I Remember Now – I Know Nothing ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad ~ Post 18

The Prayer of the Empty Water Jar, by Marina Wiederker

Jesus, I come into the warmth of your presence, knowing you are the very emptiness of God. I come before you holding the water jar of my life. Your eyes meet mine and I know what I’d rather not know. 

I came to be filled, but I am already full. I am too full. This is my sickness..

A holy knowing steals inside my heart and I see the painful truth. I don’t need more. I need less. I am too full…I am smothered by gods of my own creation. I am lost in the forest of my false self. I am full of my own opinions and narrow attitudes. Full of fear, control, self-pity, and arrogance….

I am so full there is no room for you….you ask me to reach into my water jar…to lift out the things that are a hindrance to my wholeness. I take each one to my heart and I hear you asking me, “Why is this so important to you?”

I hear you calling, Let go, let go, let go!….finally…I sit with my empty water jar. I hear you whisper, You have become a space for God…you have given up your own agenda. There is nothing left but God.

When I began this “new” spiritual journey 10 years ago (one that I eventually remembered wasn’t new to my soul), I intuitively knew how to start each day. I knew I had to begin each day repeating the words, “I know nothing.”

I had to visualize my consciousness as a completely empty, white screen. Which was hard, because I spent the first 30 years of my life filling my mind with information. I have degrees telling me that I know things.

But here’s what I discovered. Whenever I said, “I know___”, and I payed attention to my inner energy. I could feel myself closing off. I could feel myself closing up shop. “OK. I’ve got that taken care of. Check that off the list. What’s next?”  Go ahead. Try it yourself.

I couldn’t take in anything new as it truly was. I found myself constantly comparing it to what I already “knew,” to see if it fit in the box I had made.

What I learned to do instead was this. When the screen is clear, take in the new as it is. Do not judge it immediately in any way. Sit with it, and see what your inner, innate Divine wisdom does with it. If it rings true, it will remain in your consciousness. If it doesn’t ring true, or maybe it’s just not a fit for you at that time, thank it for visiting and let it go for now. Tell it, “perhaps we’ll meet again.”

I spent 30 years adding more information, when the Truth of the spiritual journey as a human is just the opposite. Meister Eckhart, the great German mystic (1260-1328) put it this way: the spiritual journey is one of “subtraction, not addition.” 

This makes no sense to our culture or our egos. We spend years going to school and getting more training to add information. And for the purposes of living in the practical world (functioning in it, and contributing to it), that kind of information is obviously vital.

But in the world of spirit/spiritual growth, just the opposite is true. The more empty we become, the fuller we can become. The wisest people I have known have been the ones who have the humility to simply say, “I don’t know.”

But wait a minute, Tim! Didn’t you just get done writing about what you know about being there for people? (Post #17) Yes. When I say, “I know nothing,” I’m really reminding myself to hold what I “know” lightly. It’s not that we don’t know valuable things through experience. It’s just that there is always more. We never know anything completely! When we think we know anything, it’s just a shadow, a tiny portion of the whole.

Always remember that a viewpoint is always just a view from A point! There are so many other ways from which we can look at something. Hold lightly what you think you know, so the new can come in and find a welcome and open space. Truth can never be threatened by anything coming at it. It will hold steadfast if it really is Truth.

I hope that you can look back (like me), and reflect on things you thought you knew. You were so convinced you were right. Case closed. Only to learn later that you were either way off, or not even in the same universe as the Truth of the matter.

Here are my two favorite examples.

1. In 1633 , the Inquisition of the Catholic Church forced Galileo to recant his theory that the Earth moves around the Sun. The Church insisted that the Sun revolves around the earth!  The Church was so convinced that they were right, Galileo was imprisoned and secluded during the trial. But hey, on November 7, 1992 Pope John Paul II officially declared that Galileo was right. And who says the Church is slow to evolve? Well. You know. You get busy….

2. The Beatles were rejected by at least 4 respected recording companies. They were reportedly told by Decca Records in 1962 that “guitar groups were on the way out”, although they denied ever saying that. Anyway, back to the rejection part of the story: Oops! And again I say, Oops!

“It ain’t what you know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so”. Mark Twain

Just look at our world today. People are so obsessed with their opinions about EVERYTHING! So convinced of their view from a point. Unless the internal screen is cleared, nothing will ever change. There will only be more entrenchment.

I have found it revealing to ask the question in Marina Weiderker’s wonderful poem, “why is this (my opinion, my view from a point), so important to me?” I invite you to do the same with a belief or opinion that is so important to you. If you’re like me, you’ll often discover that there is much fear behind it.

Hold what you “know” lightly in love. Love is not fearful or threatened in any way. Truth is Truth. And there is always much more to take in.

Pastor Tim Tengblad

timtengblad@comcast.net