At a certain point in our journey back to God and the realisation of Oneness we may be invited in and by God’s Grace, to travel outside of the safe and comforting circle of embrace that our liturgical practise has offered and nurtured us with to this stage; and to be courageous enough to journey a short distance to a beckoning frontier. We may suddenly find ourselves at this frontier, without consciously recognising we have been moving towards it for a while. The comfort we garner from the hearth and home of our formative liturgy is deeply comforting; and the direction of our path towards the frontier may be familiar or unknown; but will still have the familiar about it, it will not be totally alien to us, though it may chafe a little with the notions of ‘the way things are’ we have held previously. As with all growth, physical and spiritual, as children we are offered safety within the structure of the family, to grow and learn; but there also comes a point when the child must leave home to carve its own path, makes it own mark, because that was always the original intention when it was first-born. The child must now move out from the family a little, whilst always knowing where its roots are, in order to expand, grow further and deeper, and have the opportunity to deliver its own unique gift from God to the waiting world. It is God that chooses and invites which path He wishes us to travel on; I am describing the path of the mystic, and the monastic; others will be invited to take other paths not described here; all equally valid for the specific contribution we are asked to make-but as maturing spiritual beings, we will all be asked to move forwards from the comfort and nurture of that which we experience when young, and to deepen our experience of God in the way of His choosing.
And so we begin our journey backwards. By the time this invitation to visit the frontier has come, we have already built a shelter of great beauty that we inhabit. That is what we have been busy doing up until now. We have matured and worked deeply on ourselves spiritually, realising that dualistic thinking does not serve us; that our seeing is more Cosmic, that we are “both/and, no longer “either/or” people in our hearts. The invitation to now disassemble ourselves is the function of this frontier.
We realise we are must carefully dismantle with respect, that which we have lovingly built already by offering it up, by surrendering it to God. This can be experienced as exciting or filled with uncertainty, but either way it is what we are now about to undertake. We are about to take down that which we have built of our small selves, our lives, our certainties by offering them up; in order that we may share something new and deeper of God. We are moving closer into God, into new patterns of Being and Becoming. I call this the engagement stage in mystical terms, because the decision to marry has been made, we are in the preparation stage of entering this state, eagerly waiting its arrival, excited yet slightly nervous about moving from one stage to another, it’s all a bit unknown, we wonder what is to come, yet we know we are ready to make this step. What has gone before has shaped us, but what is to come will refine us and just as we have outgrown the past and now need to move on, so we are required to dismantle what we have made up until now.
I am going to offer you a very unusual analogy today, from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to describe this spiritual frontier. The Kilkhors, known by most of us as the sand mandala, is lovingly created and is a masterpiece of immense beauty, intricacy and concentration. This is what we do with ourselves as we build and create ourselves into the most beautiful expression of God that we can be. But look what happens next. In the second video the monks destroy the mandala, depicting in their tradition that the material life is transitory. What is interesting, is that taking apart this masterpiece contains far more ritual and liturgy than creating it. The individual colours of the sands are merged into one heap of sand that cannot be distinguished from the other. And so it is with the promise at our frontier. We have built ourselves to be the best that we can be. God now invites us to offer all our ourselves up, all that we are and have built; in order to move deeper and merge with Him, abide with Him, become aware of our Oneness with Him. The prayer we towards in this new stage is Centering Prayer, Silent Prayer which may through God’s Grace be followed at some point by His invitation to join in Contemplative Prayer; where we rest in God’s presence. This is the work of monastics, lay and religious around the world; it is the prayer of the Heart. This later frontier far ahead invites us to plunge into God without a thought or care; to reside within Him, rest in Him, and to by going deeper and yet deeper into this Love discover the “even more” beyond that. But: enough for now, we are working for the moment on offering ourselves up, and gently deconstructing what we held as our Truth in order to attend our own wedding union; where we are hopeful that “the two become one” ; and that this union will prove fruitful and happy.
Construction of Khilkhor
De-Construction of Kilkhor