The Zoo Fence

More Ampersand Selections at The Zoo Fence

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The Way Home
The Way Home

OPEN LETTER TO A FRIEND

Reverend Wayne Manning

Reverend Wayne Manning lives in California where he and his wife, Janet, also an ordained Unity minister, have recently retired. They have their own website here. The two of them are well known throughout the worldwide Unity community for their inspiring joint workshops and musical programs. An avid golfer, amateur radio operator, and commercial pilot with instrument and flight instructor ratings, Wayne has been an ordained Unity minister since 1978.

We met Wayne Manning in 1980. Driving across the country that summer, we stopped in Unity Village, Missouri, where, although we knew nothing about the Unity movement, we signed up for a two week program. Wayne was one of the teachers. The moment he opened his mouth at the first class, we began weeping. And we did not stop for fourteen days. In retrospect, we presume it was the expression of joyful relief at hearing someone openly, not to mention beautifully, articulating a perspective we had privately come to discover in the sanctuary of our Maine woods. In effect, Wayne Manning convinced us we were not insane, and we have loved him ever since.

This selection originally appeared in UNITY magazine in February, 1981. It is long, but we urge you to read it through, for, not only is it wonderful stuff, but at the end, it promises a wonderful surprise.

Ampersand at The Zoo Fence

The time has come, my friend, for us to talk about
How we fit into the scheme of things.
Ever since we chose our separate paths those
Long years ago, you to telescopes, microscopes, and
Other wondrous machines of this marvelous,
Rapidly-changing age, and I to my books, prayers, and
Deep soul-searching for the
Inner meaning that lies at the center of things,
Some part of my
Mind has prompted me now and again to think of
You and to remember our good-natured differences.

So many memories come flooding back;
How earnestly I sought God and wisdom; how, with great
Effort, you stifled your anger that I could not or would not
Perceive the truth. You said, "God is a
Hackneyed myth, suitable for those who cannot
Exercise the mental discipline to see that science is the
Root of all." And then, having no rebuttal, I would with-
Draw. No words exist to adequately describe the glorious
Inner vision of underlying Cause.

Since then,
However, I have come to understand
A basic relationship between our views that can perhaps
Lead us into more fruitful debate. In your recent
Learned article you say, "There is
Nothing quite so frustrating as to arrive on the very brink
Of the ultimate answer, only to have it elude
The grasp of science as though it never
Were." It is the same in theology! Time
After time, we who labor with articulated religion come
Nearer and nearer our goal, only
To be left with seemingly meaningless philosophy.
However, it is philosophy that functions in an
Extremely useful way. For just as your investigations of
Macro- and micro-cosmic space provide as by-products
All the many material blessings of technology that
Keep our race in such comfort,
Even though your
True goal of the foundation of things seems forever
Hidden, so do the
Many branches of religious thought
Ease our inner burdens as we avail ourselves of
The companionship
Of shared faith, the benefits of an expressed
Love for a common
Ideal, and the guidance in right living that
Emerges if the philosophy is sound. I
Dare say you agree that this is good, in that lives
Often seem richer, happier, and more rewarding
Where religion is practiced. Actually, theology draws
No nearer to its true goal than does science... and
It seems to me, after long years of wondering, that
Neither scientist nor theologian will ever
Grasp that ungraspable First Cause through
Reason. Theology, in all its articulated forms, is surely
Evolved through reason as is the scientific method, and
Each, though by separate paths, arrives finally
Nowhere. Could it be then that all intellectual
Paths eventually
Arrive at this
Same
Threshold of
Understanding, only to be
Rebuffed by that Something which is
Ever beyond the intellect? It
Seems to me that science and religion must join
Hands at this point and
Explore the dimensions of the heart -- dimensions that
Lie outside the scope of mind.
Esoteric as this may seem,
Are we not bound to pursue some merely improbable
Direction when all other avenues seem impossible? Let us
Explore together then, you and me,
This business of the
Heart.

