Talking to myself

October 19, 2013

I wrote a comment last night (to Gail Collins’ column about Texas politics) about waiting for Sen. Ted Cruz to flame out and wanting to open the flue wider to accelerate the process.

This morning, when I was looking to see if there were any more replies I needed to respond to, it occurred to me that this is what I think a central task in life is in general:  to open up our flues (the crown chakra, according to some people) and let us follow our trajectories instead of remaining stalled.

When I wrote my comment, I was focused on how Cruz really does remind me of the Republican presidential hopefuls last election who showed up at all those debates during primary season and flamed out (I started the comment with how I am reminded of them by him).  They went out one at a time, it seemed, seriatim, and I had the sensation of waiting for the process to run its course until we got a nominee.  Here, I hear Cruz as a demagogue with an unconstructive approach to governing and a negative impact on the federal legislative community (that would be Congress I’m talking about).  So then I got into the flame metaphor, and and thought about our wood burning stove, and there you go, my comment.

But I really am concerned with the issue of opening up our spiritual fontanel (the place in a baby’s skull where the plates don’t fuse until after birth), as well as opening up our hearts.  If I think of our wood burning stove, we need to open the door to put wood in the stove and we need an open flue for the chimney to draw the way it needs to in order for the combustion process to occur effectively and efficiently and not to fill the room with smoke.  I think there’s a parallel for all those things in our spiritual lives.  (Maybe I will elaborate on them in a subsequent post.)

What is so mysterious, I think, is, whence the spark?  How do we catch a spark?  Henri Nouwen wrote Life of the Beloved I think in the hopes of doing that, but apparently succeeded mainly in explaining to those already with the spark what that’s all about.

I feel as though I “caught the spark” listening to a concert on TV during which I thought I perceived something like faith in the eyes of one of the musicians.  It was as if his faith ignited mine.  Why those details were part of my experience of relocating my faith I think has to do with old karma and past lives, which I mention in order to explain why I don’t think that listening to a concert is going to be the answer for everybody.

I see the acquisition of that which reveals the world as it looks through faith, as a positive thing.  Obviously, not everybody shares this characterization.  Some people see it more like the catching of a virus that confers pathology.  Some other people pay lip service to seeing faith as a positive thing, but believe and behave in ways that are not consistent with a perspective through faith.

So when I find myself teaching myself something, what is that all about?  It, to my way of thinking, is about pulling out some understanding deep within us which we have trouble bringing up to conscious thinking.  It emerges through some other process, and then we can read it back with our conscious minds.  It is clearly consonant with some inchoate understandings we already have, but it helps us conceptualize them more clearly.  If this were occurring through the imagination and cognitive thinking, I don’t think we would have the sensation of reading the thing written as if we are a separate person from the person who wrote it.

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