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Posts Tagged ‘natural theology’

This has been a difficult Winter for many parts of the Nation and Europe. London and many German cities have seen snow that they haven’t experienced in over a decade. The Southeast has experienced unusually cold temperatures and one after another serious storm.

As soon as the news media get the word, all attention turns to tracking the storm. Language becomes quickly melodramatic and even small things get big coverage. People are deployed to capture footage of the storm, and we watch. The next predictable behavior is a somewhat frantic run on bread and milk at the supermarkets ( though I prefer fruit, sparkling water, and cheese). In all the hustling and talking about the “approaching storm,” one detects a certain palpable undercurrent of real excitement.

Like so many others, if I am at home, I sit mesmerized by the reporting. It’s exciting. In our lives of otherwise predictable tomorrow’s and the round of boring tasks, a storm brings with it clear uncertainty and unquestioned authority. It isn’t relative or nuanced. It just is what it is. We can’t control the weather. We have no idea how big and bad it will really be until it hits and passes. We stand in awe of nature’s power and it speaks to us in primeval ways. It speaks a language of creation and the forces that violently gave birth to our world.

The tempest is the face of mystery. It is the one manifestation of the unknown and of the danger of living that brings us to attention. We are alert in a storm. Our senses are on high gain. We are attuned to all around us. We are full of expectation and watching. How delicious is the waiting and the wondering and the force of it when it strikes. Secretly, we hope its big enough to be really challenging but not so big as to put us in serious jeopardy.

G-d resides inside the storm. We feel a Presence, a defining power, and an immediacy. It is no wonder that Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Jesuit philosopher, theologian, archaeologist and Priest, wrote of a conversion experience in the face of an approaching storm.

The sky was “green” with electrical activity and he watched as a front moved swiftly toward his place in an open field. Rather than run for cover, he stood tall and threw all caution, quite literally, to the wind. Lightning strikes were many around him, trees were split by them, and yet he remained standing as the coming fierce rain and wind came down upon him with a seeming vengeance. When it passed, he was transformed, more fully alert and alive than ever before. He sensed the Presence of the Sacred and was briefly united with it.

I recall, as many readily can, the storms that were moments of encounter with the great mystery. As a young man, this happened, while unadvisedly traveling in a Boston whaler, out by about a mile off shore into the open ocean. A storm suddenly came up and the waves grew swiftly very large. With waves lifting the propeller out of the water with each crest,  I turned and headed back toward shore in both abject terror and exhilaration. The sky was “angry” and the rain fell hard and literally hurt as it fell on my face, hands, and head.

I was, like Teilhard, more truly alive, if terrified, than ever before. Life brings these peak moments to us infrequently, but they are memorable when they do arrive. The weather is a vehicle for intimacy with the Sacred. Our instinctive attraction to them is testament to our kinship with the raw forces in them that are part of our collective unconscious.

It’s the storm that cries out for us to really awaken to the creative act and moment. All creation is a destruction. After the storm, the sky is clear and the air is clean, and the world feels as if reborn.

© 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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The steel behemoth lurches, pulling fast-away just after my arriving;

Not a moment to lose as I begin the clear afternoon crossing.

A gently undulating sea receives my haste and purpose with cool indifference;

Only the evanescent foam at the stern in the wake of my transit takes any notice.

So goes the journey of souls ferried here and there in dissolving moments;

Consumed by flights of well-meaning, scheduled intending.

As native gulls soar and search, and the diesel-beast heaves forward;

Under smooth and comforting skies,  a fresh-clean and azure-blue.

No white scars of cloud or flight of any man-made thing;

And my eyes go out to where sky and water meet, and I hear my heart beating.

No goals no roles no missions to delude me;

I am the lighted sea, and the winter sky.

I am the boiling foamy-turbulence in the Archimedean trail;

The hungry gull, the bustling crewman,

and the poet watcher,

a curious looking-man,

gazing down upon the crossing.

© 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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A slow poison has gripped the planet, a toxin far worse than greenhouse gases, the chemicals leaching into the water table, and those fouling the oceans. This is an invisible poison known principally by its effects: spiritual blindness, narcissism, solipsism, ideological extremism, jihadism, and unbridled capitalism.

