Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Listening to Being

Recently I’ve played with the idea that I live in a spiritual bubble. Perhaps we all do. The contents are a swirling mess. Kind of like this study of mine. Bits and pieces everywhere. I keep moving ideas around.

Shuffling books and their partially tapped wisdom.

I also have in the mess notes to myself. Journal entries. To do lists.

Also, artifacts. A hand-warmer in a velvet pouch, a quill pen housed in a glazed jar, a magnifying glass, a typewriter (no, two typewriters with more, many more, in the basement), a teal ‘60s-vintage Hermes crank adding machine, slide rules.

Someday stuff. Saved for someday when I can let go.

My spiritual bubble is not “someday.” It is now. Recently I’ve been full of questions.

Being a Quaker invites them.

Quakers turn life’s (and death’s) largest questions back on the individual. No shortcuts here. At least among “unprogramed” Friends. No priests or prophets, no dogma or sacred texts. Oh sure, you can refer to whatever you like, but the questions are yours to answer in your own way.

Quakers must find their own truths. And once found, we work to live by them.

So here I am with my messy, joyous spiritual Quaker bubble.

These days my questions spin around whether I’m a Quaker atheist, a Quaker non-theist (is there a difference?), a Quaker Christian (I think not), a Quaker follower of Christ’s teachings (before the spinmeisters got to them) or a Buddhist Quaker (we Friends have more than a few of those.)

Or maybe I’m all of them. Or none. Maybe the whole “label thing” keeps us from our truth.

I’m a firm believer that putting names on things, whether tangible or intangible, makes them “other.” Sucks the spirit right out of them. Keeps us from absorbing them, and them from absorbing us.

We could use some mutual absorption these days. Not more self-absorption, but self-less absorption. The label-less kind. I find it in the silence of Quaker worship when I banish words from my being — and just be.

Some Friends say they “let go and let God.” I stop with “let go.”

That’s when the bubble bursts and the membrane between “my” spirit and Spirit dissolves. My being flows into Being. Timeless, spaceless Being. And I realize, it has always been this way. The bubble was just another label.

The bubble-label needs to burst with those around us too. How about regularly scheduled spiritual perception checks? Every 3,000 miles or every week or every day. As the operating manual says: “Whichever comes first.”

Share the messy joy of it all. Perhaps that’s why Quaker Friends worship together. Why we worship in silence, without words, without labels.

We listen in stillness to Being.

We can, and should, talk later.

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