Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Who Was That Masked Mystic?

We love our super heroes, from comic books to graphic novels to fantasy films. But what if their strengths or particular gifts were spiritual rather than physical?

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s SuperMystic!

Instead of Wonder Woman displaying awesome abilities, we could have Wonder Sister, whose sense of awe inspires our own.

Who was that masked man? Why, it was the Lone Contemplative and Two-Spirit soul friend!

To quote Carl McColman’s Big Book of Christian Mysticism: 
Thomas Merton, in his book The Inner Experience, wrote about what he called “masked contemplatives”—ordinary men and women who, although they may never have a formal practice of contemplative prayer, nevertheless cultivate a spirit of openness, of wonder, of resting in God in a place deeper than thought. 
While imagining this post I learned that Maya Angelou died. And I thought, what a great example of a “masked contemplative!”

At nine years of age, Angelou chose to go mute for five years after naming her rapist and believing it was her words that killed him. One could say her subsequent memoirs were born in that silence, memoirs that recount her many and serious difficulties, but also celebrate life’s sensual and spiritual delights.

In her book, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, she describes having a transforming moment with the help of another masked contemplative, her voice teacher. “In my twenties in San Francisco I became a sophisticate and an acting agnostic,” she explains. “It wasn’t that I had stopped believing in God; it’s just that God didn’t seem to be around the neighborhoods I frequented.”

In class, the teacher had her read a section from Lessons in Truth, a Unity publication, which ended with “God loves me.” To her consternation, he had her read the phrase again and again, until: 
After about the seventh repetition I began to sense that there might be truth in the statement, that there was a possibility that God really did love me. Me, Maya Angelou. I suddenly began to cry at the grandness of it all. I knew that if God loved me, then I could do wonderful things… 
And of course, she did.

She adds: 
That knowledge humbles me, melts my bones, closes my ears, and makes my teeth rock loosely in their gums. And it also liberates me. I am a big bird winging over high mountains, down into serene valleys. I am ripples of waves on silver seas. I’m a spring leaf trembling in anticipation. 


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Copyright © 2014 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved. 

1 comment:

  1. wonder full, chris. awe full. LOL Beauty FULL. Thanks. I smiled at people today and wondered about my negative gut reaction when their facial expression said to me that their response was of fear or disgust or suspicion or total apathy.
    I also imagine that some might "debate" ad nauseum about whether or not the "love" Maya felt after repeating "God loves me." several times was actually God's love. I weary of such debates. Try it yourself or not. But try to receive what she testifies as her genuine experience as debatable as it is. It still bore "fruit". eh?