Friday, March 25, 2011

We Are So Close to Real Sanity

It is Friday morning, and as I reflect on this work week that is almost at an end, I realize that I am feeling much better than I have for a good while. I started this week with a strong resolve to attend to my inner life as much as outer life this week. And, I am starting to think that a person's relationship to his or her own soul is similar to the relationship of a person to a close family member. When we tend to that relationship, a sense of peace and love and meaning unites us with our loved one. When we ignore, avoid or take for granted that relationship, a sense of alienation and loss of peace comes between us and our loved one.

I am beginning to think that my relationship with my own soul is similar to that. This week, while attending to many other things, I didn't forget to stop and get a sense of the state of my own soul. I will talk more about this in the next post. But, for now, I am convinced that we are so close to experiencing a real, profound sanity in life. This is a sanity that comes from a soul that is awake and able to channel into our lives an amazing and gracious power that is new everyday. The soul is the gateway to another reality that we are meant to share in, but that we ignore. This other reality is the reality of the Great Other whose beauty and wisdom and mercy give fire to the Sun and also give fire to the soul.

'Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless God's holy name!" This is the song of my soul this morning. I pray that I show respect for the blessing of having a soul today as I go to court this morning. And, part of that showing respect is to recognize other human beings as those who share in that remarkable blessing of having a soul as well. We are so close to real sanity, because all it takes is learning how to make that inward journey to a place within us that is holy. But, while that journey is very short in terms of physical space, it can be very long in terms of personal travelling. Something this morning makes me very hopeful about this journey for human beings. It seems to me this morning that the way is much more simple and also closer in a personal sense than we have thought. Jesus said once: "Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For my burden is easy, and my yoke is light."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Finding Meaning in Normal Life

I was reading Ecclesiastes again, and the conclusions he reaches are very simple: you can't figure life out, but you can live it with a sense of joy if you learn to appreciate the normal.

"So go eat your bread and drink your wine and enjoy your vain life with the wife you love . . . "

"Eat, drink, and enjoy your daily work."

That doesn't sound a lot different from the Epicureans of Greece: "Eat, drink and be merry, for tommorrow we will die."

Maybe the Epicureans were not as far from widsom as we think.

It may be my bias against Epicurean philosophy or my bias in favor of scripture, but I get the sense that the Epicurean saying comes from a desperate manic mood about life, whereas Ecclesiastes' saying comes from a basic appreciation for the gift of life and a certain sense of peace with being a creature dependent on the Creator. But, maybe I am reading in a lot more than is there in Ecclesiastes.

I have always liked this book, standing as it does, in the middle of the Hebrew Bible. Maybe it wouldn't be so meaningful if it wasn't part of the Holy Scripture, if it just stood on its own.

And, I hear in it a profoundly simple message: "appreciate the normal." The getting up in the morning, the coffee, the sunrise, the fact that you have work to do and can do it, the food, the drink, a couple of people to share it with. And, the chance to figure out a few things today, and have plenty to work on tommorrow.