It is interesting how many of the illuminating discoveries of 20th century psychology bear out the beliefs of so many spiritual teachers in both East and West that I am a double person.  I am conscious of my self in terms of my ego, that ego which is so demanding, so clamorous, that it can deceive me into thinking that it is all that I am.  But this is not so, for there is another self, an inner, eternal self, my spirit, that spark of divinity which links me to the Divine Ground; and it is the purpose of my life to discover and identify myself with this true self, until inner and outer reality are one and I achieve an integrity whose marks will be an inner stillness, unity and peace of mind.  I am a kind of double person on a double journey.  The outer journey, the public one, has to do with  the outer reality, with people and places and events, with what I do and achieve in my life.  The inner, private journey has to do with a different kind of exploration, and it needs different words with which to describe it; words like faith and wonder.  Words which have to do with that giving attention that is the nerve centre of all religious belief, for it is as we exercise our faculty of wonder that we become aware of the beyond in our midst.

The most likely way in which my outer and inner journeys may conflict is in the confusion between what I do and what I am.  One of our most Godlike characteristics as transcendent beings is to learn how to be, for there is a still centre at the very deepest part of you where you are yourself without subtraction.  But it is a sacred place, and sacred places are a little scary.  I must face the fact that I am conscious of an inner mystery that goes beyond me; with the transcendent reality to which I give the name God; and with the fact that I can transcend myself.  I know that I may be formed from the dust of the earth and that my body will one day return to it, yet I am dust capable of a transcendent creativity, capable of transcending myself, going beyond myself, in the give-and-take of love. And, not least, I am surrounded by the witness of those in every age who have used the words and sounds and images that spring from the creative imagination.  This too is a mystery.  Certain combinations of words, the way paint is placed on a canvas or notes on a score, have the power to move me because they speak of something beyond; they transcend time and space and, in some inexplicable way, heart speaks to heart.

“What is art?”, “What is poetry”, “What is music?” is one way of asking “What is a human being?”  For I believe the mystery of what I am and what you are has to do before all else with our capacity to create, and be possessed by, such things.  It is a sharing in the creative act that is no less than God-like, and that, too, is a source of wonder. Most people know something of this beyond, what we call transcendence.  It seems to be part of the gut-feeling of being human to experience a sense of yearning, even of loss, a restless, seeking spirit which can feel like a kind of homesickness.  There are times when we ache for that which will fulfill and complete us; a longing, it may be, for the lost state of innocence.  Certainly, in the presence of beauty we may have a sense of both delight and longing.  At its simplest it is a feeling that there is a ‘something more’ that transcends the everyday world of sights and sounds and surface chatter.

At this Eastertide the Divine Ground, the beyond in our midst, is highlighted by the wonder of our  Redemption as a man was crucified, buried and resurrected in order to win an eternity of bliss for every one of us; a vivid illustration and proof of the magnitude of God’s love for each of us.

Next Meeting is on the 7th May at 7.30pm at the Rectory.                  Brian Fletcher