I had a collection of small stones like the ones we have gathered from the beaches of the Great Lakes. I was supposed to eat them.
Nina immediately made the link to Logion 77 of the Gospel of Thomas, which was a main text for the Wisdom School:
I am the light shining upon all things.
I am the sum of everything,
for everything has come forth from me,
and towards me everything unfolds.
Split a piece of wood,
and there I am.
Pick up a stone,
and you will find me there.
The heart makes the intuitive leap, faster than the intellect can follow. Her heart leaps to the Logion, mine then leaps to the Eucharist. “Eating the stones” in my dream invites me to take in Jesus’s energetic presence, as in taking communion.
That evening I decide to honor the dream. I pick up a stone, one I have brought back from Lake Superior. It is small and flat, like a wafer. It has a weird smiley face on it, drawn by Nature. I hold it in my mouth during my meditation.
It is uncomfortable and awkward and tastes stony at first but during the 20 minutes the stone “dissolves,” that is, ceases to be separate from me. I can no longer feel it in my mouth unless I move my tongue. It acquires my body temperature, becomes light, becomes nothing.
It is not hard at all to imagine, if not to feel, an exchange of energy between the stone and myself. It is not hard at all to call this an intimate encounter with someone.
But how do you know, and why would you want to do such a thing? I hear the questions in myself as well as in you.
How do you know? This is the easy question. I know from the heart, the intuition, the lightning-quick knowing that does not go through the slow filter of logic and dogma. The heart tells me, this is both the stone and Jesus, and it is the You that is one with the stone and with Jesus, that is one with all.
Why would you want to do such a thing? This is the more difficult question, because it can be answered in two ways. The first way refers back to the answer to the first question. The desire for such an experience, the desire to follow the heart, comes from and through the heart, which is the spiritual sensing organ. (Thanks to Cynthia Bourgeault for this term and for other concepts in this post. See also my last post on three-centered knowing.)
A less circular answer, filtered through the important, but not all-important, intellect, is longer. I want to do such things in order to see more deeply, to see and understand with more of my being. I want to do such things in order to increase my being, my presence and aliveness and awakeness in this world. I want to do such things in order get beyond the limits of my current operating system, which separates, makes distinctions, compares, critiques, and draws boundaries around myself, and tap into another operating system that experiences the unity of all things.
And the “why” underneath all this is–because. Because it is possible and because I am being nudged toward this by growing dissatisfaction with the usual ways of knowing and responding in a world that is in crisis.
I am dumbstruck and awed to learn that Jesus was right on this path, offering it and nudging us toward it, and still is. Jesus the wisdom teacher and Jesus the Living One. In all my life I never learned this in Sunday School, never picked it up in sermons. But then, perhaps I was not ready. I did not have ears to hear.
My ears are opening up. One thing leads to another. This morning, meditating again, I pick up a stone and hold it in my hand. It warms quickly and I feel an energetic, throbbing tingle in my fingers. It is not the rhythm of my own heartbeat. It is slower, the energy of the stone.
And later, in the morning’s sermon, I catch a gem of a line. The young preacher reels off a long list of sins that captures the limits and flounderings of the human spirit. This one flies by so fast I’m not sure it is what he actually said, but I think so: the sin of “failing to wallow in the joy of being alive.”
I laugh. Not guilty! Today, thanks to stones, open-hearted, I am wallowing in the joy of being alive.