Today I would like to share with you a guest post from my friend Jeff Campbell. Jeff is a member of our community and has written on New Eden a few times before. You can find more articles by him by using the search bar at the bottom of any page on the website. Jeff is a writer, contemplative, special educator, and teacher mentor. You can find his catalog of suggested spiritual practices by clicking HERE.
If I had made the world it would have ended up a pretty simple affair. The world is a pretty complicated place, and this is a pretty good proof that I am not God. (Those who know me well would tell you– quite rightly– that this is only one of many proofs that I am not God.)
One of these complexities is the ways that one thing seems to flow into another. The bible is full of statements about how Christ is in God and how we are in Christ and therefore we are in God. Tradition complicates this matter further with all sorts of confounding statements about a trinity which is both three and one. And as if this all weren’t enough, those of us who identify as mystics attest to this blurring of boundaries as a matter of our lived experience.
In the simple universe that I would have created, if we had an image for this time of year of a young women, pregnant, with no place to go, it would have been easy to identify this figure as someone else, outside of me. If I did identify with her, I never would have thought to imagine that this vulnerable young person might have been pregnant with some sort of instantiation of God, Godself. What an unexpected treat that we live in such a complex world!
When we enter into this advent time and explore the imagery of Mary in this much more complicated world we inhabit, she certainly begins as a historical figure who lived two thousand years ago. Certainly she is someone other than us. And certainly she is pregnant with someone other than us too. And yet. She is more.
Mary is us. We are Mary. And she is pregnant with a human, Jesus of Nazareth. And she is giving birth to the Christ. But also, she is pregnant with us. We are about to be born.
At Advent, we are pregnant. And we are the owner of the inn, declaring that there is no room. We are the person in charge of the stables who let Joseph and Mary in. And also, we dwell in the womb with Jesus.
We dwell in this womb because we are patiently waiting for his coming into the world. There are lots of ways to talk and think about what this coming means. But however the particulars work out, there must be some element of our potential awakened with Jesus’ birth. If his coming means anything, it must open up certain possibilities within us.
Today, I’d like to invite you into a practice that embraces this womb-like state, this time of waiting. This practice was initially inspired by a particularly vibrant section of Phileena Heuertz’s Mindful Silence, but at this time of year it takes on a whole new resonance. I hope that it can deepen your experience of waiting and anticipation at this potentially amazing time of year.
- Close your eyes. Sit in a comfortable position.
- Take 3 deep breaths. Try to fully empty your lungs with the exhales and fully inflate your lungs with the inhales.
- Imagine yourself dwelling in the womb of God. It is a place that is safe, comfortable, and warm.
- Feel all your needs for food and oxygen being met through a cord that reaches into your body through your navel. Know that you are protected in this place.
- Continue those deep breaths. Luxuriate in the way you are being nourished and prepared for what is next.
- Take all the time that you need.
- God is within you. Know that this is true. Take a deep breath.
- Live in the paradox that even as you are in God, God is in you.
- God may be small, now. But a divine spark is within. See this spark as a child in a womb.
- Know that you are nourishing this God-spark. It is growing strong and healthy in the dark mystery within you.
- As you continue to breathe deeply, and hold to the image that you are in God’s womb, cultivate this idea that God is also in your womb.
- Sit in this comfortable paradox, this warm, nourishing safe reality for as long as you need, today.
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