Friday, February 27, 2015
Take a deep breath with me... We have heard the notion that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. But what might be the implications of that thought? Are we eternal? Are we divine in nature? If this humanity is not our regular experience, what is?
I forward the premise, for the purpose of this thought, that there is no line of demarcation where God ends and We begin. If everything in the universe is One, and even mathematically this is provably so, how can one extract the ingredients of a soup?
Pick an Object. Any object. A napkin, a wine glass, a ring on your finger, a flower or an icicle. Just look at it for a moment and take a deep breath…
Human culture has used everyday objects as symbols for greater ideas throughout history. Crosses, rocks, fabric, metals, the elements. They all represent not only themselves and their functions, but added layers of meaning as well.
When we choose to endow an object with meaning, when we call something sacred, we give permission for that object - and all that we understand about that object - to become a part of a greater conceptual language. We are sending a message to the Divine about how we want It to speak to Us. And the Divine complies.
Like with any language, the broader the concepts, the greater the vocabulary, the broader the message. This symbolic language then becomes a part of ourselves, a part of our beliefs, superstitions, mythology. It becomes a part of our story. Am I the only one who thinks this guy looks like Bill Clinton?
Look again at your object for a moment. If you were to confer sacred meaning to it, right now, what might it symbolize? Think of that…
For example a wine glass could symbolize many things. It could symbolize a good time. It could remind you of a bad one. It could represent a holy moment as much as an unholy one. What’s the first thought that comes to your mind when you look at your object in a personal and symbolic way? Not necessarily religious, mind you, but meaningful.
A wine glass might remind you of a specific or particularly impactful party or event you attended. Was it a good time? What happened at that party? Did you meet the love of your life? Did you lose it? Did you have a revelation of some kind? The story of that night now has meaning within that object.
What if you were to meditate on and spend some time thinking about the object and imagine the types of things it could symbolize? What if the object began to develop a bit of sacredness to you? When shifting your symbolic understanding of an object from the mundane to the spiritual, what happens?
What if, when you saw this object in your regular daily travels and routines, it came to mean something to you, served as a reminder to do something, or maybe not do something? To be mindful, perhaps. To be more loving, or forgiving, or to eat your Wheaties? To love yourself? Could Wheaties serve as a reminder of the spiritual importance of self-care?
Even symbols that are regularly recognized as being sacred and having a particular sacred meaning have only as much meaning as the individual’s perception looking at it. If you don’t know what this symbol or that symbol means, you immediately endow it with your own. Perhaps over time you study it’s wider meaning and cultural importance. And it’s meaning to you then broadens and becomes more complex.
Everything has meaning. Every thing has within it layers of personal emotional value and cultural significance. What meaning does your object convey to you? Think of that...
Now, what if you took away with you from this reading the symbolic meaning you invented for this object and remembered it tomorrow? Or next week? What if you started to think about memories you have with this object and the larger psychological meaning this object might subconsciously have for you? Think of that….
And what if you came across this object or a picture of it or noticed it in the shape of the clouds or caught yourself doodling it one day? If this symbol continues to have the meaning you give it, how might you interpret a sudden appearance of it in a particular way? Think of that…
And what if you carried it around with you? On purpose. For the strength of it. For the reminder of it. What might be the purpose of a smooth stone in your pocket? Even though it’s in your pocket all day, when does it catch your attention? When do you find yourself reaching for it? And what do you feel when you do?
And then we remind ourselves of our earlier thought. That we may be spiritual beings having a human experience. That we might very well be an extension of God. A piece of the divine. We might remind ourselves that we are all one, with no boundary separating Us, one from the other.
And if that is so, then how might we choose to communicate with the Divine? How might the Divine choose to communicate with us? It is through the personal conceptual languages we create. We hear the voice of our higher power–whatever that may be–in the symbols and metaphors that catch our attention at any given moment and how.
It is through these things which we have endowed with conceptual meaning and depth that we are able to divine a message. It is through the creative placement of these concepts and their symbols within our scope of attention–meaning how and when they show up in our daily lives, like cards from a deck of the Tarot–that give us clues into the mind of the Divine within us.
The Language of God is not a foreign one. It is one which we compose ourselves. We think God is not speaking to us. But the truth is we just don’t think God would bother to speak to us in our very own language. But if there is no separation, there is no shortage of understanding. And no translator or middleman is required.
Posted by Wil Darcangelo, M.Div. at 11:08 AM