Friday April 19, 2013 11:00 a.m.

This dynamic of being able to yield unconditionally to God’s future is what
John of the Cross calls hope , a hope that exists without the signature of our life
and works, a hope independent of us and our accomplishments (spiritual gifts or
ordinary human achievements), a hope that can even embrace and work for a
future without us. This theological hope is completely free from the past, fully
liberated from our need to recognize ourselves in the future, to survive, to be
someone. When we are laid fl at by the deconstruction/silencing of our memory, it
is hope that is very gradually taking over the operation of the memory/imagination.

Hope is that vibrant energy field of zoe flowing; it is taking over the function of memory or imagination.

…hollowing out a place for the “power of the future,” for the coming of the
Impossible. 43 For hope to extend itself this far by perpetual expectation into the
realm of the Invisible and Incomprehensible, its movement will have to be purified
of all forms of self-preservation, all efforts to preserve one’s selfhood as it is.

The only thing that is getting deconstructed is our drawing on our egoic self as our energy system. We are not being invited to turn into zombies. The egoic system is terribly cumbersome. Zoe is a much higher energy.

The right instruction at the wrong time is the wrong instruction.

Transformative practice around this idea of transposing the basis of your identity to a non-dual basis is best carried on hands-on. This is one of the concerns about on-line education. Some of these motions have to be done with a deep basis of trust.

What finally bails us all out is that the impetus to transformation is built right into us. It was truth that gave us life. Human beings come equipped with an innate capacity to see. Somehow we know when something has our name on it and when it doesn’t because we come from God, to God, through God.

Fitzgerald,

To attempt to unravel one’s memory outside of this
understanding, unprecipitated by the burning presence of the divine, is absolutely
destructive and unhealthy, but this purification overtakes us in the events
of our lives and God works with us in the depths of these occurrences.

One way or another the experience of dispossession is on our plate. The question is what we are going to make of it. That’s where the patterns of years of faithful practice help us on.

Spiritual narcissism is a real difficulty and danger on the path – letting your ego get a hold on the process of transformation.

Your ego only knows how to manage; it always wants to win, to get there first, to be the best in the class. You have to be alert enough to your own being to notice when that egoic, power, control, show-off orientation has taken over.

Don’t err to the opposite extreme and think you are going to have an ego-free path. Your ego has done a good job teaching you how to live. There is always going to be a mixture. Part of what draws you onto to the path is your sincere longing for God and part of it is your programs for happiness. Start in the midst of your own mixed messages.

When you see that one of your programs is beginning to run the show, then you have to do some house-cleaning. You see this more by sensation than by stories because your stories lie.

Begin to recognize inwardly, by sensation when you are getting into an inner state of constriction whatever form it takes – judgment, insistence, urgency, self-pity, competitiveness – all of these will play out in your body as constriction. Learn to become aware of constriction in your body as a physiological field.

Recognize constriction and then just relax a little bit more.

Fitzgerald,

The profound and painful purification I have been outlining really does
change a person’s memory. This dark passage does have an arrival point: prophecy.
Obsession with the past gives way to a new undefi nable sense of relatedness
or intimacy, an experience of ultimate assurance, and this conversion releases creativity
and most importantly freedom for the limitless possibilities of God, for
hope. This freedom, this posture of hope, is really prophecy, for it enables a person
to reveal the vision of a different kind of future than the one we want to construct
from our limited capacities. Such a person becomes a prophet when she
shows the way; when she is willing to stand on the horizon so that all can see this
future, God’s future.

Robert Sardello guides us to become present to the vibrational field of the heart. What you find there is pure intimacy, golden sweetness of somehow belonging. Intimacy is the natural radiant field, an innate capacity of the heart. It is not object dependent. When you discover that it relieves so much of the burden to find the perfect partner. It is an ability that dwells in the heart. It is not a function of Mr. or Ms. Right. It is the native language of the heart which allows you to rest.

This infusion of zoe into your being bears these characteristics of power and intimacy. You at least know that you belong. That is a wonderful moving forward that begins to fill in in the midst of this hollowed out place. Fitzgerald calls this place “prophecy” because of its radical openness.

What happens in  the midst of and on the other side of this?

