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More Than Enough


1 Corinthians 7:25-31

29 I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

Zen, much?

It can’t be put into words, and yet there is an absolute commandment to put it into words. If I am not trying to achieve anything, and it isn’t pertinent whether I am happy or not; whether I am ‘fulfilled’ or not; whether I am wise or not, then what is pertinent?

Let me try to answer that question by adding to Paul’s list, and maybe it will become clear why I said, “Zen much?”

Let those who are unhappy in their jobs be as if they were not unhappy; let those who are frustrated in rush hour traffic be as though they were not frustrated; let those who are proud of their achievements be as though they were not proud; let those who are afraid of being victims of crime or terrorism be as though they were not afraid; let those who serve others be as though they did not serve; those who are confident be as though they were not confident; and those who doubt be as though they did not doubt.

What do you suppose Paul was trying to say? I think that he was trying to point to a Reality which is beyond all of the possible ways in which we can conceive of it, and we can practice approaching that Reality through other means than our cognitive processes. If we make it our experimental practice to shift the ground under our feet with every step we take, we will realize just how much of our daily experience depends on our fluctuating emotions, physical perceptions, and subjective attitudes. What Paul is pointing to is the mystery of the great ‘What’ that is left behind after we abandon our attitudes; what shines through after we switch off the light of our assumptions. Paul is pointing to that sure comprehension that breathes through that spaciousness; that assured inner balance which emerges within us when we spend time just sitting in the liminal darkness, without expectations, without plans, without goals.

And then there is this:  For the present form of this world is passing away.”

Please note the present tense. I believe what Paul is saying is that the present form of this world is constantly passing away, minute by minute. There is no way to reach out and stop the ride. Time keeps flowing on and there is not, and never will be, any moment that is not the present moment. So we can’t hold on to anything that depends on our own ephemeral, uncertain, constantly changing kaleidoscope of perception. The one thing, the sure thing, the thing that we can absolutely depend on, because it does not depend on our understanding, or our unreliable opinions, is the ineffable mystery and Reality that is the God of Love.

I can’t help it, but an iconic phrase from Dr. Who keeps popping into my head: “Without hope. Without witness. Without reward.” In that sustaining darkness inhabited by Love, there is no need for hope, or witness, or reward. What is there is enough, and more than enough.

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