Slowly, slowly, I’m building up to a full contingent of Course of Love chapters done in audio. Re-doing some of the early ones, I noticed that in Chapter 4 we hear that love joins the world, (C:4.25) and in Chapter 7, that it is not the world that keeps us separate, but rather, we who keep ourselves separate from the world. (C:7.9) The ongoing message is that love joins (or does not join) the world . . . through us.
This has been emphasized in my life in these days following Christmas, days when everyone is exhausted. I have found many times that in the “let down” of exhaustion, love . . . happens: confidences are shared, quiet is enjoyed, the belovedness of the ordinary returns.
I live, in so many ways, an ordinary life. There have been times over the years that this has felt “all wrong,” times when my experiences made me judge my life and determine that it needed to be quite different than it was. But as the years have gone by, I am convinced that living the extraordinary within our ordinary lives is a perfect way of being for many of us. And I feel that part of my charge, is sharing in a way that helps more people to see that they also do this, often without recognizing it or its value.
I mention it, because in that “end of the year” way, I’ve been thinking about what I have to share. What my life—in its context—with all its ordinariness and extraordinariness has to say. With A Course of Love Combined Volume finding new readers and increased interest, you can maybe imagine that this has been a subject lying in wait in the background of my life, in those subconscious reaches that call us to explore them when the time is right.
If there is one thing I am passionate about, it is moving away from teaching and learning, but not only as a method. I am passionate about the return of wholeness to our lives. Throughout time we have heard not only of the “teachings” of Jesus, but are asked to consider: what is the message of Jesus’ life? We hear of the star under which he was born, the prophets who announced his coming. At Christmas we hear of his lineage in a series of fourteen generations. We are given historical context. And then we begin to hear of events. After Jesus is Baptized and identified as “who he is;” after he accepts “who he is,” he begins to live the life that “who he is” has anticipated. I believe that what Jesus calls us to is like this. In our own lives, we too can find the pointers that identify “who we are” and what is ours to do. I do not know how to describe this finding in my own life. It is indescribable perhaps. Yet it is a movement of the heart that leads, as is said in The Dialogues, to conviction.
As so often happens when I’m moved to strong feelings, I find something that is so relateable and so much more beautifully said than I can say it, that I have to share. James Hillman speaks of what happens in the movement away from mind and ego, and says that as consciousness becomes “broader and more feminine in its receptivity and self-intimacy, the flesh as well transforms into body consciousness.” He calls body consciousness “the actual incarnation of our humanity in warmth and joy and ease and rhythm and being present here and now, physically close to ourselves . . . and to others. Out of the stable of one’s own hunted and exhausted flesh, one’s own rejected physical self, asinine and dumb as an ox, the new body is born and then come the kings bringing gifts.”
Why does this movement, this momentum, this build-up to finding the sacred and significant in our own lives feel peculiar? Because it is divergent from the trajectory of the past. It says our experience here is more valuable than we know. It means that we are about finding our heart and soul so that we can live them into existence in this world. This experience is intangible, yes. It is that way. But it is available here and now . . . and the kings and queens still arrive bearing gifts.
(Hillman quote taken from, Insearch: Psychology and Religion, p. 122)