Tucked away within a slime covered oyster, one lying in the murky depths of the swirling ocean, lies a pearl of great price. The divers of indigenous peoples take their life in their hands to dive deep to bring to the surface these watery treasures, for sale and display. Likewise it takes a level of daring for us to enter the murky depths of our inner world to discover what lies beneath. It’s a dive that many of us refuse to take, particularly, may I tentatively suggest, those of us who claim to follow the Nazarene. Within the confines of both conservative and progressive belief systems, inner diving is looked upon with great suspicion. Labelled as a form of self-absorption, a wasteful narcissism, we’re advised not to dabble our toes in the waters of Self.
For the conservative disciple, Jesus/Yeshua, is all we need. We keep looking outwards at mental projections of his death and resurrection, believing that we’re somehow saved from an eternity outside the reach of God’s love. Of course a measure of inner knowledge is occasionally suggested, but it refers only to the indwelling Spirit that has somehow come to take up residence within the faithful believer. Now where exactly Spirit is believed to have settled isn’t really explained, with both soul (psyche) and spirit (ours) bandied around as religious buzz words without any real explanation. No, the emphasis is primarily one of relating to an external God, One who is somehow out there. Mission, the evangelisation of others, is the overarching goal of the conservative believer, with very little time left for Self exploration and inner knowledge. Brainwashed that such introversion is for the selfish New Age types, the pearl is left to sit within the encrusted shell of ego, our wounded and dare I say it, unhealed psyche-soul.
For the progressive too, the inner search for meaning is also a somewhat Don Quixote waste of time. Rightly believing the Nazarene to be a revolutionary of the scapegoating social order, the Progressive sets out of a Love mission to show the compassion of God to others. No airy-fairy pie-in-the-sky love for the Progressive, but a practical siding with the victims of society in a sleeves rolled-up kind of way. For the Progressive the Nazarene is to be found in the tear-stained face of others. A vital part of the salvation narrative but not the whole story. For the Progressive the inner world is one of angst and pain, the drivers of their compassion for wounded others. Yet, they too seem reluctant to explore their own inner world, preferring to explore the inner world of others instead. Much less painful and perhaps much more ego boosting. No, the Progressive follower of the Nazarene tends to see the Queendom-Kingdom without, in the mess of the here and now. The realm of Divine Love within is one that is believed but not really sought. More important things to do in our earthed, yet partial take on the Nazarene and his message.
Both religious tribes tend to view each other with deep suspicion while leaving the inner journey thing to the mystics of other traditions. Such inner travellers are viewed as a bit of a waste of space and those to be pitied with their tales of self-knowledge and an inner Presence. Get into that stuff too much and you’ll soon be living at the top of an Egyptian desert pole or, more likely, taking a much-needed break in a mental health institution.
No, let’s face it. Inner knowledge isn’t top of the Yeshua followers to do list. Best left to the Mind, Body, Spirit brigade and their supposed, uncaring narcissism. And yet, the divine portal, the pearl of the human spirit, still lies deep within, growing and crying out for expression. And expression it will eventually get.
When the masks of ego fall away during the performance we call life, when the slime of our shell-like ego is washed away in the storms that beset us, when something breaks within, opening the clamp-like grip of our psyche-soul to reveal a touch of Source, the divine deposit that makes us who we are. Our authentic self, that part of us untouched by pain and struggle, that centre that flows into the Energy of God.
And the way in?
Silence and reflection as we lie on the Divine Psychiatrist’s couch, willing to meet our shadow Self with all its warts and deep felt pain. A passer-by on our journey Home, one we can’t ignore but need to embrace as we walk towards the Light. Such sessions aren’t the result of strenuous Self-Improvement effort but the co-operation of a psyche-soul that knows the time has come to relinquish control. The day of ego has passed and Divine Love begins to do its healing, yet painful thing.
Is it any wonder that we keep busy with Jesus? Better an outside Saviour than one who walks with us through the valley of psyche-soul, the valley of death into the pastures lands of spirit-Self and Divine Love.
Now where did I put that mask?