Passionate Selfhood

Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation

(Bob Shine recited his poem “River of Life.”)

cold waves slap me to my senses
tumbling me helplessly
down the river of life
the surging liquid
chokes my gasping lungs
useless limbs struggle
against the thrashing current
hammering waves
crush me against river rocks
as if they were a panicked crowd
trampling over me to escape
from some terrifying danger
but these same waters
soothe my aches
and heal my wounds
while they sweep me along
to calmer flows
I drift past those
who float along the banks
in stagnant pools
clinging fearfully to their life preservers
when suddenly
the river is tipped upright
and I’m sent plunging headlong
into wild sunspray delight
the river is my playmate
and it takes me
on a wet roller coaster spree
I bounce
and fly
like a stone skipped downstream
I pirouette in whirlpools
and somersault over cascades
the foam tickling my nose
I stand up and walk
on the holy baptismal waters
with a trail of diamonds
sparkling in my wake
my eyes
like two springs
overflow the river
with tearful joy
and as I journey onward
I sense the river rushing me
to some unimaginable destination
so I simply settle back
to let the river guide me
and enjoy the ride

Along the lines of oneness and unity, selfhood and incarnating, I bring you something very familiar and yet maybe unfamiliar. “Ev apxn nv ‘o logos.” That’s Koine Greek for “In the beginning was the Word.”

“Apxn”: beginning. Also “nv,” which is translated in English most often as “was.” It’s a type of verb that continues, and a way to translate it is “was was-ing, is was-ing and will always be was-ing.” Another way could be “was is-ing, is is-ing, and will always be is-ing.” What is it that’s doing that? “‘O logos.”And where is it doing that? “Apxn.”

I’ve given a working title to my consideration: “Passion in Selfhood,” or “Passion as Selfhood.” Each individual has unique passions. No two are alike. There are no two strands of fiber in this carpet that are alike, and if there are any that look exactly alike they are in different locations, and that in itself makes them different. The two candles behind me look alike, but they’re both different—they’re in different locations. This is obviously true of each one of us, and our passions.

What is it to have passion? Passion can be about specific things, specific activities, specific desires in one’s life. I’m surprised at what I found. At the bottom, the core, passions are uncreated. They come from the uncreated realm, the beginning, “apxn.” Each individual’s true passions are latent, uncreated—organic, natural. They are much of who we are. Not a separate thing that you can rip out of yourself or put into yourself from somewhere else. What we create with those passions is our choice. We have that power. And, as I have already stated, each individual has unique passions unto him- or herself.

As far as oneness and unity are concerned, one of the greatest clues that point to that oneness is apparently the opposite of oneness—diversity, in extreme. There are no two things alike on this planet. Look for it. We’ve been looking for eons for two things that are exactly alike and, as I’ve said, if they appear exactly alike they’re in different locations. Amazing! I can’t get around that one, because everywhere I look everything is different. And this applies to people, as well. Every person is different!

And in that—that everything is different, every person different—is how we’re all alike. That is how we’re one. I am, in all my glory, exercising what I need to do—I mean more than want, what I need to do; I need to be up here right now, I need this, I want this, I choose this, I love this, and I am passionate about it. You see my passion, because I chose to stand here today and show you. My passion about diversity, each one of us being different. That is beauty-full. Uniqueness. And when we’re together, as ourselves, how beautiful, stunning and unified. So the ticket in, the doorway into oneness, is being different.

I find it to be utilitarian to be outside of passion; I find it to be obligatory; and I find it to be homogenous. I become like something else, other than myself.

Joyce Karchere spoke earlier of being alive: incarnating. To quote again: “Celebrate all of who and what we are.” All! Everybody’s invited; everybody’s included. We’re all together.

I have some questions for the individual to consider: If I entertain my passions, exercise them, and you’re doing the same thing, will ours bump into each other? In a world full of passions—you have your passion, I have mine—how do we fit them all in? Is there enough room for that?

If we can’t fit all of our passions, whose do we sacrifice, if we sacrifice any at all? Which passions are most fitting? And who decides what is fitting? Tough questions to answer. I’m working on them.

Latent, uncreated passions that are who I am, are in the beginning. What I do with them, how I exercise them, is mine to choose as a creator being. I cannot be repeated. You cannot, either. We are unrepeatable. We are here for this round, in this river. The tone that Bob Shine brought through his poem at the beginning of the hour is to be alive while in the river. The sun, splashing through the water, taking that ride. It’s an honor and a privilege to be alive! A good friend of mine used to say, “While going through life, don’t forget to live.” So here we are, alive this morning, “ev apxn,” and we’re “is-ing.” We were is-ing, are is-ing, and we will always be is-ing. And ISn’t it good?