#4103 - Monday, December 13, 2010 - Editor: Gloria Lee
- A Christmas reflection from Thomas Merton"Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for
him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it,
because he is out of place in it, and yet he must be in it, his place is with
those others for whom there is no room. His place is with those who do not
belong, who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak,
those who are discredited, who are denied the status of persons, tortured,
exterminated. With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in
this world."- Thomas Merton"And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion.It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyondconcept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dearbrothers, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we haveto recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are."
- The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton"A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters.Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire."
- Thomas MertonMerton quotes posted by Bill Lindley on Facebook
Living on Love Alone - Confessions of A Spiritual "Teacher"by Bill Lindley on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 4:17pmAs I was re-working my Facebook page for the new layout, I found that a
wave of honesty flowed over me. As I was putting in the information
regarding education, I thought I would write something about that, as many
"seekers" might like to hear what a "teacher" of non-duality might have to
say in this regard.My Partner and I were asked by the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral to form a
Religious Community in Lincoln, England in the 1980's. This was, in itself, a
miracle; as between the two of us, we have not even one high school
diploma.Now I know it says on my profile that I studied at College of Marin, and
this is true, but I only attended one semester, having passed the entrance
examination after dropping out of high school without graduating. I spent
the last part of my senior year in high school in a psychiatric hospital due
to Asperger's syndrome, which being largely unknown in the 1960's, went
undiagnosed. I studied teaching at college, as I loved learning, but I was an
emotional wreck in my teen and early adult life, so the social life at school
was hell.I was always interested in spirituality, even from my earliest days, and a
sense of "oneness" was always there in some nebulous form. Growing up as
a Christian, I had no doubt that "God" was with me always. The
"Awakening" I experienced in my late forties, was just a "natural"
occurrence in a process that had begun at birth. Of course, I had studied
Advaita, as taught by Ramana Maharshi, and Nisargadatta Maharaj , but
their teaching only confirmed what was already present, and "my"
awakening was that I had been living an awakened life all along. As an
Aspergian child, and young adult, I had learned to be "the observer". I was,
and still am, a very shy "person". Silence was my way of life.And while I hardly ever talked, I watched and listened. I observed that
Love was the only thing that mattered, and if I relied on that alone, with
perfect trust, life was good.My Partner and I have literally lived our 43 years together on love alone.
We worked in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, and not only made a
successful living in dangerous circumstances, but managed to make a
difference in others lives. When we joined the Church, we continued to
work for the poor and homeless, and when we had the opportunity to travel
to England in the 1980's, we sold all our possessions, and trusted in God to
see us through. When we were asked to form a New Religious Community, we
were neither surprised or confounded, even though we had no formal
training or education in such an endeavor. Our "work" involved caring for
and counseling former psychiatric patients, being released from one of the
most terrible psychiatric hospitals I have ever encountered. We also took
in people sent to us by the local probation service, and ex-prisoners. We
never flinched. We trusted in Love only, and we were amazingly successful.
Living on Love alone, trusting it only, not only allowed us to reach out in the
dark to anyone, it laid the ground for understanding. And I guess this is the
point of this piece.Many who come to non-dual "seeking" come from educated backgrounds. As
I have stated before, many look at "enlightenment" as a crown to a "good"
education. But what is in your mind does not lead to the truth. In some,
perhaps many, circumstances, education can be a stumbling block to
awareness. I have been a real advocate for the "simple seekers". People
like Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. A simple monk, shoe maker, and
cook, Brother Lawrence was responsible for The Practice of the Presence
of God, a small book of "Oneness" that is a classic of Christian Mysticism.
Or St. Therese of Lisieux, who's The Story of a Soul is a testimony of a
life of Love in action. Or look at Ramana Maharshi, or Nisargadatta
Maharaj, or even the Christ. Simple earnestness, simple Love. These lead to
understanding. These lead to Truth. You can study under well educated
people. You can read all the spiritual literature you can lay your hands on.
But living a life of service, trust and Love is what takes you to the
Absolute. To be in "God's" presence, to "be" God's Love, is the Absolute.
You can't learn it. You can only "live it".My "teaching" is that we ARE unconditional Love. No person, no "God",just Love unfolding. The "nothingness" everyone talks about is seen as"everythingness" from here. I have uncovered the truth of my "faith" byliving it, trusting it, and being it. A "teacher" lives his "teaching". Realize youare Love unfolding, and live accordingly. It is no more complicated than that!This quote was a major inspiration for the Community my partner and I
founded "The Community of the Living Sacrifice":"There are so many people who live alone, crushed by their loneliness. It is
obvious that too much solitude can drive people off the rails, to depression
and alcoholism. More and more people seem to have lost their balance
because their family life has been unhappy. There are so many who are lost,
taking drugs, turning to delinquency; there are so many who are looking for
a family and a meaning in their lives. In years to come, we are going to need
so many small communities which welcome lost and lonely people, offering
them a family and a sense of belonging. At other times, Christians who
wanted to follow Jesus opened hospitals and schools. Now that there are so
many of these, Christians must commit themselves to the new Communities of
Welcome, to live with people who have no other family, and to show them
that they are loved."- Jean Vanier, founder of The L'Arche Communities
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