July 5, 2009

Why "Sink to the Seed?"

When I would hear the old Quaker phrase, "sink to the seed," I used to imagine a roomful of old-timey, plain Friends in a wooden meeting house, sitting quietly, and practicing "sinking down." They become quieter and quieter until there is not a sound except for what floats in through the open window on a lush, sunny, early summer day: buzzing of honeybees, snuffle of waiting horse, singing of robin. What an idyllic scene, based almost entirely on what I imagined the outward experience of "sinking down to the seed" would look like. But what was happening inwardly?

Here is what the experience of "sinking to the seed" means to me now, and why I am naming this blog after it. Let me trace the three strands of my woven faith using the pattern of this metaphor.

When I am close to Jesus and think "sink down to the Seed," I can't help but to think of the parable of the Sower and the Seeds (Mark 4:3-9). We have all heard the story. The Sower broadcasts his seed. Some falls on the path, where the birds come and eat it up. Some falls on rocky ground, springs up quickly, but cannot set down a deep root and so withers quickly in the hot sun. Some seed falls among "thorns," perhaps an aggressive, invasive species of plant, and the thorns choke it out, and it yields no grain. But some seed falls upon good soil, and it sets down deep roots so that it can draw up the water of life into itself, and it is able to grow strong. So it bears a great deal of new seed, sometimes as much as a "hundredfold." (One hundred new seeds grown from a single plant, which was produced by a single seed. Think of it! God gives and gives and gives some more!)

It seems to me that my inward spirit is a complex terrain, and that all of these kinds of soil exist within me. When I feed the good soil and tend the garden, so to speak, the Seed of Christ can set down deep roots within me. When I sink to that deeply-rooted Seed in the garden of my soul, I am immediately in the place of Life and Goodness and Abundance. I am in the kingdom of God, which Jesus assured us was among us at all times. And it has a wonderfully fresh smell.

When I am in touch with my experience of the Light, "sinking down to the Seed" leads me to what Isaac Penington called "the true peace, the true righteousness, the true holiness, the true rest of the soul, the everlasing habitation which the redeemed dwell in." (19.14 in Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice) This is the innermost room of the soul that is both full and empty, the still point, the place where the authentic One lives, where the Light shines continually and the dark, velvet night holds it tenderly, where all is revealed and all is acknowledged and all is forgiven. It is the center where my human limitations and destructive errors (sinfulness) are revealed, where I can acknowledge and move through the brokenness, where I admit that I've been guilty of a god-awfully painful imitation of the Wizard of Oz! And it is also the place where my unique soul is also revealed, where I get a glimpse of what it is that Spirit sees in me, and this gives me a sense of both awe and peace, that this wondrous Spirit has found a home in me, and expresses itself uniquely through me. When I sink down to the Seed, as a child of the Light, I go to the place where I cannot avoid seeing either my human limitations or my original and blessed beingness, and I am reclaimed by the Spirit.

When I am in the experience of being a child of Mother Earth, "sinking down to the Seed" is very like all of the above. But in this case, that part of me which is original -- the part of me which can never be hurt or deformed by the plagues of the world, the part which holds the Creator's original intention for me, the part I sometimes call "big I" as opposed to "little I" -- is the seed, and I drink deeply from the water of the Mother. I plump up, break the now-too-tight bounds of the seed case, send forth a green, juicy shoot, shoot up to the light (Light?) and find freedom in the heady excitement of new growth under the blue sky. In this case I am not so much in touch with my brokenness and healing but with my soul's original template. I am in touch with that aspect of myself which I believe is most like the Creator, that part of me which is made in the likeness of the Creator, which still resides in the garden of the Mother, and which is Green and Growing.

No doubt my experience of “sinking to the seed” will change as I use this gift of blogging to explore the limits of my soul. I look forward to the transformation.

No comments: