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The Whole Root

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:32 pm
by Anna
Blessings to all!

I am engaged in a very strenuous weeding of a wild portion of my backyard, overrun with invasive weeds--honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper, blackberries and those pretty shiny but thorny vines known as common greenbriar. Let me tell you, this is no task for the faint of heart, and I have been at it all summer with mattock and pickax and the most protective gardening gloves I can find! These vines send out strong runners under the surface of the soil and I have pulled some of them up half-way across the yard. I walk daily over the places I have cleared already and pluck up the new growth from the roots I have missed.

Among other things, this exercise is an amazing study of life and its determination to continue, the powerful desire and intelligence that keeps arising as new plant growth from deep and firmly entrenched roots. No matter how deeply I have dug and wrenched these roots out of the ground, still they survive to send up more green, more sprouts of life!

During this process verse 108 (from The Gnostic Bible) has sent its own roots and runners through my mind in contemplation:

Jesus pulled out the root of the whole place
while others did it only partially.
As for us, let each one dig down after the root of evil
that is within us
and pluck it out of our heart from the root.
It will be uprooted if we recognize it.
But if we are ignorant of it, it takes root in us
and produces fruit in our heart. It masters us.
We are its slaves. It takes us captive
to make us do what we do not want;
and what we do want we do not do.
It is powerful because we have not recognized it.
While it exists it is active.

In the process of becoming we are constantly pulling out these roots as they send growth above the surface and are recognized. What reveals these roots that are hidden is their effect, the patterns that appear in thought, speech and action. It seems an endless task, and one that requires constant vigilance. The continuous expansion of the heart mentioned in last week's discourse comes to mind here. We hear in teachings that illumination is never-ending, that there is no arrival point. So how does this root get completely pulled out? Or is the wording, "Jesus pulled the root out of the whole place," referring to something else? Is it speaking of embracing the continuous process, never giving up or resting on "our attainments," which we often hear is the way to get stuck on the journey of illumination?

Removing "the root out of the whole place" brought to mind how simple it would be to rid my yard of weeds by removing the soil in which they grow so perniciously. Removing the medium in which they grow would give nothing for the roots to cling to. In emptiness there is no place for that which is not wanted to grow. In contemplation this passage from Philippians came to mind:

4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross. (Philippians 2)

What I am hearing here is that, in recognizing and realizing his transcendence, Yeshua walked in complete self-negation as God's slave, devoted entirely to fulfilling God's Will--the liberation of all beings. He taught all who would listen of the things of Heaven, and walked as God with us, Emmanuel.

The Three Roots of our Lineage seem to point the way to pulling out the root of evil within us. (This is an intriguing contemplation in itself while I weed with one of my favorite tools, a three-tined mattock...) Remembering our transcendence, remembering who we truly are in God, is the truth and light that we are called to walk in our lives, so that we may walk as a sign of hope for others. This recognition is what we are to realize here, what we are to become and embody in ever-increasing gradations. It sounds like the fullness that is realized in emptiness, in self-negation.

If I keep mind on the things of Heaven then I am more likely to recognize the appearance of what arises from the root of evil in my heart. Still, I can't do any of this myself. It is a co-labor of love with the Shekinah who goes before me. It feels more like a continual choosing to allow the Shekinah to go before me, a constant cooperation with Mother Spirit through desire for the fulfillment of God's Will, through the desire to become God's obedient slave, rather than a slave to evil.

Inside each of us is a Person of Light who knows how to serve, how to live and how to lay down one life and take up another in service to the Holy One. As this Person comes forward, the root of evil loses ground in our hearts. The more the Holy Soul takes up our person and life, the less ground is available for the root of evil to grow and flourish. It is a constant movement, like a flickering between light and dark, nothing and something, no-doer and doer.

It seems that, in non-dual Gnostic Awareness, the back-and-forth flickering are parts of the same movement, the Being and Becoming of our teachings that are actually one. Embracing this awareness of One that appears as two opposites, seems as the emptiness of the slave of God, the Whole Person aware of the struggle that is no struggle, not caught up in the idea that the struggle is a problem.

Perhaps this contemplation has become as convoluted as the roots I have been pulling up in the yard, but I offer it in the hope that Mother may inspire discussion of this powerful verse.

May many beings realize their transcendence this day!

Re: The Whole Root

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:12 pm
by sheryl
Shalom Dear Sister!

Praise God for your gardening and for the contemplations arising from your labor! It is delight to join you in this discussion.

A couple of thoughts come to mind, if I might share.

One is the curse of Adam, the laboring in the soil, laboring in consciousness. Though I do recall a teaching, if recall is accurate, from Elder Sarah a few years back where she referred to soil as our current life display.

And something curious comes to mind that had been forgotten. Many years ago, as you have described in your experience, gardening brought on some insights. We had a female lab then whose urine killed our grass, and so there would be spots around the yard of dead or dying grass. I tried many times to pull up the dead grass, while the roots were still fixed in the soil. It was hard work! One day, an insight came. "You cannot remove the sin until it is completely dead", meaning I could not remove the dead grass until it was dead down to the root. And so I stopped this labor, and waited. It took several weeks for each spot, but eventually the roots would die and the dead grass slipped right out of the soil. In this it seemed that in the process of purification, patience is needed!

