“There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the other.”
- Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille, Dance to the Piper
“How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradictions were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.”
- Barry Lopez, Artic Dreams
Things converge for me, in the fall. Before the darkness sets in, there is a deep stirring. An energy filled with awe, wonder, interest, anticipation fills my chest, and at the same time I’m drawn into retreat, to spend time with thoughts and books, to witness the expansion of vision in humility and gratitude. It’s weird. What had seemed like so much disorder, confusion, and randomness starts to draw together into a more coherent whole, into themes and directions, meaning and purpose. The unseen hand that has been guiding me becomes more visible. Surprise!
This is what’s happening now. I am in the midst of a dual process. On one hand, I want to try to articulate some of the ideas I have come to as a result of my international travels, my personal mental/emotions struggles, and my life-long pursuit of meaning and truth. Two large themes emerge. One: The current, historically unprecedented, condition, threat, and potential of humanity in the context of the evolution of life on this planet. Two: World spirituality. I am in the curious position of feeling as though I have seen enough, read enough, thought enough, wrestled enough with all of this – and experienced enough of the meaning of grace- that I actually have something to say. My “State of the World” posts so far have been the first furtive, bumbling attempts to convey some of this. There is a lot more, hopefully more coherent and articulate, to come.
On the other hand, I am trying to figure out what to do with my life. This, I believe, will only come about by working through the first part of the process. My question is simple: What can I do with my life that will be of the most benefit to sentient beings? What would be the most effective, life-giving use of my energies?
This is a new and different world, a fast-changing world. Both the problems and the potential solutions are being formed in an arena with no historical precedent. Where do I find the wisdom required to navigate the unknown, to acquire the long vision necessary to work for change that is actually, in the end, more beneficial than harmful?
Fortunately, I am not alone.
My writing process has been joyfully disrupted. This is the deft timing of the unseen hand. Accurate, unanticipated, breathtaking in its marksmanship. Just as I was beginning to try to spit it out, to make some sense of all the ideas and tentative conclusions spinning around in my heart, I “stumbled” upon kindred spirits. There are people out there who already got it, and they are creating movements that will transform the world. They are utilizing redemptive community-building technologies in service of a just and sustainable future. Rather than writing, I have been ravenously absorbing the wisdom of those who are already doing it.
Web portals like:
and the books:
- Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century
- Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming
(from which the quotes above are taken)
and initiatives such as the web-based microfinancing resource Kiva.org, and many others, are incredible resources for change and the most potent evidence that something new, and more hopeful, is afoot.
Slowly, I am finding my place… and I will have more to say…