The toxin is fear, and its manifestation is hatred and unthinking speech and action. Each day we are heavily dosed with this poison in diverse form, including:

  • news of dying soldiers and civilians,
  • renewed threats against innocence,
  • resistance to repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the continued march of homophobia,
  • violence committed by opponents of “a woman’s right to choose” against clinics and licensed physicians ( including a recent case of murder in the name of “saving the unborn”),
  • Congressional appetite to invest more money in support of two wars while demonstrating cold reluctance to act swiftly in support of fellow citizens dying for want of health care insurance, and
  • unthinking enmity toward our President by those predisposed to demonize and mythologize his character, personal history, and intent out of irrational fear, and the hatred it engenders.

The radicalization of the marginalized and the psychically fragile, and the actions of the misguided few possessed by evil intent, march forward with incessant resolve to harm. It has always been so. It is the march of Mordor, Saruman, Sauron, the Ork, and the Nazgul, Ringwraiths of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. It is the dark advance of the White Witch and her minions in the land of Narnia imagined by C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe and its inspired sequels.

It is easy to fall into the pit of despair over these realities as one perceives the dying of the light. Yet, into the shadows burns brightly the flames of the hearts aroused by true fellowship, enlightened purpose and authentic love. This Light grows undaunted to meet the challenge and as the shadows rise so too does the Fellowship of the Ring and Gandolph, and the Pevensie children guided by Aslan of Narnia.

The Light is unquenchable and the more stark the darkness the more luminous is its radiance. The more cacaphonous the din and stench of hatred and evil, the more sonorous and mellifluous are the psalms of the loving.

It is good to dose ourselves each day in these psalms of love as a preventive against malaise, anger, and dejection, all of which weaken us and play into the Shadow’s game plan. Each tradition offers its own poetry in praise of the perpetual Light as treatment for anguished souls under siege.

Among them are the precious and illuminating songs and sayings of  Sufi masters such as Shaykh Sidi Hamza el Qadiri el Boutchichi whose admonitions to the penitent and inquiring heart include these uplifting and illuminating entreaties:

Love all creatures, whatever their religion might be or their race and opinions. Everyone has his place in the divine pattern. It is not for us to judge.

When love inhabits the heart, nothing is difficult and everything which happens to one can be turned to spiritual profit. This is because, thanks to love, the veil separating us from reality becomes ever thinner. One experiences thereby a deep joy from this proximity and one becomes flooded with a profound perception of beauty.

Everyone issues from the same light. There is no distinction.

Whether we look to the words of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or their prophets and disciples, the simple truth of the powers of real love are repeated time and again in diverse forms. Without authentic love, all expressions of spirituality are bankrupt and false. Wisdom begins and ends in the heart aroused by true compassion — not the usual and all to easy sentimentality and saccharine Hallmark-card expressions typically exchanged on Valentine’s day, but the love expressed through true Knowing of the Other as Oneself.

Indeed, let us be each other’s “Valentine”!

© 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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Wine: nectar of the gods.

It is the stuff of fine dining, the celebration of Eucharist, preferred drink of special occasions, a full spectrum experience of tastes for every palette, a hobby for some, an obsession for others, and a beverage with extraordinary history. A drink that graced the tables of royalty and common folk alike for millenia. It remains a very special delight. Whether the subject of snobbery, object of regional and nationalistic pride, or culinary accompaniment, wine is arguably as old as most of civilised recorded history.

The reds are touted as especially wholesome in moderation and I confess that I am partial to them over the whites. I find the tastes much more complex. Each sip of my favorites opens with a burst of flavor and delicious sensations that change with each passing moment. In preferring the “dry” reds, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sirah, etc., I look forward to the first sharper notes followed by various spicy, oak and more varied hints of blueberry, and other fruity, citrus, and mineral notes as well. What is it that I am drinking? What is the magic of wine?

I open the cork and I catch a whiff of the earth. I let the bottle breath. Then I pour it into the glass, swirl it, enjoy the aromas; mixtures of the original grape, the oak, and the scent of Springtime. I take a first sip and allow it to move slowly over the tongue. It is the height of sensuous dining. It is no wonder that it is so associated with a romantic interlude.

I drink again and I taste the Sun, the light that infused the growing grape. Hard to describe, it is in the sensation and in the sense of energy that fills the wine. I taste the life in it and it is the same as the life in me. It is the bloodstream of the heavens. It is the manifest form of the Sun on earth. In drinking more from the glass, a long, meditative drinking leads to a timeless movement: a Oneness. In celebrating wine, I celebrate Creation.

