Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blessings in abundance

Having finished Kornfield's A Path With Heart, I've returned to Cynthia Bourgeault's newest work, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene.  And in my reading this morning Bourgeault asserts that the three key tenets of Jesus' teaching are Kenosis, Singleness, and Abundance.

Kenosis, she says, is self-emptying.  "Self-emptying is what brings [Jesus] into human form, and self-emptying is what leads him out, returning him to the mode of glory.  The full realization of Jesus's divine selfhood comes not through the concentration of being, but through a voluntary divestment of it."

Singleness is about oneness, wholeness.  "Breaking through the egoic mind's compulsive need to divide the perceptual field into paired opposites (inside and outside, male and female, subject and object, and so forth),  consciousness simply coincides with its source and looks at the world through a single lens of wholeness."

But it was her description of abundance that really sang to me this morning, and it is abundance that is called forth for me by these wonderful flowers, part of an arrangement we were given to take home after the wonderful wedding reception dinner we attended this past weekend. "Abundance surrounds and sustains us like the air we breathe; it is only our habitual self-protectiveness that prevents us from perceiving it.  Thus, the real problem with any constrictive motion (taking, defending, hoarding, clinging) is that it makes us spiritually blind, unable to see the dance of divine generosity that is always flowing towards us.


...Since this point is so fundamentally counter-intuitive for our anxiety-prone minds, little wonder that Jesus takes every occasion to hammer it home.  In virtually all his teachings the fundamental leitmotif is an "over-the-top" generosity that leaves its recipients not only satisfied but bedazzled.  Think of all those well-loved gospel stories -- the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, the loaves and fishes, the water turned into wine, the woman with the alabaster jar, the fishing nets cast in the Galilean Sea -- and you'll see what I mean.  It is not a question of "adequate," or "barely enough," but of a fullness "pressed down, shaken together, running over" (Luke 6:18).

I don't know about you, but ... well, even though it's hard to wrap my anxious brain around that, even hearing this passage softens some resistance in me.  "Of COURSE!" I think, just before I sink back into wariness, and just for that tiny moment, and, again, looking at the generous gift of these flowers, I can feel -- however briefly -- how wonderful it would be if I could truly let go of all the worries and just accept the incredible bounty that is my life.

Maybe I need to get back into gratitude practice: you know, the one where every night before you go to bed you write down 5 to 10 things you're grateful for today?  Maybe that would get me over this hump I seem to be stuck on...

3 comments:

Maureen said...

Gorgeous arrangement.

Abundance of thought-provoking words. You read some of the most interesting work; I feel so much more spiritually attuned after coming here.

drw@bainbridge.net said...

Hmm -- I guess abundance comes in many forms; I hadn't thought of it that way!

Thanks so much for staying with me through the dry spells!

M.L. Gallagher said...

I'm with Maureen -- you definitely set my spiritual atunement vibrating with abundant joy!

and... as to the hump.... this too shall pass.

Hugs