‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love…’
This is a little paraphrase from John’s Gospel. It’s a beautiful one to ponder because, for me at least, it evokes captivating imagery of oneness with our Creator.
The Vine…I love this image of God; I get a picture of roots intertwining with the earths soil, a part of the endless cycle of death and rebirth. It’s a picture of closeness, of imminence. God is not content to visit us with a glorified and overpowering presence- then leave. God is found in the very fabric of our existence, inseparable from our humanity as beings who need food, water and sun to nourish and sustain. Love has literally put her roots down right where we are, sustaining us moment by moment. In the words of teacher and mystic, James Finlay;
“Love is our origin, Love is our sustaining ground and Love is our destiny”
But then Jesus says, “Remain in my Love”
What does it mean to ‘remain in love’?
Although in the cosmic sense we are never separate from God, there is no doubt that there is a part of our being that is prone to becoming discontent and distracted. We struggle to remain, rest, stay, be.
When I am not remaining or resting in the Vine, I wither and contract. My own energies, agendas and obsessive thoughts lead to feelings of emptiness. I’m trying to meet my own needs, be my own protector and Source. It’s like I’ve put myself in a jar of stagnant water on the windowsill with secondhand light.
In yoga Nidra, a practise where the goal is deep relaxation, the guide will often say things like, “become aware of your right foot, let it become heavy, relax…” and so on with other body parts. When we rest our soul and spirit in God we can follow the same lines. We close our eyes, and with open hands, we come to God with all of our frailties, anxieties and circumstances. We surrender the need for control. We accept the day before us as a gift. Every breath we take in is also a gift, as the Spirit breathes through us…..We relax, remain, be. We are held and nourished no matter what state of mind we are in. ‘To remain in love’ is the awareness of this everlasting truth.
Like the cycle of the seasons, the day becoming night, the insects, birds and animals are being sustained; We too are being upheld, moment by moment.
Whatever is in your heart today, that feels pressing or overwhelming… Surrender it to the Vine. Your only task is to remain in love.