The more I go on with trying to live a life somehow close to what I have come to know of God, the more certain I am that for me at any rate surrender is at the heart of all I can do, or be.
In my last post I wrote of the impossibility of running God to earth, of finding God by our own efforts, or by the power of thought. To remain still, hidden, simply to open the heart in quiet and trust – that seems to be all we can do. It is a paradox, I suppose: finding by not seeking , reaching out in stillness. Nevertheless, it is all I can do now. To think about this, to attempt to write it down, comes much later, if at all.
Richard Foster writes, “Darkness is a definite experience of prayer. It is to be expected, even embraced.” But this kind of darkness is not an absence of light; in fact, it isn’t an absence at all. What it seems to be is the presence of such Light as we not used to receiving – what we might call new light, perhaps. I was struck recently to read that cats’ eyes are able to function in the ultraviolet, which may explain why cats sometimes behave as though they can see something we cannot. Simply put, they do!
Perhaps the stillness of the surrendered heart is simply a matter of looking steadily into what seems to be the dark, trusting that our hearts’ eyes are capable of seeing far more than our thinking minds can credit. William Blake wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” Maybe that cleansing, that opening, is what is behind this surrender, this hiddenness; maybe that is what it is for.
We deny ourselves the experience of what actually is by our insistence on knowing its name, when all its name is, is isness, Being itself, in which all that is seems to rest as plankton dances in the water-columns of the ocean, yet is not different. All we can do is watch, steadily, for the Light.