Thursday, September 19, 2013

Suchness and Is-ness is Serious Business

I'm not a Buddhist, but I like the things many of them say, and I like the way they think. The teachings of Zen and other walks of Buddhism have a ton of treasures for those of us who may not subscribe to the totality. Recently, I have been--how to articulate this--overcome spiritually with new ideas. The thing about these new ideas, is they were a lot like older thoughts I had, but I just didn't know what to call them. The idea of 'Thin Places' from Celtic Christian mysticism, places where heaven and earth are just a little closer than in other places, that's something I'd always known to be true, I just didn't know what it was called. I'm still reading everything I can about 'thin places,' because I think it's going to be a life changing discovery. Another topic I'm working through now is the Buddhist concept of tathatā, or "suchness." The fellas over at wikipedia define it as, "the appreciation of the true nature of reality at any given moment." 

This recognition of the beauty of reality while at the same time understanding moments as fleeting and precious is a beautiful teaching, and one we Westerners need desperately. Life is as short and as long as this breath, we can't take it for granted. Finding the connection to the beauty of a flower or tree with your own suchness is an all-important step towards Truth.

The Truth is that God is in all things, waiting for you to see Him. Maybe He sets the bush on fire to get your attention, but maybe He's in the bush already, waiting for you to notice. Normal, non-burning, bushes are extraordinary in their own right. The more you see God in the external world, the closer you get to seeing Him in the internal world--you. 

Christian thinkers have been on this for a long time. One of my favorite, Meister Eckhart, said: “What is life? God’s being is my life. If my life is God’s being, then God’s existence must be my existence and God’s is-ness is my is-ness, neither less nor more.” 

God's is-ness is my is-ness.

This is what inviting "Jesus to live in your heart" must mean. He's there, but maybe He has been all along and we just fail to notice Him. Grace isn't invasive, but it is powerful. Once you stop resisting Grace, it seems to find its way everywhere, and you start seeing it everywhere. Once you stop waiting for God to do the miraculous, you start realizing He is doing the miraculous.

I'm reading a book called Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning and it is challenging, encouraging, and rearranging my mind. In it, he writes, "To be aware and alert to the presence of God manifested in a piece of music heard on the car radio, a daffodil, a kiss, an encouraging word from a friend, a thunderstorm, a newborn baby, a sunrise or sunset, a rainbow, or the magnificent lines on the face of an old lobster fisherman requires an inner freedom from self created through prayer. Gratefulness is born of a prayerfulness that helps us notice the magnalia Dei, the marvels of God—the crossing of the Red Sea, the pillar and fire, and so forth." 

One Zen master wrote, "People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child--our own two eyes. All is a miracle."

In everywhere we look, in everyone we meet, in every blade of grass, we find God. We appreciate the suchness of life, the reality of Truth as it suffocates us in a big hug. The sights and smells of the world add to the experience of God in everything. The same God who created all things, and is in all things, and holds all things together loves you so much to make flowers pretty. The universe displays God's glory, and You are the fullest expression of God's glory--the glory of The Lord which was revealed in the coming of His Son who exists in the same person and of the same substance as God who loves you enough to make cool breezes on hot days. 

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.