You are divinely inspired.

God-breathed: that’s what divinely inspired means.  People wonder, and argue, and get hung up on questions about what it means that the bible is divinely inspired.  I can understand why this is a conversation worth having.

But I think it fades a little bit, when I consider the idea that  “the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

The idea that you, and I, are God-breathed, that we are divinely inspired is way more interesting, important, and inspiring than any questions about which part of the bible is true.

The breath, is of course, such an important thing.  Like so many other things, it can hover in the back of our awareness for our whole lives.  But when we turn our attention to it, we are filled with wonder and equipped to go so much deeper.  Breath, is of course, the cornerstone of meditative and contemplative practices.

I grow increasingly convinced that the breathing we engage in is a rehearsal of that first primal breath.  It occurred at the very beginning of humanity.  It also occurred at the very beginning of our own, individual life.  God breathed once into us, a long time ago.  All the breaths that follow are nothing but our attempt to do that breath right.

In a sense, breathing is this picture of our attempt to return to God.

And at the same time, I am sure that each breath we breathe is God breathing with us, through us, and for us.  His ongoing work in humanity is this act of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation which continues for as long as we live.

In another sense, breathing is this picture of our ongoing interactions with God.

And finally, breathing, I think, is this act of connection.  Perhaps it was in that first breath that God placed his very image inside of us.  However it was, their is God/Christ/Spirit within me.  And yet, God is outside to.   The act of breathing is this reaching out, of God within to hold hands with the God that is outside of me.

And so, finally, breathing is this picture of God reconnecting with Godself.

And also?  It’s good to get rid of carbon dioxide and get a fresh lungfull of oxygen.


Where the Joy Is.

The Dalai Lama and Bishop Tutu inspired me.  When they agreed that joy is at the foundation of who we are, I decided to spend some time sitting with this truth and exploring it.

It seemed like this could be one of truths hiding in plain sight in the Genesis creation story: we are made in God’s image.  He is a creative God, a God that lives in community.  If this is truly more fundamental than the fall, then this joy ought to be waiting for us.

And so I set about looking for it.  In truth, it has only been a week or so of meditation practice that I have been on this hunt.  But Martin Buber says that prayer doesn’t happen in time; time happens in prayer.  Richard Rohr and Madeline L’Engle make much of the distinction between man’s way of measuring time: chronos, and the divine experience of time: Karios.  Perhaps these things all mean that it doesn’t matter that I have only been looking for a week.  Or maybe I am rationalizing.

I did not find an oasis of joy and ecstasy.  I have not had one of those crazy mystical experiences of God entering into my world and blowing it wide open.  I did have a sense about some things, though.

The Big Bang came to mind.  Smarter people than me point out that the big bang was not an explosion that happened an empty universe, with all this time stretching out before it.  Rather, that explosion created the very possibility of space-time.

I find myself wondering if God’s image, that primal joy I am looking for, isn’t confined to a certain location in my inner geography.   It seems the divine image is maybe the very possibility that I have this kingdom within me at all.  God’s joy is built into the very fabric of my own inner spaciousness.

I had this other sense.  In a way this is a counter-point to the last thing.  But it is also a continuation of it.  And also totally separate…  I had this other sense of a man running around and trying to see his own eyes in a world with out mirrors.

Perhaps the joy resides in the part of me that is doing the searching, in the place where all my thoughts and feelings come together.  Perhaps this primal joy is in my soul/psyche/spirit/will/medial posterior parietal cortex.  Perhaps I don’t see it because it is too close.

As my brain started to go in these directions, I found that the meditative state came and went.  There are times it felt like I was not sitting all, just thinking, which is quite the opposite.

I anchored myself to my breath, one of these times.  Tried to return my awareness to just there.  And then I had this third, final thought.  Also this thought is a continutation of that same first thought.

God breathed into the first person.  That’s where he turned them from a handful of dirt into a human being.  In that breath.  I have babbled on, some, on this blog, about the profundity of this first breath.  But it strike me anew, as I was wondering about this primal joy and how I find it.  It is in the breath.

The breath that always brings me back to here and now.  The breath that wipes away my past regrets and my future fears.  The breath that rises and falls like waves through out my whole life, ushering in a fresh new now with every single one.  That is where joy is: It is where the first joy came to us from God, and it lives there now, just waiting for us.