Light in Darkness

It is significant that Christmas is celebrated by us at the winter solstice–the point of shortest daylight and longest night.  The nighttime represents our unconscious–the dark, hidden part of us that must birth the new being within us–the Christ into our personality.  This birth comes only after a period of gestation within the unconscious womb.  The long dark winter represents the long gestation period.  The new birth occurs when the darkness is the longest, out of which comes the dawn of a new life.  Only after the longest, darkest period in our lives can this new birth occur.

In the mythological story of the soul–the Christian Nativity narrative–the conception takes place in the spring, the time when nature exhibits her greatest fertility.  Birth takes place in the season when nature manifests no sign of life.  Most vegetation seems dead.  Even light–the source of life–wanes to the point where the days are shortest and the nights are longest.  It seems that light is being swallowed up in darkness, that life is being consumed by death.  But out of this darkness–this womb of winter–comes something new and wonderful–hoped for, longed for, desired above all, yet not dared expected.

Darkness also represents the unawareness of our conscious to the light within us–the abundant life Jesus said he came to give.  Jesus is the physical person who represents the spiritual person of God that wants to be experienced within each of us.  The darkness of our conscious awareness to spiritual matters is such that it does not understand, expect, or even “have a clue” to the inner light that continues to shine in our soul even though we do not see it, do not experience it.  We must finally experience our fill of darkness–become sick and tired–even despairing of looking for some sort of light to warm and illumine us.  We must finally come to the “dark night of the soul” and cry out for light in order for God to be able to make us see and experience the light he placed within us before we were born–the light he begot us with–his own holiness.

Winter is the worst time to have a baby–cold weather, lots of germs and disease going around, little sunshine.  It is difficult for a newborn to get a good start physically.  Winter is the best time for a baby to be born for non-physical reasons: it puts a ray of hope and joy in the midst of our bleak mid-winter–a ray of human light into the short days and long nights of the year’s end.  In the winter of our lives, when the days are short, light has faded from our lives.  We need new light, a new kind of light.

How does birth of a newborn connect with the winter solstice?  Think small.  On the shortest day of the year, in the smallest amount of light, is born the smallest unit of human life.  Solstice and the birth of Christ come together to point us to a celebration, not only of what has happened, is, and will be in terms of the patterns of earth and sun and a special baby born one winter’s night in a cattle stall, but of something that is designed to occur within our individual lives.

Not only do we celebrate the mid-winter’s lengthening of days and the Christ-Child as the “Light of the World.”  We also celebrate the possibility of the coming of a kind of light the kindles a fire within us on the altar of our hearts–a fire that we shall never stop tending because of all that is provides for us: light, warmth, life, joy.

Womb Work

In Genesis we learn that out of the womb of darkness and chaos God birthed Creation.  Out of the womb of the ark, new life began after the flood.  Out of the womb of the great fish Jonah was given a new opportunity for life.

So out of our inner spiritual womb God wants to bring a unique Creation that only we can experience–His own holiness, placed within us before our birth.

In one sense Mary represents a part of each of us–the Virgin Womb–our Spiritual Womb–unused, undisturbed, unfulfilled–awaiting the planting of the spiritual seed–the seed of conscious insemination–our conscious desire for something new to be born in us.

God was preparing Mary’s heart long before the angel came to ask permission to plant the seed within her.  God has been doing the same with us.  And the message is the same! ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’  Each of us is God’s favored one, his special, precious Child, to whom and in whom he wants to communicate great joy.

The physical is always a symbol for the spiritual.  What we need is a spiritual frame of mind to perceive it.  The physical rite of passage from virgin to initiated participant in sexual enjoyment–the fullest possible expression of human physical joy–gives us a clue to the kind of spiritual ecstasy God wants us to experience on a spiritual level.

This spiritual pregnancy is a different kind of pregnancy.  Many biological children are conceived accidentally.  Not so in our spiritual virgin womb.  This conception can only occur intentionally–where our conscious gives permission to have the seed of new life planted.  Our conscious will not only must want new life but must give permission for the incubation period to be as long or as short as needed, and for the birth to take place wherever it chooses.

This is not a nine-month pregnancy.  The gestation period varies with each individual. And birth does not take place in a hospital labor room.  It may take place in your own home, on a trip, or in a distant place.  Your spiritual birthplace can be anywhere.  Your womb will know the time and the place.  You may be, in fact, already on the road to Bethlehem.  I hope so.

 

Jesus as Mirror

Try looking at Jesus as a mirror of ourselves, who we were originally, who we essentially are now, the divinity within the humanity.  When we see our godhood mirrored in Jesus, we are able to see that same godhood in others, or, if their divinity is so covered as to be unrecognizable, we sense that it is there—somewhere—along with its yearning to be made manifest.

Bob Goff often uses a real mirror, holding it up to individuals and instructing them to accept the fact that God loves them just the way they are.  Then he tells them to see themselves just the way they are and make some choices about who they want to be.

Ann Glover O’Dell

8 August 2007

A Prayer for Your Spirit

May you experience such peace and comfort as not experienced before;
May you feel such tender embrace from the Father that you look forward to a renewal of the embrace each day;
May you have a larger awareness each day of your own preciousness which is far more than you can think or imagine;
May this time of rest and recuperation become a time of growing awareness of your unique holiness.

(author unknown)

Light of the World–in Me?

I’ve never before thought of myself as being a light in the world, let alone part of The Light of the world. Jews have a legend of the creation of the world that has a holy vessel containing holy Light coming out of the holy Darkness. There is an accident and the vessel breaks. Tiny fragments of Light are released to be embedded in every single human being, in fact in all created beings.

