I don’t know about y’all, but Michael Morwood is right up my alley. As I stand on the threshold between small god and Big God, or maybe even God and no God, as I lean into a new story - one that suits my personality more wholly than anything else ever has - I am eager with anticipation and a bit of trepidation.
I’ve said this before: the universe is a singularity. It is one thing made of many things. Essentially atomic beings that take many forms. This is the most basic description of what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called differentiated unity. I cannot buy into a god that threw us into this reality only to urge us to try and escape it to get back to some otherworldly notion of heaven. Our spiritual lives are not one giant Escape Room game - following the correct clues so that our special group can unlock the secrets and obtain freedom. Why would we be here only to figure out how to leave on the express train to heaven as quickly as possible? Access to both freedom and heaven are right here.
I am most definitely not a nihilist - there is a point to life. It’s not all for naught. We are not living a meaningless life in a meaningless cosmos. Otherwise why would humans seek meaning? Consciousness is a direct outcome of the cosmos, and it’s only like 300,000 years old. Consciousness is still a wee baby in the grand scheme of things, and how we experience it is not the end of the road! I love this earthbound gig in a human body. The amount of pleasure and awe and grief and joy I feel is immeasurable. My dear friend and I were marveling tonight at how we humans can experience the full pendulum of emotions in a day...heck, more like an hour! No, I don’t have THE answer, but I think the point is collective, not individual. Actually, it’s kind of both/and. Our individual contribution to the collective has the ability to help or hinder evolutionary progress. As long as it is only about us, about personal gain, then we are a hindrance. When we consider, however, that how we do life is an illustration of the cosmos pouring through us, we cannot help but connect ourselves to some greater unfolding. I am not necessarily talking about what traditional language calls “Gods plan” for our personal particular lives. That is small thinking. As long as it stays about me, I am living a short sighted life. What I am talking about is deepening our intentional connection to the unfolding mystery while truly having no idea where it will land. “When that spirit lives and breathes in you, you are delivered from a dead life” (The Message, Romans 8:11).
Poet David Whyte said, “Humans are the only species that reject being themselves.” We have yet to figure it out...and...maybe to be human is to be in awe. We have this capacity, perhaps even compulsion, to observe and record and create about life’s unfolding. No other species can do this that we know of! Our job is to elucidate the sacredness of ordinary life.
I like Morwood’s idea of examining the window through which we experience sacred mystery. Each of us has our own lens, our own experience to make sense of. This is the import of the individual. But if as individuals we can honestly investigate our our personal experience, we may also have access to how that resonates with the larger whole. You were once a cloud of stardust. You are now human. That’s awesome. I love what Neil deGrasse Tyson says about this: “I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up—many people feel small, because they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” So what will you do with your humanity, your beautiful, messy life, that places you among and within the mystery?