Moreover, let us commence our study
En rapport with scientific principles, as
Best I understand them. Mind, which we
Exercise in reasoning or reflecting, is
Seen by Webster as “the
Intellectual faculty,” of paramount importance, we
Doubtless agree, whether one is
Engrossed deeply in the most complex laboratory
Test, or expounding doctrine.
Heart, on the other hand, our
Excellent wordsmith defines as “the
Seat or source of life.” Is not
The “source of life” the constant goal of science?
It was
Lying hidden all the while in the
Literal definition of a single, common
Word! I am jesting, of course; we both know that the
Answer to the ultimate mystery is not
To be found in mere definitions, but
Evidently lies somewhere beyond the
Realm of words. Let us
See then if we can approach that
Hidden realm together as we seek to
Establish a common ground between us. Would it be
Reasonable, for the moment, if we
Each treat the concepts of “heart” and “mind” as quasi-
Synonymous? Perhaps we can discover some parallels
That will help to advance
Our search. When
Reflecting on heart then, one quickly
Encounters the concept of love. To at least one great
Thinker love is “the power that joins and binds in divine
Harmony the universe and everything in it.” If we apply
Mathematics, the algebraic method
Yields an interesting formula – it would
Seem that love is to heart as x is to mind. Solving for x,
Our friend Webster can again provide
Us with a clue. The first scientific term that
Leaps to mind as
Having a meaning that
Easily relates to our definition of
Love is “gravitation.” Webster
Explains gravitation this way: “An
Attraction between two bodies that is proportional to the pro-
Duct of their masses.” He further
Elucidates that gravitation is “inversely proportional to
The square of the distance between them (two bodies).”
He goes on to
Mention at the
End that gravitation is
Independent of their (two bodies’) chemical
Nature or physical state and of intervening matter.
Thus love, or “the power that joins and binds in divine
Harmony the universe and
Everything in it,” and gravitation are remarkably akin!
Perhaps we
Are speaking much more
The same language than we would have
Heretofore believed, the
Single most important difference being
One of terminology. If you accept the
Foregoing
Reasoning, our equation
Is complete. Love is to heart as
Gravitation is to mind! Does it not
Hold then, that either path,
The path of the heart or the path of the mind, will
Eventually lead
One to the conclusion that the
Universe is held in harmony and precise relationship by
Something called love or gravitation as the case may be?
Now if this be true, then here we stand together
Earnestly
Seeking to understand that elusive enigma that
Stands under that which we call gravitation/love. Neither
Formulae nor musty, ancient books
Of metaphysical wisdom can aid us now, for we are
Rushing
Headlong
Into that strange,
Secret level of awareness beyond all powers of mind.

Now a new and radically different
Approach
Might well be the key, since we both have
Evidenced little or no real
Success with our previous methodologies. I
Should like to propose
An experiment. Rather than seeking something further to
Know, could we not shift our mind-set and
Enter into the idea of being known by something? Would
You agree,
Essentially, that humanity and the universe
Are known by gravitation in
That both live and move and
Have their being in it? If so, then
Our common definition decrees that humanity and the
Universe are likewise known by love. To know is the
Grand product of the intellect, but to be known by can
Hardly be appreciated except through some other,
Infinitely different faculty.

What is this quality in us that
Affords us the sense of being known by? That which can
Liberate us from knowledge into pure
Knowingness itself? I believe there is such a quality,
Though all too seldom used. Some call it
Hunch, others insight; most call it intuition. Have you not
Relied more than
Once on intuition, all other ways being closed, and then
Undergirded insight with retroactive scientific principle?
Guesswork perhaps, but guesswork
Happily founded on and springing out of something other
Than prior knowledge! It is that instantaneous,
Heart-stopping connection with That Which Is
Eternal, flashing into consciousness. Of too great a
Value to price, this spontaneous
Activity seems to come and go as it will,
Leading us down strange, mysterious pathways that only
Later prove to be true. Must we then wait,
Ever patient, for intuition to act of its own accord? No!
Yesterday, perhaps, but not today!

Our new approach is that of declaring ourselves
Fully open and receptive
To this inexplicable intuitive process, and
Holding ourselves in an attitude of
Eager anticipation for a deliberate, conscious,
Synergistic communion with that which is at the
Heart of all. Of course
A tremendous exercise of will is required when one
Deliberately releases one's mind, one's ego, one's sense
Of self into this larger process, but would it not be
Worthwhile, knowing as you do how valuable your
Own intuitions have been in the past? And now, my
Friend, we are at the very heart of our discussion.