The legend pleases me to think that God would in a sense divide himself among us all, giving us each an equal chance to show forth his holiness. But now I ask myself, ‘What would it be like to be a transparency for inner holy Light? And how do I dig through the debris that no doubt covers mine to let the Light shine free? Is this something I can undertake and effect on my own or do I need the source of Light to help me? Or do it for me?

Jesus said we are the light of the world AND that we have the Kingdom of God within us. Perhaps that is but a confirmation of the ending of the Jewish legend.

I think of star light in the Nativity story and wonder if I ponder that perhaps some divine celestial Light might show me the way to reveal my own.

4 January 2016

We Are God’s Christs

Jesus is everyman. Jesus is us.  He makes mistakes.  He becomes angry.  He needs quiet time.  And all the while he is trying to minister to others in the way he believes God is calling him to do.

Jesus truly cares about others, and his compassion is shown in many examples throughout the gospel stories.  He also recognizes his need for companions, for close friends, and for time to examine his own motives and goals.

Aren’t we like Jesus?  Haven’t we set out to make ourselves into the best child of God that we can be?  Aren’t we showing compassion and generosity to our fellows as we are able?  And don’t we recognize our need for community and enrichment and ways to keep our bodies and minds and spirits healthy?

I think yes.

So what is lacking?

What is lacking is our awareness that we are God’s Christs.  We recognize our humanity.  In fact, sometimes it is too much with us.  What we don’t experience and can’t find in all our thinking, reading, talking, acting, and even praying, is our divinity–the experiential realization throughout our entire being that God takes delight in dwelling within us, and that we are useful to God simply by being his holy, cherished Child.

So how do we achieve the goal of experiencing divinity within humanity?  We might begin with a letter to God–asking the genuine questions we may not have ever before put in writing.  See what happens.  My hunch is that God would welcome a dialogue with us.

My experience is that God wants our participation, our cooperation in this miracle of making us know we are his Christs.

(Note: a personal story of experiencing divinity is available on this website under Book)

Fasting

Fasting puts us more in tune with the Spirit of God whose food is not the meat and drink our bodies require.

St. Augustine suggests the ancient directive to wash the face and anoint the head has to do with the inner man even more than the outer—the necessity of washing away whatever stands in the way of our experiencing God and being re-transformed into his image. The anointing reminds us that there is a divinity deep inside us which connects us irrefutably with God.

“Often, too reflection upon the things we need for carrying on this life injures the eye of our spirit and bedims it; and . . . divides our heart.”

Jesus said one lives by the words that come from the mouth of God. How do the words of God come to us? From his Spirit to our spirits. Through silence. Through intuition. Through insights. Far more than any printed page.

THE ERA OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Many clergy and biblical scholars are busy researching the cultural context of the four Gospels and the source material used. We even have reports, based on serious scholarship, of what Jesus probably did and did not say. Eager readers seem to want to know what is fact and what is fiction in the four accounts of the life of Jesus.

What seems to be ignored is this new era of holiness. Our individual and collective level of conscious awareness has risen to the point where we are ready for something more. Our inner Self yearns for a new manifestation of the Sacred—a personal revelation.

We have moved into the era of the Holy Spirit. An era to complete the other two. An era in which we are not consumed with research into the written word. An era in which the energy and spirit of the universe is available and eager to move in and through us if we but will it. This energy can reveal to us a truth stronger than words, a new reality that cannot be denied, and potential that is eager to be realized.

Let us consciously invite this amazing phenomenon to come to us, abide with us, and use us as instruments of peace, creativity, and joy.

EASTER

Easter is all about Relationship.

The idea of resurrection suggests the emergence of something that was dead but is alive again.
Nature comes alive again in spring only as flowers and trees stay in relationship to what gives them life—sun, rain, and the fecund soil which holds their roots. The more a plant spreads its roots into the soil, the stronger and more productive it becomes.

The same is true for us. Following the Jesus narrative, something in us must die for us to be resurrected into intimate Relationship with God. The dead husk of our lives must be sloughed off so the kernel of new life can germinate and emerge.

Authentic Relationship with God requires the same as nature requires of her kingdom—something new must emerge. For us that new thing is a being cleansed of anger and guilt which, fresh and new, knows the Ground of its Being, and spreads its roots deep into holy soil. In that rootage we discover the divinity that was always hidden within us and always at our disposal. We become able to walk and talk with God in our spiritual Eden where we experience great beauty and great joy. And all is well with our soul.

(Note: To learn how to give permission to something beyond your control to cleanse you of anger and guilt, see Humpty Dumpty Hatched under BOOK on this website.)

SPRING EQUINOX

The term Easter comes from Eostre, the Saxon goddess celebrated at the spring equinox. The equinoctial feast actually goes back to prehistoric times, suggesting man has celebrated balance ever since his conscious awareness allowed him to recognize the equal length of day and night.

And what fortune that Christianity chose the term to celebrate its highest holy day! Celebrating the balance of humanity and divinity in Jesus. And the potential of celebrating the same in ourselves—in this life.

Imagine! A balance in our personalities–of introvert and extrovert traits, of thinking and feeling functions, and of all the other opposites that pull us in two directions.

God designed this balance for all of us—a balance of work and play, of compassion and introspection, of words and silence, of activity and rest.

And beneath that balance a sense that God was/is/will be intertwining all the traits of our personality in exactly the tapestry design that He always intended.