The first thing a man, let's say Mr. Smith, finds in the Theory of Evolution are principles. Yet according to the Theory of Evolution, principles are things Mr. Smith must never find in himself. Mr. Smith must look up his specialized nose in a book of comparative anatomy to find the "Principle of Superiority." But he must never look down it at the Holy Bible and find it in himself. Mr. Smith must learn all about opposable thumbs to find the "Principle of Efficiency." But he must never stop twiddling them and find it in himself. Mr. Smith must compare his own forehead to a Neanderthal's to find the "Principle of Selection." But he must never compare his least favorite classmate's forehead to a beluga whale's and find it in himself. And it is right here that the Theory of Evolution and maybe even Mr. Smith both seem to forget something. And what they forget is the first thing found in man's theory of anything—nay, even man's thought of anything--from God, to religion, to public education, to government, to hopscotch and hadron colliders--is man. And his principles. For the very good reason that principles (like man) are first things, not last.
But what seems also quite overlooked, is that Mr. Smith's and Evolution's principles are not merely first and universal, but universally the same principles. Here is one good example out of thousands: The primary principle of Nature according to the Theory of Evolution is: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! (or, its corollary, Never give up!). Which also happens to be the primary principle of schoolmarms and Boy Scouts.
Which simply means Nature (Mr. Smith's cosmic Mother), who birthed herself by a blind and random accident from nothing, was also accidentally born with a rigid and clear worldview. Born, as it were, not with a silver spoon in her mouth, but with the silver-haired schoolmarm's wooden ruler in her mouth. Which means, and this is my main point, despite the most nihilistic Evolutionist's dream of a cosmos without principles, of schools without schoolmarms, of an existence where Mr. Smith is born with nothing in his mouth and dies with nothing in his heart; the reality is the Theory of Evolution was itself born with a rigid morality, or more accurately, is a rigid morality. And like all moral things, is found, not at the end of the process, like an epiphenomenon, but rather fixed, by definition and inescapably, in the heart of man--at the beginning--as the primary principle of life.
Solomon might as well have replied, “Lord, I am blind. I want to see,” like Bartimaeus, when God asked him one dark evening before his reign, “What do you want?” Because Solomon's answer was essentially the same. And in both cases God granted their wish. Which says something.
But the important point of the story, for Solomon as well as Bartimaeus--even though every Calvinist (who for some reason is determined everyone should be as sad and angry as John Calvin, believing with the Pharisees man was made for the Sabbath) would heartily disagree--is not whether God knew, or didn't know what Solomon wanted before He granted his wish, but rather, whether Solomon knew, or didn't know what Solomon wanted before He granted his wish. It has been long argued using the scriptures, by persons much smarter than I, how gravely important it should be to me that God knows what I want. But what it is not arguable in the scriptures is how important it is to God that I know what I want. God actually knows what I want: sure, I'm not debating that. I'm simply pointing out that even if it is awe-inspiring and comforting; it isn't very helpful. But what is helpful, because God knows it's helpful, is if I actually know what I want. God implies in His question and answer session with Solomon: not only is it wise to answer the question, "What do you want?" correctly, but also foolish to answer incorrectly. He leaves no room for the arbitrary answer. So if I answer, “I want a long life,” it reveals not how wise I almost am, but how foolish I certainly am. God seems to say it is not merely wishful thinking, or positive thinking, or maybe even a slight overreach in powerful thinking to desire all my enemies to be defeated, but profoundly foolish thinking—not because wishing for their defeat makes me wrong, but because it makes me weak; that it is not only wishful thinking or forward thinking to desire wealth, but foolish thinking—not because wishing for wealth makes me wrong, but because it makes me cheap. Therefore the wisest man in all the world answers not, “I want to see long life,” or “I want to see all my enemies defeated,” or, “I want to see wealth,” but instead, “Lord, I am blind. I just want to see,” in a sense, see everything. Because when a man finally sees everything, one of the first thing he sees is how little things are. Because he simply sees, for example, he sees how little a thing like a man’s net worth is. He sees low enough to see the infinite wealth adorning a lily of the field. And in the very next instant the foolish man who once saw his own life and the terrifying and inevitable death thereof, as a tragedy of incalculable loss, now sees with wisdom his life is no larger or more important than a lily plucked from the soil worth ten thousand of Solomon’s kingdoms and tossed away in the breeze.
He took everything away from me—all the obstructions, all the accretions, all the cataracts and clothes and scales-- everything but the truth. And revealing it; raising it high enough even for me to see, I finally see I am hanging naked on a cross. The place I have always been.
