I am all of these things, and I am nothing…

The last couple of posts have been the start of a new journey for me, as I seek to put in to words a change in the way I understand the foundation of our being. I’m not alone in this kind of thinking- we stand at the brink of a paradigm shift in Western Christian thinking when old certainties are falling away, replaced by something far more generous and generative.

The problem is that when we start to talk about this new/old way to approach the divine, words fail- the old bible story about God giving the Israelites an unpronounceable, vowel-free name was making the same point- when we start to try to define, we too easily take up a position of power and control; we weaponise God in our own interests.

Perhaps too the idea of a God who both hides and shows his/herself in all of creation and is in and through and beneath each one of us is so simple and common-sense straightforward that it becomes hard to teach, hard to speak about, because the ideas have gone from the specific towards the universal. We humans look down our noses at universal things. We regard mystery not as something to embrace, but rather as a knowledge gap that needs to be overcome.

Which takes me to poetry, for what other language can allow both mystery and great simplicity? How else can we both the author and the conduit for feelings, emotions and ideas? How else can we move from the private, internal towards the open and universal, sometimes in a single line?

In my previous post, I spoke of the Christ. Not just Jesus, who stepped into our human history, but the Universal Christ through which all things live and have their being; the Christ who is “another name for everything”. I spoke of a book that has opened up my thinking on this subject hugely (Richard Rohr’s ‘Universal Christ’), which I very much recommend if you want to adventure in this area.

Then I remembered things I had written myself, half understanding them, reaching into the darkness.

I remembered this poem- written a couple of years ago, in an attempt to connect with the great Spirit that holds everything, otherwise known (by some) as The Christ.

I agonised over this line; I am all of these things and I am nothing

That word: nothing.

It seemed important, but felt like a betrayal.

Then it felt honest and true, in a way I could not quite explain, so much so that I used the line again and again.

I will not try to explain it any further, but can only ask that you read this poem in conjunction with my previous post.

I am

I am bird, I am wind

I am scaled, I am skinned

I am soil, I am stone

I am flesh, I am bone

I am ebb, I am flow

I am stream, I am snow

I am all of these things

And I am nothing

 

I am love, I am light

I am morning, I am night

I am atom, I am star

I am close, I am far

I am start, I am end

I am stranger, I am friend

I am all of these things

And I am nothing

 

I am silence, I am song

I am right, I am wrong

I am sea, I am shore

I am less, I am more

I am young, I am old

I am iron, I am gold

I am all of these things

And I am nothing

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