I have been taught that I ought to do something.
When a thing happens, I am “supposed” to choose what category it belongs to. The broadest, of course, are “good” and “bad.” But within these tremendous storage units, their is a crazily intricate sorting system, this event goes here. That event goes there.
This is an exhausting process. It is largely based on the things I want others to think about me, and the things I want to believe about myself. It is about the labels and descriptions that I have accepted about myself.
The boxes I put things in dictate my response. I don’t have to think about what I am going to do. I almost always do something: as a white, adult, middle class male, I have foolishly accepted the lie that it is always my job– my burden– to respond.
I am learning that there is a better way.
It begins by holding tensions. I have this sense that the goal is to embrace tensions and difficulties. But I am not there yet. For now, I am holding them.
I am holding them as I meditate.
For me, the act of witnessing my thoughts and fears and ideas is largely an act of watching the sorting process in action. This is a bit like realizing the emperor has no clothes. The very act of witnessing it is the thing that undoes it.
I guess this is because I am realizing how arbitrary and subjective the whole process is. I once wanted my answers, responses, and reactions to be God-ordained. I am learning that so many of them come from me.
There is some work in all this holding, all this witnessing, all this recognizing what just comes from me. It feels a bit like a wieght, sometimes. I think this is part of what it means when we are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
I think this is an invitation to hold on to the tensions, doubts, and questions. It is an assurance that we do not have to resolve these things. We don’t have to dumb them down, simplify them, force them into our narratives and beliefs.
And I think part of what was accomplished in the crucifixion was a transformation of these tensions. The act of holding them begins with me. This is a conscious decision that I can make. Or not make.
But it is Jesus who does some strange alchemy. Through him, inexplicably, impossibly, they become something else. It is not that the opposing possibilities cancel each other out. But they become something new, something bearable, something that stops weighing me down.
I get this all in glimpses and intuitions. It is a process just beginning with me. I don’t think it’s really sped along by thinking about these things, by pondering them and meditating over them.
I think I am getting here by sitting in silence, and just watching the things that happen in my mind, dismissing them sometimes, recognizing them all the time, carrying them and holding them in a way that cuts out as much of me as is humanly possible.
And so… This is my invitation to you, today. Sit and breathe and relax. The goal is to find a mind that is empty by accepting the things that are happening in this very moment. Your breath, and the feelings on your skin, and the smells in the air, and the tastes in your motuh. The noises in your environement, and the sights in the space you occupy: Simply accept.
And as thoughts, and feelings might intrude, dismiss these things by accepting them for what they are, naming them. In this space and time, as you do this not-work, be a child of God; all the rest, titles, names, jobs, worries, identities… none of these are who you are.