=1 "Leaven"

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by Jim Pinney

They are everywhere, but no one can find them by looking for them. Their number has been growing steadily for more years than Humanity remembers; everyone has sometimes yearned to be one of them; anyone can be on of them – yet they are always a small minority. For although they welcome all, each soul is its own examiner, and the test is selflessness.

Every one of them is an original, yet they cooperate as unanimously as the cells of a healthy body. They are single-minded, but for that very reason nothing escapes their interest and everything has significance. They are light, like the day – vital as sun and joyful as color; still, they are also dark, like the night – healing as sleep and constant as stars. Theirs too are the hushed serenity of April-green twilight, the freshening exuberance of rain.

They are wise, and because they are wise they are trusting, for they know that a quickening faith is the only basis for resolving conflict – that peace is earned, not by victory nor defeat nor appeasement nor compromise, but by reconciliation, by helpful togetherness, in truth-beyond-difference. They are the all-loving, not because of lofty idealism, but because they see ultimate reality as oneness rather than separateness.

They are neither weak nor mighty but they are perfect instruments of infinite power. Each of them is a catalyst in whose presence others realize their own best lives, actualize their latent hopes and faith, and discover new qualities and combinations in and of themselves. Each of them is a shuttle with whom relation and integrity and design are woven into the warp of Humanity, not mechanically, after a fixed pattern, but by the fingers of God which pause now and again to add new threads and give way to spontaneity and the parabolic. Each of them is a strong breath of the Spirit to fan the smoking flax; each is a gentle hand of the Spirit to uphold the bruised reed. All of them are all things to all fellow beings, yet they are not violent or resistant, for theirs is that passionate patience by which the Spirit creates coincidence out of silence.

They know history, not just the sketchy ‘tales told by idiots’ of wars and politics, but the story of Mankind full-rounded by psychological insight, anthropological perspective, scientifically disinterested accuracy and religious experience. They know their own times, the ways and significance of all the life about them, with well-proportioned reason and intuition. They know themselves with extraordinary candor and humor and lend laughter’s gift of wings to all bearers of earth’s burdens. But most important, to themselves and the world – they are learning to know God. In an era when depth is mostly narrow, when breadth is mostly shallow, and when a tragic majority of mankind endures existence in bitter stagnation or by resort to mad haste – in the very midst of such acentric chaos, they are fighting a way of living Truth.

They face Whatever Is with calm, unknowing expectancy, profoundly aware of how inscrutable is God’s purpose, how completely its mystery penetrates the lives of individuals and worlds, how utterly each soul is infinite in God’s infinity, how open-mindedly and sacramentally must be regarded every person and thing, every thought and event, and how humbly and simply must be approached each circumstance.

They know that each soul’s greatest service to Humanity and highest incarnation of God is to be purely what it uniquely is, forever to live concentrically and conterminously with the Light it sees. Their ‘creed’ and their ‘constitution’ can be said in a sentence, but that sentence is ‘spoken’ only by the living silence within each soul and always in the first person singular: ‘I am that I am.’

They have digested fruits of ancient wisdom without spoiling their appetites for Daily Bread. They have eyes to see and ears to hear, and because they understand both the dreams of age and the wisdom of youth and can thus harmonize tradition and experiment, they know what it is to live in peace-beyond-paradox, continually growing in deeds of love – in that love which is itself a deed.

They are not bound to precedent nor bound to be different, yet neither are they revolutionary; they recognize the ultimate inadequacy of circles, which, whether vicious or aimless, are always closed. They move by growth, by unfolding ‘like a lotus of countless petals’, ascending in a spiral of eternal newness.

They belong to those true ‘contemporaries’ of all ‘times’ who, firm in their belief that now is the Presence, have never yielded to the temptation to isolate that Presence in those seemingly ‘separate’ parts of Eternity which others call ‘the past’ and ‘the future’. They are one with those through which whose transparency others see God – whom others, unwilling themselves to be wholly self-forgetful, have reduced to darkened idols of denominations and dogma and institution. But like Life itself, they leave only husks to death, humus for another season’s birth, and go on undiminished.

Though many have distinguished them by secondary labels which soon lost distinctiveness, such as Prophet or Christian or Brahmin or Saint, they answer to only one name: their own. To them all other titles are the same, even as the names of river valleys are of little consequence to dew – not because of ignorance or ‘accident’ or lack of discernment, but because they comprehend inwardly the continuum of earthly-heavenly life – because in identity with the Spirit they share Its all-inclusiveness. To them no ‘race’ nor class nor sex nor individual is ‘lost’, outcast, foreign, or even subordinate; all are complementary and co-ordinate, endlessly various in their human relations and equal in God.

They are continually reproducing nuclei of the world community. They are the most effective of the world’s workers, yet they have no organisation whatsoever, and ‘their best work is done without anyone knowing it, not even themselves’. Among them the forms of the Spirit’s functions as communities, like the bodies of Its functions as individuals, are ever-youthful, perennially reborn with the changing generations; thus the limiting, Spirit-denying crystallization of Man’s delusion of finality cannot retard or impede the coincidence of fulfilment with enlightenment. If even a few of them live near one of the mummified structures in which others have sought to preserve by means of static, exclusive orthodoxy the name and largely misunderstood memory of one of the living, it too, despite its long winter, will yield to the all-renewing ferment of spring.

Their corporate life is so fluid, so leavening, so completely living the Spirit that ‘times’ and ‘places’ (spatial or social) and rites and customs have little more application to its religious-social ethical practice than to its breathing; it is so organic that hierarchy has atrophied. Theirs is a spiritual democracy, God-centered and without a laity; each soul is its own priest and governor, everyone ministering to each other as needs arise and the Spirit moves; and yet all action is unanimous, for its sanction is living communions, meetings-of-dozens which unify and modulate the inter-relations of individuals. Their association is like a symphonic dance moving in rhythmic alternation to and fro between concordant all-togetherness and solitary aloneness, in tune with the lyric flow of the tides of Life.

Theirs is dangerous living, possible only by going beyond fixed laws to lucid fidelity in the subtle, dynamic balance of God’s Grace, for their course must thread the Scylla of self-righteousness and the Charybdis of compromise with separative means, and they must hear and follow above the siren-song accompaniment of personal, partial love the heavenly melody of all-inclusive love-in-God.

They apprehend God’s will as a day-spring of Inner Light, an eternally living transmutation of infinities which is somehow also the changeless One; thus for the Life, its meaning and its living, is the spontaneously growing realization of God’s Spirit as It is conceived in the flame of individual conscience, formed and tempered in the silence-founded matrix of group-consciousness which is beloved community, given birth in the labor of love, and perfected in the act of creation – in pure be-ing.

They live.. here and now.. everywhere and forever.

Their way is Everyone’s Way…

One has only to harken unto the still, small voice and humbly, patiently, persistently to seek the dawn of the Light that is Within.

In Its Truth all are free.
In Its Beauty all are whole.
In Its Goodness all are God.

See also