Sadly my brain has lost much of what Brother Martin said. He talked for an hour and I feel these days that my brain can only hold so much information. When new stuff comes in, old stuff has to get pushed out in order to make space.... A hard drive reformat may be required. Anyway, what follows are snatches of what I can remember. Hopefully they are the most important bits ;)
The gist of the Eucharist is to manifest the infinite in finite form (the communion wafer and the wine – or chapatti and water as they are here. I love India), then to raise the finite back into the infinite (by saying prayers over the offerings and holding them aloft). As above, so below.... The ritual is meant to serve as a reminder for us to see ourselves and others as one with God. This is what Jesus meant when he said “Do this in memory of me”. The Eucharist is not meant to be performed once a week on Sunday, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – in other words, we should always love God and love our neighbour. The two are not mutually exclusive, but one.
Relationships are everything. There are 2 types of relationship – sacred and profane. Most of us, most of the time, engage in profane relationships where we want something from the other person. He illustrated the point by describing a typical bartering situation in India. We want to buy an item from a trader, so the trader says it will cost x amount. We argue and say we can only give him y amount, and so it goes until a price is agreed. The basis of that relationship is money – the trader wants as much money as he can get from us, whilst we want to get the best deal possible from him. Neither sees the other as God, and as such the relationship is profane. The music business is characterized by profane relationships with few exceptions and that’s why, amongst other things, it’s time for change.... On the other hand a sacred relationship is one in which, first and foremost, we see the other as God. Money can still enter into the equation, but it is not the primary focus and our intent is not to rip the other off. This analogy reminded me of the chat we had with Fyaaz at his shop in Tiruvannamalai.
He went on to describe 4 levels that govern our relationships. In the first and lowest level, we see ourselves and others as matter only. In the second, we see ourselves and others as creatures of God. In the third, we see ourselves and others as manifestations of God. In the fourth and highest level, we see ourselves and others as one with God. This is the level we should be aiming for if we wish to enjoy sacred relationships with others.
I also asked him to expand on a point he had made the day before about making friends with our demons. In short, he said the best way to do this is to love others, then everything else will fall into place. There is no absolute evil. Evil, in the multitude of forms it can take, results from ignorance and a desire to be loved. So, the best way to transform is to love, and do so within the framework of a sacred relationship.
Brother Martin, you’re the man.