May 30, 2005

Love, Truth, & Authority

Meredith: Today, I learned this: “Consecration is a dedication to divinity. It means consciously participating in love, intentionally opening ourselves to accept the divinely given gift. Obviously, it means that we must trust more in grace than in our personal capabilities. To say yes to love, we must trust enough or risk enough to be willing to enter love.”

Possibly what I have wanted most out of life is love. Oddly, though we are immersed in love, it swirls about us largely unrecognized and unclaimed. Love comes into the open as a gift. I sense this gift of love at different depths. To receive love at the deepest depth, takes a willingness to drop self-protection, to be a bit vulnerable, to move beyond social constraints and to be actively and radically open to receive this gift. Love bestowed in this way is grace, loving as God loves.

I laugh with Kabir, who laughs about fish being thirsty. We are in love, within love, as fish are in the sea and clouds are in the sky. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and perfuses us. In a very real sense, we are made of love. It is our true treasure, right here within us, waiting to be claimed.

We have claimed and consecrated love. It is beautiful, it is freeing. Love is who and what we truly are. I hope you can feel this gift living, swirling, and rising from the very depths of your being as I do.

Akilesh: We can take old, dead words -- words that have been poisoned by religion and pseudo spirituality -- and breathed new life into them, resurrect them, infuse them with their original aliveness, and re-create fresh meaning. We do this by going to the authentic wellspring of our heart and in the light of authentic presence the old word is freshly illuminated. Take the word "love" for example. Such a misused word, yet we have exploded the word from within, pulled out from it the deeply buried authenticity, the freshness and living truth of it. The word itself falls far, far short of the living experience.

So, a new word -- authority. You are your own authority. As ego fixation recedes, one realizes one’s own authority. Your heart, the totality of your being, your higher self, pure consciousness is your only authority. There is no external authority, whether for character or morality or principal or truth or God. You are your own authority. This will serve you later when times get rough, when the road gets long, and the sky grows dark. During times of extreme difficulty we are tempted to rely on others for spiritual authority. But this authority is and belongs with you. We rely on others for spiritual friendship and help, but do not go that extra step where you concede your authority (and responsibility) to another. Sometimes conditions and circumstances become extremely compelling and we run for the cover of social convention, consensus reality. We have to walk our own path, realize our own responsibility and our own authority -- and claim it. No one can give it to us. Trouble is we feel so impoverished as an ego we try to find someone or something to support, prop up, rehabilitate, enhance, empower our small self. But as ego fixation diminishes we begin to see our own responsibility in the matter, and eventually our own naked authority.

Meredith: Your dialogue on authority has been churning over and over in my thoughts. I feel a little dissonance with this word – maybe it is an adolescent rebellion to authority! It is like an old dead poisoned word. I do not feel like any kind of authority, on anything, not one single thing, however, I do recognize a deep trusting of my own heart. There is an odd conflict of ideas, to be more unknowing, and an authority at the same time. But I think I understand what you are referring to. An example is that I do walk my own path, not subscribing to any particular authority to follow exactly. I just rely on my own deep inner knowing, and have a simple, very simple context for this knowing, without a particular need of any external authority. Even when I ask you a question, your answer may either fit for me or not, as you suggested might be the case, a long time ago. I like to give your wisdom sharing some silent time and just let the particles of truth for me filter in, and allow the rest to just drift softly away – kind of like those clumps of cotton from the cottonwood trees blowing in the breezes right now. In our sharing, I have often had the experience of a truth in you sparking a truth in me. This also happens as I read other’s truths as well, and I notice a synchronous quality of certain truths coming round again and again, touching me, shaking me, waking me, breathing in me, living in me. And with your eyes you have begun to see the truth of love residing in me, recognizing that it is who I am even before I did. This truth is beauty and it is freedom. It feels simple, fresh, empowering, creative and has literally made me come alive.

Akilesh: You recognize how words have acquired a dead meaning, and how we are able to bring them alive, bring aliveness to them, resurrect them so that they are again fresh, authentic. Authority is a tremendously loaded word, freighted with all kinds of negative meaning. But you got the point. The truth and beauty of the love residing in you naturally leads to an internal feeling of certainty that is self existing. It requires no external confirmation and thus it stands on its own authority. You know? It is so real, so clearly present within the heart that it doesn't need any propping up by external authority, i.e. society, religion, science, culture, etc. It cannot be proved in a rational manner. Nonetheless it is real, it exists. Standing on nothing, you stand on your own authority, you declare your love, the existence of this love you have found residing within you -- not as a feeling, because feelings come and go, but as an existential and experiential fact. It is paradoxical, like being without reference point and asserting, "I am my own authority." Like if someone said, "On what authority do you assert such a truth, the truth of love residing within you?" Well, you have no scientific proof or socio-religious consensus. You simply stand on your own authority, on what you have undeniably discovered.

3 comments:

Larry said...

This is great, Meredith. I wish I had time to stretch this wonderful dialogue into a colloquy. For now I can only say that you(all) have stretched our mind as well as our spirit.

Meredith said...

Thank you, Larry. When you have time, I'd love to see you stretch this into a colloquy.

Larry said...

As I was saying....
re: dead words and authority:

So true about 'dead words'. All of the great, true and beautiful words have been degraded, debased, misused and abused by the world, tending to pass on into oblivion. BUT as Wink pointed out, our task is to redeem them.

I insist on love, no matter how poorly it's been used. It's the whole gospel. It's all that matters: love and you will be very, very happy because you will know you're doing God's will.

Re authority: That has been my big quandary all of my spiritual life. As a child my minister father was the authority, but unfortunately I came to know too well his shadow side. And so it went with all of the others. The Bible? oh no; too many thousand different interpretations.

The word? Yes, the word, spoken by Jesus, Paul, you, me, and everyone.

For Quakers? the silence; ah! the silence. Gathered together, enfolded in the love of Friends, present physically and/or spiritually present. In the silence we hear the word from the spirit.

After many, many years seeking a credible spiritual authority, in 1983 I found the blessed Quaker silence. Thanks again, friends for your wonderful thoughts.