lingering in between prayers


The prejudice I keep encountering- especially among what I would characterize as the Neo-Advaita Vedanta crowd, and which I’m attempting to expose here- goes like this: Nondual consciousness is superior to the devotional experience because devotion implies a naive belief in the separation from the object of our longing (God; Love). Nondualism gets the cosmic joke and knows that it’s impossible to be separate from the one we love because there is only one Ultimate Reality and we are part of it. Therefore, devotion is an immature inclination that is born of sublimated emotional impulses. But nondualism is a sign of spiritual maturity and should be the goal of all spiritual practice (without being goal oriented, of course, which would be dualistic).

This argument is not fair. And it is not feminine. By that I mean that if the feminine is all about incarnation and embodiment, then she rests squarely in the realm of form. And in form we have separation as well as unity. We have mountain ranges and blue spruces, inner cities and dive bars, old white dudes and radical black feminists. We have teenagers in prisons and moms who pine for them, grieving widows and philandering husbands, people for whom meditation practice compels them to offer themselves in service to those on the margins and other people who don’t give a shit. This world is filled with glorious, untidy multiplicity. Sometimes God feels very far away, and so we long for God. Not because we believe that God and self are ultimately existentially separate, but because here in the midst of our relative reality our souls yearn to return to where we come from: Absolute Love.

~Marabai Starr

see all the dichotomies and paradoxes and riddles and misidentifications…..

inquiry for today~   feel into an existential breech of awareness today….may you shift…..

what we salvage

In the absence of resilience, post-traumatic growth- a very different response to trauma- might emerge instead. “Post-traumatic growth means you’ve been broken- but you put yourself back together in a stronger,more meaningful way”, Jack Tsai says (psychologist- trauma studies at Yale). This may come as a surprise to those who think of resilience as the ability to learn, change, and gain strength in the face of adversity. Among research psychologists, however, resilience is about bounding back with relative ease to where you were before, not necessarily bouncing forward to a stronger place. By this understanding, without the breaking, there cannot be putting back together, so people with strong coping capacities will be less challenged by trauma and therefore less likely to experience post-traumatic growth.

Post-traumatic growth- unlike resilience- is not a return to baseline. It is the product of reassembling your “general set of beliefs about the world/universe and your place in it”  (Lawrence Calhoun- psychologist).  You question the benevolence, predictability, and controllability of the world, your sense of self, the path you expected life to follow. From the shards of previous beliefs, you create wholly new worldviews, and can perhaps emerge a stronger person than you were before.

~Sharon Begley


2 thoughts on “lingering in between prayers

  1. Marabai Starr captures the paradoxical nature of spirituality. This resonates with my experience. I’m doubtful if anyone actually dies completely to a sense of self in this life. Each experience of oneness may take us closer, but I think that comes with the release of bodily death.
    Also, personal differences in strength may obscure the point of being broken, which I assume is awareness of our incompleteness individually, but ability to become aware of being an integral part of something infinite.

    • Insightful response. And our awareness of ourselves in general is the space of growth. Ugh. We know this and resist this. May your healing be graced with kindness Eileen. Thank you.

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