In this, my last post in the Desire Series, I wish to look at the topic of community and its vital role in keeping us, the walking wounded , plugged into the freedom of the Divine Queendom. Let me start by saying that a faith group is not necessarily a community, nor indeed a community, a faith group. We are surrounded by a variety of groups flashing their community credentials yet may still feel lonely on our journey into freedom, even in the midst of such a prepackaged group.
So what then is a spiritual community?
Yeshua, the Nazarene, followed the Eastern spiritual tradition of calling a group of followers or apprentices. Like many before Him, His aim was to draw the motley crew into His own spirituality and experience of Divine Love. In other words Yeshua was resetting the skewed desire settings of His followers by simply acting as a Model of both Divinity and aligned Humanity. The desire flux that issued from the Galilean prophet drew His apprentices into a laser like desire for the Divine.
Simply put, by living with Him, His followers subliminally realigned their metaphysical desire goals, for desire operates in the hidden realm of the lower unconscious. Certainly the experiment, like all spiritual endeavors had its low points, with the old mimetic rivalry regularly making a dramatic comeback, as James and John jostled for position and Simon Peter tried to block Yeshua’s Jerusalem destiny. But on the whole, these men and women slowly learned to see all in light of Yeshua’s Divine Father, the all-encompassing Source of Unconditional Love.
Today, as we follow the Nazarene into the gravitational force field of Divine Love we surprisingly discover that we’re never really alone, for many, often in the most unusual circumstances, are traveling with us on the Way. The timeless call of the Nazarene to leave acquisitive desire by following Him will always be heard by the sons and daughters of men. Yeshua boldly promised that where two or three are gathered into his Name, He would be somehow present. Sounds great, but what exactly does it mean. Is the Spirit of the Nazarene regularly present when a few or indeed a thousand of His followers meet on a Sunday morning under the banner of Christianity, in cross laden cathedrals or small sparse preaching stations. I believe not. Let me explain.
The most dramatic and somewhat controversial name of Yeshua, the ‘I am who I will be‘, the mystical name of the Jewish divinity Yahweh may hold a clue. Such a verbal expression of Being suggests a Self-sufficiency, a fullness that lacks nothing viz. a state of total detachment from skewed acquisitive desire. Is Yeshua promising us an experience of His own being as we align our desire center with His? As we come into harmony with the Nazarene’s own desire settings shall we find that those two or three accompanying us comprise a Oneness that reflects the Divine Union itself?
I believe that there are two forms of community that we can find ourselves involved in, viz quasi community and organic community.
This group of individuals appears to all intensive purposes to be the real deal. A committed group of folk who share a common purpose and vision, often under the guidance of a strong charismatic leader or centuries of regulated sacred tradition. Structure and ethos permeate the gatherings providing the individual with a strong sense of security; also a result of thee groups subliminal law keeping. In other words the quasi community’s identity is cultural, resting on the ever-present foundation stones of myth, ritual, law and structure.
It has to be said that many faith groups fall into this predominant and populous category, yet shockingly such groups are a clever but unconscious counterfeit of Yeshua’s two or three. In other words quasi-community is a gathering of scapegoaters, those of us who define our group identity by who we aren’t. The psychic settings of such a group are usually calibrated to defense and a level of psychic dishonesty resulting from an all too prevalent base of underlying fear.
Authentic community takes root in the soil of human frailty and brokenness. An organic network of individuals who’ve had their skewed desire centres shaken to the core by devastating transpersonal crises. In their brokenness, the wounded psyches of such battered individuals cry out for being, finding it in the call of the Nazarene or in the face of their fellow man. Such community is, I believe. a gathering of scapegoats, those whose selection for victimhood by quasi community or inner self-condemnation has paradoxically united them in a shared aloneness space.
In such community, acquisitive desire lies dead and buried, the ego games of quasi community irrelevant in the mimetic Presence of Divine Love, the One victimized by all. Such a group isn’t a pity party or holy huddle but a safe place for renewal and continuing enlightenment, a place of self-forgiveness and the forgiveness of our Model Obstacles, the scapegoaters. In such a sublime setting, the healing Presence of Divine Love as manifested in the Nazarene, is happy to dwell. Honesty is all that it requires from the band of broken brothers and sisters. With ego disengaged, Spirit flow can provide mutual healing as brokenness heals brokenness. In such a context the last meal of Yeshua now makes sense; a broken body shared and one’s life blood poured out, the Presence of the Broken Healer amongst broken humanity.
Interestingly I believe that it’s no accident that Yeshua chooses the ‘two or three’ for the revelation of Divine Immanence. The larger the group that we gather together, the less likely it is to be a safe place in which to open up our lives and more especially our own woundedness. More people usually means more masks. more ego engagement. Like suspicious dogs meeting on the sidewalk we sniff out each other before deciding ‘No thank you’ to vulnerability and the possibility of further psychic pain. For true community to occur a mutual trust must evolve, a respects for each others wounds. The danger of pseudo-radical groups where vulnerability and openness to ‘leadership’ is expected without reciprocation is, from my experience, a recipe for psychic disaster.
So how do we find such authentic community amongst the hustle and bustle of our daily lives?
Thankfully I believe that Divine Love has it all arranged and under control. Rather than scurrying around looking for a safe shelter in the religious marketplace of Christendom or any other faith brand, why not relax. The god of Yeshua isn’t looking for our commitment to a group but rather a letting go or surrender to Love. As we tentatively take our first steps along such a Way, others will unexpectedly cross our path with whom we can explore mutual healing and future destiny. Some of these fellow travelers stay attached for years, others for a short period of joining. A truly organic community, One birthed in the discovery of mimetic freedom.
I realise that this final but important post in the Desire series may raise disturbing questions for my regular readers. Please feel free to comment and get back to me on this rarely discussed topic. Between us all we’ll hopefully catch a glimpse of something extremely valuable for each of us on the Way ahead.