Archive for December 17th, 2009

The sixth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks.

One of the great tears in the fabric of our psyche is the intellectual split between body and soul. Western religious traditions seem especially fixated on wrestling with the body, and giving supremacy to mind and soul. Catholicism is notably obsessed with the body and with sexuality as something to contain, constrain, and deny. There is a great tragedy here in creating  a schizoid way of living.

The mind-body-spirit constellation is One indivisible reality. What we do to one, we do to all. We are creatures after all, and our sensations are the doorways to all experience. Sensuousness is more wholesomely embraced in Eastern traditions. Certainly, Eastern Orthodoxy places a premium on it. Hinduism is profoundly sensuous, as are yogic practices and traditions. In these, the body figures prominently.

The Kama Sutra is one well-known expression of the path of sensuousness to the Beloved. In many ways, it is vastly superior to those of Mind that can easily find us getting tied up in ideas and becoming overly enamored of our own mental machinations. I celebrate those special sensuous moments that lead us to the  re-integration of mind-body-spirit, acting as one in the fullness of now:

  • gentle, lingering and deeply warming touch;
  • an unhurried kiss with an authentic and abiding embrace;
  • sensuous and lasting love-making that luxuriates in the timeless rhythm of union and separation;
  • slow and exquisite movements of the Tai chi long-form or yogic postures ( especially when performed by couples);
  • simple cuddling without expectation, the feeling of complete and utter safety and total belonging.

In these moments, so fleeting and increasingly elusive in our times, we experience greatest proximity to the Beloved: the One who fills our deep well of longing with the capacity to abandon ourselves to the Other. This is authentic Communion that inspires us to reach beyond the finite to its mystical analogue.

Jesus of Nazareth was profoundly sensuous. His teaching was intimately tied up with closeness. His gracious and loving response to having his feet dried by Mary of Magdala is a case in point. The miracle of the loaves and fishes, and the conversion of water to wine for the wedding at Cana, are testaments to his insight into the central importance of thanksgiving and feeding of one another. This sacred physicality appears in many places and is writ even larger in the apocryphal Gospels and texts.

Many years ago, as an under-graduate, my part-time job was to deliver a 16 MM projector to classrooms where movies were being shown as part of the class session. On one occasion, that I still remember vividly, I walked by two lovers standing off to the side of the doorway that I had to pass through on my way to the awaiting class.

They were simply holding each other. It was also December then, and the night was very cold. As I walked by them, I passed through the area around them. It was noticeably warmer. To this day, I remember feeling the heat of their love literally filling the night air all around them.

This is why the words of the Ubi Caritas ring so authentically for me:

” Where beauty and love are, there also is G-d.”

© Brother Anton 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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