Very often after years of trying to pray and live faithfully, after receiving precious
graces, consolations and insight, persons experience not presence, but nothing
, silence, in their prayer. Many mature, dedicated, seasoned religious people
who pray steadfastly and work courageously in the Church describe this phenomenon.
They report that there is absolutely nothing discernible going on when they
pray and yet they do need prayer; they are faithful to it and actually spend considerable
time in silent there-ness . But the only experience is no experience , the
silent place. This is not, I am convinced, the normal season of dryness which earnest
people pass through in early prayer development. It is not the loss of enjoyment,
pleasure, contentment, sensitivity in life and prayer and ministry, that
transitional purifi cation that “dismantle[s] the whole apparatus of sensory egocompensation.”
This is not an identity crisis of the young,
or not so young adult, or of those who have never discovered themselves, authored
their own lives, and borne their own responsibility. It is not even a mid-life crisis
with its bid for freedom in sometimes irresponsible escape or heedless self-realization.
It is far deeper than these. On one level these persons no longer know what
they believe. But on a more profound level, they walk in faith, accustomed to doubt
and inner questioning, yet possessed by a hope that is wordless and imageless in its
expectation of “what eye has not seen nor ear heard”…. They are marked by a certain
serenity of spirit indicative of the degree to which this dark theological faith
has gripped the intellect and pure theological hope has filled the memory obscuring
and emptying them and guiding the person toward the “high goal of union with
God.” 47 While they theoretically, academically and responsibly maintain a hold on
their theological underpinnings and remain faithful to their religious tradition and
liturgical life, they realize experientially that none of us is meant to know who God
is, but only who/what God is not. These people have perhaps made the conclusive
passage from extreme desolation of spirit where they felt abandoned by or distant
from God to the love opened to them by fathomless Mystery and this is why I think
they are on the dawn side of the dark night of the spirit, perhaps the fi rst stage of a
truly transformed consciousness. I suggest these prophets of hope are being worked
on , transformed by love, in profound silence. 48

Whatever is is ok.

There is only one real liturgy – the present moment. In Quaker tradition they threw out all the sacraments because they believe life itself lived with conscious awareness is sacramental in itself. They no longer colonize their religious experience around memory, but allow a steady taste of conscious presence.  Sacramental life is what you make of it. And what you make of it is what you are called to make of it. Some are deeply drawn to a classic liturgical sacramental path.

For years I was a daily communicant at eucharist and probably would have remained if it had not been for a variety of body blows in eucharistic experience and the pain around being excluded from the table. Eucharist is in the air we breathe. Presence is in the soil upon which we stand.

Liturgy is a human yearning.

To the extent we get free of our idolatry around form, these ancient structures can open up and become the vehicles of extraordinary grace.

Reality can force its way through any form. The suspension of judgment is a great small step in the service of openness to the future.

All forms are just vehicles for the manifestation, but you can’t catch light without something for it to play off. The forms are various means of capturing the light.

The problem with liturgy is not n the words. People pull away one set of recitations and replace them with another. It is not about the words; it is about an openness to presence.

Looking through this lens of silence/emptiness, we see that, in fact, these
prophets of hope have been able to move beyond the “self of experience” that
blocked any true encounter with the Other. Such an encounter requires an “empty
space from which the self has withdrawn” – and this is true in the most radical
degree if we are to encounter God, who is the most absolute Other to us. 49 To
have “no experience of selfhood” may in fact be the singular hallmark of a transformed
self. No experience pray-ers are exhibiting in themselves the presence of
a purely passive power, a capacity to be attracted by the Future, 50 a movement
toward God in love-fi lled hope no longer grounded in the need to possess, to enjoy
or to dominate by words or memory or understanding. This is the ultimate silence,
the ultimate empty space

Augustine did not only leave us with the legacy of original sin, he also left us with a concept of the spiritual journey as a narrative. The way we intersect with God is through narrative. We keep track of our journey by monitoring how is God active in our life right now. We don’t even realize we are setting up the frame that God is coming to us in our experience. This is compatible with our egoic system. But what happens is that as long as we are looking for the prayer of experience, there will be an experience/experiencer dualism – you will be the one who has experiences and God will be the one who gives experiences. The loss of self feels like the loss of God.

Experience is the means we have been using for measuring our place with God and, when experience falls away, it feels like a desert as if the whole thing were a massive delusion, except that you look down into the core of your being and you don’t feel abandoned and there is an ability to put one foot in front of another because the form is being filled. The reliance on experience/experiencer drops out and you don’t know who you are or who God is anymore not because they are gone but because the old forms are not working any more.

Part of the work at this phase is simply to allow the new configuration to fill in on its own terms without having it break your courage and without rushing back to the old familiar forms.

It is possible in the human mind/heart to experience the complete otherness of God, as complete transcendence as well as complete immanence.

In the heart of hearts it will be total immanence. At the nous it will be total transcendence and both are ok.

Bernadette Roberts in The Real Christ says there are only three known experiences of God. Experience of God:

1. as total transcendence

2. as immanent in your heart

3. as active in creation

Those three experiences give us in Christianity: Father, logos, Spirit. The Trinity is an archetypal symbol simply because those are the only three avenues in which the divine is known. Life within the absolute otherness of God.