The sight explaining so much: explaining the ache in my hands and feet; explaining the stretching rack in my shoulders; explaining the piercing in my chest; explaining the tired collapse of my unbroken bones; explaining the bitter aftertaste of every drink; explaining everything and everything and everything.
And I cry with relief, “It is finished!"
I am ready to go home. I am ready to be free. I am ready to let go of this cursed tree and leap into the air. And if ever again I land, I will land in a new life. I will love this world like Christ. I will walk through the petrified forest of crosses shouldering my own as I go. I will lay my hand on every bloody trunk. I will set up my cross and willingly scale to the top. I will hang there again, yet this time helping thieves see and understand and live. Thank you Father for letting me see the whole world!
"Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Is mirror that doesn’t look like a mirror.
It reflects but not all at once it slowly turns slowly focuses
The best symbol annihilates itself. Annihilates the self.
Although sad and alienating, it is at least commonly known that many people walking through life with you simply wander too far away to be seen anymore. But what is no less sad and alienating, far less commonly known, and obviously far more dangerous, is that quite a few wander too close--becoming trapped in the sticky, frustrating glob that is you and your world. Easily hiding under your nose so high in the air, always getting under your over-sized feet, never free of your goo, unable to walk far enough away to be seen. It is a great and terrible thing that a savior comes with a sword to cleave, separating brother from brother, wielding the only weapon magical enough to slice the unsliceable so you can finally hate enough to love.
I’m still on Jeremiah, nearing the end. I had this thought today (and is quite clear, to me at least, when reading him now): All throughout, Jeremiah is speaking about psychology and spirituality. He uses the outside world and circumstances of nations to directly point out the individual’s inner spiritual exile. He is exactly saying that your circumstances, all of them, as far into the wide world as you can imagine, are not telling you something about the state the world is in...they are telling you something about the state YOU are in, as deeply IN as you can imagine. These are the same thing! Jeremiah sees no difference between the two.
Do not miss the transition points:
"This is what the Lord said to me:
Go and stand at the all the gates of Jerusalem.
Say to the people, 'Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath Day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath. Keep it holy..."
This is a continuation of a previous thought regarding Christ--he whose life is indescribably described where two lines cross— as the invisible fulcrum on which all things pivot. He IS the Sabbath. He IS the doorway.
Jeremiah is making the connection that the Sabbath is an invisible door.
The Lord warns in Jeremiah: Do not miss the invisible transition points--these Sabbath Doorways. See them. Separate them clearly and with devotion: keep them holy.
This inability to maintain an attentive eye towards the relationship between things—to keep it holy—is a constant mistake committed by those who struggle with God. The unseen relationship between two worlds IS ALSO the doorway between two worlds, two realities, two stages of thought, two paradigms, two levels of consciousness, two lives. These transition points are thresholds. They are not simply a tether between one work week and the next or between outside the city and inside the city; they are an invisible door--a quantum wormhole hidden behind the wardrobe. A rift transporting between what is above and what is below, between heart and mind, intellect and faith, faith and works, emotions and reason, material and spiritual, a part and its whole, and a whole and its parts, and so on… They are a doorway to new and more accurate visions of the many worlds you inhabit. In them and through them you discover which world is greater and which is lesser, which world is outside and which is inside, and which world sits within which. And so God does not take lightly the mistake of ignoring the background in lieu of the foreground, or vice versa, ignoring the foreground for the background. You need to see both. Regularly, rhythmically, cyclically—at the frequency of life, you need to see both. But if you never find the doorway between two worlds, then you are forever trapped in one. So what now? How can you find a door you can’t see? For it is only by seeing the doorway as separate from your current reality—by keeping it holy— that you may truly walk through it.
Jeremiah hints the answer to seeing invisible doors is related to not carrying a load--unburdening, letting go-- as you pass through. You can't bring anything with you. He describes these holy transition points as the Sabbath and the city gates, and commands the people not carry a load on or through them respectively.
He warns! He raises his voice and his fists at the city gates! He warns that your constant resistance—your consistent pushing or pulling in one world—allows these vital thresholds to other worlds to slip past unnoticed. If you push-on through, then you miss the keyhole. If, for example, you never put down your load to crossover from the outer world to the inner, then you will miss the threshold; never even realizing your sandaled foot passed for the briefest of moments through something called an inner world at all. In your constant striding from peak to peak, stepping right over the valleys, you will notice neither the heights at which you walk nor the depths beneath your feet. If everything’s resistance against a load, then the Sabbaths fade away and everyday is Monday. And, then, there really is no change. Jeremiah warns: when you carry a load from outside the city to inside, then no matter which gate you cross, you never really enter it. It is only in unburdening the weight of…of whatever, of “being you,” that you may see between, see how things relate, that you may see clearly the invisible door and walk into the city of God.
