Before I went to the monastery, I lived in the main stream of society. I wanted to join with my social group and be one of them. I sat around discussing others and expressing my opinion about this and that, eating whatever and watching TV, cheering for football teams.
Then I discovered contemplative prayer. I began to notice more consciously what exactly I was thinking and make decisions about it. I began to see social functions, entertainments and behaviors as distractions from the spiritual.
I went to the monastery. The cloister took me out of modern society and the main stream of life. The monastic formation provided additional education in contemplation, and time to sit and ponder my thoughts and emotions. The unconscious could no longer hide from me. Contemplative practice is a delving into the dark depths and they become conscious as light is shined on them. The more I did this, the less I was controlled by the unconscious.
I got out of the monastery with this one idea: Love is the predominant mode of existence. I continued my contemplative practice. I tried to re-join secular society. For awhile, it seemed that I was successful in re-joining and gaining an honored place among the people. Until I began to a) question the Church and the Bible, b) start additional health and alternative spiritual studies and c) moved to the country.
I became an outsider, once again outside the main stream of society yet not in a religious cloister, a non-religious solitary. I was free to look at society and ponder it apart from religion. I found my emotions to range from anger, fear, hatred, arrogance, annoyance, incomprehension and pity. I saw magnificent spirits behaving in disgusting and very small ways. I didn’t want to be so judgmental and opinionated, but that was how I was. I knew I was no better.
Then, I moved again. I now lived once again in the middle of my former society, even working at the same location as I did before the cloister. I can’t re-join society because I don’t agree with its norms.
Just this morning, I had this imagery of how I perceive at this point in time. It comes on the heels of my experience volunteering at an ultra-marathon. As an aid station volunteer, I enabled some humans to go through the transcendence experience to get beyond the merely normal runner and be ultra runners.
Namaste. I prostrate myself at your feet holy Son of God (all of us). I view society as a muddy swamp. Most of the people dance around the swamp, slinging mud at each other, laughing at each other, fighting, eating rotten fish, and slowly rotting in fetid waters. Yes, I have said what I think out loud. I am somehow on the side of the swamp as I quit participating in society. It is terrible of me to sit and look back. I don’t know exactly where else to go. I contemplate the swamp. I talk to God about my opinions. I wish I could have loving compassion without judgmental pity.
The only way I’ve found is to realize the swamp is an illusion. The swamp is not the holy Son of God, the truth of what God created, but my ego’s projected insanity. From this realization, once I accept it in my heart, it is possible for me to shift my perception and seeing from the dark swamp to the spiritual light beyond the swamp. I look beyond my ego’s mad illusion to the gently glowing spirit of the Son of God, innocent and loving as holy light. Believing the swamp I see with my body’s eyes is an illusion, I can consciously choose something different. I can switch to looking with my inner eyes and my spiritual mind. I divorce the ego and join my spirit. Thus, my reality is transformed. I see with the spirit that the Son of God is light and love; and live accordingly.
Love is the predominant mode of existence.