Treading carefully

July 13, 2014

“The significance of Jesus’ wounded body is his deliberate and conscious holding of the pain of the world and refusing to send it elsewhere.”  This is from Father Rohr’s Daily Meditation for today.

I see this — what Jesus is described here as having done — as a step.  A brave and courageous step, but a step nonetheless, one in a series.

Yes, it’s a big deal not to spew out all that pain back into the world, but all that pain has to go somewhere.  It needs to be discharged, albeit safely.

For that I think there are techniques — including the tried and true, “Dear God, I can’t do this myself, please help me.”  Which can also be expressed as a request to the universe for dilution of dense negative energy or for sending it where it can be transformed and recycled into new life and positive energy.  It goes not back into this world of ours but elsewhere.  I suspect it is a step that requires outside help, that humans (incarnated spirit) can’t do it on our own.

I think it took someone of Jesus’ make-up to take the step of capturing the pain, but I am not convinced his step was the end of the process.  Vacuuming all that up may have been helpful, and he may have done it as well as it could be done, but I don’t think the outcome of that step was the final phase of the process.  I could see it as a watershed moment, but not as an ultimate one.

I actually more often see it as a template for what more of us can learn to do ourselves, although, as I say, I see capturing pain as only a step in the process of draining our swamp.  Whether we can also take the step of discharging the pain safely is another matter, and if we can’t, the next athlete in the relay will take that step, the way I see what’s going on.



13 Responses to “Treading carefully”

  1. Matthew Brooks Says:

    Pain is a consequence of friction/conflict, which is a consequence of imbalance. The important thing is the restoration of balance. An ounce of prevention…

    In any case, “is and isn’t produce each other”. Sacrifice/suffering/pain is like a payment – maybe for a bill outstanding, maybe in advance, or maybe both.

    When societies rise they have the wind of the Gods at their backs; they are steady and strong. There may be marginal collateral costs imposed externally (negative karma), but the overwhelming nature of things is positive. When societies are degenerating/falling, friction and imbalance increase significantly; momentum falters and they turn on themselves. It is among the final and fitting acts of a corrupt culture to sacrifice its own goodness. And then there’s nothing left to sustain them. The Second Temple was destroyed a generation after the crucifixion. When things fall apart the whole of society pays.

    “A law of nature is at work here. Evil is not destructive to the good alone but inevitably destroys itself as well. For evil, which lives solely by negation, cannot continue to exist on its own strength alone. The inferior man himself fares best when held under control by a superior man.” -I Ching

    “In so far as infidelity gains the upper hand at any particular time, it thereby approaches its own destruction. Morality is undermined, and consequently little valued. All the secret ties which unite families and states are loosened; everything sacred is scorned; and the spirit of persecution becomes associated with it, as it was formerly with superstition; but this condition bears with it the germ of its own downfall, and if the mental powers are not able to overthrow it, it ends in great revolutions and regenerations of the social system, which, as is well known, are accompanied by such throes that they must be considered as the tremendous punishment of degeneracy.” -Oersted

    Following death, rebirth. The sacrifice of the go(o)d and the collapse and suffering of society overall is a payment that fulfills the outstanding karmic obligation. At the same time, the legacy of the virtuous, the fact of their sacrifice, and the collapse of the corrupt guide and galvanise those to come.

    On the other hand, there are multiple processes, and the sacrifice of Jesus doesn’t seem to have been the “final phase”. In the final phase one would expect the good to prevail outright, as Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24, or as we see in Isaiah 24 and the I Ching 23-24.

    • Diana Moses Says:

      And yet, for me at least, none of that tells me what to do or what not to do, what serves and what doesn’t. For that I look for guidance about the next “right” step.

      I think we see what pattern we turn out to have been in only after it’s over — to look while we’re in its midst I think changes things.

      To the extent I see destructiveness in human society, I try to think of it as ultimately being the same kind of destructive energy as came to earth with meteorite impacts. That perspective is a way for me to strip it of emotional coatings to which I could react in ways that would just complicate the matter. I put it under the heading of not taking things personally.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        If the global environment is instrumental in the determination of individual behavior, then it also serves to promote order and harmony globally, not just locally (inter-personally). I think sometimes good judgment involves causing pain locally, but if its in the service of overall harmony then it’s also necessary – there’d be more pain and suffering if we just let things slide. People have been going along to get along for decades now; things continue to fall apart and the innocent between the cracks.

