November 3, 2015
October 31, 2015
God is the most obvious thing in the world. He is absolutely self-evident – the simplest, clearest and closest reality of life and consciousness. We are only unaware of him because we are too complicated, for our vision is darkened by the complexity of pride.
God and union with God are Reality; nothing is more real, more concrete, more actual, and more present. At the same time, Reality is infinitely alive. It, he, cannot be grasped in any finite form, whether physical, mental or emotional.
Therefore, as long as we try to grasp God, we shall never realize him. Life itself, as we experience it moment by moment, proceeding as it does directly from God, is the perfect analogy of this truth, for to grasp life is to kill it, or rather, to miss it, and more than ever is this true of God – the Life of life.
Pluck a flower, and it dies. Take up water from the stream, and it flows no longer. Pull down the blind, but the sunbeam is not trapped in the room. Snatch the wind in a bag, and you have only stagnant air. This is the root of every trouble: man loves life, but the moment he tries to hold on to it he misses it. The fact that things change and move and flow is their very liveliness, and the harder man hangs on to his life, the sooner he dies of worry.
Religion, as it is generally practiced, is simply an attempt to hang on to life and the still more lively mystery which informs it – God. Hence religion as generally practiced is idolatry. God cannot be held in theologies; theism, deism, pantheism – none of them can grasp his truth. Nor can states of mind and feeling contain him; ecstasy, rapture, quiet, Samadhi – these are only the secondary and unessential effects of his presence.
Our various intellectual and emotional idols, our doctrines, holy books, sacraments, religious feelings, creeds and churches, are of use so long as they are understood as approximating and pointing to God. But when we try to possess him within them, they must sooner or later become millstones about our necks.
October 2, 2015
July 29, 2015
Awakening is not a state but a process: an ethical way of life and commitment that enables human flourishing. As such, it is no longer the exclusive preserve of enlightened teachers or accomplished yogis.
Likewise, nirvana—the stopping of craving—is not the goal of the path but its very source. For human flourishing first stirs in that clear, bright, empty space where neurotic self-centredness realizes that it has no ground at all to stand on. One is then freed to pour forth like sunlight.
May 10, 2015
There is such a deeply rooted belief that we must ‘do’ something with surging emotions, feelings, and sensations in our bodies: to understand them, to link them to some aspect of our life circumstance, to change them, to transform them, to eliminate them, or even to ‘heal’ them. In their arising, they are pure forms of creative energy – but how will we meet them?
This belief was carved into our sensitive little nervous systems as young children when we did not have the capacity to allow them to wash through us and become metabolised in an environment of loving presence. And out of this belief was generated our unique strategies of fight/ flight/ freeze – as a way to get out of very intense states of vulnerability.
But what if for just one moment we did absolutely nothing in relation to the arising of emotional intensity?
What would happen?
What if the most wise, loving, attuned response was to take no action? To not scramble to mend your broken heart, to not urgently spin to ‘transform’ the sadness into happiness, and to not frenetically seek to ‘heal’ your fear.
To not give into the ancient demand that you fall into the extremes of denial or seeking relief, abandoning the uninvited guests through the fuelling of a story about what has happened, who is to blame, why they are there, when they will go away, and what their presence actually means about you as a person?
This ‘doing nothing’ is not a cold, passive resignation, but is a luminous, sacred activity, infused with presence and a wild sort of compassion.
It is a radical act of kindness and love.
– Matt Licata