Think mist. Think veils of fog caught on the tips of pine needles in hollows of mountains. This is the look of morning. Wash everything in rosy light. Let winds blow traces of purple and lavender. We light the small fireplace in the morning room and enter our day of prayer, study and contemplation--our weekly retreat on this Feast Day of Christ the King.
I've had a flurry of long involved dreams in the past four days, and I've been recording my dreams since the 1960's, though I remember some from as far back as my second or third year. If I could decipher those accurately, would I have the secret to my childhood? Once I considered returning to the first of my journals and culling from the pages every dream, in order, through the fifty or so years of recording, just to see if I might have in them a symbolic map of my soul. The task was overwhelming. I copied about twenty dreams into a computer file and gave up. But I'm tempted at least to read them. There will be themes--of this I am sure. There will be paths, challenges. Was it Swedenborg who traced his spiritual autobiography through his dreams?
On the other hand, why do that? In the early 1980's I made a retreat with Trappist Father Thomas Keating. His belief (unlike that of Carl Jung) was that the dream takes care of itself. Dream images, he said, are like a detritus of leaves on the river bottom floating up into dream conscious. That's enough. Upon waking all that is necessary for us to do is let them float away. The emotion they held, the terror, the delight, the insight--none of it needs to be understood by the mind. The event integrates the experience we buried at the river's bottom into the wholeness of our being. My curiosity, though, forces me to take a second look.
I didn't intend to write of dreams. It was Christ the King on my mind. What might we name the feast if it didn't already exist? After I finished journaling the four pages of my dreams from the past nights, I looked through my bookcase for Matthew Fox's THE COMING OF THE COSMIC CHRIST. I read much of this book when it was released in 1988--but I find that books yield up deeper meanings as I acquire more experience. This time I will take a more contemplative approach. I'm barely into the first chapter, but I can see that "King" could be replaced in my mind by the "Connectedness" that fills the Universe. "King" has such a sense of ruler, and ruler carries a feel of domination. Way back in University, in a class on Christology, we discussed the relationship between the Historical Jesus and the Christ of Faith. What were the connections between the Gospels of the life of Jesus, and the Letters of St. Paul? Paul has little to say of Jesus, but places intense focus on faith in The Christ.
Fox asserts already in his prologue that "The coming together of the historical Jesus and the Cosmic Christ will make Christianity whole at last...Cosmic Christ, the 'pattern that connects' all the atoms and galaxies of the universe, a pattern of divine love and justice that all creatures and all humans bear within them....What is needed if there is to be a twenty-first century for Mother Earth and her children is a spiritual vision that prays, celebrates, and lives out the reality of the Cosmic Christ who lives and breathes in Jesus and in all God's children, in all the prophets of religions everywhere, in all creatures of the universe."
I'm pondering. If "King" is understood to mean "Loving Unifier" or "Compassionate Connector" of the whole realm, then "Cosmic--(as opposed to chaotic) Christ" could well be a profound way of understanding what we mean by Christ the King.
Thanks, Matt Fox, for dreaming far and deep--and for writing it down!