Either, or; Both/And

Sometimes, I delude myself into thinking there is this either/or.

One way of expressing this dualism is through the question,  ” Which is best: prayer or meditation?”

A deeper way to view this is to think about positioning myself to hear from a God who is outside of me versus orienting myself to quiet the mind.

The problem is that the prayer road seems rather ignorant of the convoluted workings of my inner landscape, and The meditative path seems to be functionally agnostic.

I began to find a way beyond this either/or when I realized that quieting all the noise that happens in my head (meditation) is the best way to hear from God (prayer.)  But this?  It is just the tip of the iceberg!

Today, I had this realization that an encounter with God is a thing that is so awesome, so holy, so worthy.  It is something like sex, in that it is an interaction which happens on so many levels at once.

More than any other interaction, this is the one that demands the fullest, most authentic ‘me.’  And so, a self-centered act of meditation is a necessary preamble to an other-centered reaching out.  And at the same time, the best way I find God is not by reaching out and out and out, beyond me…   Despite all appearances, the place I really find God, is by an inward journey, finding God at the very most inner place of all!

And so it seems that suddenly, these are not different acts at all, but meditation and prayer live in the same kind of mutually interdependent dance that God and I exist in.

 

Breathing In With Adam, Breathing Out to God

This morning, with my in-breaths, I breathed in with Adam.  As God breathed life into him, I felt that breath coming into me.  It comes in as physical nourishment, of course.  But also life itself.  A primal spark I am re-living.

And with the out-breaths, I knew I was saying God’s name: the Hebrew words given to Adam, carrying a nearly impossible-to-translate meaning, sounds without teeth and tongue.  It is a name above other names, in that it is a thing said through out our lives, countless times.  And it is name beyond names in that it is a thing we do.

When I breathe this way, it feels as though God’s primal spark which enters me with an inhalation, leaves me as an act of worship…  As all worship does, it is begun in Him, comes from Him, returns to Him.

And breathing in that intimate space, lips near mine, like some primal mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, like a kiss.

And when I had done this for some time, as I breathed in, my mantra was “Jesus lived.”  With the held breath my mantra was “Jesus died.”  and as I breathed out “Jesus is coming again.”

And after thirty minutes of this, I was such a mess, a wonderful mess.  These strange sobs– not bad things– were coming up from the deepest parts of me.  I felt the space between God in me to be less than nothing.

There was a part of me that knew I would return to the ordinary way of perceiving.   These flood gates that were thrown wide open wood close.  And I had this sense that this was my doing, this was my act of self-defence, that God would have me that close to him, all the time.

I will head to church in a while, and I will then go about my Sunday.  And then I will enter my week.  I am going to try and do with all those doors within wide open.