Saturday, September 27, 2008

Maculate Love's Wounding

It rained, and then it rained some more. The world darkened, and glistened; the passing traffic hissed. The air itself shimmered. Looking out, I felt small, vulnerable. Water, the most intimate element, was engulfing the street. Water within, water without: a skein of neurons makes a poor umbrella.

It rains, and I return once again to the Cloud of Unknowing's "authentic sorrow."

He alone feels authentic sorrow who realizes not only what he is, but that he is.

Who hasn't been overwhelmed by the sudden naked, piercing, vertiginous recognition of "that I am" ? We have been thrown into Being and awareness of Being, clad only in love and language. We live out our days on a small strand of time between between two eternities. We live them out, as alone as we feel, together.

We try to hide inside our skins; we may be, as the Buddhists say, "skin bags," but, as they also say, our skeins interlock, interact, interpenetrate. Our origination, our arising is dependent.

We are one body, says the prayer, for we all partake of the one bread.

And what's in the cup ? Wine, yes, but also water, seamlessly combined. Divinity and humanity perfectly united. Like blood itself: water and matter, particle and wave.

The cup of salvation. Now there's a big, ecclesiatic word. A fraught, frightening word. A word like a Golem; well, all words are Golems, muddy, lumbering creations. But salvation -- sooner or later it comes up, and demands to be reckoned with.

We awaken, terrified, alone, shipwrecked on a narrow strand between two oceans of time.

Save me, we cry.

And, suddenly, there is water, always more water, a crushing benefice of water. It engulfs us, and we drown.

And we awaken -- we really do -- in a new place, where the water of life, bright as crystal, flows ... through the middle of the street of the city.

It's not always easy to see that City.

It's easier to fixate on on the bright, spinning detritus that rides the gutter torrents toward the sewer, things so simple to desire or despise. Their passage is hypnotic. I stare like a sleeper caught in a solitary, fetishistic, delicious nightmare.

But back to salvation. There are instructions. Drink this, all of you. What's in the cup ? Should we be wary of something magic, like Alice's "Drink Me" potion ? The Golem chuckles. Magic is his bag, after all. His life is one, long, cheap trick. He can't help it.

But we pity him anyway, motion to him to join us at the rail. For drinks. For conviviality, which means, after all, living together. Living together as bodies, and as One Body; forgiven and forgiving; loved, and loving; served, and serving.

This is the City into which authentic sorrow leads us, the City of the great "I Am," which engulfs and heals and transforms the "that I am" that is our hearts' deepest wound.

It is night, and it is raining, and God is with us. Alleluia. Amen.

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