Experiential Knowing

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 4 in Finding God Within.

It is human nature to want to know things so we can feel less vulnerable.

And, God knows, there’s no shortage of viewpoints to choose from if we’re looking out there to be in the know.

That is, of course, until the next news cycle comes along.

I’m noticing lately that people trying to know with certainty during these troubling times are sounding out in ways that are very one-sided and often divisive. We are all hurting. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we do not know what to do.

The murder of George Floyd, the Corona crisis,
the looting and the burning,
the gun violence and discord with police
have created layers of trauma.
And we do not know what to do.

Don Samuels, Healing Our City —30 Days of Silent Prayer

We are living in Kairos time, which is not just crisis but opportunity and favor.

We do not know what to do to make the pain go away. We, who would like to think our way out of this or double down on our politics, are being pushed closer and closer to surrender.

It feels uncomfortable for all of us to let go when there seems to be so much at stake, Shouldn’t I be trying harder to understand it so I can know what to do?

My answer to this today comes from a watercolor I did in 2012 while painting the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. “The Gift of Understanding” is depicted as a graceful swan with a yin yang symbol of the planet earth in her heart space.

The divine message embedded in this painting is an invitation to stop trying so hard and simply be open to receiving. What we long for will be revealed to us as we relinquish our control and all our clever notions of how to fix this.

Finding God within is not about following doctrine, but allowing yourself to relate to God experientially.

First, we know that we cannot know. Then somehow we know that we know, and yet we cannot know how we know. It is a mystery.

Meister Eckhart’s guidance is to turn completely inward “not running out through the five senses into the multiplicity of creatures, but all inturned and collected and in the purest part — there is His place; He disdains anything less.”

Here, in Kairos time, we let go and wait with an openness to the God within who goes before us because it is clear we do not know what to do.

Let’s practice sitting in openness to God’s direction so that we will be able to take new action that we might not have been ready for before.

Don Samuels, Healing Our City —30 Days of Silent Prayer

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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