Instinctively we humans reach for the stars. We yearn to touch the sacred, the transcendent and in doing so, be touched, held, known. We are touched by life in so many ways, large and small, sweet and bitter. Yet we ache to be touched, to be truly seen.
It is from the gift of embodiment that we may touch, be touched, that all relationships may be known. We do our best to care for this body. It is the means of experiencing life and the vehicle of our every expression.
“When the body is well the spirit rises up” This touched me deeply. Ever alert for the many ways we humans may heal ourselves, I looked up the author.
Jan Vanier philosopher and theologian is the founder of L’Arche. There are 149 L'Arche communities in 38 countries around the world. It is a community for those with and without intellectual disabilities with the fundamental notion that from the body relationship grows. The body, with all its human frailties, as a gift of communication.
It is wholly steeped in physicality, touch - without the gloss of sex- as support, giving rise to feelings of security and revelation. Touch quite literally connects and holds, not as in possession or ownership but as supportive embrace.
In meditation we touch the deepest source of Self. In the turya state, the fourth state beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep, is the state of nirvikalpa, the non-conceptual transcendent source that is, truly speaking, not a state but the natural circumstance in which individual awareness touches the wholeness of Self and in that is held, nourished, transformed.
It is the relationship of truest Self that supports and nourishes all other relationships. We thirst to touch the depths of our very being.
Vanier says that L’Arche is “a transmission of vision not a formula” to be replicated. We want to latch onto principles, onto doctrine but experience demands we go further.
How do we cultivate our ability to experience?
Śaiva Tantric meditation holds that the body is divine; it is the very means to experience not only the world of material reality, but the highest Self. Awareness is taken deep within, held in the embrace of purest love, met by the fullness of light that is the light of our own sweet consciousness. To develop this relationship, to touch the space of transcendence is too be more fully human.
Innocently, without agenda or force, awareness naturally explores its depths, and in that, we cultivate the habit of going deep into everything. Anywhere we place our awareness on the surface of life, any teaching, any circumstance, we dive fearlessly into the center. We touch its essence.
Nurturing, stabilizing this relationship, knowing Self deeply, permits one to be present without either attachment or aversion in the space of choice. We stand apart not in disinterest or separateness but in compassion love and wholeness. To do so, we must first experience and cultivate relationship with our truest Self. We must touch, be held in the embrace of Consciousness writ large. Know Self than the knowing of all else will be nourished.
More and more I experience the significance of what it means to say that meditation is both a gift and a tool. It is the means by which each individual may realize their birthright, to know, to experience the whole self, and in that deep experience, given the means to pierce to the core of absolutely everything.
Aristotle, one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Western thought whose works cover a vast range of subjects, including logic, ethics, metaphysics, politics, natural science, and physics, has at the core of his teachings the foundation of experience not intellect. This is a conundrum for those who call themselves Aristotelians. The question is how to experience these teachings, any teachings not just as an intellectual exercise but deeply felt and known? We study and contemplate yes, but experience demands we go further.
We want the profound and beautiful teachings of the masters of consciousness, the masters of philosophy, the masters of poetry and love to come alive. Those beings who stand at the pinnacle of each tradition but whose words have become rote and dry because we attempt to replicate instead of experience. To be in relationship with Self is to be in relationship with grace. To be touched, to be held by grace. And in that, to be truly known.
All humans yearn to be touched, to be held in one way or another. It is from the gift of embodiment that all relationships may be known. Cultivate your capacity to touch your deepest heart. Meditate.