It is not a memory. It is fully present: a living breath on the wine. I drink one glass and it is enough. It is an entire and complete experience. Unlike other beverages, this is more than quenching thirst. It is thirsting for wholeness.

There is stillness in a glass of wine not the frenzy of carbonated beverages. It is second only to water, the source of life. It is the fructification of life: its realization, its evolving complexity. It invites us to stay awhile and just taste.

There is a touch of divinity in wine. It recalls something vital and elemental from our deepest places. It is more than a drink. It is a Communion. At its best, it is the taking in of what we truly are: earth, air, water, and the fire of the Sun.

I am a voice of the wine. The wine is the voice of the cosmos. I am the song of the cosmos, beloved of the Beloved who sings me into being in each moment.

When the glass is empty and the wine is no more, the glass remains, awaiting a next filling. So we too, like the finest wine, will one day be emptied, but the glass of space and time awaits for the return, the refilling, the next outpouring of the cosmic Heart.

Salute!

© 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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Don’t we love symmetry? The way we hang things on our walls, arrange furniture, and landscape our yards is a testament to our deep-rooted need for it. We are ourselves physical exemplars of symmetry: two eyes, two cerebral hemispheres, two kidneys, two lungs, two ears, two arms and legs, two chambers of the heart ( right and left atriums and ventricles), two nostrils, five fingers on each hand, on and on. In music, we tend to prefer balanced harmony over discordant sound (though 20th century music introduced the unusually effective and evocative discordant sound of twelve-tone music).

We also see symmetry throughout the natural world. Nature seeks out equilibrium. Symmetry and the aesthetics of beauty are intimately intertwined. Mathematics is no exception and the study of mathematical symmetry has been a passion of esoteric mathematics for a long time. These mathematical investigations have also gone well beyond delving into the world of three dimensions. In fact, in the 1800’s, mathematicians studying symmetry introduced a 128-dimensional structure considered perhaps the most complex example, called E8.

I have written before about the extraordinary capacity of the human mind to imagine abstract maths that are then later embodied in empirically verified phenomena. E8 is apparently no exception. The most recent issue of New Scientist (January 16-22, 2010, page 12) reports that physicists of the University of Oxford have identified the E8 signature in super-chilled crystals. It appears that the electrons in the crystals organize themselves in accordance with the relationships defined by the structure of E8.

Once again, human imagination precedes natural discovery. To have dreamt it in the 19th century, in the disciplined language of mathematics, only to find it in the 21st, attests to the extent to which mind is fed by universal archetypes that move toward final expression in consciousness. We make conscious what is already there at the heart of matter awaiting revelation.

The source of such revelations is intimate and infinite: an inexhaustible fountain of revelation.

© 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.

References:

Exotic Form of Symmetry Makes Real-world Debut

Mathematicians Solve E8 Structure

Mathematicians Map E8

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We visited an aquarium today and spent a relaxing ninety minutes walking though the magical enclosures designed to transport us to diverse environments housing penguins, seals, walruses, sharks, and a building set aside for “alien stingers,” dedicated to jelly fish, moray eels, and other assorted dangerous marine life. What especially sparked my curiosity was the well-known phenomenon of protective coloration along with the other seemingly eccentric adaptations of so many creatures to their worlds.

The facts of evolutionary developmental biology make clear the genius of nature. Adaptation to selection pressures and genetic mutations over time present variations among which one may prove ideally suited to ensure species survival when conditions change. The subtle beauty and inherent resiliency of the natural world is miraculous: an inexhaustible inspiration and mystery. True science shows the face of G-d. No other evidence is needed.

Nevertheless, so-called Intelligent Design “theory,” the latest incarnation of Creationism, would challenge evolutionary theory, arguing that it is “just a theory.” This betrays a complete lack of understanding of the rigor that the physical and biological sciences insist upon before an interpretation earns the right to be called “theory.” I have no interest in formal refutation of the arguments that make up this so-called theory. It is quite simply a pseudo-scientific pontification, weak theology in biological clothing, and a formulation designed to sound erudite and convincing. It is espoused by and for those who prefer beliefs over the facts. What intrigues me, however, is the spiritual analogue of evolution.

Fluke assume the off-white color of sand and burrow just under the sea floor. It is often very hard to spot them. Pipe fish cling to vegetation ( thin grasses) that look much as they do and, once again, it is quite hard to distinguish the fish from the background. The list is very long of creatures, marine and otherwise, that show the skills of the terrestrial chameleon. These adaptations arose in evolutionary time and were boons to survival in the rough and tumble natural world.

