Archive for December 18th, 2020

The more we can strengthen our sense of identity with all humanity, the more we extend our sense of territory from our homeland to the planet, the less likely we are to be possessed by the archetypes of war.

Carl G. Jung

Father of Analytic Paychology, Carl Jung, wrote compellingly of the cultivation of “ global consciousness”. This refers to a growing sense of being an “earthling” inspiring fidelity to the common cause of protecting our planet. I recall John Lennon’s “Imagine” that celebrated the vision of no divisions among us whatsoever.

To see the world in the depths of its true interdependencies is to break through to the next stage in our evolution as a species. This is epitomized by Jesus forgiving his murderers from the Cross and his prior admonition to Peter to put away his sword in an attempt to defend Jesus upon his arrest at Gethsemane.

These Gospel moments of truth echo the graciousness of the Living God in passing by Moses, admonishing him to close his eyes, as God voices His name:

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… .

Exodus 34:6–7

Our baser nature swiftly goes to war with this mindset. Tribalism kicks in swiftly to push away as quaint, impractical and hyper-idealistic folly the idea that we can ever really live among our brothers and sisters ( human and otherwise) with genuine agape.

The meaning of Koinonia is a community defined by love. It is the emergence of the Kingdom of God in the here and now rather than positing the celestial city as a never quite reachable asymptote that we get to enter in the next life.

Our spiritual practice and disciplines, if rightly oriented, should be a perpetual conditioning of the Heart that leads to the inevitable eruption of true Koinonia NOW!

The goal is a “boundarylessness” that recognizes ourselves as a part of a global family of sentient life. The deeper our maturation in this direction the more we are inspired to do more to further the common good. Everything else is “ daemonic” inflation and projection of ego. It is transcending the territoriality of ego that Jung is speaking about.

If our way forward is true, we cultivate a discernment that moves us to expressions of wise compassion. The counterfeit egoistic variant has been called “ idiot compassion”.

Idiot compassion is rooted in a doing that is motivated by actually avoiding the pain of others. Finding it unbearable, we give to others at a distance to push inconvenient suffering away from ourselves. Such self-serving compassion seeks to avoid conflict and discomfort and often appeases sin and becomes codependent. This is an acquiescence to what is wrong-spirited.

True Koinonia is a sense of unity and fellowship with eyes wide open. It expresses itself as an openness to receive the moment and to respond out of true love to challenge what is not wholesome.

Jesus did this throughout his ministry. Global consciousness rooted in killing the ego does not lead to universal glad-handing and acceptance of things as they are. This perpetuates a false, hollow and tenuous peace.

Wise compassion is quick to confront the darkness and to starve it of oxygen while celebrating the One Light among us in everything we say and do. Combat does not dissolve away as no longer necessary.

What changes is our understanding of the combatants. It is not our brothers or sisters with whom we go to war. Instead, we boldly stand against the sinful conditions ( a plague of “ isms) that combine to produce an atrophy of the soul and a gathering darkness : (e.g., fascism, racism, sexism, narcissism, nationalism, and consumerism).

As we step onto the next rungs of the ladder of God’s graces, we survey a wider landscape into which we are called to project wise compassion. In this state, wanting indeed becomes absurdity.

Want is rooted in the insatiable hungry sense of need that stimulates an unwholesome and jealous competition. Tribalism rises as we see “ them and us” everywhere. We strive to “ protect our own” rather than to protect us all.

I turn to this Examen of consciousness as we approach the end of Advent and the arrival of Christmastide.

© The Harried Mystic, 2020 and Br. Anton, TSSF. 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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Often, the title phrase, attributed to St Francis, is completed, “ and, if necessary, use words”. Franciscan scholars generally find no support for the attribution. In fact, the phrase has been variously attributed to others. What is well documented is that Francis admonishes his followers to preach always in all that they say and do.

It strikes me that what matters is twofold: (1) words and deeds should faithfully mirror each other; and, (2) both should emerge from a deep interior Spirit-filled well .

Our shadowy times are a study in the very opposite condition. Words are spoken by ideologues primarily as instruments of artifice. Often, it seems clear that they themselves don’t believe what they are saying. The words are essentially vacuous talking points. These ideological acolytes and their dedicated listeners are content to blissfully wade in the shallows.

In its celebration of Light, this Holy Season poses a critical question: From where do our words arise?

Are our words just an exercise in lean verbiage for the sake of being heard: clever but hollow sophistries at best having only the appearance of plausibility? Or, are they more deeply rooted in insight and prayerful reflection?

Are our words the stuff of other people’s thinking that we feel compelled to repeat (made loud in our minds by their reputation and powers of persuasion) ? Or, are they the product of disciplined self-examination and personal experience.

Reflecting on the frequently referenced quote, though likely mis-attributed to St Francis, is nonetheless useful. It reminds me to look into the source of my words rather than to avoid using them. In this way, words can be made ever better and clearer expressions of authentic experience and meaning.

Many words are beautiful (especially in the hands of poets and mystics). In such instances, they become evocative signposts encouraging the deeper journey of discovery. They invite the listener to plumb the depths of mysteries themselves with mind, heart and will wide open.

This evening, I hear say Francis saying: ‘Preach the Gospel at all times and in all ways … so that thoughts, words and deeds flow together in praise of the Light.’

© The Harried Mystic, 2020 and Br. Anton, TSSF. 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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