Dare I ask you now to allow me to proceed to
Evolve this concept by speaking mostly
About love, which is more central
To my perspective than gravitation? I also
Hope that you will consider love a scientific principle
In light of our previous discussion. I trust that
We can agree that all the nearly
Infinite forms, facets, and manifestations of
Love in our experience are derived from that
Larger principle. It is my
Firm conviction that we somehow relate more
Easily to love than to science –
All through life we are engaged with love in some
Respect, even before birth (if we believe the
New-wave psychologists),
On through the various loves of child, adult, old age – and
Early or late most people
Value a love for that which we call God.

It is not that
Love has any more intrinsic worth than science,
For it very possibly does not.
On the contrary, both are more than likely equal in
Reality, since both are parts or facets of the One.
The benefit in approaching ultimate meaning through the
Heart is that love is a quality that somehow
One can feel and sense and share without technical
Understanding. Can this be said of science? I think not,
As it has been my observation that one can never
Really keep pace with all science since that discipline
Tends to greater and greater complexity,
While the discipline of love
Insists on simplicity above all.

That we are never closer to truth than when
Head-to-head with a paradox, I have heard you say
More than once. Two antithetics coming into
Expression simultaneously, offering us the opportunity
To see both sides of the coin at a single glance; two
Halves that
Yield a perfect whole. Let us apply this to our present
Riddle. This visible world in which we live
Offers complexities so intricate that their full
Depths may never be plumbed – is this not true
According to your own experience? This being the
Natural state of that which is visible, what could be more
Dramatically paradoxical than if
That which is invisible, the antithesis, the other
Hidden side of the coin were utter simplicity? And since
You, with scientific method, have failed to find the
Source in visibility, macro or micro,
Then is it not worth considering that the
Answer to all things just might lie in the invisible –
Forever hidden from the mind? The science of science
Finds its greatest expression in
Triumphing over manifest complexity, but love
Holds the key, I believe, to unmanifest simplicity, the
Eternal foundation of all else.

Years ago, a young man spoke of love. Somehow He
Caught this vision, this inner certainty
Of the unseen as creator of the seen. And if the
Many reports be true, He was also the
Foremost scientist of His or perhaps any
Other age. He too knew the secret of paradox that you so
Recently discovered for yourself, and He often spoke and
Taught in that esoteric
Mode. “Love your
Enemies,” He said on one occasion, surely a
Teaching that seems unsound and
Hard to apply in this
Outer world as we know it and, if applied,
Usually brings mistrust or even ridicule. But ah! The
Paradox! The equal and opposite
Reaction! Practicing this "fool's advice," one is drawn
Ever nearer to that invisible center of
Peace and harmony,
Attributes of some divine Something, regardless of
Reason. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the
Earth,” He said on another occasion,
Surely a statement which, if
Taken at face value, seems to have little if
Any practical application. But if it be
True that paradox is the threshold of
All truth, the mystery is made clear!
Blessed are they who
Look through the
Eyes of simplicity, for they see
Beyond and take command of the
Endless complexities of life. This man
Felt the path of love to be the
One sure avenue of approach to underlying
Reality. That His teachings are
Efficacious is spoken to by their survival. This scientist-
Mystic said the pure in heart will see God. Isn't this the
End we all seek, whatever name we choose to use?
I am sure it is. God or Source, Father/Mother or Creator,
Named or Nameless; it matters not.

This is the path I offer then, the path of the
Heart, or love, for your
Earnest consideration. Thus far you have found only
Promise unfulfilled, you say -- and is it not a scientific
Rule that one should
Explore all possibilities without prejudice? Friend, you
Stand at this moment in an
Enviable position
Not given to many. For here is the
Capstone, the paradox of paradoxes – you need not
Eschew your own discipline to embrace this
One! They are not mutually exclusive at all,
Far from it! While I follow as best I can the way of love, I
May never fully grasp the way of science, as
I do not have the skills. But you!
No one is more blessed than you,
Equipped as you are to bring into a state of
Equipoise mystical science and the science of mysticism.
Not in opposition, though they may appear to be, but two
Estranged perspectives meeting at the point of paradox,
Making one Grand Design! How fortunate you are! To
Intuitively know and be known, to trust and rest in the
Essence of omnipresent Love, and
Simultaneously to see and explore and understand
The complexities of Its manifestation is the synthesis of
Heart and mind, each path enriched and enhanced by the
Other
Until a glorious vision of the Whole appears.