Why did spirituality arise from human consciousness? What is the adaptive significance of our spiritual sense and the cultivation of an awareness of the sacred and the mysteries surrounding it? How does this upgrade the survivability of our species?

Awareness of inter-being is the ground of compassion, and the realization of the unity of all things is the essence of enlightenment. Spiritual adepts are exemplars of a state of consciousness that dissolves petty survivalism, blind self-interest, and the sense of individualistic isolation. In addition, they simultaneously embrace immanence (presence) and transcendence  (recognition of an identity that they have beyond space and time, beyond material well-being and death, that can never be taken away).

While the pretenders are many, and authentic masters are few, those few represent the next step in the evolution of humanity. They are the best hope we have of avoiding annihilating ourselves. The paradoxical truth is that while those beacons of light are there to follow, beckoning us to go beyond our lesser natures, one day of news makes clear that this next step is still very far off. The world can’t wait for grand reformers. It’s up to us to make a palpable difference in small to large ways in whatever our lines of work.

In view of ongoing hatreds, wars, terror, genocide, and corruptions, that a spiritual sense arose at all suggests that its development is essential to the long-term survival of not only our species but of the entire planet. Reasons for hope in the spread of spiritual intelligence can be seen in the actions of souls whose influence continues to draw us closer to the realization of the bright future that hope imagines, including:

  • Thich Nhat Hanh & the Order of Inter-Being
  • Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi banker and economist who invented the notion of micro-credit and founder of Grameen Bank, 2006 Nobel prize winner

One person can change the world. We can each contribute to advancing the next stage in the evolution of human consciousness, wait for someone else to do it, or work at cross-purposes with it. Engaged spirituality is making the choice to do what we can, here and now.

© 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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Quantum superposition is the bizarre physical principle that, if the world can exist in any configuration, than it can also exist in one that is a combination of any number of them at the same time. The mind similarly demonstrates this property in ways that substantiate the fact that we are not separate. We exist in many potential simultaneous configurations of consciousness, span time and space, and the world of dreams manifests these configurations.

Last night, I dreamt that my son was in trouble with the law. He was in jail with pending charges. At the same time, I was in jail awaiting arraignment on pending charges. It seems that I was both my son and myself.

This is not especially remarkable as we have all experienced elaborate and confusing dreamscapes where space and time simply do not behave themselves as they seem to in waking time and where we can live many lives in diverse places and as many people. Here’s the more interesting twist.

In realtime, the 21-year-old son of a family friend is awaiting the court’s disposition on charges that were recently brought against him during the holidays. A police officer responded to reports of a domestic argument in which this 21-year-old was caught up in a moment of rage in his home.

Shocked to then see a police officer at his bedroom door, he continued his angry tone and did so with the officer as the target. In response, the officer chose to forcibly restrain him, push him to the floor while hurling profanities at him, and handcuff him. Once subdued, this officer is then alleged to have started beating the young man with his bare fists.

Now, his dad, expressing understandable concern for his son, asked the officer to please stop hitting him. In response, the policeman handcuffed and arrested him also. His wife, a very sweet woman, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, then became very upset and tugged on the police officer’s jacket asking him to stop hurting her husband.

At this point, the officer handcuffed and arrested her. The entire family spent the night in jail and no one actually did anything wrong. The police were originally called out of concern for their son’s rage in hopes of calming him down. Last I heard, the court is talking about 30 days of community service for both parents, which their lawyers are contesting, and the multiple charges against their son are being legally reviewed.

So, in view of these circumstances, a Kafkaesque dream about my being jailed with my son in jail for no clear reason is not especially surprising. One could argue that the dreams were simply a reflection of my concern for this good family that lived through a night of hell and who face an ongoing and, by all indications, undeserved legal battle in the months ahead. I would agree with that, were it not for one further development.

When I awoke, I heard from my son in Korea who was just back from the hospital there after a night of violent and unrelenting gastrointestinal symptoms. It turns out the dream was prophetic. While having nothing to do with the law, it was symbolic of my son’s distress and his need to get in touch with me. The surreal plot surrounding the arrest of this family and their pending charges served as a frame for my sense that my son was having trouble. This scenario involving prescient dreams has happened many times over the years. In addition, many people, who share their dreams with me, report similar experiences all the time.

