We’re coming up on Thanksgiving, and so our meditation meeting next week will have a dash more thanks than usual. In the current political climate, we need to cultivate thanking more than ever.
We thank for gifts. But the word “gift,” in English, originally meant a talent or capacity given by God. It did not mean a physical object. We thank for gifts, not things.
Let us give thanks for the capacity to think and feel. Thanks for the opportunity given us by every painful opposition. Thanks for the capacity to meet someone we feared and find we get along with them. Thanks that we can speak, address another speaker, and listen. Thanks for the readiness by which we might find strength, humor, the right impulse at the right time. All these are the Word, which is the overarching category, the primal gift, of making and receiving meanings of all kinds.
1. In beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. This was in beginning with God.
Why does the text bother to repeat, in verse 2, what had already been asserted in verse 1, that “this” (sometimes translated “the same”), meaning the Word, was in beginning with God?
It may be that it is not simply a repetition, but new information. “This” from verse 2 would not then be shorthand for “the Word,” but rather it may designate the awareness, the very Wording capacity, by which the author is writing. He is hefting the presence of the Word in his own thought and feeling as he is writing, as if to say, “This very awareness out of which I write these words is the Principle, the Word that is God and is with God in beginning.”
Such a reading gains strength from verse 4: In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The life of the Word became the light (consciousness, awareness) of human beings. So the writer of the gospel is labeling his own, current consciousness, his light, when he says “This was in beginning with God.”
We closed yesterday’s meeting with a brief metta meditation, which responded to our expressed fear, anger, and confusion about the election. (For guidance through metta, do seek out the work of Sharon Salzberg, sharonsalzberg.com)
At the very end of our meeting, there was a long silence. We had shared some tiny portion of the overload of emotions and resolutions that have been screaming around our psychosphere since the election; we had invoked the dead; we had meditated the first verse of the Prologue; we had practiced metta. And then there was this silence, rich in good will and possibility and something more: a graceful presence. It seemed hard to rise and go forth from that silence to meet the rest of the day. But rise we did.
All blessings to all,