POEM: I Will Join The One, There is No Other

Alone
Where is in that?
Does salvation lie in community?
Wherever two or more gather
In
At will be
Therefore, I will join the one
One who was left behind
The one who’s going places no one else wants to
The one
There is no other

This poem attempts to address the tensions between the loftiness of spirituality, characterized by the elusive “oneness” in many great traditions, and the palpable, practical, everyday realities of a broken and divided world.  I find this tension ever- in the inward-outward journey.  We cannot be saved alone, as one, and be true to the demands of much larger realities, including the world we live in!  Personal purity and become empty in larger contexts.  One answer to this tension was demonstrated by Buddha, when he attained and instead of “blowing out” — a literal translation of nirvana — he chose to return to earthly existence to help others on the path.  for all living beings, at the center of living, requires developing or with one another.   Buddhists call their intentional community sangha, which includes monks or nuns, and laypeople.  is the prime characteristic developed in a relationship with The One.  This “inward” is then matched with “outward” compassion, becoming whole, manifest fully.  Compassionate living is most fully manifest when it enters into relationship with the most broken and divided aspects of all living beings’ realities.  Joining those “left behind” or “going places no one else wants to” represents the highest level of compassionate living.  Perhaps paradoxically, even sticking only to one’s is a falling short.  Active spirituality, rooted in compassionate living, is ever seeking to connect with out-groups.  inevitable creates a tension with one’s own in-groups, ever-seeking to expand, transcend, make more whole.  This is why with outcasts is so essential to building authentic community.  This is the very process where wholeness is nurtured, for both the individual, community, and beyond.  This is why I see as fundamentally counter-cultural.  is what defines a particular group at any given time, with its particular norms and practices.  pushes both cultures and individuals to be more than they are.  This is why spiritual “growth” is almost a redundancy.  The vitality and dynamism that uncovers is the very of life.  There is no such thing as static living — though perhaps reactionary.    The quo and the must perpetually be engaged and redeemed, made more whole.  captured this perhaps most powerfully in his command to your enemies.  This command, which I consider the pinnacle of genius, literally instructs us to reconcile (apparent) opposites.  Such an epic task can only be dared by developing a deep and abiding relationship with The One.  Truly, we reap what we sew!

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