“I believe that ‘Abba’, the Divine Father, as intimately perceived by Yeshua the Nazarene, is this Ultimate Reality – the answer to our deepest longing; the longing for Love, belonging and wholeness.” – Dylan Morrison
I have checked out Dylan Morrison’s blog ‘The Prodigal Prophet‘ and I can relate to his journey from having attended an evangelical, charismatic institutional church system to living a more mystical life communing with Abba that is continual, free-flowing and spontaneous rather than structured, programmed and ritualistic. His description about our longing and belonging to the divine, the ultimate reality, reminds me of John O’Donohue’s writings, who is also Irish, though I am not sure if he has read his books, and I only noticed he quoted in his comments some other books by other mystics.
I enjoyed reading the comments in the blog – I can only say everyone is on our own journey, and the charismatic institutional church system has its place in the grand scheme of life, and I see it as a stepping stone and a springboard for me to dive deeper into the ocean of divine presence where I can see love manifesting all around me.
One thing I realise about mysticism is that everyone, whether atheist or christian or buddhist, can experience it, even unknowingly, just that they have different ways of relating to or describing their experiences. For example, an atheist may be talking to himself over something without realising he is talking to God because we know that we and God are one. A christian may use christian lingo in a prayer to describe his communion with God. A buddhist may use words like breathing and awareness to describe his spiritual practice. All are the same thing – all life is spiritual anyway, since we are spiritual beings on a human journey.
I was reflecting on Dylan Morrison’s words in his blog:
“Our modern religion is concept based and not experiential. That’s why many folks head off to the Mind, Body, Spirit world where there is much more emphasis on ‘encounters’.” – Dylan Morrison
I think we all start somewhere in our spiritual journey, so to speak, with concepts to help us relate to our experience with the Divine/ourselves/life. For example, a fish born in the ocean may not realise it is already in the ocean because it is so used to living in the ocean. So the fish longs for the day it will enter and experience the heavenly bliss of the ocean. The fish meets many other fish for advice and guidance, and some fish pastors tell the fish to say certain words of prayer to connect to the ocean. Other fish priests tell the fish to perform a certain act or ritual to be closer to the ocean. All these have their place, as the fish finds itself more at peace when saying these words or performing these rituals. All is well and good overall, yet the fish feels something is amiss, having had moments of ups and downs, and experiences of highs and lows. Until eventually, the fish’s eyes open a little wider, and realises that all the while it is already in the ocean and is one with the ocean. So, it has managed to move beyond mere concepts to direct experience. (I think this parable was mentioned somewhere in Anthony De Mello’s book ‘The Song of the Bird’, and I have borrowed the main idea here.)
When I was attending the interfaith memorial service recently, I was listening to different types of prayers by the representative heads of different religions as they take turns to come to the front to pray for the family members in remembrance of their loved ones – representing catholic/christianity, islam, hinduism, buddhism and taoism. Each prayer has its own language and some prayers involve chanting. Though I may not be able to understand or connect with all of them, I came to realise that each prayer means something to the person saying that prayer. So yea, we human beings need something – a word, a ritual, a thought – to help us bridge that connection to the Divine and once we know we are already in the Divine, that bridge (mediator) would have served its purpose well.
I can also relate to this part of Dylan Morrison’s latest blog ‘Will I or Won’t I ? ~ Part 3‘.
“However, suppose the story of return and redemption are only etchings on the surface of an even deeper reality i.e. we never really left Divine Will in the first place for we can’t leave ourselves.
Our dream-like state of separation, rebellion and redemption are, instead, virtual tutorials serving the greater purpose of our deepening Awareness of Divine Love and our place within it.” – Dylan Morrison
We know that the christian religion has been perpetuating the illusion of separation from our true Divine Self for the longest time, so even as I recognise the institutional church system having its place in my journey of life (in terms of serving as a stepping stone), I am at the same time recognising the ill effects it has on people who follow that system, because I used to be in that place.
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.”