More Lighting Candles than Cursing Darkness
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.
The unthinkable has happened, and Donald Trump has been elected President. Since it happened, though, we’d better start thinking it. The election succeeded in revealing, and fomenting, a bitterly divided country….
We need a star to steer by in such times, whatever else we do. Maybe everyone needs to hew to their personal star, the gleam of the principles, communities, practices and divinities that mean most to them.
I think of some of the people who could do this. Georg Kuehlewind, his spiritual investigations sparkling through the murk of Soviet-controlled Hungary. Aung San Suu Kyii, deepening her Buddhist practice during decades of house arrest. Emily Dickinson, finding a firmament in a grain of sand despite suffering inner and outer oppressions that kept her pinned to her father’s grounds. Dogen, hounded by doctrinaire sects, opening the grounds of effortless being. I think of Nur Un Nissa Inayat Khan, the Sufi who remained joyous and resourceful under Nazi oppression and imprisonment, all the way through to her murder and beyond.
These are not the most famous and most outward activists, who may also inspire and instruct us in times like these. They are just a few of the countless spiritual adventurers who both overcame the world (John 16;33) and embraced it, in circumstances that would appear impossible.
I urge you to participate in the inner and outer activisms that call to you. Allowing the emotions their full life – grief or anger or fear or confusion or hopelessness – maybe we can still return to actions that spring from our love for this planet. Maybe we can grow more generously curious about those who inhabit it with us and who think, suffer and love differently.
The star I try to steer by is what’s called logos or Word in the Greek texts. It is not love or existence, but the possibility for these and all other graces. It wants incarnation; it wants the planet to flourish. It wants us each to create our common good and common origin, since it is connection, relationship itself.
John the Evangelist dared to set relational meaning (the Word) before everything else. This Word does not belong to any religion, region or people. It is just as Islamic as it is Jewish, just as Buddhist as it is Christian, just as Hindu as it is Shamanic, just as present in the agnostic or atheist as in any of these.
For the next few weeks in the group, we’ll take fresh impetus from the election to dive more curiously into the Prologue to the Gospel of John (John 1:1-14). Here’s the King James version:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Next Tuesday, let’s take a little time to air feelings, insights and experiences about recent political events. Lets share outward and inward strategies. Then we’ll shout out loud and stamp our feet. And then we’ll sigh out loud, maybe more than once. And then we’ll get to work.
All blessings to all,