[originally posted 6/19/17]
James 4:8- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
We love to parse apart and analyze in order to make sense of things. It is our way of conceptually “owning” as much as possible, and this is a self-protective maneuver against the uncontrollable reality of existence — this is how we take care of ourselves.
This is great for most things…
God, however, is not to be owned. God — like a “circle with a circumference that is nowhere and a center that is everywhere” (St. Augustine, I think) — does not always (or arguably ever) become clearer upon analysis.
Discursive exercises in divine exploration of the Diety are purifying spiritual practices that will promote growth and happiness (and, believe it or not, they can be fun!)… but they may not be the primary Unitive Path.
Drawing yourself nearer to God is not the same as trying to lasso God and pull that “Eternal Who” toward you in order to possess or contain God. The phrase “drawing yourself” anywhere doesn’t sound like it even necessarily implies a manipulation of anything but one’s conditional state in relation to something else. But, since we are all in God as Christ is (“I am in the Father and you are in Me and I in you“), we don’t even have to do that.
Drawing yourself closer to something that already constitutes your very being is not a matter of “getting there“, but of “being here” [see Richard Rohr].
So, cleanse your hands by repentance: turn away (not in shame, but in self-Love… through Self-Love) from that which is unskillful and unwholesome; and purify your hearts by practice [“askēsis”: training] — work through what you can and meet what you can’t with stillness and silence (or do what Jesus did in the desert and have “Yourself” speak to “yourself” with words of divine guidance until you again tread the Path with sturdiness and stability).
This stillness and silence will require the mind’s attempt-and-failure to parse apart; to split and categorize; to list-and-label; to contain and own; or to “understand” God — the “Luminous Darkness” of infinite mystery; the “form-and-formless” of Being and Existence.
“The very attention that gazes into this vastness is itself this vastness, luminous depth gazing into luminous depth. You are the vastness into which you gaze.”
— Martin Laird
“Christ is all and in all” — I think it was Richard Rohr who once wrote “you are what you seek“…
I think I’ll leave it at that.