Insofar as the Church is committed to a desire for and a clinging to authority, permanence, spiritual safety, and absolute guides of conduct, it is clinging to its own death. By such means, belief in God, the hope for immortality, and the quest for salvation, become only escapes from the inner emptiness and insecurity which most of us feel in the depths of our being when confronted with the loneliness, the transiency, and the uncertainty of human life. But that inner emptiness is not a void to be filled with comforts; it is a window to be looked through. It is not an evil that life--our own life--flows, changes, and passes away. It is a revelation to prevent us from clinging to ourselves, for whoever lets go of himself finds God. The state of eternal life and oneness with God comes to pass--like a miracle--only when we release our grasp on every form of spiritual security. To cling to security is only to cling to oneself, and perish of strangulation.
It would be a silly kind of pride to pretend that we can surrender this passion for safety just by trying. It is not effort that breaks the vicious cycle of self-strangulation; it is an awareness and understanding of its complete futility. To be aware of this futility is to look through the emptiness within--that window into heaven which affords us the vision of God.
Much of this has a familiar ring to the Christian. "Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it." But I have found that you cannot make this point clear within the Church as it exists without running into contradictions at every step. The liturgy is cluttered beyond hope with sentiments, prayers, and hymns conceived in the state of anxious grasping to forms. And that is by no means all.
During the past years, I have continued my studies of the spiritual teachings of the Orient, alongside with Catholic theology, and, though I have sometimes doubted it, I am now fully persuaded that the Church's claim to be the best of all ways to God is not only a mistake, but also a symptom of anxiety. Obviously, one who has found a great truth is eager to share it with others. But to insist--often in ignorance of other revelations--that one's own is supreme argues a certain inferiority complex characteristic of all imperialisms. "Methinks thou dost protest too much." This claim to supremacy is, for me, the chiefest sign of how deeply the Church is committed to this self-strangulation, this anxiety for certainty, and I cannot support the proselytism in which it issues...
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