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In my recent reading, I can across the following passage twice. That is reason enough for me to share it with you.

green seedlingEach person is born with an unencumbered spot - free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry - an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is the spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, theologians call the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of the Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rikle calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, and Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.

To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a constant filming over of where we begin, while the nature of being is a constant erosion of what is not essential. Each of us lives in the midst of this ongoing tension, growing tarnished or covered over, only to be work back to that incorruptible spot of grace at our core.

When the film is worn through, we have moment of enlightenment, moments of wholeness, moments of satori, as the Zen sages term it, moment of clear living when inner meets outer, moments of full integrity of being, moments of complete oneness. And whether the film is a veil of culture, of memory, of mental or religious training, of trauma or sophistication, the removal of that film and the restoration of that timeless spot of grace is the goal of all therapy and education.

Regardless of subject matter, this is the only thing worth teaching: how to uncover that original center and how to live there once it is restored. We call the filming over a deadening of heart, and the process of return, whether brought about through suffering or love, is how we unlearn our way back to God.

-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening