the space between

Posted on April 21, 2012

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I’m seeking a voice that’ll cross the spaces, a language that will speak with honor and respect to the sacred Space Between us all.

We must find a new language of peace that creates, sustains, and reflects a culture of peace rather than the language of violence, inequality, and dominance that reflects the culture in which we now live. A new “way” that lives out equality, integrity, and community.

We, as humans, tend to be defined by our deeply held personal beliefs and values.
Honoring and respecting each person’s beliefs and values is how we honor and respect the person.
Too often, we use language to divide, to be right and make wrong, to judge and condemn, to limit and define.

From the very beginning of my writing, I have felt very conscientious about any reference to religion and God because I feel called to create peace and find common ground with my writing; not from a place of convincement but from a place of deeper human understanding.

Our ground of being, our “humus of common ground” (Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak) is the silent yet pregnant (with life and energy, love and peace) space between, within, and through everything and everyone. This is what I see as sacred, pregnant with the divine.

“… gotta search the silence of the souls wild places to find a voice that will cross the spaces.” (Bruce Cockburn)

For a significant part of my journey, I could no longer see any light that might resemble any sort of God. The Dark Night of the Soul overcame me, blinding me from seeing my Inward Light. I was raised with a very clear theology and image of God. This carried me through nearly a half century; including my first divorce and subsequent disfunctional marriage of 14 years. But the series of life crashes that hit rapid-fire over the past 5 years left me knowing nothing for sure anymore.

I do know that through my writing I have found common ground among people of all walks of life and many religions. I do know that when I speak in dogmatic terms of God and religion, it tends to judge the beliefs of others; alienating people. We must remember that our values and beliefs are who we are and that we have no right to dishonor and disrespect any person by declaring ourselves right and them wrong. Dogmatism of this sort is a form of violence that compromises my integrity and prevents me from living out my faith through a life of peace, equality, and compassion… preventing me from living with open hands expressing an open heart, an open mind, and an open will.

I believe in love and that the Source of Love is also the Source of this universe and of each human being. So I dare not speak anymore of a God that excludes anyone, since love that is unconditional is therefore about inclusion of all people. I dare not define this Source in any human terms or words because once I do, then I have contained It within human signs and symbols, human constructs and concepts. According to an Islamic friend, in her religion, using a pronoun to refer to God is disrespectful and demeaning. Among the Hebrews, the name of God was not spoken because as soon as it was spoken in human terms, God became defined in human terms; turning those very words into idols created by the mouths of those that were created. I have other friends that feel strongly that anytime we “name” that which is ultimate and sacred, we are reducing It to human terms; humanizing and recreating the Essence, the Source, in our image… because we so desperately need to know… and know for sure… as we bow to our god of certainty.

Similarly, when I refer to God, I am referring to what is beyond my understanding, a Greatness that goes beyond comprehension to mystery; leaving us, the created, with a response of awe and wonder. Throughout my writings, my view of God has changed over and over. AND throughout my writings, my view of God or even a lack of belief in God, is quite irrelevant. For this is not a discourse in theism or theology or truth. This is simply a human discourse coming from my creative source… my heart and my experience and my puny understandings. Note: I did not say that my beliefs or views on God are irreverent, but rather irrelevant. I honestly think that this more tentative and open approach is much more reverant to that which is sacred than what most religious talk is.

So, what I write, I am writing from my heart, my understanding, and my truth that life has shown me; a very personal and individual perspective. If what I write has any ring of dogma or judgement, please forgive me. If you disagree with what I say, that’s not the point. I am not laying out a deeply held belief system nor will you find a creed. This is not systematic theology nor is it anything intellectual or sense-making. But you will find references to truth and to God. These are constantly evolving because I am open and I am learning. I do not believe any of us know any of this stuff FOR SURE nor do we have the final say on anything. Just because someone taught it to us does not make it true. Just because I believe it and have believed it all my life, does not make it true. Truth is truth, no matter what we think or believe or “know”. We must remember our place. We are not gods. We are simply human beings with brains like a grain of sand on the beach of this universe. Certainty is one of the gods of our age that my conscience will not give me the luxury to worship, and yet we continue to conjure up gods after our own image and make for ourselves religions and gods of absolute knowing and judgement.