Consciousness laces the universe together. We walk around each day wrapped in the delusion that we travel independent pathways. In fact, our pathways mystically intersect in complex ways. There is no such thing as meaningless coincidences. This is not an example of magical thinking but of synchronistic event horizons. Denying this ubiquitous human experience is poor science. It rejects phenomenological data about archetypal fields in favor of simpler and more easily analyzed effects.

We are beckoned every day to embrace our legacy as children of the stars and mature physical science is leading the way in revealing the entangled and infinite reach of consciousness.

© 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.

Shakespearean Costumes for Midsummer Night's Dream ( Public Domain)

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I took in this James Cameron film in the first week of its release and it was simply delightful. Avatar is a melange of mythic elements and powerful archetypes that speak to and from our depths. The 2 hours and 45 minutes went by almost too quickly. This is a testament to the film’s rich symbolism and conformance to the twelve stages of the hero’s journey as articulated by Dr. Joseph Campbell, and the extraordinary and captivating CGI iconography.

As a Jungian, Avatar was a cinematic tour du force leaving me with plenty to think about.

While the storyline itself is not especially remarkable, the images and the interdependence among them certainly are. Of the many things in the film worth reflecting on and talking about, three things were especially striking as I look back on the experience:

  1. The Home Tree World: The central place of community and family life of the Nav ‘i people.
  2. The Tree of Souls: The luminous tree that acted as a nexus of the planet Pandora’s neural network, and the physical signifier of the presence of the sacred and ancestral souls of the Nav’i.
  3. The Contrast of Capitalistic Greed and Pastoral Intimacy: the Military-Industrial mining of Pandora that acts as the reason to displace an indigenous people by force, coupled with the Nav’i’s strong connection to the planet, it’s feminine spirit, and their deep respect for all living things and resolve to defend them.

The Home Tree world of the Nav’i was an enormous living structure with towering branches that served as passageways through the Nav’i homeland. It was reminiscent of the Tree of Life and was filled with delightful creatures (like the spiral plant-like worms with beautiful plumes that would retract as soon as touched). There were also the Seeds of Eywa, the spirits of the Nav’i divinity: phosphorescent parasol-like creatures that are intimately connected to Eywa.

The Tree of Life appears in traditions throughout the globe. It connotes the interdependence of all life, and the common heritage (brotherhood and sisterhood) of all sentient beings. It symbolizes the mystical history of the Family of Humankind and the Family of All Creation. As I watched the film, I was impressed with the sense of filial feeling and accountability that the Nav’i express toward all life, including the life they take for food or in self-defense.

There was a clear allusion to Wisdom and Sophia in the characterization of Eywa, the divine presence. The Home Tree is a symbol of life before the “Fall,” an Eden of beauty and youthful exuberance, filled with an authentic sense of awe before the Sacred: a pristine and simpler world threatened by the harsh and violent intrusion of weapons of war and technologies of death.

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When studying in the mid-80’s for my doctorate in psychology, we considered it a fact that brain cells are the only ones in the body that do not regenerate. At the time, I thought it an odd feature of physiology given the centrality of the brain over the course of human evolution. It seemed absurd that brain cells would be so fragile and irreplaceable given their adaptive significance.

Two years ago, then 20 years after the doctorate, I took a post-graduate course in biological psychology as a refresher, and everything had changed: a change that is continuing and accelerating. Now, thanks to improved technology such as fMRI (fluorescent magnetic resonance imaging) it is the overwhelming weight of the evidence that neuroplasticity is fundamental to brain physiology. In other words, neural networks and pathways are freshly laid down and altered as we learn and grow and as we are challenged muscularly, emotionally, and cognitively each day.

“Positive neuroplasticity” is the capacity of the brain to regenerate functioning that has been impaired by stroke, dementia and the aging process, severe head trauma, or as a consequence of other CNS ( Central Nervous System)  diseases. There are now cognitive training exercises that neuropsychologists present to patients that can significantly improve diverse functioning, including balance in the elderly, memory functioning, and even offer support in the self-regulation of chronic pain.

All this being said, I am thinking about the alchemical treatise attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, The Emerald Tablet, also known as the Smaragdine Table, Tabula Smaragdina, or The Secret of Hermes. Sources of this document are traceable to 650 AD. It was regarded as the central document of the Hermetic tradition.

In it, one passage has especially captured my imagination as I consider the revelations of brain science.

It reads:

That which is below is as that which is above, and that which is above is as that which is below, to perform the miracles of the one thing.

