The Path of Descent

As we are collectively torn from our customary reference points in the wake of COVID-19, I turn to Meister Eckhart’s sermons for grounding and creative focus. This is Reflection 3 in Finding God Within.

In Reflection 2 I wandered into the concept of the Economy of Grace which creates an awareness of expanded life-giving currencies that we all have access to and yet must consciously choose to participate in to experience —  giving less power to the “up-and-to-the-right” reference points that we previously may have relied upon to assess how well we were doing.

Today, I am aware of the collective path of descent we are in together as a human body, and as the body of Christ here on planet earth.

The path of descent is a very effective path to finding God within. Very few of us choose it — and even when we’re pushed down it, most of us hold back our consent.

In 2014, while part of the Living School, I studied the path of descent and created a mixed media piece I titled “Dispossession.”

I shared this image with my members of my Living School cohort, and received these words from another student.

This makes me feel a movement toward the unknown is like a falling apart…  All around warnings about the unknown that is through the door  on the other side — the roof caving in… smoke and blood both here and on the other side.

I am afraid to move forward and afraid to stay still….

Dispossession feels like death

What dies?”

Six years later, I can say I have not only studied the path of descent, but have tasted it.

I was gently urged down this path in 2016 when my customary reference point for how I “make a living” dropped from the menu of possibilities.

I consented to scale back my material life; sold my luxury condo, gave my car away, and thinned my possessions out to fit within 500 square feet.

Looking back, I notice I was willing to face reality and accept a smaller footprint with less status, but I continued to try to have it on my terms.

I am encouraged that God used my half-hearted consent to push me down — far deeper than I wanted to go, but to the only place I could truly find and trust him.

I have learned that when we are keeping pain at bay through some version of controlling the world around us, sooner or later God will provide an extremely distasteful event or set of circumstances with no way out but through.

Collectively, we have all been more than invited into this moment right now. To become aware of the invitation in your particular being is a beginning. To consent to let go of falling on your terms as much as you can will support this beginning.

Meister Eckhart, I think, would look upon this awareness and consent as lining up with his guidance to “seek the hidden or ‘dark’ way” which is not the same as making ourselves vulnerable to dark forces.

Consenting to the path of descent, as I have experienced it, is consenting to let go of my limited ways and making myself vulnerable to the infinite source who created me, loves me, lives within me —

And goes before me always.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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