Truth comes to us daily, moment by moment, as manna, our daily bread, measured with only what we need for daily sustainance, from all of creation, if we are paying attention. My sense is that creation was designed to communicate its own truth, the truth of the universe, and to be a reflection of its own source… the Creator. But do remember that I have no intent or interest in defining that Source nor that Truth. That is not my purpose here. That is for you to do within your own soul… as you do the inner work of going deeper, through the facade, to your Source, your Truth, your Ground of Being.

What I am attempting to do is call to you — call you out — and touch your heart from a deeper place, a place of oneness, the essence of our own humanity, the humus of our common ground of being… a place beyond religion, creeds, beliefs, philosophies, and ideas.

My simple purpose is to find a voice that’ll cross the spaces between people of diverse cultures and beliefs, finding common ground, the Sacred Space Between.
Forgive me as I attempt to write of my journey while including any reference to the Great Mystery and mysteries of life. Words will forever fall short and will forever attempt to divide and define.

When it comes to religion and you feel a great need to label me, there are two labels that I would agree that describe me at this point in my life: a Quaker and a Mystic.

I do follow practices and testimonies of the Quakers. We have no creed. It is more of a “way” that believes there is “that of God”, an “inner light”, an “inner teacher” in everyone. Truth cannot be found out there somewhere but within, through silence; listening and waiting. The testimonies or expressions of this faith are universal values of Equality, Integrity, Simplicity, Peace, and Community. They are the visible evidence of a personal faith deep within. This is simply a “way”, a very simple way, that meets my needs and leads me to experience that which is sacred through silent worship, giving me a clearer sense of meaning and purpose in my life.

I have also found myself to be a Mystic. I am willing to face and embrace that all of life is a mystery that I can only face in wonder and awe. What I think I understand, falls short of anything that really makes sense. I know that life does not fit in my brain and that God refuses to fit in my brain. But I also know that nothing is too big to fit in my heart. I realize that what humans have managed to make sense of in religion is conjured up within the human mind, simply a human construct, like an idol, that we then worship.

If you press me a bit further about what I mean by these words that so extremely limit and defy comprehension, what you’ll get might be this (at least at this moment in time):

God is a universal term that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but for me, it refers to what is ultimate and eternal, that which is greater than me, the Source of all things, my Ground of Being …a mystery beyond comprehension. Understood only in the silence at the eternal core of my being.

Truth is the essence of what life is all about, that which gives life meaning and purpose and guidance. Understood only in the silence at the core of one’s being.

I am a Theist. My cutural background and upbringing does not allow me to stray far from my roots. When I think of that which is transcendent, I think of God. When I think of that which created all of creation, I think of God. When I think of that which is eternal, I think of God. Whether you agree or not, please don’t hold this against me as I struggle to grasp what is ultimate, sacred, and boundless in life and in our universe. But please do not box me in and presume that I think or believe in this way or that. Please, simply talk to me so that we can create understanding together. I have had enough of judging. I have had enough of “being right” and “making wrong.”

That being said, this is no Quaker book. This is no Mystic book. This is not a book on Theism. I’m an expert in nothing and dare only speak of my own journey. This is my journey. I hope it resonates with yours, prods you to go deeper, and encourages you to speak out about the things that matter in your life. I’m listening…

My hope is that this book helps us all to be more gentle and full of care with each other, listening more carefully to the words with which we describe our journeys, and to the heart behind those words.

”Speak directly from your heart to the heart of your listener, as if passing the flame of a candle.” (Philip Toshio Sudo)

Next — SECTION ONE: A HEART BROKEN

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