Thursday of Lent Week 5

Life comes in many shapes and sizes and from unexpected directions. It is irrepressible. The denial of life, however, is rampant too. The denial often begins with fear because life presages change and so it demands that we adapt. If this demand scares us too much we attempt to diminish the potential of the new life and to limit its energy so that we can better control it. Before long all we have done is succeed in stifling it. And then we complain because life seems to have got boring or feels unfulfilled.

One characteristic of life is change – we call this growth. Life is also self-communicating and brings to consciousness the relationships it establishes. An important question for human beings - especially in a culture like ours that relies so much on virtual reality for its stimulation - is do we feel really alive? Are we aware of change as growth or merely as challenges to our attempts to be in control. As beings-in-relationship do we see these relationships as the sacred ground of our existence or as adjuncts, add-ons to the ego’s quest for happiness on its own terms?

Such questions can of course also become life-denying if they make us too self-centred. Life radiates outwards from the mysterious centre of its origin. It is that centre with which we most need to feel connected, not the shadowy centre which is our ego. Meditation shifts the centre in the right direction.

Two days ago we opened our new Meditatio Centre in London. It is a sign of change and expanding relationships that has evolved from the Meditatio program in the community that we started three years ago. Many people came to the centre to celebrate this new life and to wish it well. The beginnings of new things – babies, books or centres – are naturally joyful and pulse with optimism and potential. They remind us what life means.

Meditation makes this kind of experience of the beginning of a new life-form continuous. It stays fresh because we learn to be more alive day by day, less frightened of growth, less in denial. ‘I have come that you may have life, life in all its fullness.’ This translates into personal experience. Or rather it is not translated. It is discovered on the way that is life.

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