We all begin our journey from a state of connection and union with our primary caregivers, usually our mother and father. Developmental psychologists make the case that every infant is actually one with their caregivers. Infants literally borrow the brain of their caregiver to help hold and shape their earliest life experiences. We begin our journey from a place of psychological union not separation. My (Rich) granddaughter Kate is four months old and now when she looks at you there is no longer the glazed, trance-like look of a new born. From her place of union she’s is on her way to becoming her individual self. Some suggest, and I happen to believe they are right, that we never forget our earliest state of union and communion. Kate will always remember. It is true that we can’t consciously remember our state of blissful union usually with mom, but it is nevertheless stored deep within the primitive recesses (our implicit memory) of our true self reality.
It is further suggested by some that the energy fueling all our future experiences of attaching to places, sport teams, money, positions, people etc. is anchored in and emerges from our earliest experience of being in union with another. We seek connection, we believe if our team wins we win because we remember! Needless to say our earliest sense of union, which by they way is believed not to be completed until around eighteen months of age, has an enormous impact on sense belonging and well being as adults.
It seems striking to me that Jesus tell us that unless we become like children, and in Luke’s gospel infants are included, we can’t enter the kingdom of God. So our Lord invites us to a simple trust, a willingness to be surrendered in all we are to him. But perhaps there is more to Jesus words. Perhaps, he is inviting us back to union. Our first and most primitive sense of knowing is the self-in-relationship. He knows how profoundly our infant experience of union shapes the entire trajectory of our life. His invitation to become like a child is an invitation back to union, back to communion, back to a deep and primitive knowing that we are held. It is an invitation to again be defined as a self-in-relationship. He is inviting us back to what in one sense we have never forgotten but now is anchored in communion with our Trinitarian God!
So by faith in Jesus we are not only made righteous, but we are also essentially brought into participatory communion with the true lover of our soul, the God of our salvation. As Paul reminds us ” our lives are now hidden in Christ with God.” It is our spiritual life in Christ that enables us to shed false places of attachment whether they be people, things, or even our own exaggerated sense of self expressions. God’s grace leads us home to our truest place of union, our union with him for a life out of him. It is this experience of union with God in Christ that when attended to and nurtured leads inevitably to relinquishing of all false attachments that hinder and hurt our soul. It is our union with God in Christ that enables us to become our true self. Thank God his grace brings us back to the truest and deepest knowing for which we long.