This ancient alchemical principle adds further framing to a better understanding of the mirroring in human nature of the core nature of the Cosmos. If the “above is as that which is below,” then neuroplasticity is an epiphenomenon of  Cosmic Mind. In other words, what we are learning about the temporal mind tells us something about the infinitely extensive and timeless “neuroverse”.

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Mount Mayon Volcano, The Philipines

My son and his companion are traveling on holiday to the Philipines and is now, as I type this, in Legazpi City, home to Mount Mayon, an active and erupting volcano. Needless to say, we are all deeply concerned. Though his assurances in the one email we’ve received since their arrival there said that they are alright and well outside of the danger zone, one never knows with volcanic activity.

Of the 5 category rating scale used by volcanologists, where “5” is a full-scale eruption in progress, Mayon is rated a “4”, denoting an imminent eruption. We are anxious to hear that he has traveled well north of the active area toward Manila. Already 50,000 residents within a radius of 8 miles of Mayon were evacutaed.  Half that number were removed to shelters by Christmas day.

Some, now lulled by lessened activity in the last 24 hours, are returning to their homes to tend cattle and farms, though authorities are strongly warning them away, and calling this the “calm before the storm.”  We can all understand the wish to be home with family:  an especially compelling need during the Christmas holiday. This wish is particularly strong among the agrarian people of the Philipines who live in the foothills of the mountain and who bring great cultural passion and import to this Season, and whose lives are completely dependent on the land.

For us, these days have been difficult and anxious times of waiting for the next email ( as my son and his companion are without cell phones and must depend on available internet cafes). They are adventurous and touring for another few days nevertheless before their flight back, assuming no further official evacuation outside of the extended danger zone.

“Just waiting for word” sums up this time. I have written before about “waiting”, the power of vigil, and, in such times, our expectations of either great positive and miraculous events or, as now, fears of the unimaginably disastrous. One cannot help but be reminded of the Indonesian tsunami and the toll it took, and, earlier, in the Philipines itself, the disastrous eruption of Mount Pinatubo on June 15th of 1991.

We are now called to hold on to the only thing we have in such times – prayer. We pray for the Light of the World to quell the rumbling of the Earth and still the fires of magma, and for the safety of our loved ones and the thousands now threatened there. We once again see in these events our connection to all people: their plight is our plight.

The world is risk. We have no power over the Earth and its elements. Our sole power rests in our love and care for each other.

With all this as my present context, I reflect on today’s reading from the Gospel of John, verses  1 through 13:

After this, Jesus went to Jerusalem for a religious festival. 2Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool with five porches; in Hebrew it is called Bethzatha. 3A large crowd of sick people were lying on the porches—the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed. 5A man was there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6Jesus saw him lying there, and he knew that the man had been sick for such a long time; so he asked him, Do you want to get well? 7The sick man answered, Sir, I don’t have anyone here to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am trying to get in, somebody else gets there first. 8Jesus said to him, Get up, pick up your mat, and walk. 9Immediately the man got well; he picked up his mat and started walking. The day this happened was a Sabbath, 10so the Jewish authorities told the man who had been healed, This is a Sabbath, and it is against our Law for you to carry your mat. 11He answered, The man who made me well told me to pick up my mat and walk. 12They asked him, Who is the man who told you to do this? 13But the man who had been healed did not know who Jesus was, for there was a crowd in that place, and Jesus had slipped away.

Our schemas and plans, concepts, and doxologies, are, at best, hazy reflections of the Real. Yet, we are every day invited to sort our priorities and let the trivial drop away. Life brings challenge and dread, and, when it does, our character is most authentically revealed.

What is true in us is all that is left as the rest dissolves into the drama of impending or active crisis. There is nothing to fear and no law about which we need worry save one: to draw close to those we love and shield them if we can physically or, if not, to do so psycho-spiritually, and this is the Beloved’s eternal verity.

As we pray for my son and his companion and for all who live around Mount Mayon, our prayer celebrates the Beloved’s intent and action in the world. Our vigil joins that sacred intent and helps complete the circuit between phenomena (volcanic activity) and noumena ( love and inter-being).

I give thanks for love. I give thanks for prayer and the capacity to reach through time and space with and without words. I give thanks for life. I rest in the arms of the Beloved whose Presence I pray settles upon Mount Mayon, its people, my son, and his beloved. All else is silence and waiting.

© 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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