The holy temple of our humanity

There are some miracles that can only occur between you and me when at least one of us is listening. Really and actually listening. These miracles don’t just happen. They have to be courted. Work must be done. Ablutions performed and sacrifices made. An initiate doesn’t just waltz into the sanctum sanctorum of the holy temple whenever he wants, however she pleases. They train and purify. Just as infants and gardens and fire must be well-tended, so, too, must the sacred, which lives in each of us.

The delicacy and dignity of your humanity, and of mine, demands a particular kind of relationality that we are invited to learn by listening, by being with what is. Accepting the fullness of yourself (which will and must include your pain) to say nothing of beholding the pain-forged humanity of another: this requires honing, a kind of perceptual preparation that is a lifestyle of its own , an apprenticeship that can lead us into a clearer understanding of what is actually happening here in this moment between us, in you and in me, right now. We find ourselves in a courtship with the mystery of one another when we endeavor to stay, to listen on and in and with.

Unwilling to be with, unable to listen and listen trustworthily, our capacities to perceive and companion the truth are severely disabled. Such listening would be easy if there weren’t pain in the truth, and so many illusions obscuring that pain. But the pain is, and the illusions are, and so to listen is difficult. Expensive. The price: that we listen to those aspects of our own selves which we have long been unwilling to feel. Unfelt, they get in the way.

“What’s in the way, is the way,” a friend of mine once said. Preparation for beholding the fullness of our humanity begins by learning to perceive that which masks it: the many disguises, diversions, and defenses that are the dance in the masquerade ball of our daily lives. What’s underneath? A vastness that includes mysteries we can’t understand, paradoxes we can’t explain, pain we’re terrified to touch, and a whole menagerie of emotions that fall far outside the narrow bandwidth of what we’ve come to believe is socially acceptable to feel, let alone express.

Consider yourself, your many facets: the daily hurts you no longer notice, the unbearable wounds you’ve learned to live your life around, your bigness, your littleness, the taboo-shattering beauty of you, the abandoned dreams, the dreams still tended in secret, the transgressions and violations, the fear, the confusion and shame, the desire and the disappointments, the wild and the really weird. What would it take for you to share this with another, the unfiltered truth of yourself? To let it move through your body? What would you need if you were about to be seen in that fullness, seen completely, no more hiding, no pretending, your very soul naked and known?

And so: I train on, so that someday I might be graced by your trust. Chosen by you. Guided through and beyond the logjam of perfunctory unrealities we have come to accept as normal interaction, and then led into the center of who you really are and how you got to be that way, the sanctum sanctorum your own true humanity. I train, also, to unveil myself to you, to the ones who have earned my trust, the truth of me. In this exchange is our forgotten inheritance. In this conversation, home. To know one another, and be known, deeply. To feel one another and be felt. To see and be seen. To become the trustworthy witness of the many beings we encounter over the course of our lives, beginning with, and never ending with, ourselves.

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