They had just brought to Jesus the woman taken in adultery – in the very act – to challenge Jesus (who had been preaching love and forgiveness) with the law requiring her to be stoned. They were demanding his perspective on this requirement. Before responding with his classic statement, “He that is without sin should cast the first stone,” he doodled in the dirt. This morning I was asked, “Why did he draw on the ground?” Here is what I said:
Jesus was not only the Messiah, but was human, of both divine and humble origins. He most clearly expressed the timeless Christ to this age. His thought was so aligned with the divine Mind (God) that he healed others instantly. He worked at maintaining this consciousness by prioritizing time on the mountaintop praying. But the human element in him struggled with the divine on occasions, just like happens with us. That’s why he inspires and helps us so much, because he was one of us. He had compassion on our belief of a mind separate from God because he had to banish that suggestion in himself as well. By doing this he operated in a state of consistent dominion.
When they came to him with this challenging question, Jesus had to focus on God to hear how God wanted him to answer. This was not easy to do in a crowd which was insistently jostling, waiting for an answer, and ready to feel justified and self-righteous about killing someone on the spot. Jesus needed to simultaneously quiet the alarmed mental static in the atmosphere, while calling upon the divine Mind.
With his unruffled dominion in tact, Jesus wrote in the dirt, giving his human mind something to do, which in turn allowed him to focus thought on calm, true thoughts from God. Those watching him, wondered about this enough to put it in the gospel record, so their carnal minds were diverted as well. Also, the symbolism of ascribing mortal clamor to the dust is rich. The Bible refers to “from dust to dust,” and dust can be defined as “nothingness.”
Thus Jesus neutralized the charged situation, like connecting electricity to a non-conductive ground. With the human mind duly subdued and leashed, Jesus heard divine Mind’s answer, and quietly responded to their question. Whenever we quiet our own claims of a mind separate from God, we do this proportionally for the collective as well, and especially for those within the radius of our thought, making it all that much easier for others to be led by the divine Mind as well. One by one, they put their stones down and left, convicted by their own consciences.
A lot of what I do for a living is to quiet mortal mind, so the divine Mind can rule in my thought and heart, and then by extension bless the lives of others. It’s easy to do sitting in the gorgeous mountains like I was a couple months ago. But in the fray of demands and challenges, not so much.
That’s why I frequently doodle in the dirt. In fact, “Doodling in the Dirt” would be a good name for this blog. Yes, this blog is about sacramentally glorifying God and His creation in multifarious ways, but it is also a record of static overtly being quieted. When I chop vegetables, or paint, or go hiking with my camera, I am meditatively discerning and responding to and projecting the profound inspiration and beauty of divine Mind ever-present all around us. But I am also, by those very acts, keeping my carnal mind busy and mute so that devotion of thought on higher realms is possible. I literally doodle in church when my attention wants to wander and that act reins me in so I can better concentrate on the ideas. Often, I’m fresh off the mountain (so to speak) and doodling as such is not at all necessary.
The benediction of this story is to, “Go and sin no more,” as Jesus told the adulterous woman. By the transitive property, he’s saying that as well to each of us who have laid down all these stones. To “sin no more,” we must remove the chatter and static of a separate mind of our own, along with its whole array of suggestions, and instead, listen to and amplify the divine Mind. So I commend mountaintop praying to you as often as possible, but frankly, I also recommend a lot of doodling in the dirt! Both can be a joy with tremendous benefits, authorized by our Great Exemplar.