Saturday, July 7, 2012

Awakened by Grace

Two picture books fascinated me in childhood.  One held photographs illustrating religions of the world.  The other, drawings of every type of musical instrument.  In the unfinished attic, across from our bedroom, was a mostly empty room.  I recall perusing Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman in a lovely large volume.  Of course I didn't read it all or even understand a lot.  But those waves of verse, first hints of mysticism and oneness (I've only just realized) were part of a unity.   At one with the woods and the church of my childhood Places where a child could be alone, a soul awakened.  Along with books which fed the soul and linked it to all that is and might be

Childhood has all too many straight-jackets.  Holy Mystery is a welcome reprieve.  Even if one doesn't really recognize it till much later.

Recently someone asked me a question.  Based upon a book I'd loaned.  The question related to the concept of the elemental - a term translated from French, best explained by these quotes from the book:
"Elemental," as I understand it, means "reduced to the essential." ... The elemental refers to the origins, the ground, the constitutive qualities of something. ... The elemental becomes a "carrier" or an epiphany of the essential.  ... The essential, in its turn, designates the primary, the vital, the indispensable, and the necessary.  The essential is the irreducible truth of a reality; its authentic identity and raison d'être.
One illustration, suggested by the author, is the Virgin of the Sign (icon).  I paired it here with a numinous scene from nature which extends and amplifies it, setting up a kind of resonance within ourselves and the natural world, which points at the same time to the beyond in our midst.   My first paragraph and my next point to the same relationship.

Like a musical theme that runs through our lives.  The simplest events of daily living.  As in this calligraphy quote I have before me:  The Mystery of Christ is at work in everything however humble or humdrum.  Like whatever it is that bids the quanta leap at once but in direction free.  So pondering the question asked the elemental has revealed itself in inconsequential moments.  The making and the drinking of my morning tea.  Chopping vegetables for dinner.  The ritual of breakfast.  The ritual of dinner.  Watering the garden or writing this.  Streaming the theme of hidden celestial music.

All creation vibrates.  Is tuned.  Each single note is sacred. 

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