Last week, I promised the Learn Forward blog would include the reflections of Mr. Jeff Harshad Thomlinson, co-founder of Take a Breath for Schools, yogi, spiritual seeker, mentor, and friend to join me in this deep inquiry of “Word Became Flesh.”

We had the opportunity to sit over tea and consider our mutual meditation of the “Word Became Flesh” last week and our conversation swirled around the suffering we sometimes face during this time of year.  There are medical emergencies, family crisis, and students who aren’t looking forward to the holiday.  From the parking lot, we can see broken relationships, physical pain, loneliness, and so many needs.

Suffering is Everywhere

Where are you suffering?  How is your holiday tainted with pain?  Is there a place in your life where you are walking through a valley?  What are your inquiries in this place?

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.”   

Jeff:  I find the passage of digging the well while in the valley a universal balm for all individuals and a relatedness in our human experience.  Find the water even though you’re surrounded by barriers. 

From that place, there is a moment for each individual in the dark night of the soul when they must activate an inquiry.  The quest is for a ‘well’ of unknown energy.  In this inquiry community and context may be key.  If there is a listening, a space holding, an acknowledgement, then there is a felt experience of belonging, community. One is part of something larger, and authentic, beyond the thinking mind.  Then, supported by something greater, like in the hero’s journey, one digs deep into the ‘well.’

Photo by Keagan Henman on Unsplash

Photo by Atul Vinayak on Unsplash

Teachers and Parents, Make it Practical

As we think of the children, how does the promise of  “Word became flesh” become practical this season?  In our human experience, in our bodies, what is our experience?

Jeff:  As I look at the state of the world, the suffering we face, the possibility in the darkness, and creation unfolding, I am struck by the poetry in Ecclesiastes,

To everything, there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

I have looked at this sacred text as if through the eyes of my children.  The world they see, changing in each season, especially in the northern latitudes where we have a defined four seasons.  Something I have come to enjoy myself.  The feeling of the fall approaching, the depth of heat in the summer, and the withdrawal within in the winter.  Children experience the word becoming in their life.  Even the intuitive and natural reactions of the body over the course of the seasons.  It is an embodied experience.

Then, these experiential truths make the sacred text come alive.  Recognizing that those who penned these words were of the body, the same as we are and the same as the children. I believe this sameness, this timeless realization leads to a peace beyond the mind’s understanding.

Peace comes in each season.  It comes from something deeper and timeless.

The Gift Beneath: Possibility

Jeff:  The Christmas season has a unique flavor of the same truth, a truth in the marrow of our existence. There is a superficial wanting and fulfilling of the wanting through the material gifts of sense and pleasure.  Placed atop the underlying gift of the coming of Christ into Flesh, the collective cannot deny a feeling of possibility.  We hold the possibility and ability to come into our natural state, our own season of becoming. Becoming the Truth of what was, what is, and what will be.

So Jeff, I hear you saying we all know suffering and we know it is a season common to all.  Regardless of where we are in the season or cycle, we have this truth:  beneath the wanting and fulfilling is a deep possibility, embodying hope.  Is that it, I wonder…

Thank you for sharing with us!

For the sake of the children,