Friday, June 17, 2005

The Big Fish

Dear Friends,

Yeshua says: " A true human being can be compared to a wise fisherman who casts his net into the sea and draws it up from below full of small fish. Hidden among them is one large, exceptional fish that he seizes immediately, throwing back all the rest without a second thought. Whoever has ears let them understand this." Logion 8- Gospel of Thomas

We are invited again and again in the canonical Gospels and in this saying from the Gospel of Thomas to live the undivided life. It is the paradox and the tension of human life that what we seek and what brings happiness is simple and uncomplicated, our heart's desire. The Heart as the seat of Essence brings us Home to the Heart of Christ as the ultimate refuge we seek, the ultimate purpose we choose, and the ulimate Love we embrace and give ourselves to. The Heart is the true spirit within us. And yet we were also given a mind to engage with the incarnate, ever transitory and shifting nature of the created world. We were given a mind that weaves and creates a sense of self, a self of separateness to defend and enhance. In imagination the mind loses connection with Home and creates new illusory worlds to seek, to possess, and to conquer for itself. It creates an opposition to other beings and builds a world unto itself, a small illusory circle apart from and isolated from the universal circle that is the Heart of Christ.

In this text Yeshua is not giving us some prescription or formula for self improvement, nor is he setting up an ideal for us to live up to, rather He is inviting us to do something that we most want to do anyway, to give our life, to be utterly, completely, passionately, and wholly consumed, wholly given, to our deepest longing in life. It is that simple, but not that easy.

Why are we here? Why do we lead a life of Faith, what is a longing that takes us into spiritual practice? The Hasidic Master, the Baal Shem Tov of 18th century Ukraine asserted, "Let us fall wholly into the hands of God, so that we do not fall into the hands of men." Without the consecrated life, without the total gift of self in love in the heart of Christ we are prey to be possessed by the culture which surrounds us.

A tragedy of our religious education can be that it does not open us to the miracle of Emmanuel, God with us, God within us. That the answers to our life of seeking are "out there" rather than at the heart of our own heart, the true spirit within us, the tabernacle, the holy of Holies of Christ's life and presence within us.

Throughout my journey my prayer has been, "Show me, Beloved, what I can give my life to completely and without reservation," as if there were a something outside of God that would bring this completion. And the response has always been, "let go, let go, let go.. and I am Here, and Now always offering Myself to you, He whispers to me, I am the One you can give your life to unreservedly. I will give you a place to rest your soul. Come to me and drink."

When we peel away everything else, and let go of all those damn little fishes we hold on to, the Big Fish is there, and has been all along, Offering Himself to us from the beginning. This is why we do the prayer of kenosis, to let go of all those little fishes, so we can empty of this hungry mind-seeking, and rest in the Heart where God waits for us eternally, "in this nakedness, (where all has been stripped away and given over to our Divine Beloved) does the soul find its true rest," as John of the Cross speaks.

The message of Yeshua in the Wisdom text of Thomas is clear. In order to fully receive the Big fish those little ones have got to be tossed back into the sea. The message of the Shema' (The Great Commandment) is clear, we must be given in entirety, no holding back. So here I am, in this year of retreat, clearing a sanctuary space so I can sink into, rest in my Deepest Longing for Communion with Christ, the Big Fish, and toss those little fish of misdirections and dead end. Since, I, like you deeply desire to be given and be utterly aflame, utterly consumed in this participation in the Fire of the Universal ShemaƂ’ that encompasses all things. This is the Big Fish, the Heart of God, who is Christ, in Whom the whole the universe and you and me have come into being.

So this year in my formal times of sitting practice of inner communion with Christ and in every moment, every breath, I want to keep coming back to searching deeply within and give myself again and again to the Presence of Adoration and to the utter Self giving of my love to the One who beckons me. I want to sink into Him and find my only and true Refuge, as He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you a place to rest your soul."

Peace and blessings to all,
Bill Ryan