Zion

Concentration is the Gate to Zion, and the revelation and wisdom of Christ

This week, we begin our study on Concentration (samādhi), this is the still, focused mind we develop through meditation and mindful living.  It is the 4th of the 5 powers, and a strong tool in our awakening to God and things as they are.

Mindfulness develops Concentration, and Concentration causes us to experience the deep interconnectedness of all things and the basic joy and peace that is our natural state.  In this state of Concentration, we are closest to the Holy Spirit, and are most capable of hearing the Still, Small Voice of God, our gentle and subtle Guide.

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
— Eph 1: 15-17

A Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation of Christ

Wisdom is the gentle guidance of the Unseen, as well as deep understanding of our own interconnectedness.  Revelation is the naked awareness of things as they are, when the veils are pulled back and we see things clearly.

What is it that we are trying to see?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
— Colossians 1:15-20 (NASB)

Christ Jesus is the creator of all things.  From the laws of physics to the subtle energies of our psyche, all things were created through him and for him.  He is the One holding all things together.  Any and all experiences of the sublime interconnectedness and interbeing of all things is a direct experience of Christ.

Have you looked out at a starry night or the dawn breaking over a hill and felt this connection to all things?  If you have, you experienced Christ.  In meditation, and we focus our awareness, and the artificial walls drop away, and we feel ourselves connected to the cosmos in the place of peace and unity.  That is an experience of Christ.

Through our Lord, all things are reconciled because on the cross, Jesus stood in the gap between life and death, faith and doubt, hope and fear.  Choose any pair of opposites and you will find them in the crucifixion.  But he did not just stand there, he transcended them all.  In that singular moment of sacrifice, he demonstrated and conquered the strained duality of the world, and opened the way for the reconciliation of all things in him.

In our walk with God, we seek to live this wisdom, and behold this marvelous revelation that all things are interconnected. 

This is the Gate to Zion

As we awake to this wisdom through these revelations of the interbeing of all things, we start to learn how to live in the kingdom.  We see that how we treat everyone and everything has an effect on us.  We stop living the lie of separateness.

Life in Zion is living in the revelation that we are all interconnected, and reconciling all things to the whole.  This is the path of Peace and Compassion.  This is the wellspring of Courage that can conquer all fear.

Sit, meditate.  Focus on your breathing, and gently return your focus every time it wanders.  Enter the Gate.  Enter the peace that passes all understanding.  Invite Christ into your heart, and live in his Sacred Heart.  This is the path.  This is Salvation.  Not only for our souls, but for the whole world.

Bring Order to Chaos through the Light of God and Living in Zion

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
— John 1:1-5 (New American Standard)

This week, we have been building up our Energy/Effort/Persistence (viriya) by focusing on the virtue (middah) of Order (seder).  That may seem like a strange choice, but with a little discernment, we realized it was the right thing to do.

Effort is one of the Five Strengths, and as such, it controls Laziness.  When we thought about this, we found many examples of Effort in our lives, and while I would not say our Effort is perfect, we had a difficult time finding the flaw we needed to work on, or how exactly we could work on building up the virtue.

When we turned our eye to what it is meant to control, Laziness, we saw that while we couldn't call ourselves lazy, there were significant aspects of our lives that were blocked.  There are messes so big and projects so daunting, so we choose not to expend any effort at all toward them.

Ah ha!  That is the biggest problem with our practice of Right Effort.  When we couldn't see a way forward, we turned a went another way.  The messes seemed insurmountable.  So what we needed to focus on was our understanding and practice of Order (seder).

As our Musar text, we picked How to make sense of any mess, by Abby Covert.  I would recommend this book to anyone who needs to do this.  The book is simple straightforward and easy to read.  It will change the way you see any mess in your life.

I am not going to go on about the book.  I might later, but right now, I feel like I should focus more on the spiritual things.  The book to eminently practical.

That is not to say that spirituality isn't, but I know that I often spend way too much time in my head wrestling with arcane theological and mystical insights, but what I have learned this week is that my understanding of spiritual order has a direct effect on my practice of order in my daily life.

The Order of Zion

I have been baptized and confirmed in Jesus Christ and thus, I am a citizen of Zion still living in Babylon.  I hope to build a little piece of Zion here, but for now I am surrounded by Babylon.  I am consecrated to Jesus through Mary, and I awake everyday with the familiar prayer, "I am all yours, and all that I have is yours, O Jesus, through Mary, our Holy Mother."

Zion is the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is not a political change here, nor is it a geographical location.  I am a warrior/ambassador of Zion, and if you are Friend of Christ and his Cross, you are too.  I cannot cower in the face of the mess of the world.

My work and practice is to make myself into the best warrior/ambassador that I can be, and hopefully make other interested in the taking citizenship in Zion as well.  I have to not only fill myself with the energies of God, but connect my life to them so they can flow through me unimpeded.

The Order of Zion is not learning the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality and taking up the ten practices.  It is learning to live Dabhar, Royal Personhood, Kenosis, Creativity, and Transformation (among so many other things).  It is not enough to know what Dabhar is.  It is the creative word of God.  I have to learn to connect with Dabhar, and to live it out in my life.

I have a lot of ideas about how to do this, and I will share them as I write them out.  I would love to hear your comments and ideas.  I am moving forward through the practice of Musar, since I have seen it have the most effect on my heart and my life.

O, Light of God that could not be overcome, shine through me and conquer the darkness around me.  Amen.