The sunset is behind me as I take these pictures. It appears as though I am facing a blazing sunset somewhere behind the clouds in this image — the background clouds are just glowing away. But the sun is at my back — I am facing away from the sunset: the natural and graceful daily-death of that great source of light and warmth.
What strikes me at this moment is the falseness of the preceding minutes of awe and adoration directed toward a glory that is merely a reflection of the authentic event. I am facing the wrong direction…
And not: It is still beautiful; awe-inspiring. But there is a feeling of inauthenticity following this realization.
That which we seek is often mistakenly sought after in the wrong place; in the opposite direction. I’m straining to get a glimpse of the evening sunset — frustrated by the masses of storm-clouds (actually already beautiful in themselves), and all I have to do is turn around.
As we seek out fulfillment and security in life, much of what we treat as authentic and reliable may consist of obscured reflections of the “real thing”. We can come to idolize these disparate parts of our experience to the extent that the line is blurred between reflections and the sun.
All feelings, memories, thoughts, moods, beliefs, intentions, and knowledge are vibrating fluctuations of the one thing we can actually know directly: the sense of knowing itself (Awareness).
When we focus toward this “one needful thing”, we have “chosen the good part”; and at that moment the Presence of our own true Selves “shall not be taken away from [us]” (Luke 10:42)
We are constantly born into-and-out-of this heavenly Presence each moment. Really being there with it only means turning away [metanoia: translated as “repentance”] from all that we have convinced ourselves is true and reliable (despite how often it turns to ashes in the mouth). As James Finley puts it, “we lose the control that we think we have over the life that we think we’re living“.
Instead of squinting at the vague and transient flickering appearances playing themselves out in the space of awareness (attempting to grasp ahold of anything that seems lastingly satisfying), let us all turn our gaze toward the real Sun of radiance and warmth: that of our own grounding essence that presents Herself whenever all else is surrendered (as though for the first time: never fully “re-presented” by any symbol) as utterly beautiful Darkness.
The joyous pain of a dying Sun is seen in everything through its shimmering reflection. Turning toward that Source –– that “light of the life of all people” –– requires not certainty and clarity, but muteness and failure.