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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Concentration and Excentration

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.   ~Jesus, Matthew 22:37-39

"The deeper we move within our souls, the closer we come to the heart of all life." ~ J. Philip Newell, Christ of the Celts

"Uniting oneself means...migrating, and dying partially in what one loves. But if,... being reduced to nothing in the other must be all the more complete the more we give our attachment to one who is greater than ourselves, then we can set no limits to the tearing up of roots that is involved on our journey into God."   ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu

The above quotes describe what Teilhard de Chardin calls "excentration," which means to move something outside of the center.  This is the opposite of concentration which is exclusive attention to one object.  One focuses outward, the other inward. 

The great irony in our experiencing the Presence of God is that both work together. The more we concentrate on God with all our heart, soul, and mind, the more we experience God as Present within us. Then as Teilhard says "the more we give our attachment to one who is greater than ourselves," the more we begin to experience God's love in our lives but also in others and eventually in all creation.  Our concentration leads us to excentration.

I wonder if perhaps this is the "way" of which Jesus speaks when he says, "I am the way, the truth, the life, the only way to God." Perhaps Jesus is saying, "Concentrate on truth and life and you'll excentrate "self" until self and "neighbor" become One (aka God).  Exclusively following Jesus becomes the path to ultimate inclusivity!


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