        On the purely local level it’s harder to say. I have faith in my instincts and in what’s good, and when my behavior diverges from the latter I hope to be receptive enough to perceive the divergence and realign myself accordingly.

        Specifically, I’d rather make like Noah than like Jesus, but whatever accords with the time is what we have to do. God told Jonah to preach to Ninevah – some cultures can be saved. Some can’t. For Jesus there was no escape/overcoming, until after death, perhaps. For some (Lot, Noah, etc.), there is.

        It makes some sense to not take destructiveness personally; “forgive them for they know not what they do”? They can’t help themselves, and yet – we emotionally resist suffering, even of others, and justice involves judgment, personal or not. It’s in our nature. One can’t help that either.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        I was thinking about resistance today as I was walking home in the heat and humidity. I thought to myself, “Why am I feeling that this is so terrible? [It is hot and muggy.] What is really so bad about this? I am hydrated, I am wearing a cotton T-shirt and shorts and sandals, my hair is braided and out of my face — what is the big deal?” (I also could have waited for a bus or even have run the errand with my car.) And I decided that the uncomfortableness of the heat provoked a resistance reaction in me, and that the resistance reaction was making things worse.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        There’s something to be said for tolerance, acceptance, endurance, etc. to a certain extent. At the same time, some things aren’t meant to be tolerated/endured (see fight/flight response). Suffering a short walk in moderate heat is tolerable and you’re probably stronger for it. What if it were 120° and twice the distance? What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but some things just kill us.

        Even where endurance/tolerance may be appropriate there’s the risk of allowing things to go too far. When we keep giving in and further defining deviancy down, what was unthinkable yesterday becomes permissible the next.

        There’s a healthy balance required and this society has long since abandoned it. The resistance comes one way or another; we can do it constructively in accordance with harmony and order or destructively.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        I think I understand what you’re saying, but I see a problem with our thinking we know enough to choreograph the way things are s’pposed to be. It reminds me of someone saying, “Oh, I see where this is going, let me steer now,” when they actually can’t know that where they think it’s going is where it actually was going to go. A little knowledge is still just a little knowledge.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        Tho we are limited beings we are also sapient. The choreography is ultimately up to God, but we can know enough to play our part well.

        In any case, we must act one way or another. Resistance is an act but so too is abdication. We do the best we can.

        Humans form governments and maintain [moral] order worldwide. Other animals act morally too. It’s been selected for globally because it works better than the alternative, which is only theoretical anyway. Order is intrinsic to nature and we manifest it. See Einstein’s intuition.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        I’ve got nothing against “selection” or evolution, but I still think they are all subsets of pushing around energy. To me the interesting question is whether it’s an open system or a closed one, and in what way it is open if it is an open system; are we just rearranging things as in a kaleidoscope, can we bring in new energy, can we help eliminate some old and unhelpful energy?

  2. Matthew Brooks Says:

    To put it simply – we’re in the car and it’s going. We can steer or not, but if we don’t steer it’s guaranteed to crash.

    • Diana Moses Says:

      Okay, how about navigate instead of steer?

      • Matthew Brooks Says:

        Pushing and pulling, sure. Energy and mass are interchangeable. Open or closed – well, open in the sense of being physically uncontained but closed in the sense of being restrained by laws that prevail throughout – that’s my best guess anyway.

        In any case, we function by way of closed systems. Navigating is the same idea as steering – it’s just operating within a system in way that maintains balance, safety, etc. – that leads to the fulfillment of various goals. I’m about to drive to the post office. I know where it is. If I didn’t use my knowledge of the closed system that is American roads, I would be lost. If I didn’t know how to navigate to the grocery store I would find it difficult to feed myself and my family.

      • Diana Moses Says:

        At the risk of showing my age, I thought the navigator sits in the passenger seat with the maps and the driver steers the car according to the directions from the navigator.

      • Matthew Brooks Says:


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