Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Place Within that Cannot Be Wounded

I listened to a podcast of "Speaking of Faith" this afternoon. Krista Tippett was interviewing John O'Donoghue and his beginning words were these:

Your identity is not equivalent to your biography. There's a place in you where you've never been wounded; where there's a seemlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.

There's a place in you where you've never been wounded.

Wow. Just recently I said those exact words to a couple of different people. I was stunned to hear the words echoed in this way.

I know that place within me. One night as I drove home from particularly powerful group therapy session, I was intensely focusing on and processing the experience. Before I knew it, I was about a block from home. It was then that I remembered that my housemate's parents were visiting and staying with us. I wasn't finished processing, so I drove into the parking lot of a grocery store, took out my journal and began madly writing everything down. As I did, I began to feel my soul open up and I KNEW, BEYOND ANY DOUBT, THAT THERE IS A PLACE WITHIN ME THAT CAN NEVER NEVER NEVER BE HARMED. IN THAT PLACE I AM INVIOLATE.
Those were the words I used that night, but as I thought about it later, I changed "harmed" to "damaged." It's not as if I cannot hurt down to the core of me, but the hurt won't damage me. It won't damage me because that is the place within me where hurt transforms into compassion. The core of me, my soul, the image Dei within me, cannot be damaged. It's like the beautiful crystal that I have a photo of here on my blog...that spark of light that is always shining forth and is indestructible, the very energy of the universe within what is truly and authentically me.

As I write this, it occurs to me that I need to remember it the next time my fear of death shows up. That night I experienced what is indestructible within me. I actually knew it. Its presence filled up my car! (well, it seemed that way)

Hmmm, yesterday I listened to Krista Tippett's interview with Thich Nhat Hanh. I have never thought of this in Buddhist terms, but I wonder if this was an experience of enlightenment.

If so, it's like the Jack Kornfield book's title: After the Ectasy the Laundry

How true!


steve said...

Sounds like a nice piece of enlightenment to me.

Katherine E. said...

Thanks, Steve.