Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Alpha and The Omega: A Powerful Meditation From St. Bonaventure

I first took seriously the notion that The Now could be a thing in itself when reading Eckhart Tolle's famous tome, even though religious writers have been saying it for centuries on end.  It wasn't, though, until I uncovered a passage about the beginning and the end in St. Bonaventure's The Mind's Road To God that something took hold, to where I could actually feel it and experience it.  It's a little much when that really happens, so if jumping in to this meditation head first appears either too dramatic or too difficult, simply allowing the concept to penetrate one's mind might allow for a more gradual cognitive-process that leads one to greater openness and deep stillness.

The first level is what Tolle breaks down simply in his book The Power of Now, where one starts to realize that the now is the ongoing present moment where everything happens.  You weren't born in the past: you were born in The Now.  You won't go to work tomorrow: you will go in The Now.  The same ongoing moment that is occurring as you read it is in fact the same moment you were born in and the same moment you will die in.  It can be a mind-blowing thing when this sinks in....

But it goes deeper.  Not only are you included in this now,   you are The Now.     The Now when you were born and the now when you died IS YOU.  And not only The Now of your birth, but The Now when the world itself was born, The Alpha.   It is the same way with your death and the world's death, The Omega.  It is one ongoing Now and it is all you.  Too much?  Are we venturing into heresy?
Well, the obvious extrapolation of this concept would be over-equating yourself with God.  Wait, you think, if God is the Alpha and the Omega and The Now, and you are saying that I am also the Alpha and The Omega and The Now, are you saying I am God?   No.

Many Christian writers, for example, have pointed out that while God is love, the inverse is not necessarily true.  Meaning: God is always love, but love is not always God.  The same could be said about the Alpha and the Omega.  While God is always the Alpha and the Omega, the alpha and the omega are not always God.  This distinction, or the lack of making this distinction, is probably the thing that kept Meister Eckhart (Tolle's namesake?) from achieving sainthood.  Indeed, the medieval German mystic was deemed heretical in his time.   

But if you are also thinking, none of that theological intellectualizing matters much anyway, then you would be correct.  These concepts cannot be grasped intellectually, it's more experiential or intuitive.  Likewise, it is often the less heady types that ascend the upper ladders of the heavens and get called heretics by more "intellectual" theologians.

The beginning of the world. The end of the world.  Your birth. Your death. All one moment. And that one moment IS you.

Consider it.

And consider the complete St. Bonaventure reader below, if you're interested in reading more.  Click on image to see details.

-Clint Sabom is an award-winning writer and former aspirant monk. His book, Preparation For Great Light: Recollections Of A Christian Mystic will be released in March, 2017.