The snake and the forbidden fruit are your curiosity about, your interest in, your intrigue with ALL that life offers. You like YOUR, life, the life that is truly yours to live, but. There are all kinds of other lives out there, and you would like to try them out, just to see what it might be like. The lights and action of Gay Paree, for instance, present a compelling distraction, and what’s a little action going to hurt? So, you leave the way, turn aside from the path, follow your own idea of what life could be, and drift away from the life that is YOUR life to live. You could have been a teacher, perhaps, but business school promised more income, and your dad is a banker. You could have been a concert pianist, but architecture is art, too, and with job security. So, you drifted into a life, a world, really, that is not YOUR life. And you heard the door click shut behind you, but you didn’t think anything of it because you were taken by the sweet thing, or the handsome hunk, at your side and you were off on your great adventure together.
Well, you woke up about the time of your second divorce and remembered what you left behind, and thought that maybe there is more to it than this, and wondered how to find it. You looked around to discover that you were in a second garden. Call it Gethsemane. As you think about it, there was something in the first garden about an angel with a flaming sword guarding the way back into Eden. Symbolic talk, meaning that to get back to the beginning, you going to have to die, or feel like you are dying. Dying is what Gethsemane is all about. There is death in handing the reins of our life over to the “Thy” within. New birth, remember, is a dragon climbing out of the egg. Your new life eats your old life screaming alive. “Thy will, not mine, be done!”
Just who is the “Thy” here? Everything hangs on our getting this straight. It’s the way back to Eden, the way of death that is life, understanding what’s at stake in “Thy will, not mine, be done.” Who is in charge of our living? Where do we go for guidance and direction? How do we know, how do we decide, what to do? The tricky part of “Thy will, not mine, be done,” is that WE say what the “Thy” is saying! How do we know? You can see that there might be a bit of a conflict of interest here! How do we get ourselves out of the way to hear what the “Thy” wants done? THIS is exactly the Garden of Eden story! Adam/Eve (you), the snake/temptation (self-interest), and the “Thy.” The question is, whose side are you on? Let me make it clearer.
We stand between two worlds, physical and spiritual. We balance the demands, the needs, of two worlds. We live two lives. We have a life that the physical world gives to us and a life that the spiritual world, that our soul, gives to us. Two worlds, two lives. And we have to live both of them at the same time. Our spiritual life is not something we do with prayer and meditation or going to church. We don’t call time out and go be spiritual for a while. We have to be spiritual all the time, within the physical world. The spiritual life is the life soul insists that we live in the world, the life we are called to incarnate, bring forth, give birth to. How alert, aware, attentive are we to this life that soul is calling us to live? Our primary task is listening to psyche/soul and aligning ourselves with the life that needs to come forth through us into the world. Problem is, no one teaches us to do this.
Well, here goes: Our body is our most direct connection with psyche/soul. We have to learn to listen to our body, read its signals, know what it is saying, follow our body’s lead. Next in line, I would say, are dreams, fantasies, slips of the tongue, songs we hum absent-mindedly, and spontaneous responses to the experiences of life. Then, there is the encounter with the numinous, the white rabbits, the things that catch our eye, wink at us, stop us in our tracks, compel us to respond, or not. These experiences are all avenues into the inner world, windows into the way things are, or need to be, within. We have to be alert to, and tune into, the inner world in order to hear what the “Thy” is saying to us.
We have to become students of soul, our own soul, in order to know what we have to say to ourselves and how to live in response. Here's your homework assignment: Pick a day, or part of a day, an afternoon, THIS afternoon, perhaps, and don't know what to do. Do what you FEEL needs to be done. FEEL your way through the afternoon. FEELING what needs to be done next, now. Not thinking, FEELING! Stop thinking! FEEL! You know whether another cup of coffee is called for, or a trip to the toilet. You don't think those things, or plan them in advance. You feel them, and do what is called for in the moment of your living.
Spirituality is not about being told what to believe. It is strengthening our connection with psyche/soul through practice, practice, practice. We wouldn't think of learning to play the piano or tennis or bridge without practice. We don't learn to play the piano by listening to a lecture, or lots of lectures, about playing the piano. Practice! Practice! Practice! We don't learn to play the piano by reading a book, or lots of books, about playing the piano. Practice! Practice! Practice! We don't learn to play the piano by visiting places where pianos are played, or built. Practice! Practice! Practice! We don't learn to play the piano by watching someone play the piano, or by listening to piano concertos. Practice! Practice! Practice! We practice listening to the “Thy,” to psyche/soul, to do what needs doing! Then, we only have to find the courage to do it!