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Yesterday we looked at the wisdom of the Christian desert and its relevance for us in our present confusion of values and purpose. John Main - and subsequently the community he inspired - drew on that wisdom and re-presents it in its essential, experiential simplicity. ‘Experience is the teacher’, this transmission of wisdom tells us. Any who help this transmission do not distract those they teach with too much autobiographical information and see themselves as bridges or voices carrying a word. When we see the infusion of wisdom into our world like this, free from personality but proceeding from personal authority beyond the ego, we glimpse its universality.
The ego is merely the dot over the i and when it is removed the true I is revealed.
At the heart of the genuine, selfless transmission of wisdom there is a junction where all transmitters of wisdom meet at source. Experiencing this unity releases the everfresh energy of hope. Without hope renewed we cannot believe or work selflessly for a new evolution of humanity. And where else can we so clearly see what unites us as in this experience of oneness in our common origin, our ground of being?
So, let’s do what we can to deepen that experience in ourselves and our immediate community allowing it to spread as the dawning of a new contemplative humanity. Little lights joining to illuminate everything, the dawning of the new era. It won’t be easy. There will be those who may not be seen explicitly as ‘spiritual teachers, who will even give their lives for this work: Mandela’s six years of solitary confinement and twenty-one subsequent years of imprisonment or Alexei Navalny’s death in a Russian labour camp last week. But as there is no peace without justice, all forms of truth are friends and work together
Every meditation, every meditator’s unique journey, every truth-teller helps reduce and heal the collateral suffering that we will have to endure and the reconstruction to come.
Ramana Maharshi is one of the great teachers of the modern era, long passed but still actively present. I feel linked to him through John Main’s teacher who was guided by him. Ramana’s continuous state of Being-awake was diffused mostly by silence but also in his response to questions. In affirming the work of single-minded, persistent realisation of the Self that we are all called to, he releases the hope that consciousness bestows on every seeker.
He would use the familiar image of a coil of rope to describe the process. Seen as a blurred shape in the half-light, it is mistaken for a snake and provokes fear, paralysis or violence. In the light of dawn, it is seen for what it is and fear dissolves. In total darkness it is not seen at all. This darkness, like chaos before creation, is the original ignorance or original sin we all carry. In the full light the rope is just a rope. Everything is what it actually is and joy bursts.

Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2024
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