Dave Brisbin 1.21.24
Disciples of a spiritual master come to his home only to find him on hands and knees in the front yard. He tells them he lost something of great importance, so they fall in to help search, hands and knees, eyes straining. After some time, they ask where he had it last, where he might have lost it. Oh, he says, that was inside the house. Then why are we searching out here? Because the light is so much better…
We laugh, but as crazy as that sounds, isn’t this exactly what we do spiritually? The master is trying to teach his students that we all want to conduct our existential search where it’s comfortable…how it’s comfortable. In our strong suit, under conditions where the light is good, and we can hold on to the illusion of control. We want to dictate the terms of the search, and even the nature of the thing searched for. Much safer to search for a god we imagine we understand.
In his famous love chapter, Paul said when he was a child, he acted and reasoned like a child, but when he became a man, he put away childish things. He places this metaphor against the fact that we can only see spiritual reality dimly, but when the “perfect” comes, face to face. We think he’s talking about heaven, but Jewish context is always this life herenow. When the perfect comes is any moment our house of cards, our world of opposites collapses, and for an instant we see the oneness, the sole substance behind our opposites.
For Paul and Jesus that substance is what we call love, the ultimate reality we’ll never find until we grow up and out of the need for certainty—willing to search in mystery where the light is not so good.