I have written before about the beauty of the words of John O’Donohue and his non-dual view that emanates from Celtic Christianity. This episode of On Being was rebroadcast right after my first immersion, and as I listened to it again, my brain was on fire. But this bit of wisdom mulches up out of his view has implications for the current situation.
…I think that the threshold, if you go back to the etymology of the word “threshold,” it comes from “threshing,” which is to separate the grain from the husk. So the threshold, in a way, is a place where you move into more critical and challenging and worthy fullness. And I think there are huge thresholds in every life. I mean, I think, you know that, for instance, I’d like to give a very simple example of it is, that if you are in the middle of your life in a busy evening, 50 things to do and you get a phone call that somebody you love is suddenly dying. Takes 10 seconds to communicate that information, but when you put the phone down, you are already standing in a different world. Because suddenly everything that seems so important before is all gone and now you are thinking of this. So the given world that we think is there and the solid ground we are on is so tentative. And I think a threshold is a line which separates two territories of spirit, and I think that very often how we cross is the key thing.
He speaks of thresholds in connection with beauty, which he sees so:
Beauty isn’t all about just nice, loveliness like. Beauty is about more rounded substantial becoming. So I think beauty in that sense is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.
How we cross this threshold as an Anusara kula has implications for our unfolding lives. In both of these cases O’Donohue mentions fullness. The Sanskrit word for “fullness,” describing one of the qualities of the Absolute, is purnatva, which also means whole, complete, not lacking anything. We contain what we need to do this with beauty.
UPDATE: Based on some interaction on a Facebook group for Anusara teachers and students, about the “shifting ground” on which we are trying to stand or take our seat, it occurs to me to offer this gem also, from O’Donohue’s writing.
Possibility is the secret heart of time. On its outer surface time is vulnerable to transience. In its deeper heart, time is transfiguration.
Take the long view.