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Thanks to 2P

By Joanne Hunt

Sometimes I don't give thanks enough, feel gratitude enough, feel fortunate and count my blessings enough. I've never had a great 2nd person relationship with God to find a place to give thanks.

In an Integral approach to spirituality, we connect to first, second and third person relationships with God. The 1-2-3 of God. The first person perspective is the "I Am-ness" of relating to God. I am God. I am not separate from God. There is only one arising. And we are all of it and God is in the all of it. No separation. I don't have any trouble relating to this non-separation. I and Spirit as one. All arising. I get this in my Zen practice quite fully.

The third person perspective of God lives in the land of "it" - the space of object, out there, the great web of life. Trees, nature, water, earth. All as God arising. Spiritual experiences, deep calm, connectedness is often experienced in nature. Nature as the third person perspective. God in all that is "outside of me." I look out on to beautiful maple trees with their deep shades of green and I rest in the solitude of nature. Of God. Out there. The great web that I am a part of.

Then there is the second person relationship with God. The "I and Thou" relationship. The place to which prayer is sent. The calling upon an "other" for support, sustenance, wisdom. The dropping to your knees, clasping your hands, bowing your head in supplication to a greater other. A second being. A second person perspective. A knowing that you are not alone, that you are carried by ever greater beings. "Being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings," as Rilke said. And to rest humbly in that awareness.

I am jaded by an upbringing that included:

"Pray to St. Anthony, he'll help you find what you lost."
"Pray to St. Christopher so you'll be safe on the drive."
"Pray to St. Jude when all feels lost."

It all felt like crap to me - this praying to an "other."

But at some point we re-enter and look anew at what we believe. Not a 'going back' but an integrating, transcending, and including. Like how many Buddhists at some point re-visit their religion of origin and rediscover their Jewish-ness or their Catholic-ness. Not to go back but to include the healthy aspects of their original face into their adult spiritual practice of choice. I have done that. I am in the middle of doing that. Like many others.

So, I stood at my office window this morning looking at the show that the trees are putting on today and prayed. For support. For a wider net. And I gave thanks for what is here in this moment. This body. These hands. This warm heart. This tired woman. This human being standing not separate from God but one with God, staring into the trees as the embodiment of God and asking for help. With trepidation, I enter second person relating.

For a moment in time.

© Joanne Hunt

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