Infants know what’s up — Logion 4
breathe in + breathe out
A person of advanced age
must go immediately and ask
an infant born just seven days
about life’s source.
Such asking leads to life
when what is first becomes last.
United they become a single whole.
Reflection: This inner work — this developing of a deeper spiritual life — is much about undoing, unlearning, unbecoming. It is about returning to a place of openness, presence, and wonder. It’s like becoming a child again…
The child symbolizes what the East calls, “the beginner’s mind” — the readiness to see anew — to see, as a child sees. The older we get, the more barriers we put up to the beginner’s mind. It is hard to go back, to be vulnerable, to say to yourself, “I don’t know anything.” What blocks spiritual transformation and growth is the assumption that we already know, or that we don’t need to know… — Lynn Bauman “In Trouble and In Wonder” (16)
We don’t simply become childlike again through choice or through some privileged and boundaried ignorant bliss. There is a threshold of suffering we must cross.
Richard Rohr, influenced by Carl Jung, refers to two halves of a human life. The first half is about survival and success — establishing our ego self. But at some point, we find the self we’re establishing isn’t the whole story.
Failure. Loss. Humiliation. Addiction. Disease. Years of anxious action or of striving for “success” only to realize it never satisfied…
These experiences can usher us into a second half of life. When we encounter our own limitation or powerlessness, we can fall into the care and wonder of something deeper. We can enter a space of seeking. A space where what matters changes.
In these times of global suffering — pandemic, climate collapse, and continued prejudice, greed, and discord — maybe we’re standing before a door.
We can stay on one side — playing “fix it,” or the back and forth blame volley, or numbing out with chemicals and screens. Or, maybe we come to the end of our small selves and step through into a second half of life.
Feel the feels. Drop the illusions of control. Encounter powerlessness. And, here, encounter a Mystery. Find your True Self held. Cared for. Like an infant, nourished at the bosom of the Living One.
Intertwine is going inward. We are beginning a season — as cooler weather moves in and quarantine persists — of developing our inner life. To aid us on the journey, we’re engaging the wisdom contained in the Gospel of Thomas, an ancient mystical Christian text. Lynn Bauman’s translation and commentary are the primary source for these reflections. Those of you who want to dig in even deeper, consider purchasing his books: Find Lynn’s basic GoT translation (in The Luminous Gospels) and his exceptional commentary (In Trouble and In Wonder) here.