Sunday, April 5, 2015

Eternal Life Is Now

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it –Matthew 16:25

To reflect upon these teachings in a temporal or escatological way taints their deep sense, for they point to something beyond time, which is lived now.

The crucifixion symbolizes the intersection of flesh and spirit in the cross of matter. To crucify the five senses (five wounds of Jesus) means to harmonize them and neutralize their blinding, as well as the effect of the selfish impulses of the tyrant that lives inside, which must die so that we can be resurrected. Without psychological death there can´t be resurrection.

Raimon Panikkar used to speak of "living Eternity in the temporal", as he showed in one of his illumining talks:

In order to live and die we don´t need to know how to live and die. By knowing we lose our inocence. We can only accept a life we have been given for a definite time. Blessed are those who have reached supreme ignorance –agnosia–, said Evagrius Ponticus.
Each life has an immensurable value. Life is lived and the only aspect we need to live it is to free ourselves from the fear of death, which is a disguise of the fear of life. Each moment is unique. On each moment lies our destiny. He who does not see a sunset or toothache are a unique revelation, does live neither the sunset nor the toothache. The problem of death cannot be separate from the adventure of life. If we do not know the hour of death we do not know the moment of life either. If we get worried about when we will die, we remain heedless before the instant we live. What happens to the drop of water when it falls into the ocean? The drop disappears. But what am I, the drop of water or the water in the drop? Nothing happens to the water. Death won´t be different from life. But we are afraid of suffering, since we have been told many times that death is suffering, and we want to prolongue it artificially, even with the moribund.
Wisdom is precisely to recognise the unicity of the instant. If we don´t fall in love with each moment in what we are doing, we are slaves, whether it is for going to heaven, to hell or wherever. Life has been given to us and we only deserve it by giving it. Then one is really happy. Going back to Evagrius Ponticus [1]: he who does not live eternal life now, can already forget about living it later.

Without doubt, this is linked to what ancient traditions call "body of light","resurrection body" in Christian terms, fruit of spiritualising the physical body. For the aim is not to run away from the world, as Platonist gnostics did, but to find ourselves in it, and then reach beyond. 

[1] Evagrius Ponticus was a Father of the Desert in the IV, putting into practice the living dimension of Christianity, based on emptying (kénosis) oneself from any selfish willingness, without external idols, merging the mind with the heart with the prayer of the Lord, the silent repetition of the Name, whose deep phase consists on subtle attention to the breath penetrating the belly and the heartbeat.

The Fathers of the Desert followed the maxim: God made itself man so that man could be in God, that is, be part of the body of Christ (1 Cor 10:17; 12:12-27)
Their teachings inspired the great mystics of Christianity and were gathered by the Orthodox Church in the compilation Philokalia. For those who read Spanish, there is a wonderful compilation of texts and comments in the book: Eremitas, by Isidro Juan Palacios. 

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