Sunday, June 01, 2008

Live Like the Birds and Flowers


In one of the most famous sermons in the history of spirituality, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus becomes very Taoistic. He commands his followers not to worry, fret, fear, or analyze too much. Even too much planning can harm one's spirituality; it can do violence to one's faith.

In another text, Jesus uttered the famous words, "Lest ye be as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom." But the word in the original ancient Greek that is rendered "little children" does not mean four-year-old toddlers. The original word used here meant "nursing infants." So, he was implying that we should completely relax and go with the Flow of our heavenly (interior) Parents-- God, our FatherMother.

In both recommendations, Jesus was suggesting the startling reality that we try to let go of control-- in the common vernacular, "Let go and let God."

In our everyday lives, we often, and almost always, try to control too much. We try to control other adults, or to influence them. We try to control events and outcomes. We try to control our everythought, through stricter and stricter laws. We are always strangled by this (usually) futile drive to control. If we let go of rigid controls, we feel as if we are in "free fall," and are about to crash!

But Jesus recommends trust in the Mind that rules the universe. We will not "crash," he implies, but will fulfill the "will of God." If we let go of agitated and strict control, we will perform, spontaneously, the desires of Love (the "will of God.")

We simply cannot live exactly as do birds and flowers. This literalism is an extreme that would lead us to absurdity. But we can learn from all three examples-- birds, flowers, and nursing infants. What valuable principle can we learn?

Perhaps the essence of Taoism is this one attitude-- letting go of all control, including controlling words and behaviors, and instead, relaxing effortlessly into the great Mind ("Tao") that already regulates the entire cosmos, including all details. Instead of the complex art of control, we must learn the simpler art-- still challenging-- of trust.

It, this Mind, ran the cosmos just fine before we came along; it can and does operate just fine without our personal input.

Still, we want to imitate Jesus and the other mysticsaints and masterteachers: We want to allow Love to act and speak through us whenever and however possible. For the great Souls of our planet have not lived exactly like birds or flowers; but neither have they tried to grasp control of every situation. Instead, through meditative detachment, they worked to create a creative, productive balance in their lives.

We must not expect too much of ourselves. The human psyche probably cannot move into a control-fre state overnight; usually, it has gradually, incrementally, to grow into it, for this is an entirely new way of being, and of relating. And when we first let go of control, our first response is likely to be fear, for that is the human reaction. As we allow our spiritual nature to "take over," we outgrow the counterproductive response of fear, and come to love the Mind that moves within and through us as Love Itself.

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