From my journal for January 27
Quaker meeting here at Kendal. Lots and lots of thoughts. The idea of opening the definition of “love,” along with Erica’s assignment of “facets of love,” exploded my brain, but like a soap bubble, not a bomb.
Sitting there, I tried to listen to “God’s voice.” But I was listening for something out there. So I moved my intention and attention to a place under my heart, and suddenly I had such a sense of goodness, of goodness deep and tender, far beyond any idea of goodness that’s possible. I understood that that’s who I am, the seed of god in me.
Erica’s assignment of “facets of love” was to help me see that I’m not as unloving as I think I am.
The Quakers teach that “God” is inside us as a voice of guidance, the “Inner Teacher.”
Thinking about that goodness that’s so huge I have no name for it. Perhaps it has to be God. It’s good, like good bread, or good weather. Not like good & evil, it’s bigger and includes both. in some higher dimension. So many dimensions above/beyond the one we live in. That goodness — it’s the source of all, and it holds all. Way beyond even the concept of god.
I periodically think about my sense of goodness and its qualities. Reading about Sister Helen’s powerful, loving force, I see something quite different. My goodness is like a star. It’s powerful, it radiates, but it doesn’t move and flow. It can inspire, but it doesn’t actually do anything in the world. What Sister Helen is describing is a force that’s active in the world, although it can only act through human beings who have been willing to be its instrument.
[typing this up, I see that I say “my goodness” as though I were that good, not just perceiving it. Some part of me says “Well, maybe that’s true. Maybe I really am good in that way.”]
“Sister Helen Prejean” is one of the women Carol Lee Flinders talks about in Enduring Lives. She works with men condemned to death, and advocates against the death penalty. Her experience of God is bigger than mine. She says of her childhood: “We were loved more than the law allows.” Enduring Lives, p268
In the Dark Night of the Soul, he talks about having to let go of all attachments and rest only in the “love of God.” I seem to be letting go of a lot. But I have a problem with “loving God.” The word carries too much judgement. I can’t imagine loving a God that I’m not convinced is good. I don’t see anything to “love” in the goodness that I perceived, though maybe my definition of love is too limited. I wonder if I could say I “love” the immense, complex, creative, beautiful universe that I saw in a vision a while back? I love the earth — no question — and what is that Universe if not the source of the planet Earth?
At the end of May, I wrote: “That goodness beyond goodness, that I touched once, is bearing the pain too.”
It looks like I never did write the original story of that vision of the Universe. It must have been in 2013, before the posts about it. Nowadays we find the use of the term “Big Bang” as though it were a proven truth. But I was thinking about the Big Bang and Steady State theories that were both being considered when I got my degree in the 60’s. I thought that they were both simplistic, that the real universe must be more complex than that. Suddenly I saw a huge multidimensional, multicolored image of something that contained lots of points of light in swirls and feathers and bubbles expanding and bursting… and I got a “felt sense” of the reality it was trying to illustrate, its capacity of being beyond anything we could imagine.