Next Week's Topic: So Where AM I in All This?
Presence to God
I could stop at the physical and emotional letting go process explained in the previous two posts, and simply use meditation, some yoga and deep relaxation as a foundation for dealing with chronic pain. It is certainly possible to manage pain without reference to the spiritual life - there are many, many websites, books, and articles for that. But what redeems the pain for me is placing it and my practices to manage it in the context of the Divine, or God.
As I said before, I am not interested either in my own spiritual life or in this blog to discuss who God is and what God does or does not do. That presents some difficulty - I have set myself the task of talking about a Divinity to which I am quite reluctant to assign attributes, characteristics and motives. There is only one thing that I feel I can be sure about God: God is Love. I could also say, Allah is Love, Jehovah is Love, etc.
The scriptures and literature that seem most germane to me:
1. Exodus 3:14. Moses' first encounter with God, and God's way of describing Himself is this - "I am that I am."
2. Revelation 1:8 - "... the Alpha and the Omega..." It boggles the mind to try to cognitively understand how God can be the beginning and the end. That's the point: the mind boggles, the spirit comprehends.
3. The Tao te Ching, Verse I - the Name that we can name is not the eternal Name.
4. The Lankavatara Sutra (Zen) - the finger that you use to point to the moon is not the moon. Or, the words and ideas we use to discuss God are not God.
So, there is long precedent for acknowledging that words cannot be assigned to God, even as a name. That we do this by using words is a tremendous - and sort of funny - irony, the inherent tension of which serves both as frustration and to keep me from becoming complacent. I have just written a lot of words and used a lot of concepts to say that I don't want to force words or concepts into a box and call it God. It's amusingly humbling.
So where IS God in all this? The paradox that is the problem of needing to name and know and describe a God that is unnameable, unknowable, and indescribable illuminates the powerful, intuitive nature of meditation. In the ineffable world of the Spirit, words fall away, concepts are pointless and it just doesn't matter that there is really no way to describe it. God is. I do not come to that understanding by intellectualizing about it. It comes to me in the stillness of deep meditation, a practice that I have been led to through a long and intense search for Love.
The more important question, at least to me, is next week's topic: So Where Am I in all This?
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Carol D. Marsh
- With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90 days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.