So instead of laboring to extract sin from the soil of our life display, or this life's consciousness, perhaps we need to first wait for our life display, or consciousness, to shift, and then the habitual negative behaviors will simply die out.

The three practices you mentioned, Sister, and the six essentials, are the ways in which our daily living can become daily spiritual practicing, our life display transformed, the soil tilled, sin easily removed by its roots. Perhaps we can say in doing this, we are enacting the truth that sin has no root!

I am also reminded in the quotes you offer, that while we till the soil, Christ is the planter and harvester, as well as the weed wacker!


May all soil be tilled so that the seeds of Light might take root and grow to fruition!

With gratitude,


The Whole Root

Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:57 am
by Elder Gideon
Shalom Sisters:

Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us also, what is the sin of the world?"
The Savior said, "There is no sin, but you create sin when you mingle as in adultery, which is called sin. That is why the Good came to be with you, to enter the essence of each nature, and to restore it to its root." He continued, "That is why you become sick and die, for you love what deceives you. Whoever understands should understand
(Gospel of Mary).

As only real and demanding tasks can demonstrate, your shared episodes in the yard are phenomenal examples of so many mysteries quite beautifully explored!

How Yeshua pulled out the root of the whole place teaches me what complete self-offering is and does. The root of the evil inclination has no beginning, but it has an end in its recognition: It will be uprooted if we recognize it. To the degree that I see and recognize how I'm self-serving and basically only concerned with myself, is that same degree to which the evil inclination is rooted. Whatever self-willed traces continue to remain are powerful because we have not recognized it. Recognition--meaning profound honesty--is what does the uprooting.

I hear Yeshua's pulling out the root of the whole place saying even more, pointing me to the Crucifixion. The whole place is this world. Sure, the world is what it is and will continue to be so, changing very little. One could, as many actually do, see the redemptive claim of Yeshua's Cross as empty and unfulfilled, for look at the world! It's still the same! But this perspective fails to see where the uprooting work of the Cross occurs: within the consciousness to serve. The Cross is the Way: If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me (Matthew 16.24). Where the world is found is within oneself. One can't speak about the world without also speaking about themself. The whole place is more, being every self that comprises the world. Yeshua's pulling out the root of the whole place within himself opened The Way we too will do the same. So, as oversimplified as it might sound, Christ's redemption, pulling out the root of the whole place is found in our doing the same in The Way, willingly transcending ourselves through service to others.

If the world appears unchanged since the Cross, it's because of the innumerable selves who are not yet willing to their uprooting work. For others who are willing to their uprooting, the world actually does change: Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left (Luke 17:33-35). This is for me the most compelling mystery of hope. Perhaps it will sound tangential, but my intention of speaking about hope in the following way very much depends upon what both of you are inspiring me to share.

Elder Sarah led us through a delicate conversation in her most recent Shabbat discourse regarding the inseparability of the visions of sorrow and hope. Holding something of the essence of the inseparability of these two visions, I hear the root of evil generating the vision of sorrow and the root of good generating the vision of hope. What else in my experience causes sorrow and suffering, distinct from pain, but my self-cherishing? What frees and liberates me to hope is how aware and responsive I am to others' needs. Neither the good or evil inclinations are static, but are active. Either I'm serving myself or others. I'm doing something either way. Both roots then, the evil and good inclinations, sound like nouns, but in truth they're verbs. This is perhaps very obvious, but important in speaking about hope, of which I often hear people speak as a stative abstraction. If the vision of sorrow ever overwhelms hope, it might be because one is misunderstanding both visions as actions. Anyone overwhelmed by sorrow isn't acting.

These twin visions arise from collective, cumulative action. In a borrowed word, these visions are karmic. What makes the world sorrowful is what people are doing. What can make the world hopeful is equally what people are doing. In this sense, the world is as neutral as a television: Both are empty vehicles of transmission mistakenly associated with their content. Their neutrality reminds me of Malkut, who, like the world or a TV, is merely giving appearance to everything invisible. Hear then Malkut this open-endedly. She will become whatever people do, whatever people asah, עָשָׂה, as in the very olam we're in and making: Asiyah עשיה.

I share this because hope is not a stative, an abstraction outside of us someday over some rainbow, but is what we do. If there's a need, I must respond. I can't think about what I can't do, but only what I can do. Too often, what can't be changed prevents what can be changed. In this vein, I will never forget the evening I was privileged to hear Dr. Jane Goodall speak. She is a tireless conservationist who has forever changed primatology and the entire scientific inquiry into animal intelligence. She is also unaware that she is a Tzaddik, whose most powerful message that night is, "Any difference is a difference." I've been haunted by this ever since, for I know she knows far more about the writing on the wall for future of this world. In every direction, ecologically and culturally, the matrix is degrading and disintegrating. This ubiquitous vision of sorrow can either paralyze or catalyze. Everyone and everything can't be saved, but a remnant can. This is more than a half-full glass. Responding to any need, however small, is itself the difference and the vision of hope.

I'm certain that consistently and actively meeting the needs of others, embodying the vision of hope, is how we enter what Adonai Yeshua opened, pulling out the root of the whole place. Though I'm surrounded by sorrow, that of me that is the world is the whole place wherein I experience hope: Doing what must be done for others. This is rapture grounded.

Praise be She for this mystery!

What must be done is compassion.

Elder Gideon