Great Blue Heron on beach  no poem cropped for bus cards



Last evening my friend and I met over dinner at a restaurant at the Edmonds Marina, in the Seattle area, USA.  We were surrounded by the sea and by another sea of blue and green and 12’s.  This town is electric with football right now.  But the seahawk is not the only seabird which graces our shores.

The Great Blue Heron is an ever-present witness of vigilance and solitary self-reliance.  We had come together to plan the first gathering of the Spirit of the Great Blue Heron, an intentional liturgical gathering of persons who have experienced rejection by and alienation from institutional religions.  They seek healing and renewed spirituality.  Our hope is to create a safe environment where the Spirit can free each one to connect with sacred presence, however they experience it.  As we begin, most but not all participants are from the LGBTQ community.  Half of all donations will go to causes which aide LGBTQ teenagers.

Here’s the extraordinary synchronicity:  While we ate and discerned, seven large Great Blue Herons perched atop the marina roof below us, as if holding vigil and blessing the gathering in their name.  Honestly.  It happened.

Stirring the Waters

Pieces of my soul have been banished
To distant islands in the water of my life
Where no shark can catch the scent of blood-letting.
Torpid remnants of miscarried experiences
Are cast away, not cleanly cut
As Tibetan Buddhists
Dismember their dead to honor life.
These are rejected out of fear of life.

The Spirit of the Great Blue Heron
Weeps for the missing pieces and waits
For the time to stir the healing waters.
No meek dove, this Spirit.
She lifts her mighty frame forward
On thunderous wings
And with keen eyes fixed on the fractured pieces
She clasps them in her powerful beak
And brings them home.

What was separated is seamed
Pieces to Peace.

© rita h kowats 2015

Heresy and Experience: Blurred Lines

gods eye and my eye

“The eye with which I see God
Is the same eye with which God sees me.
My eye and God’s eye are one.
One seeing.  One knowing.  One loving.”

Meister Eckhart

As a young and naïve theology student, I took a course on process theology, and it changed my life.  Faithful adherents of institutional doctrine would say it changed me for the worst.  You be the judge.  This post comes out of personal experience.  I walked out of that class one day and met a friend who asked, “How are you?”  I replied, “Well, currently, I seem to be an atheist.”  Laughing, he claimed that atheists make the best Christians.  Subsequently, I spent several months researching mystics, and I regained God, in a rich and unexpected experience.  God had become my own greatest potential already realized, and thirty-four years later, this is still my experience.

The church branded Meister Eckhart a heretic for preaching that, “My eye and God’s eye are one,” “All that is [exists] is in God,” “We are sparks of the divine.” Eckhart denied the charge.  I have studied and prayed with this profound mystic for a very long time, and I am finally old enough to realize that he was indeed saying at least, that we are growing into our divinity.  Is not a spark of fire, fire?  It may not be the whole campfire, but when a spark flies up and singes the hairs on a camper’s arm, he knows it’s fire!  I believe that God is our own greatest potential already realized, and we unveil it minute by minute, day by day.

By  seeing.  “My eye and God’s eye are one eye:  one seeing.”  Soul-sight differs from soul-seeing.  It comes from God as a package deal, but we have to learn how to see with it.  We can’t see a painting with the eye of an artist without developing an artist’s skills; similarly, we don’t see with our soul-eye without developing spiritual intuition.

By knowing.  “My eye and God’s eye are one eye:  one knowing.”  Most readers of the Hebrew Scriptures understand that Biblical Knowing refers to sexual intercourse.  Adam knew Eve, and they had a son….The meaning can also go much deeper, describing a profound act of contemplation.  There really are not words which adequately describe union with God, but here is an attempt.  Individual sparks unite to make a fire, until they become indistinguishable.  The spark is the fire, and the fire is the spark.  If we are to experience this kind of knowing, we need to identify the lost fragments of our souls, and bring them back.

By loving.  “My eye and God’s eye are one eye:  one loving.”  Knowing leads to loving.  We must learn to love our lost soul-fragments.  When we do, all the pieces will come together in that acceptance, and we will know and love God within our wholeness.  If God is our greatest potential already realized, loving ourselves is loving God.

Blending visual art and words and music are ways to draw us deep into the eye of God. It doesn’t matter if our attempt falls short of expectations. I don’t really know how to draw or compose music. I just let go and do it, trusting that you will forgive my ignorance! Here I have created a mantra and put it to a simple Gregorian chant. When I can catch a space, I sing it repeatedly within the quiet of my soul and it sometimes brings me into contemplation, at least for a moment. Feel free to download this image and make a bookmark of it as a reminder.

my eye and gods eye are one eye 2