One of the more challenging aspects of the mystical life is the relationship between body, mind, and spirit. The body nourishes the mind and the spirit, as the mind and spirit sustain the life force of the body. In a mystical sense, it is imperative that a balance between these three dimensions of life is maintained, keeping in mind that the divine is not only the source of all, but intimately imbedded in all dimensions of reality. On a practical level, this means that we will never be able to ultimately avoid or deny the spiritual aspect of being. Every human issue has a divine counterpart. God’s beginning is in you. Your inner life reverberates in the mystical heart, as your being touches the Divine being. To truly understand, you must experience this fact.
Few mystics in history discuss the intimate relationship between the physical and the spiritual. Reflecting on John of the Cross—who was raised in an orphanage, experienced poverty, and was imprisoned by his own monastic brothers—we have to assume that his mystical struggles involved the pain of healing early losses. But, he never writes about them personally and directly, instead describing the process of the “dark night” as occurring within the soul’s imitation of Christ. In a similar way, the Buddhist monk, Milarepa, suffered greatly in his youth—becoming a criminal and a murderer—who depicts his subsequent enlightenment as the consequence of years of silent meditation.
Surely we know, that neither in the case of John nor Milarepa were their minds blank for those many years. Surely, they struggled as you do to reconcile their physical, mental, and spiritual wounds. Their texts were written from “the other side”—from reconciliation and transcendence. Yet, while we may read their stories as finalized, accomplished, or codified, they are ciphers to be unlocked and decoded.
We learn from these examples: First, even our most personal, wrenching moments are imbedded in and bound by the eternal, the transcendent. This gives us hope that there is something greater and beyond the present. Second, we learn that words never tell the whole story. The anguish and silent cries—even the heights of ecstasy and joy—elude language. We cannot find in speech what we seek. Only by risking our hearts to emptiness—to the despair that there may be no path and no road—do we find what is immeasurable. We share then in the communion of all the saints who walk the earth—the communion of direct experience.
As we open ourselves to our true feelings, we participate in the beginning, in the undefiled state prior to error, sin, and pain. This giving ourselves away is like the passion of a child, of the unhampered pure heart of the person who has no concept that life could be other than holy. Is there anything other than being totally oneself?
BEVERLY LANZETTA © 2016. All rights reserved.