Listening for the Heartbeat of God
One of the most precious teachings in the Celtic Christian world is the memory of John the Beloved leaning against Jesus at the Last Supper. It was said of him that he therefore heard the heartbeat of God. He became a symbol of the practice of listening—listening deep within ourselves, listening deep within one another, listening deep within the body of the earth for the beat of the Holy. Do we know, each one of us, that we are bearers of the sacred beat of life? Do we know that we can honor that beat in one another and in all things? And do we know that it is this combination—of knowing that we are bearers of Presence and of choosing to honor the Presence in one another—that holds the key to transformation in our lives and world?
To listen for the heartbeat of God is to listen both within the vastness of the universe and within the intimacy of our own hearts. And it is to know these distinct ways of listening as essentially one, as two aspects of the same posture of consciousness. The deeper we move in the mystery of our soul, the closer we come to hearing the beat of the cosmos; and the more we expand our awareness into the vastness of the universe, the closer we come to knowing the unbounded Presence at the heart of our being and every being.
Deep within us, amid our differentiations as individuals and nations and species, is the desire for oneness. This holy longing is found not only in the human soul but in the soul of the universe, at the heart of everything that has being. We are not an exception to the universe. We are an expression of the universe. Our longings are a unique manifestation of the universe’s longings. In listening to the depths of life, within our lives and within every life, we will hear the longings of the One that are deeper than the fears that divide us.
Excerpts from A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth and the Human Soul. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.