The Teaching Behind the Teaching

Some pretty marvelous concepts are shared with us in class; perhaps most of them have the power, by themselves, to lead us safely towards destiny. That is, if we can simply be attentive enough to beckon the life forces poured within them with tremendous spirit. These precious stones are hard and heavy, one could

say dark. If we mount them in a crown, their weight will bend our sight; in our pockets, they make us limp. I mean it is not always easy to bring these teachings to life; one cannot write them in a notebook and expect them to come suddenly alive and make us wise.

In one example: we were exposed by Gisela Wielki, in the course on the Sacraments, to the idea of the directions of spiritual force as pertaining to the past and the future. If one can recognize in all traditional religions a foundation in heritage, ancestry, lineage, and blood line, than it may be remarkable to understand “Christ’s grace” as reaching towards humanity from a future standpoint. (Or at least, it touches someone like me who has understood spirituality from a Native American point of view, where the concept of knowledge and truth springs out of ancestral memory). So to ponder that we by our own free will may embrace and employ this will grace manifested by Christ’s deed, from a complementary direction of time, can be truly unsettling. A stern sense of responsibility and awe is expanded to such wideness as breath cannot attain. If before we were sustained by our ancestors, now we are called to set forth from an infant force, “the I,” and the I may seem like a very lonely place from which to shift humanity.

Back home from the Seminary, we turn the direction of our thought, and find ourselves in our inner world. Daily endeavors wash our shore, and we are
often distracted. Indeed exalted by the spiritual whirlwind stirred around us by our lessons and spiritual work. Our inward path resembles a night walk in the mountains, in which our breath seems to be disturbingly loud. Our feelings and thoughts chime in our ears. We may ask ourselves if we heard a squirrel or a snake. Judgment becomes all so vague.

So where can we find our precious stones now?

Bastiaan Baan shared a beautiful image with us of a Michael Celebration in Monte Gargano, Italy. There, in celebration of Michaelmas a sword is taken from an altar, deep within a cavern chapel, and in a procession, upright and steady, brought to the surface and into the light. And should we care to find this precious sword in the depths of our soul and with steady hand carry it out into the light of consciousness? Perhaps then we can be attentive to what these stones can transform inside of us so that we may give new meaning to the world around us. And find creative solutions that can transform our reality in accordance to the needs of our time, and so truly live the teaching behind the teaching.

One may ask: But what then is particular to the Seminary that is different from normal living? I would say mostly nothing. Here, it seems to me, we are all just learning to live.

by Manuel Toro