Absolute God, Foundation of All, Primal Cause, Invisible
Nameless
One – these are that which
Is – that which can only be perceived through the
Nimbus of the heart, of love. Relative God,
That which comes into
Existence as the universe, that which is
Salutary in nature and in our lives,
That which
Moves among us, is that which Does – and that which
Yields Its
Hidden secrets to the mind. Are you beginning to feel
Excitement at the prospect? To bring to
An end forever the
Despondent pessimism
Which accompanies questions unanswered, riddles unsolved,
Immensities unmeasured is the
Tremendous promise of the path of the
Heart. One begins to live out of a profound
Optimism rooted in the
Inner certainty that underneath all visibility
Lies invisible goodness, the divine
Matrix that
Yields to no human explanation. On the
Contrary, it is beyond explanation; it in fact explains
Us, and that is what it means to be known by. I am not
Proposing that you embrace religion in its
Rigid outer form, with rituals and trappings that are
Unsatisfactory to you, but that you be open to your own
Nascent intuitive process which is
Not religion, but the key to the religious experience, an
Entirely different
Thing.

Honest theologians admit that all creeds, doctrines, and
Ordinances are very little more than frozen religion, the
Vicarious report of someone else’s
Encounter with God, turned into
Religious practice. If, however, these
Sacred teachings can be
Understood as providing the catalyst for one’s own personal
Revelation, one’s own personal, intimate
Encounter with the living God, then they are of enormous
Lasting value.

You surely see the parallel. Science of its own accord is
Good, but as devoid
Of purpose as theological dogma unless it too leads
One into that inner, invisible
Dimension to be touched by living Presence.
Novice though I am in most matters, my own
Experience and deepest meditations assure me of the
Sageness of this
Simple truth. Love then is the gateway that
Allows entrance into the
Never seen, only-to-be-experienced realm where God
Dwells; the realm into which
Mind alone cannot
Enter. Only the singing,
Rejoicing heart
Can plumb the depths of God. A student of our
Young mystic-
Scientist friend, who also taught the excellence of love,
Had this to say – “Beloved, let us love one
Another; because love is from God; everyone who
Loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not
Love does not know God,
For God is love … since God loved us so much, we also
Ought to
Love one another … if we
Love
One another, God lives in us...
We love, because he first loved us.” Another, said by
Many to be second only to our young friend as the greatest
Exponent of love, said, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals
And of angels, but do not have
Love … I am nothing …
Love … bears all
Things, believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things. Love never ends.”
Did I say that this man was a scientist of sorts? He was
A Pharisee, one of those who made a science of Judaism,
Yet he found completeness only in the path of the heart.

Simple though it is, I too have somewhat to say
On love, although my
Feeble words cannot compare with these others.
May
You see in them a glimmer of what love is to me –
Love is my sustainer; I am fulfilled. Love rests me when
I am weary, soothes me when I am troubled. Love
Freshens my being, leads me in right action for its own sake.
Even in darkest despair I am not afraid, for Love is with me
And takes me into Itself. Love
Nourishes me even against all odds and
Declares me Its own; my joy is endless. Love
Is
With me, not only now, but every moment of now!
I live and move and have my being in
Love. This, I am afraid, is but a poor paraphrase of a
Lovely, praise-filled prayer, conceived and
Dedicated so many centuries ago by a
Worthy poet of the Hebrews. That
Exultant,
Laudatory
Lyric
Is hidden in this simple essay if you would like it more
Nearly in its original form. When you reach
The end of this little
Homily, the
Eclogue of the
Hebrew poet may be found by
Observing the initial letters of each line, one
Underneath the other, acrostically.

Sharing these thoughts with you has been most
Enjoyable for me. I do think of you
Often, and I would have you
Feel the joy, the happiness, the utter peace
That comes when one knows not only that God is in one’s
Heart, but that one is in the heart of God! I cannot help but
Entertain the hope that something in these
Lines might catalyze your
Own emergence into the
Radiant light of
Divine Love.
Friends we were
Once, and it is my heart-felt desire that friends we will
Remain. Until we meet again I
Encourage you to trust that inner
Voice that speaks in the
Eternal silence of your being; trust it and it will
Reveal all things to you.

Ampersand at The Zoo Fence

The Zoo Fence

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