Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Affirmation, denial, and reconciliation

I've been re-reading Cynthia Bourgeault's book, Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, and am loving (again) the idea of the Law of Three -- that in reconciling two forces, one affirming, one denying, something new is born. And I've just realized the concept applies in two related areas of my life: my meditation practice, and my painting.

In meditation I am always - ALWAYS - struggling to reconcile the God Out There with the God In Here; the traditional distant controlling God with the divine flame I know that burns within me. And I can see that in a way that constant struggle can easily be represented by Jesus, his arms stretched out upon the cross in an attempt at reconciling the two opposites. The struggle, however confusing and difficult it sometimes may be, keeps me engaged and churning and questioning even as it makes it hard to settle into the peace I seek.

In painting I struggle with the tension between the inspiration that comes to me from other artists and the natural inclinations, motions, limitations and choices that arise from within me which both make it impossible to copy others and, occasionally, lead to something new and original that I really like -- which is what happened with this painting.

So what helped me pull it all together is this poem fragment from a book I picked up in a used bookstore in Port Townsend last weekend: The Songs of Kabir, translated by Rabindranath Tagore and Evelyn Underhill:

"If I say that He is within me, the universe is ashamed:
If I say that He is without me, it is falsehood.
He makes the inner and the outer worlds to be indivisibly one;
The conscious and the unconscious, both are His footstools.
He is neither manifest nor hidden, revealed nor unrevealed:
There are no words to tell that which He is."

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