The Unity of All Things

The earth is dying.  Having lost any connection with “an external point of reference,” we are doing as Shakespeare said we would do and “feeding even on the pith of life.”  The following story from Truthout.org reports that in the past fifty years half of the mammals on our planet have died out because of our failure to exercise good stewardship of little home.  http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/26536-why-the-web-of-life-is-dying

The problem is our failure to see the unity of all things.  For example, I was brought up in the Judeo-Christian tradition and quickly imbibed the assumption that “God” was “out there” and thus was separate and distinct from myself and this world.  I now see that this was a false paradigm arising from the biases of my culture, precisely that we are not part of nature but are Lords of the universe, destined to rule over our planet and exploit its resources.

But I admit that shifting paradigms from obstinate individualism to seeing the unity of all things is really frightening.  Boundaries have to loosen up and as they do so it often feels as if they are disappearing all together.  The resulting distress always induces an impulse to “hunker down” with preconceptions and biases, the “well-worn words and ready phrases that build comfortable walls against the wilderness.”  (Conrad Aiken)

However, the human soul has an intrinsic integrity that can handle the duress of wrenching existential transition.  We do have a center that can hold during the tumult but our ego always resists letting go and trusting that center, belying the deep distrust that we have in ourselves, in the world, and in God.  And this distrust is just the tip of the ice burg; for beneath its surface lurks profound darkness through which we can find the glimmer of light.

Listen to the hope offered recently by Anne Lamott, “Faith includes the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”  And do note that she said “some” light not “Light” as the best we can ever do is to “see through a glass darkly” which is contrary to our human nature which wants to see things with certainty.

 

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