Jesus connects things:
Like Sunday connects Saturday to Monday.
Like the rest connects two notes.
But not only does He connect things, he is also in the things he connects. He is in all, and yet he remains hidden to us.
It might be that our ability to see Jesus holding the world together at all, is precisely through His invisibleness at the fulcrum of things; at the hinge of events; at the transition points; at the center of the cross. Those places where life pivots are supposed to be pivotal, but they are often places we don’t notice (and ignore at our peril) because they sit in between one thing and the next. They are the valley between two peaks and the peak between two valleys—or as the Lord himself laments: “at every high place and under every spreading tree.” They are at the crossing of two events—two lines of thought. At the axis on which our world turns, although not visible or audible, He is nonetheless always there. Even in his body on the cross I can see his hands, east to west. I can see his crown of thorns and his feet—north to south. But at the intersection, it is his unseen heart that is truly on display .
When we disconnect—when we disconnect one event from another, one life from another, inside from outside, intellect from faith, church from state, emotions from reason, spirit from law, breath from prayer, news from good news, alpha from omega, first from last and last from first—we are leaving relics of idol worship at all those critical junctures, casting lots for Jesus’ clothes, trying to separate a seamless robe, desecrating the cross.
Strangely, Jesus is also the great separator: “brother from sister, mother from child”
In His moment of visibility to the soul; He cuts. He is both cut in two, and cuts in two. He is separated and separates. And in that separating, He joins anew what was previously un-joined. He connects again what had been disconnected.
The solution to any problem is not to get rid of the problem.
Then the problem really never goes away.
The solution to a problem involves water. It is a “solution.” It is a solute dissolved by water into a mixture. Solid becomes liquid. One state of matter into another.
It is solvent. Liquid. It is mixture. It is admixture. It is integration of the problem INTO yourself. It is ingestion. To change. To change. To change. To grow. Which is life. Not sterility. Not shooing. Not eschewing. Change (real knowing, real growth, becoming new) cannot occur without acceptance of the problem. An answer given —as opposed to found or realized--is not a solution: it is a cheat. It simply sweeps the actual problem aside, stunting growth and multiplying the problem in the future. The answer to any problem is not the same as the solution to that problem. An answer is only a thought, an idea or a concept that sits all alone on the other side of an equation to null it out. The solution to the problem is the miraculous combination of the problem with the answer. This admixture must include two other elements: you and that which transcends you (that which without which there is no which). The solution includes the learning that came with it. It is the understanding that you must drink the poisoned cup you do not want as the antedate for the eating the poisoned apple you did want. It is now part of the body.
Here lies more firmament: The problems and these elements were always there, it is just that you did not know it. They can neither be created nor destroyed. It is what is called the problem of problems, and it always lurks inside your conscious awareness floating at the edge of your vision near the realm of the unconscious, waiting to become fully realized. The Answer exists completely in the realm outside of your vision…waiting to be let in…waiting to be part of the solution.
The profound questions to answer are not “what is the problem?” And “who am I?”
Rather, it is the reverse:
“Who is the problem?” And “what am I?”
Water--the living water--dissolves things. It tells you things you did not know about yourself. The woman at the well came into direct contact with a deeper well and drew forth the kind of water containing the unconscious elements of not so much “who she was,” but more fundamentally “what she was” and “whose she was.” Bringing what was once swimming in the darkness below, up to her conscious world.
This is the effect of living water.
It opens your eyes. It descales the build up of chalky deposits blinding the vision of eyes exposed to shallow well-water. Blindness is the result of eating the apple of “I can choose what I want for better or worse!” A power which opens the eye to one's conscious self, but shuts it to everything else. Only by drinking the cup filled with aqua vitae can the sleeping eye awaken.
Living water is a thermal barrier within the cold depths of the sea; the barrier between the death of beasts and life of fishes. It is a barrier that must be passed through to arrive where you always were.
Living water stops thirst. It quenches the fire of egoic desire. “I I I!” and “want want want!” finally become, “I’m not thirsty anymore. Do you still thirst?”
Living water is much more related to afterdeath, which is today, than afterlife, which is tomorrow.
Living water turns the end into the beginning--and the beginning into the end. "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." It reverses conscious awareness’ tendency to separate these "two points" as far as possible on a line from one another; and then celebrate this long-distance marriage as a hard, crusty thing called an event. It turns the alpha and the omega of the Wedding at Cana into the circle it always was.