We are all changing. We are no longer where we used to be. We are no longer who we used to be. As that line from Wizard of Oz went, “This is not Kansas anymore”.
Most of the time, most people just flow with the tide. Until they get bumped onto the sidelines or some quickly whirling eddy and they try to make sense of things and their lives.
It used to be study hard, get a job, get married, have kids, send them to school, retire, grow old and die. But those cycles are over. Today there are bucket lists, places to go before we die, and finding the hamburger or chocolate to die for. There are marathons to run, books to write, mountains to climb. For the younger ones direct an indie, impress Simon Cowell, be a stylist, wear bizarre street fashion and catch a photographer’s attention. Or, self-publish. Or, be a chef. And missing all that, be a call agent and get a lifestyle.
In terms of mindset, there are two powerful grids with which people live life today: modernist and post-modernist. The first is a rejection of traditional everything and puts the focus on “Me”. The second, is a scepticism of everything authoritative, no objective truth (except science and even then…) just interpretations (yours and mine and the others), and all we can have are conversations.
So how do we navigate when nobody but the ‘tards and scary fundamentalists are so sure about the truth and the future? What helped me is the atheist Sam Harris, who also believes in spirituality and keeps a spiritual practice. As I understand him, being “spiritual” is part of being human and the human condition. The late atheist Christopher Hitchens also regarded spirituality as a necessary part of being human – he spoke about the spiritual pleasures of poetry, music and art, the beauty of the cosmos as captured in images from the Hubble telescope. But he did not equate “spirituality” with the ‘supernatural’.
Harris on the other hand, equates ‘spirituality’ with something close to ‘mystical’ or ‘contemplative’ – which all describes efforts by others through psychedelics and meditation to overcome the ‘feeling of separateness’. To experience for oneself the intuition that all, everything, each one of us is connected. Thomas Merton, the Christian monk, had that experience. On a street one day, he suddenly felt he was one with everything. Japanese Buddhists call that “satori”.
The writer of Ephesians had an intuition of that experience when he said, “(to) gather together in one all things in Christ.” No one, nothing is separate but all together in Christ.
Paul said that was possible because deep within each one the seed which is Christ awaits to be released when the sons awake to their true selves.
And Jesus did say, “behold the kingdom is within you.”
Well, things are indeed connected.
And at the end of the book, it is said, “I am making all things new”.
Change goes on. Not the same old thing over and over. But like a volcanic eruption, the splendour of truth amazes those with eyes to see.