle”s wonderful book of essays – ” The Privilege of Love-Camaldolese Benedictine Spirituality” It reads: “The hermit does not pretend to have acquired any esoteric secret or any exalted technique by which he penetrates into the mystery of God. His only secret is the humility and poverty of Christ and the knowledge that God lifts up those who have fallen.” It is paradoxical that we find our ”true”self in selflessness, but solitude, like monasticism, is a place of paradox in the stream of life. ”The waters which rise from the monastic core pull us into a world of paradox: encounters within solitude; celebration of Word in silence; stability within a mobile world; marginality at life’s core; creativity within aridity.”
In essence this is also encompassed by Athony de mello , when he writes: ”when you are on the verge of going insane, you are about to become either a psychotic or a mystic. the mystic is opposite of what a lunatic is. One sign of awakening is when you begin to ask yourself the questions of ”am I going crazy”, ”is everyone crazy.”
This paradoxical tension between sanity and insanity, life and death – as within all internal questions of darkness and light – solitude and community, creativity and aridity becomes the very fire inherently present in the world that is created in a kind of divine paradox: A world that is constantly birthing  forth form from the womb of all darkness –  a Light that is breathed forth from the mysterious unknown out into and throughout all of creation.  There lies a very present paradoxical contradiction of tension, that gives life its subtle form and it’s erudite manifestation. To not have one without the other risks a state of complete lifelessness. This paradox – this tension – is what engenders movement; the dancing balance that is ”searched for” ad-mist the dichotomies of all experience – of all actualization. The self as it travels, softly begins to discern the silent strands of the souls voice ad-mist an ocean of ”longing”; of ever cycling human existential wondering. In this humanity we have jumped in to this embodied form, I believe, to go beyond that which we have known before. We journey ”inward”, coming in time, to move beyond duality. Or perhaps this may be more aptly be worded as an encompassed state of ” intentional enfolding” ; holding both, yet moving beyond at once. This becomes the duality that gives birth to the mystical- the interplay of dark and light birthing outwards and at one becomes the in and out breath of God’s manifestation. Moving beyond ”opposites” and experiencing the silence of the soul, in stillness – in a full and creative ”nothingness” that holds the fragility of both.
I speak of my own inner experience of this as I have questioned in my own human existence through years of repeating illness and wellness underpinned by the deepest spiritual longings of a self, that at times struggled to understand her own humanity.  Yet over time the paradox of this reality has led to profound and deep psychic ”conversion” within my soul; engendering a fire within for a God that enticed yet simultaneously stirred such pain in the longing for union with this same being who often felt so annialatingly afar.

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Silence

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From the book :  ”The Privilege of Love- Camaldolese Benedictine Spirituality edited by Peter- Damien Belisle it reads: ”The Greek term hesychia means a state of silence, stillness, or tranquility, as a result of the cessation of external trouble and internal agitation.
Cassian’s ”purity of heart” contains the aspect of ”tranquility of mind” and thus, the idea of hesychia. The term also means solitude of retreat. ” Watch your thought like a good fisherman watching for fish. ” To attain interior hesychia and freedom from concern, the desert tradition offers two other ke concepts: vigilence (nepsis) and attention (prosoche). According to John Climacus, vigilance is the distinctive attitude of the friend of hesychia, which is ”always on the watch at the doors of the heart, killing or driving off invading notions.” ” The vigilant monk is a fisher of thoughts, and in the quiet of the night he can easily observe and catch them.”

Becoming the mindful watcher of all thought, all sensation, all experience – always awakening – opening- to the divisions of our wandering mind, and by cultivating an internal gentle rippling pond of silence, the experience of ”contrast” within our lives is heightened. The echo of this previously gently ruffling surface, becomes the mighty roar of an untamed river – a river violently tumbling over the craggy rocks of internal divisions, and obscuring self vision under it’s watery veil of subconscious reverberations and unconscious patterns of being.

The inner and monastic path embraces this, and I believe is also a path of a deep internal discerning and awakening, alongside a deeply vulnerable ”shedding”, of all the shadowy shadings that obscure this divine light from our sight – the divine nature of this truth yawns inside the heart of our receptive spirit painfully open to the paradox of this same celestial light and holy dark.  Within this hesychia, this silence – this stillness; one begins to hear the river of humanity inside of our self, that in times of dis-quiet gives rise to the obsessive attachment and compulsion to avoid that which seems unbearable – that which suppresses this inner tension – to squashing, and fleeing from that which is unclaimed within; and subsequently journey toward the wholeness of divine healing; where tensions are soothed and divisions within our fractured souls find a synthesis of wholeness within the silence of a paradoxical yet tangible mystery of an effervescent yet often seemingly absent  and shadowy God.