Archive for September 4th, 2009

I challenge myself this evening to automatic writing. Doing so, I play with natural rhythms and allow language to self-organize.

As with all writing, the biggest hurdle is knowing where to start.

For tonight’s project, I turn to the New testament Gospel of Saint Luke  ( the Jerusalem Bible translation) for the seed idea:

” A  man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, ‘Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down'”.

And, so, a spontaneous responsorial narrative …….

A business man had long dreamt of keeping a small garden so that his family could enjoy the freshest vegetables and fruits and not rely on the less nutritive produce shipped to local markets over long distances. Something of a would-be locovore, he talked often to family and friends about it and began the process of purchasing the necessary gardening tools, seeds, mulch, top soil and a variety of books to guide him on his way. He read through these often and imagined the process beginning with rototilling a pretty sizable rectangular patch of ground.

Now, this man’s schedule was rather intense; traveling outside of his home state weekly and fairly often outside the country. He continued to lay plans for the opening of the garden, but each time the press of business delayed the opening.

Before long, the end of June arrived and still he had not taken the first real steps (except, of course, for all that good planning). After much talk and many good intentions, the calendar page turned once again – it was August and still nothing had been done. At this point, there was little merit to digging and planting: the season for doing so in the Northeast had gone. Perhaps next year.

One late evening in early September, feeling down about the fact that, once again, the idea of the garden was still just an idea, he went outside on his deck looking out over the yard. and. As if for the first time all season, he marveled at all of what had grown without any of his tending or planting.

Nature had taken charge and the yard was verdant with vegetation never formally planted. Things just sprouted up and quite rapidly too. A mimosa tree, seemingly out of nowhere, had grown over the years to substantial size providing much appreciated shading and adding beautiful violet flowers to the landscape. It also had serendipitously become a frequent favorite feeding spot for bees and birds of many varieties (including a striking Oriole family never seen in the yard before).

Elsewhere on the property, other species of trees had taken root from larger parents nearby and others found their  way, entirely on their own, from the front yard to the back. With all the planning for the garden and the continuous frustration at the fact that the garden never moved beyond the planning stage, the busy, tired and dejected man found life going on and evolving without his intervention, observation or appreciation.

He laughed to himself and smiled with a momentary child-like sense of restored faith in possibilities. He felt warm inside, content to just open up to the native beauty that found its way into his yard.

It was always right there waiting to be seen. As for the garden, he thought of next year but also of the realities of his life and the qualities required of the faithful gardener: to tend the vegetables and the fruits with patience, understanding, and vigilance.

Maybe this could happen if the task were joyfully shared so that all members of the family took ownership for helping to cultivate fruits and vegetables. Maybe, for now, plans would need to be a bit more modest than he had originally envisioned.

He thought, finally, before going inside and closing the sliding door to the deck, that it was good to have thought long and hard and planned and dreamed and, yes, even failed. It made possible a few blissful moments of quiet and simple revelation on the deck at dusk looking out at a landscape that was just there – patiently waiting, watching, and growing all along.

© The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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It says that G-d is also evolving, is in process, and is intimately tied to creation and consciousness. It suggests that G-d resides in possibilities that we sing into Being with Him. So, from the point of view of “theurgy”, imagining G-d, we are partners in Divine emergence in the World. Through our creative acts ( like liturgy) we quicken the movement of the Spirit and serve as midwives to the continuous birthing othe Divine intent.

The unhealthy and withering alternative is that our thinking ossifies and we become arthritically cut off from process. In this case, we are left instead with only a static snapshot: a dead object or stale concept or narrowly conceived, and possibly neurotically inspired, expression of idolatry. In allowing our imaginations to atrophy is counter to our best nature and, so, Biblically represented as an affront to the second commandment: No idols! The Zohar of Jewish Mysticism places great emphasis on the capacity to imagine, and this is motivating me today to consider the practical implications.

With this as a reflection for Matins, I will come back this evening and put theurgy to work in doing some automatic writing in the same context as Jungian active imagination – to allow what begins as a seemingly random set of thoughts to spool together in a self-organizing fashion and we’ll see what it produces. The whole thing intrigues me and I am quite looking forward to giving it a “spiritual whirl”.

© Brother Anthony Thomas and The Harried Mystic, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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