Chapter 14 from Francis Brown's book today is a longer reflection on the themes of innocence, forgiveness and the ideas of goodness and evil that we carry within us. It intersects comfortably with the discussion we've recently had on Catholica of our sense of worthiness. At the end we've included an excerpt from Gina Ogilvie's song, "Worthy" from her album "Gift of Grace".
As I begin to go into deep meditation I am conscious of something. Firstly, I am aware of my breathing, of air flowing in through my nostrils and out. I notice the gentle rising and falling of my chest. In my stillness, the beating of my heart comes to my attention. I am conscious of being. Yes, awareness is there but it seems to extend beyond the experience of being. It's as if my being is not isolated, as if my sense of being is somehow part of a deeper sense of being. It is as if my sense of beingness is floating in a sea of wholeness. My being is sensed as part of, as being more than part of, as being vitally and intimately one with wholeness. The feeling I have is of being a drop of water or a wave in an ocean. It is a peaceful feeling. Here am I, embraced and supported yet somehow so free and creative. What am I to call this Wholeness? My sensation is one of Absolute Sharing. Is that what Love is? Am I experiencing the Presence of Love? Am I a presence of Love in my meditation and will I choose to be a presence of Love in the world of my perceptions? Am I in beingness with All-That-Is ?
The awareness of my beingness as intimately one with AllThat-Is tells me that it is good. With a meditative spirit I know within me that this feeling of goodness has all to do with the interconnectedness of me and the Whole, the All-That-Is.
As I reflect on this experience I'm reminded that in the world of my perception, humans perceive humans as doing so much of what is called evil as well as what is called good. The feeling of goodness coming from the convinced state of wholeness is felt as a transformation of human ideas of good, which, along with perceptions of evil, seem to be so much tied to bounded ways of perception. Within the contemplative feeling of oneness and wholeness, a wave within the ocean contains but one feeling: it is good. Holding to that feeling I am able to grasp Jesus' teaching on forgiveness.
Within my experience of being somewhat like a wave in the ocean, I have gained a perception of sharing in the goodness pervading my being. The Source of this goodness effects only what is of its essence and, as a wave of the ocean shares in the whole ocean, I share in that essence. My conviction is that, as my Source is good so I am good and, that evil exists only in so far as my body-mind fails to perceive and be aware of my oneness with the Source of my being. I, like the wave in the ocean, do not feel any boundaries separating me from the wholeness of the Source. My body-mind seems to have conceived an illusion of boundaries isolating me from the Source so losing universal perspective. The goodness and embrace of the Source (the Ocean of which I, as a wave, know only constant caress) seem irrationally lost to me. The all pervading presence around and within me seems alien as I persist in the imagined boundaries. Thinking my being isolated to its own beingness and unaware of the wonder of constant embrace, I easily generate fear and evil. These cannot exist in the wholeness of my being one with the Source.
Meditative thoughts reveal my being as eternally present in an all pervading Presence sourcing my being and intimately sharing unreservedly its very Being and Creativity. This is Creation-in-Love, the Wonder-of-Constant-Embrace.
Engrossed in setting boundaries the body-mind tends to lock itself against knowing the Presence-of-Love's constant embrace and against experiencing as my own and without limits all that the Presence-of-Love is. Thus unaware of the wonder of my being I would make for myself a world of fear and imprison myself against a Love that knows no bounds. In spite of all efforts to limit God's Creation nothing has changed in Creation. My true being wants for nothing and waits for nothing but my awakening.
I have in my mind an image of a peasant of medieval times. Having done, it seems, some wrong, he has been dragged before the Feudal Lord. Here he is prostrate in the dust in the hope his abject pleading will wring from the Lord's heart some mercy. I remember that a similar image was taught in the past and persists in the minds of some regarding our relationship with God. My feelings are troubled at the thought that remnants of such teaching and ritualistic representations persist today. My awakening tells me this to be a perception completely contrary to me-asoffspring of the Loving-God, the-pure-to-image-effect of the Source of all being. I am one with the Presence-of-Love and as a presence-of-Love in this world, the perceptions of me and what I see around me that do not fit into that relationship needs healing, not judgment and condemnation. The father did not see anything but his son in the returning prodigal. The father's love certainly sees not the perceptions his returning son or the brother had.
