Sunday, March 21, 2010

Carrying the Imago Dei to Term

We have to do the work required to bring ourselves forth. There is nothing automatic or natural about the process of the “second birth.” It is brought on by the realization of dissatisfaction with the world as it is, of the emptiness and insufficiency of the wasteland that is our life. And if our life does not seem to be a wasteland, if we are breezing right along with everything as it should be and nothing more than the usual complaints about the weather and politicians to disrupt the flow, then there is no reason to question the framework within which we live, or the structure we have been told holds things in place.

It takes an encounter with unwanted reality to shock us into the realization that the way we have been told things are is not the way things are. Without that, things rock along in an acceptable kind of way, and we live out our days without raising our eyes to the possibilities or digging a well to the waters of life flowing beneath our feet.

We have to be awakened to the inability of our life to sustain itself with a diet of physical food and drink. A tree may get all it needs from the nutrients in soil, water, light and air, but it takes more than that for human beings. We have to be grounded, rooted, in a different medium. We depend upon a vibrant connection with life beyond life, beyond the physical, biological, necessities of life—a life that flows with meaning and purpose and the freedom to explore our interests and devote ourselves to the work of giving physical expression to our creative imagination.

We plant things and paint things and build things and draw things. We see how things could be and work to bring that forth in our lives, and that work brings us to life in a way that a proper diet and exercise could never produce. There is something about us, something within us, that needs to become actual, tangible, real, through us in the world. It is not enough to be born. We are born as carriers, as hosts, of a different sort of life requiring a different sort of birth, and we live our lives giving birth again and again to different manifestations of the creative spirit that dwells within.

It sometimes takes a jolt of reality to wake us up to the failure of the things that are supposed to be satisfying to satisfy, and to send us on the search of the things of lasting, one might say, “eternal,” value. We cannot buy the things that matter, but we can buy the tools to produce the things that matter, to do the things that matter. To do that, of course, we have to know, we have to find, the things that matter. Not the things that are supposed to matter. Not the things someone else tells us matter. But the things that matter because we know, we say, they matter. We find those things by taking up the practice of listening to our lives, of noticing our body’s response to our lives, in order to find what “clicks” with us, what resonates with us, and what does not.

Resonation is the key. Too often, we build our lives around the things we are supposed to do, or the things that are supposed to be fulfilling, when we experience dissonance, not resonance, in response to those things. When we ignore the disparity between how we are supposed to feel and how we actually feel we pay a price. We have to be alert to the sense of being out-of-alignment, out-of-sync, out-of-harmony, and move away from discord to accord in order to find the spiritual ground of our lives, the environment where our spirit thrives, and life takes on new meaning.

We are the point of contact between worlds, and our work is always to connect the worlds, to bring forth the inner, spiritual, world into the outer world of normal, apparent, reality. It used to be that the physical world was filled with messages and directives, signs and portents, from the unconscious. Then we came "of age." And now our task is finding our way back to the land we once knew by paying attention to instinct, being aware of intuition. Looking, listening. The process is to look, listen, see, hear, understand, know, do, be. If we get that down, we save the world.

We save the world by being the self we are called to be. The self we are called to be is the Image of God, the Imago Dei, the Christ within. The Imago Dei is a mustard seed, yeast in the dough, invisibly influential. Cast aside by the builders, transforming the world. You. Me. Us. This is the self within we are called to bring forth, to birth in our lives. We are mid-wives here to assist the birthing of the Imago Dei through us into the world. We are the Virgin bringing forth the Bebe Jesus. Our task is always to take the circumstances and conditions of life, of the moment, and imagine how to use them to bring forth the life within. In so doing, we come alive in the fullest possible sense of the word, and, yes, save the world!

1 comment:

william said...

Jim , I thank you again for cracking my stone egg. I am continually experiencing life in a deeper way. Perhaps there is some hope for us dead horses.

Bill