Friday, March 6, 2009
The Divine Guest – CREDO LXI
I don’t know exactly when I took to calling the Spirit Within us, our Divine Guest, but this very day I was reading an interview with Jean Vanier, the French founder of L’Arche, the movement that builds homes for retarded and otherwise rejected individuals around the world. And here is the quote from the New Testament: Behold I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Spirit does not knock the door down. The mystery is that Spirit waits patiently to be heard and to be invited in. It defines itself as a Divine Guest. Thus my intuition makes sense.
In other words, we really do have free will and maybe have to start by “entertaining angels unaware.” Here is a poem by Leigh Hunt, an English poet of the nineteenth century. It is one of my favorites.
Abou Ben Adhem
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still, and said “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
It is curious historically speaking that the Christian world up until the Italian astronomer Galileo in the early 1600s maintained that the Earth was the center of the solar system. When he insisted that it was the Sun, he was imprisoned for heresy! Psychologically and spiritually, we could point out that we had become so anthropocentric, we failed to see how the truth was implying a far deeper symbolic meaning because as the Sun is to the solar system, so the Divine Guest or Spirit is to each of us! Actually, the Egyptians and ancient Greeks knew this all along, but the Gothic barbarians destroyed all this knowledge, and during the well-named Dark Ages that fact was lost. The mystical writers of the Gospels, especially John, knew better, saying that Christ (atman, Divine Guest) was “the Light that lighteth every man.” This is the Collect message of Christmas, which we need to remember was in the fifth century arbitrarily made the official birthday of Jesus to supplant the Roman winter solstice celebration of the Saturnalia. Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, the start of the tenth sign of the zodiac. It rules physical form, and it takes nine full months for a baby to be born. Thus they were honoring manifestation. It seems that Christianity added honoring the Spirit indwelling in manifest humanity.
This, of course, was taught in the East for previous millennia. Their term for that Light was atman. It would be so helpful to humanity at large, so hell-bent on religious differences as a reason for war and mutual destruction, to realize what Jung has added to simplify the matter. He states that the psyche is best symbolized by a mandala or circle with the Self as the center and totality of the psyche.
Not long ago, I was lighting a candle and observed the following symbolic AHA! Each of us has an individual wick, the Self, but the flame, or Divine Guest, (atman, Christ Within) is the same flame!
Now that is a fact, no one can deny! If you think of Spirit as Light of that flame also being Love, the more you share, the more there is! So just maybe we need to realize eventually that the new commandment might be
Love thy neighbor he is thy self!
Obviously Abou ben Adhem had it right.
Posted by IonaDove