Only Connect

Our wisest people keep insisting on the healing power of connecting things in our minds, of trying to complete some fragments of life’s mystery as we experience it. You may have noticed this connecting dimension of my illness as expressed in these pages. How to see my personal pain as part of the universal and incarnate, beloved and broken presence of the Risen Christ, or of the free Holy Spirit at work and at play across the painfully evolving heart of the cosmos and across the equally painfully evolving cosmos of my heart? How do I lose my smaller existence so as to find the abundant life, to read my present pain through the lens of the bigger picture of an evolving universe: ‘I live now not I, but a greater Life possesses me.’?

Within the last year I wrote An Astonishing Secret: the Love Story of Creation and the Wonder of You. It was full, for me at least, of vital, spiritual connections and clarifying mental observations. It was also completed before cancer struck, when my mind was clear and my health was enviable. Trying to create those healing connections just now, in the middle of my troubled nights, at the gut-level of pain and visceral reality, is a very different task. As I tried to explain in the introduction to the content of this book, the effort here is to meditate on suffering primarily from the felt experiences of heart and body as well as from the cerebral perspectives of the mind.

May I mention again, by way of a brief summary, some central themes and topics around connecting. Try to bring the Zen wisdom of Beginner’s Mind to what follows. Let go of all that brainwashing that so poisoned our early lessons about God. Take first steps into another place and any one of them will open up many more paths into the mystery. And notice that all of them are interwoven with paradox and contradiction. In a confused way we are sometimes gifted with glimpses through a glass darkly – a healthy challenge to much of the indoctrination about God and Creation by the teaching Institution of the Church of our youth. A huge revolution and revelation is now afoot. Our constant emphasis on Incarnation is leading us to beautiful insights. One concerns the revelation of the connection between Matter and Spirit. Only it is not about connecting, but something infinitely closer. It is to the graced fusion of the two that Incarnation testifies. You just cannot have one without the other. It is the origin, foundation and ultimate destiny that is the love and meaning at the heart of Christianity. No other religion does it as well.

(Dancing to my Death pp158-159)