Friday, February 19, 2010

Of Harried Housewives and Holy Men

I do believe that all the mystic-speak, that is to say the language of the mystics can have the undesirable effect of distancing the experience of knowing God, can make it seem as though the possibility of knowing God becomes less and less likely and so we don’t even bother to look. The possibility of exercising, never mind that, the possibility of even having a hope of discovering our own sixth sense, our own intuitive knowledge of God becomes so foreign due to the obscurity of the mystical language that it remains something to be dismissed, laughed off, forced off our internal radar as potentially viable.

Why would I bother to look for a God that in the telling of others is so inconceivable to me as something I can attain to? If indeed He is so close why would I not have the slightest idea where to find Him? Why would I have no sense of the possibility that I could reach Him if I tried?

Must I be a twelfth century monk, friar, cloistered nun, theologian, saint? Must I wear a brown frock tied with a rope, must I shave my head or cut my hair using my cereal bowl as a guide in order that I can know God? What if my life includes grocery shopping and toilet cleaning in twenty-first century America? Am I destined never to know first-hand the love of God because of the luck of my draw in life?

It is unfortunate, crossing over into blatant tragedy that the mystical life is presented in such obscure terms and of people who are presented to us as remote and above and beyond anything we could ever know because we go to work in an office and coach youth sports on the weekend.

This presentation makes it so easy to deny for twenty-first century western society the possibility of a life fuller than we could have ever imagined, of a realization of our potential beyond what we could have ever thought possible for ourselves (assuming the spiritual books are to be believed that is).

I gotta run. The phone’s ringing, the Fed Ex guy is knocking at the door, the school bus is waiting and rush hour traffic is a bitch.


  1. jss--
    Not only is it possible for ordinary moderns to directly experience the Sacred, I believe it happens more often than we realize. You are right in pointing out that the mystics (and especially those who build religions out of other people's mystical experiences) make it sound like intimate contact with Presence requires arduous effort and grave sacrifice. In fact, there are simple, concrete steps we can take to open up enough for divine grace to transform us. Alcoholics Anonymous is one uncomplicated program that successfully primes people for spiritual awakening, but there are probably others. I have been giving a lot of thought to this as my own state of awareness fluctuates, and I find ways to return to that enlightened space where life makes sense, and love feels abundant. The world needs a new program with some--but not all-- of AA's features, aimed at people without addictions (and especially those with depression). I’m convinced such a program could work, if it existed and people tried it. Grace is closer than we are led to believe. And once one finds the Center, life changes dramatically.

  2. Hi Will,
    I should would like to believe that grace is closer than we believe. I'd hate to have to get one of those bowl haircuts and I look terrible in brown. It's the only color I refuse to wear.

    The chasm seems so wide at time I often find myself wondering how we're ever supposed to know it's out there (or in here), and how are we ever supposed to believe it can be true for us.