Day 10 – Containment

Day 10- containment

Luke 21:25-36

 

O Love, in the midst of chaos, you call me to stillness. In the midst of despair, you call me to hope. In the midst of darkness, you call me to see light. And right here in the words of this lovesong, in the midst of apparent devastation, you call me to life.

 

Like a gentle whisper in my ear, you tell me, ‘fear not’ for beauty is being born. Don’t get caught up in the chaos and confusion or you will miss it. Love is standing right in front of you. What a beautiful image! You, my Beloved, standing here in the midst of this fire and smoke, the walls crumbling down around us until Love alone is all that I see.

 

The heavenly bodies themselves tremble as the fig tree bursts into bud.

 

It can be especially difficult to not get sucked into the craziness when it appears that things are falling apart around us/without us. Our fears and old wounds dictate our need for control (power), which kicks in to hold up the walls and fix things, when we are instead called to notice Love’s presence right here in the midst of it, blessing us, waiting for us to receive It.

 

We too often have a case of mistaken identity. We want to make things look different somehow than they are because we don’t open our eyes to recognize the face of Love, in whom we live and move and have our being. We see the shaking and the crumbling and the dying and the pain that goes along with it as the enemy, when it may very well be the Beloved bringing something to birth.

 

The recognition of Love requires that we move into the still depths beneath the surface to where She dwells, that we slow down in the midst of chaos and confusion to listen for Her song. This can seem counterintuitive. Surely we should be ‘doing something’ to make things feel better, or at least busy ourselves with getting ready for Love’s arrival, not settling down to watch in wonder the unfolding dawn. What kind of getting ready is that? Opening our hearts is the only way to get ready so that when Love shows up we aren’t off and running.

 

Love surprises me by echoing the word that has been on my tongue now for weeks…dissipation. I know, what a strange word of endearment is this one. But I hear in it Love’s desire that I remain intact. I recognize that the places where I leak, away from the Presence of Love, are those very same wounds that I talked about yesterday. The ‘anxieties of life’ that weigh down my heart draw me from Love, when I am instead invited to carry them to Love for healing.  My anxieties are the places where the energy of the Love that I am becomes dissipated. For example, my fear of being rejected or unlovable, my sensitivity to the other’s emotional energy, might lead me to ‘being good’, pleasing or meeting another’s needs or expectations, and pull me into meaningless ‘doings’ in order to put out the fires or keep something from crumbling, or to be accepted or understood. In other words, I recognize and too often follow the Martha nagging in me when I want to be free to sit at Love’s feet for awhile. Isn’t it interesting that that which dissipates me weighs me down, traps me in its doings, until there is nothing left of me to Love?

 

 

Lately the image of a container has been informing me. I imagine that the human being is an adequate vessel into which the Divine has poured itself in order to make something of Itself visible, in order to make Love visible, as are we also called to pour ourselves out. It is the vessel that catches and holds so that the pouring can occur.

 

I have noticed that, while creating a container for myself allows me catch something, it also keeps me from being dissipated. By naming what it is that I desire to be attentive to and receptive of (e.g. Love, for instance) I can more easily say ‘yes’ to what belongs in that container and ‘no’ to what does not belong. As I have been learning to value the precious gift that I am… being here to express something of God into being…. I am also learning something about the nature of gift. The seed of any gift requires nurture to bring it to birth and requires sacrifice to provide that nurture.  We may be called to sacrifice any number of other worthwhile containers, ways of being, or paths, or goodnesses to which to attend. Containers focus our energy to nurture, just as a cup can hold milk that a flat surface cannot. Containers allow us to deepen, to find that place deep within our chosen path where Love dwells. Containers allow us to go within, to be surrounded and held. Containers allow us to pour forth.

 

Yet when I allow the quiet space within that I intend to be for Love to be infiltrated and chipped away, by something that doesn’t belong –anxieties or busy-ness– the preciousness that I contain becomes diluted, and the presence that I give to Love both within and without is weakened. I flow out to spill my unsteeped tea across the surface of life, pulled into the trivial. It is possible to be present to Love right in the midst of the chaos if I have cleared that path to, attended to and nurtured that quiet place within where Love dwells, so that I can see it, Be with it, carry it with me into the fullness of my day. Oh, I do not want to miss greeting You, my Love, in any moment, whether sitting here alone in this moment or rising in the next to be with others. May I  learn to cultivate solitude and silence in the present moment, wherever I may be.

 

I sense that the container that I have been intuiting is not a rigid sort of boxed off, metallic structure of ‘doing’ that can become a trap, but a soft womb of receiving and nurturing. A womb is a container that is not rigid, but can grow to accommodate the growing. It can open to receive or give birth to the other, and it can protect new life from being exposed or harmed. It is a fertile internal space, with a rich supply of nutrients, and when it is full it overflows new life into the world. There is nothing anxious or dissipated about a womb. It experiences both ecstasies and pain, fullnesses and emptyings.  And in the beautifully intense process of giving birth it focuses the whole of the body’s energies upon the task at hand. There is no dissipation… but there is indeed flowing. 

 

Oh, but even this ‘container creating’ cannot be controlled by my ‘doing it right’. In the end, Love will create the container in me into which Love can pour itself, just as it did in its beginning imaginings of who I might be. As always (as this passage also reminds me), life is about letting go (any image or agenda) to receive, as even our wombs must one day let go.  Today I sat with a beautiful soul whose body is dying. She does not see her illness as the enemy, rather she is noticing the presence of gift right in the midst of it. I saw clearly that Love is the only thing that remains standing before her. No longer needing to ‘take care of’ the other, nor able to, all of her energy is naturally focused upon what is vital (life-giving, love-giving). There is simply no energy for anything else. And so the very circumstance of her Life, the womb that her life has become, is naturally choosing what belongs and what does not, creating a container for goodness to be received and to flow from. At last she is learning that love is not something she must earn, something I suspect each of us has difficulty grasping fully no matter how much we tell ourselves so. She has told me she is learning at last to receive … to be utterly ‘useless’ and to find herself completely loved in that place. And so her dying is wombing love. She is able to very simply and peacefully Be Loved. And so, she is able to very simply and peacefully Be Love.

 

May I be so in my own dying….

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