We have looked at the meaning of the ‘Kingdom’, an important concept. Another important one to consider is the ‘Spirit’. What is meant by that and what is the relationship between the two?
John Main in Word into Silence calls the Spirit the presence of Jesus within us, “The presence of Jesus within us, His Holy Spirit, calls out to us to become fully conscious of this level of being. In the twinkling of an eye, we awaken to ourselves, to the Spirit dwelling in us, and thence to consciousness of the communion within God Himself in which we are called to share. And so, we awaken …..to a complete communion of all beings in Being itself.” (p.38) The Spirit, the presence of Jesus within us, is therefore part of the energy that is the whole field of the Kingdom, connecting us as an integral part of the whole, the All. Every one of us is rooted in the immense field of matter, energy and consciousness that is the Divine. The Katha Upanishad expresses this so beautifully, as Laurence points out in Jesus the Teacher Within (p.177): “As fire, though one, takes new forms in all things that burn, the Spirit, though one, takes new forms in all things that live, He is within all, and also outside.” We and creation are contained by the Spirit but the Spirit is not contained by creation.
Laurence Freeman explains the connection as follows: “St John says that Jesus ‘sends’ this Spirit from the Father: the ‘spirit of truth that issues from the Father’….He also describes Jesus as saying that the Father will send the Spirit, who is to be our advocate, ‘in my name’……The Spirit comes from the Father but also from Jesus who is one with the Father. The communion of Jesus with His Father is the Spirit.” (p.185) The Holy Spirit is therefore the Spirit of Love, the energy of love that connects all, the Father and the Son, the creative force and creation, including us.
Becoming aware of this tremendous gift develops only gradually: “At first his presence may be only glimpsed as potency, something we simply have to hope for, like an unborn child. Gradually this seed of potency called faith grows into knowledge and experience. Jesus is formed and comes to birth in us.” (p,177)
What really prevents us from being aware of this is our limiting our being solely to the field of the ego. We need to grow in seeing beyond the part of reality that the ego concentrates on – we need to break down the barrier that imprisons us. If we don’t, the result is a feeling of isolation, loneliness and depression, so prevalent in our time, as all we can see are the separate material objects that surround us and we are blind to the existence of a wider, all-embracing Reality, the Divine. The barrier gradually opens for us by our letting go of all that concerns us, by being silent and open in meditation, not expecting anything but trusting and waiting and that in turn “determines how clearly we can see Jesus in the Spirit. If we remain unconscious we stay in a dreamlike state and will not see what can only be known in the wakefulness of the Spirit” (p.175) It is the Spirit that parts the veil between the realities for us and allows us to see the whole of our being, which is much more than we think we are.
Then meditation gives rise to true prayer. Then it is no longer we who pray but the Spirit that prays within us, as John Main reminds us: “Prayer then, is the life of the Spirit of Jesus within our human heart….We are praying when we are awakening to the presence of this Spirit in our heart……There is only one prayer, the stream of love between the Spirit of the risen Jesus and His Father, in which we are incorporate.”(p.39 Word into Silence)