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FIRST THOUGHTS: The Love that Passes all Understanding   by Jane Guyton

My path of contemplation of the Divine reveals to me that conscious, unconditional Love is the creative power of the universe.  But it’s not a Love I can grasp.  It’s a Love that passes all understanding. This Loving Consciousness created the universe out of nothing. Doesn’t that blow your mind?

We can’t begin to understand this.  One moment there was nothing.  The next, there was something.  That’s what we have named the Big Bang. As children of the Big Bang, we are invited to make up our minds whether we believe this singular act of creation to be good or bad.  In his book, “Evolutionary Enlightenment” (1)  Andrew Cohen comes down firmly on the side of “good”, and so do I. I do not believe in heaven as a kind of celestial reward.  Heaven is that which has been given to us free and clear for our life work and habitation, right now. That which came into being so long ago, was, is and always shall be — good.

When we reach states of bliss in meditation, we are resting in the being of the Love that created everything. For me, the fact that this Love is a completely unsolvable Mystery is a profound relief. the Mind that designed it all is utterly incomprehensible.  I’m not called upon to work it all out, or to devise clever explanations.  I’m just called to live the Life I’ve been given as fully and with as much gratitude as possible. As an artist, I cannot imagine that any creator could desire anything more than the whole-hearted appreciated of his or her creation.

Once the original act of creation happened, a universe of consciousness was born, and set us on the evolutionary path that we follow today.  This path contains pain and suffering, always has and always will. Giving birth is not pain-free.

“Suffering is the sandpaper of our life. It does its work of shaping us. Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”Ram Dass

It’s the “Becoming” part of the “Being/Becoming” dyad.  It is the black dot on the white background of the T’ai Chi symbol (or perhaps the other way around…). It is the Mind that is complementary to Love  But the more awake and aware we are – or the more we can live in Christ Consciousness or Buddha Mind or any other mystical state – the less suffering we will experience, so we are told, because these states enable us to accept what is.

Have you tried this?  I have, and it’s not that easy, especially when I’m actually in pain.  But the path is the goal, so I don’t expect to transcend suffering just because I believe it’s possible.  My personal path is to keep on with the practice and to notice with hindsight, how far I’ve come in the acceptance game, and how great it feels to let go of resistance to the many things about which I can do nothing.  Honestly, it’s a kind of celestial 12-Step Program with Love as my sponsor.

“We live on the brink of disaster

because we do not know how to let life alone.

We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions

and paradoxes of which true life is full.”

Thomas Merton


So the ground of all being, the Love that passes all understanding, enables us to transcend suffering by continuously inviting us back to wholeness. Sometimes we heed the call and sometimes we don’t. This is blessed transcendence is what I call grace.  Sometimes grace visits us unexpectedly and we are overcome by the feeling that we did nothing to deserve this good thing.  Other times we experience grace after much spiritual practice. Often life seems to render elusive, this feeling of being blessed.  And yet, the creative impulse of the universe impels us to keep on the path, to keep up the practice and to do it with joy.  We can’t get there by trying.  We can only be there by not trying.

When something was created out of nothing, we were all “there” because as we know, matter cannot be destroyed or created (at least not by us) – only changed in form  Therefore, in this way of thinking, we’ll always be “there”.  I suppose you could refer to this as eternal life but my problem with that phrase is that it implies “life” as we know it, and I don’t think we can say that.

It is, however, a very hopeful way of seeing because it proposes that everything that is happening no matter how dreadful, is moving us along an eternal, evolutionary path.  Those of us who explore mysticism may be aware that we are actually rewiring our own minds to align with this Loving Impulse, so that we can live authentically.  When we do this, we draw others to us, not by preaching, but by living our highest values and by changing the quality of our energy fields – our thoughts – to align with the creative impulse of Life.  We become magnetically attractive and we create emotional safety for other human beings. In this way, we bear witness to that original good thing that was done when the Universe began. Indeed, every time we do something completely, spontaneously, intuitively loving, we are echoing that original creative act of Love.

I have long subscribed to the notion that consciousness does not die, it evolves. I think I first read about this idea in the writings of Teilhard de Chardin and I thought – yes – I think so too!  The theory I outline above, with much oversimplification, owes a great deal to the writings of Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber (2).  But I can lay claim to a certain degree of authorship as much of the above comes out of my own experience.  I’m constantly encouraged and fascinated that the mystics of every age have reached similar conclusions despite using vastly different language and imagery.

I’m also rather a scientific thinker.  I could never, for instance, take metaphysical Truths, myths or symbols for literal truths, but this meta-theory is entirely compatible with scientific theory, so it satisfies that part of my brain that wants things to make sense, while concurrently entrancing the other part of my brain that sees everything symbolically and mystically.  Mind and Heart, thinking and loving are in harmony. One without the other will always be incomplete.  How very unscientific to think that the scientific method reveals the only truth we can know! How blissful to trust that there are many things I can never know or understand.  This is what is meant, I think, to “become as a little child.”

And now, I believe, we recognize that there are really only two kinds of people in the world: the ones who know we are connected to the universe, to the earth and to each other, and those who do not.  But we are all part of the universal family, and we are all on the evolutionary path, just at different stops along the way.  It doesn’t matter what spiritual path a person is on – he or she fits into this distinction one way or the other.

Not everyone can endure long periods of silence.  Not everyone belongs to a spiritual community or religion.  Not everyone wants to think along these lines, or has the same kinds of question I have.  It doesn’t matter.  Once you have set foot on this path, you are on it for life, and you begin to see through the veil of separation, that there’s learning from absolutely everything.  Every person no matter who or where, is part of Life and as such offers something to us all and evokes something in us all. The richness of our inner lives determines how much we shall learn and benefit and be blessed by what is evoked.  This richness never comes from the outside.  The experience may be outer, but the interpretation and integration are essentially internal. a great book on this topic is “The Power of Now” by Eckert Tolle.

I have many questions about how to live from this knowing.  I know that my deepest desire is to be authentic and to be in relationship with other authentic beings.  I am in the process of discovering what this means and how I must live in order to fulfil what I think is the highest human destiny.  I look forward to sharing some of my discoveries with those who are interested in the same questions, and with the same passion that I have.

Heaven and earth are threads from one loom.

Shaker proverb

 Jane Guyton



(1) Evolutionary Enlightenment by Andrew Cohen, Enlighten Next 2011

(2) A Theory of Everything by Ken Wilber, Shambala, 2000

(3) The Power of Now by Eckert Tolle, New World Library 1999

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