Sometimes I read something and there is no purchase. Know what I mean? The hooks aren’t in place or I have yet to have ‘taken the prerequisite?”
Last night I started rereading The Meaning of Mary Magdalene by Cynthia Bourgeault. In Chapter 4 of TM3, “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene,” I ‘got it’ at a level I hadn’t before. Here are some notes I took and my thoughts on them:
p.46 (bottom) – Jesus: “find contentment at the level of the heart, and if you are discouraged, take heart in the presence of the Image of your true nature.” I receive that as instruction…and as significant as if it were one of Jesus’ commandments. A few thoughts: 1) it reminds me of something my priest said at the beginning of my desire to ‘return’ to God. I had said, “I’m not sure I believe,” and he replied, “For now, just know that your friends and I believe enough for you.” In other words, trust that there is more connecting you and securing you than just your sense of your faith.
2) It points out the REASON for habitual contemplation and centering prayer…to reinforce one’s dwelling at the level of the heart. Abide there and find contentment there. (Again…my profound grasp of the obvious.) and 3) Back in 1979, several things happened: I graduated from college, my sister suffered her stroke in Germany and was moved to DC after her surgery, I chose to go to DC to help care for her rather than go to grad school. While in DC, I became interested in Christian faith and theology. I read a lot of CS Lewis, at first. I also read some deeper theologians (Karl Barth, was one) but I’m not sure who I was reading that addressed this same concept of the presence of one’s Image in another realm and the importance of being aligned with it. I recall waking in the wee hours because I heard the ‘heavenly host’ singing; they were rejoicing in my spiritual ‘turning’ or arriving or in-turning. I’ve always referred to that experience as my ‘being saved,’ if I was ever asked about being ‘saved.’
p.47 Jesus: “the Son of Humanity already exists within you. Follow him, for those who seek him there will find him.” I wrote in the word “in” after the instruction to “Follow him” because it behooves me (and might behoove others) to realize that He is not saying to walk the paths of the Holy Lands or even my neighborhood, but to follow Him inward because I will find Him there…within me. It is not so much ‘What would Jesus DO?’ as it is ‘How did Jesus BE ?’ He, too, went inward. He dwelt inward. He abided inward.
p.47 Jesus: “do not lay down any further rules.” I don’t think the “lest you…” is even necessary.
Jeff Foster, in his podcast with Sounds True, described how to discover one’s true nature by honoring what ‘comes up’…what one feels (pain, fear, anger,…). By allowing and respecting one’s feelings and reactions, one opens them to the elements and one’s clutching of them dissipates. You own it….and that’s all. It goes. No struggle, no force, no clutch, not really any striving. When the cap is released and the fumes dissipate, one’s true nature is all that remains and one is able to ‘rest,’ as he put it. This…sans fumes…is one’s true nature…one’s origin or at least one’s transmitted or analogue Image. ..how one is.
p.48 CB relates: “…ignorance of one’s true nature, is to blame for the suffering of this world. Acting in ways that are ‘adulterous in nature’ (stems from) a failure to stay in alignment with origin…with the ‘root’ of one’s nature.” …again, the REASON for frequent and habitual contemplation and the regular practice of centering prayer.