Sunday, April 5, 2015

Clinging to Concepts and Resurrection: Jesus and Mary Magdala in the Garden

When Jesus appears to Mary Magdala in the garden he asks her not to touch him -

I never suspected
to be so painful...
to leave me weeping
With joy
to have met you, alive and smiling, outside an empty tomb
With regret
not because I've lost you
but because I've lost you in how I had you --
in understandable, touchable, kissable, clingable
not as fully Lord, but as graspably human.

I want to cling, despite your protest
cling to your body
cling to your, and my, clingable humanity
cling to what we had, our past.
But I know that...if I cling
you cannot ascend and

I will be left clinging to your former self
...unable to receive your present spirit.

Fr Ronald Rolheiser, Mary Magdala's Easter Prayer in Forgotten Among the Lillies, p176.
Art: St John's Bible

One of the most significant revelations in my journey was the definitive change from flesh human having a spiritual experience to spiritual human having an enfleshed experience...I really already knew this from science classes - that matter is really tiny "particles" (not really particles, but we have created a particulate model) of energy, and mostly space between said "particles." My amazing optic brain mechanisms create a vision of solid form where there is, on a different level of observation, jiggling dancing energy.

Perhaps the other significant factor that I became aware of was that thoughts have power....and they can limit my understanding, create delusion and keep me from loving peace. Like words, thoughts reduce anything that exists before the thought. This is why the Israelites would not say the name of Yahweh. In fact Yahweh and Allah are both descriptions of breath moving through the lips, not definitive names for Ultimate Reality.

When my father died, I was forced to change my relationship with him from one in matter to one in spirit. I need him to be here, so I am willing to change the way I understand my reality so that he is as close as ever. Through meditation, I have cultivated a very peaceful and real spiritual reality, which gives me increasingly profound reverence for all of life. Oh, its continuing work! I live in the tension between what can be and what is - possibility(spiritual) and concept (matter or thought). I am most certainly not the only one! My peace in this place of unseen reality is reflected to me in scripture, where Jesus and Paul constantly attempt to change people's perspective to emphasize the spirit. Metanoia - think again....

Just as the Buddhists, Hindus and ancient philosophers espouse, it is our attachment to material reality, conceptual reality, a reality based on form as the predominant nature of everything, that causes us to suffer and to remain unenlightened. And if we are a Pastor and we are teaching a solely material reality, then we, like Mary Magdala cries in this beautiful poem, are keeping each other from ascending and we are keeping our selves in darkness. Or put another way, our attachments to what we think is true can keep us from gaining a more expansive perspective of truth. One point of truth can be bisected by an infinite number of lines; lines being perspectives.

Religion, from re-ligare, means to bind back, which is to say, return to your spiritual Oneness in the Divine essence. You are made in the image of God, sacred, priestly, holy. ALL religious texts and practices are designed to draw you away from matter and its hold on you and give you an experience of Spirit. Matter is context. Matter is where spirit finds purpose or action. Matter causes struggle and forces us to rise above it! When the Spirit is changed, when it is given priority, then purpose flows from Oneness and benevolence, rather than defensiveness. That's called transformation or in the case of Paul, conversion. Metanoia - think again. When we "have the Mind of Christ" we are awake, enlightened, can see truth from many perspectives (called nondual perspective), and we can hold the tension of living as spiritual beings enfleshed, we can temper and be mindful of the power of our thoughts and words.

To live in the Spirit. This is what it means to be resurrected. This is what it means to be enlightened or awake. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus the Christ.

Easter blessings! Be still. And know that I AM.

_/\_Peggy @ ECUMENICUS

Artwork: St John's Bible

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