Saint Bonaventure: A Mystic's Journal Entry: October 16, 2005 by Laurie Conrad. Meditation class on "The Mind's Journey to God".
Saint Bonaventure: A Mysticís Journal Entry: October 16, 2005 / Meditation class
Sunday, October 16
I am thinking about the Divine, supernatural fragrances tonight with gratitude. I have been given so many gifts of this sort, sometimes I forget to be grateful. As Thomas Merton once wrote, our greatest prayer might be to simply say: "Thank you". And even though these fragrances originate in another realm, I consider them the traces of God in our physical, material reality that St. Bonaventure speaks of. Even those without clairvoyance or other gifts of that sort have been aware of them - therefore, they are being given to us through our physical senses. I have noticed that before these remarkable events, my sinuses are mysteriously cleared, so that I can better experience these Divine favors.
Mysterious and wonderful indeed!
That others are also aware of these Divine scents makes them more special to me.
At this point in my life and spiritual development, even the supernatural - if experienced as a form or vision of any kind - should be considered "physical" or "material". We seem to be using a different pair of eyes or ears or other sense in these experiences, but eyes and ears none-the-less. Nothing seen or heard, even of Divine origin, can compare to the Divine Presence, or the clear, luminous Light or the pure Consciousness of the soul. Not even these wonderful fragrances, these prayers of the saints and sanctity of souls that the Desert Fathers speak of in their writings, when these fragrances first began.
We continued our reading of St. Bonaventure in class last week, from his book The Mindís Journey to God - a long section on the senses. Most of the meditators - for the first time I can remember - seemed bored, and we raced through the chapter. When we had finished, I reminded them that it might be more exciting and romantic to be a great saint, or carry a lightsaber like the Jedi in Star Wars, conquering evil and protecting the Galaxy - but without realizing that our material reality contained the traces of God that St. Bonaventure speaks of, that the substratum and essence of this physical earth was Divinity - the six winged angel of St. Bonaventureís vision would be missing his two lowest wings. His feet, in a sense. That our spiritual journey rested on those two lower wings, the understanding of these traces of God on earth.
We agreed that it would be best for the angel to have his two lowest wings and/or feet to walk on.
The yawns were replaced by attention and Light began to appear in the room, around the seekers placed in my care. A discussion on the beauty of Nature began, but I said these lower wings meant the opportunity to see the traces of God in difficult clients at work, or a sullen check out girl at the supermarket - that we must always remember that others are the soul, and their essence Divine. The angelís feet.
As an exercise, I asked the meditators to imagine someone difficult in their life, or a problematic situation they were facing - and mentally turn all involved, the entire situation to Light. In this exercise, the problems dissolve into the Light, cease to exist. We begin to see ourselves and others clearly, in a true r way. It can put us in the Witness position, where we are on the earth but not of it.
The personality, the ego, does not want to be forgotten or transcended. It has its job to do. The ego should not be asked to turn on itself - that would harm the vehicle, the psychology. If we wish to live beyond the ego, then we must consciously put our attention on God and the soul, and in every situation. Often the main problem is to remember to do this. That is why we have our practices, our exercises.
If we insist on identifying with the ego, our body and personality - and hold others to theirs, in our minds - then the ego is forced to respond to people and situations. If we inwardly take the soulís position and use the eyes of the soul - then we can experience clarity and truth. The truth that things are not as they appear, that material reality is only fleeting, an illusion in a way.
If we stand stubbornly in the world, then we will see and know only the world. If we stand in the soul - even philosophically, mentally - then we will see only the soul and the Divine. It is a simple choice, and one that we all make, in every moment of our lives on earth.