From Laurence Freeman OSB, "Meeting the Other," LIGHT WITHIN: The Inner Path of Meditation (New York: Crossroad, 1989), pp. 65-67
Every relationship of our life, every turning towards another, is an ever-deepening encounter with the Other in whose image we are made.
When we allow ourselves to experience this, which we do when we meditate and when we love, we discover that our fear can only finally be dispelled by the encounter itself and that the deeper the encounter each time, the less fear survives it. . . .Until we have had the courage to face and encounter the other we have not yet found ourself. Until then we are always other to ourself. We are a stranger to ourself. This is the state of egoism, being an alien to our own self. In that state all others are opposite to us, opposed to us. We experience sadness, mistrust, and violence. The first step out of this hell is to have the courage to encounter ourself as ourself. By our own inner resources none of us could do that. We would be forever unredeemed if it were not for the intervening love of God. The destiny that has led us to meditate and to know the relationships of love that are the incarnation of our encounter with God is the sign in our lives of his redemptive love.
When we meditate we learn to leave all images of ourself behind because the images are strangers to our real self. They are like inaccurate labels. Our labeling self-analysis, which thinks to be so clever, isolates us from the knowledge of the real self and from the redemptive encounter with reality. We imprison ourselves in self-consciousness. We have only to understand that we have been liberated and that perfect liberty is achieved in the depth of our spirit in the liberty of Christ, the liberty of his pure love. We can turn to that reality if only we can learn to be simple, to accept the freely given gift and to be faithful to the gift. If we learn to say the mantra it teaches us how to love, and it will teach us how to expand beyond all images of ourself into the reality of ourself as one with the reality of Christ. It will teach us to be ourself and to know the joy of being in communion.
After meditation: “Black Swallowtail,” Mary Oliver, RED BIRD (Boston: Beacon Press, 2008), p. 40.
interesting but not exactly lovely,
humped along among the parsley leaves
eating, always eating. Then
one night it was gone and in its place
a small green confinement hung by two silk threads
on a parsley stem. I think it took nothing with it
except faith, and patience. And then one morning
it expressed itself into the most beautiful being.
Carla Cooper - firstname.lastname@example.org