I wonder what it is that makes me feel in need of forgiveness? Is it that I have inherited a mistaken idea I am somehow separated from God? What am I looking at? Have I forsaken the truth that God created me a perfect reflection of God? In fact, it seems I've a phobia about the completeness and wholeness of my relationship with my Creator. Is this the origin of the feelings of guilt and of the self judgment of being one deserving of God's anger?
My deep down awakened consciousness poses for me questions I need to answer. Could God create contrary to divine nature? Could divine creativity possibly bring about a being of lesser reality unworthy of divine nature? Is it possible for God to initiate a being capable of permanently thwarting the divine Mind and Will? I know God's Mind and Will could never be changed. Nothing is wrong about God. Nothing is wrong about whatever has come from the divine essence. What God has created is perfect and always remains perfect.
I ponder the questions above and am left wondering how I could have possibly thought up such wrong ideas about myself. In contact with my inner self, I realize I've failed to see the real me. I've made the mistake of perceiving boundaries where none were created. I have persisted so long with limiting thoughts that I have forgotten the reality my Creator made.
In the depths of inner knowingness found in a meditative spirit, I find something drawing me to awaken fully to that reality. Holding that reality I'm filled with a sense of freedom, like having a load lifted from my mind, shedding ill conceived boundaries and limitations and remembering my "Father's House". As in the prodigal son story my welcome is assured. I do have memories of horrors experienced in the dream-like world of perception. These horrors together with the wrongs and sins I have lived through, I leave behind as a child awakens from troubled sleep. The nightmares were so convincing but now I see the reality. Now I, the child, am in the arms of the loving parent. Now I am convinced, despite all my efforts to believe otherwise, I have not changed. Nothing has changed. I have simply awakened. Peace and Love are what I have always had but not always aware of in the illusory world of boundaries and limitations where I projected evil and fear. I now realize I'm the beloved, eternally embraced by God as I always was in the complete Oneness we all share in. Now all I want to do is awaken, pay attention to what is revealed in the depth of inner knowingness, and forgive my wrong perceptions of me and others. Memory will return. The bliss and creativity innate to my being in the One is to be realized now even as they are always.
God has nothing to forgive me. I remain as always, the beloved child of God, never losing the perfection of Creation. The sinful, even, evil self I had believed me to be is the fruit of an ill-conceived perception. I gladly forgive that perception and the way I have seen others in this world including the judgments I have placed on them. For me now forgiveness is the same as salvation. Both imply something impossible, something to be saved from or forgiven. Both imply something amiss that needs correction or contrary to the Will of God. But nothing has changed. The Will of God has not and cannot be thwarted. The only thing that exists between God, all brothers and sisters, the world and me is what I have thought of as sin. Now I forgive that thought as of the past, so it no longer separates me from God and from each other. Now any idea of gap between us is gone. Love, never lost is revealed. 2007
Innocence and Peace...
My earliest remembered experiences of life were of innocence and peace allowing everything to be what it was without my judging it either good or bad. Accordingly trust and enjoyment were my response to whatever arose in my life, experiences of all things around me being just modifications of my self. This was not in any egotistical sense but a sense of simply being me in my wholeness, one in all things manifested to me.
Most of that experience became lost to me as I became a learner in what the world had to teach. In adult life I felt called to rediscover my childlike experiences and learn again what life is. Innocence and peace were of my seeking but really the awakening to what had never been lost was arising. I was drawn to a sort of unlearning of what sat ill with me and to allowing thinly submerged knowledge of divine relationship to resurface. My childhood experience is remembered and something is stirring that goes back even further than infancy perhaps even to something of the essence of my being as Created. 2007
What are your thoughts on this commentary?